Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strict Adherence VS. Creative Adaptation

Very recently I have been criticized and even somewhat disparaged for comparing my revised and re-adapted version of the Talismanic Portae Lucis working to the original formula. I believe that I have all along made the point (hopefully quite clear) that I didn’t perform the original Portae Lucis working that was developed by Jean Dubuis. I want to make absolutely certain that all my readers understand that I have used the ideas and concepts laid down by Mr. Dubuis, particularly in his book “The Experience of Eternity” as well as the online document on the Portae Lucis working, and then developed my own variation of this working. I had many reasons for doing this, and it has now become a critical part of my own magical system.

Also, why I bothered to go and post my ideas on a group devoted to the Portae Lucis working was that a month ago the owner of that group asked if he could publish links to my blog articles, and I agreed. Just a few days ago, I happened to track down that group and so I joined it. Not finding any mention of my work, I naively published the links to my various blog articles and innocently announced that I had performed a variation of this working. I guess I should have expected this kind of response, but I was looking for some peer group critique of my work. What I got was far more than I bargained for, but still, it was mostly constructive and important to my process. I was tested and found myself more or less on the side of truth. I do need to make certain, though, that I am perfectly clear in my intentions.

Obviously, the only way that I could possibly state that what I did was absolutely the same as the original formula would be if I had performed both my variation and the original formula, and then compared them. Of course, I had not done this, but I have now definitely considered it as a future task. That being said, I want to be certain that no one can claim that I am conflating these two operations, which are different and will undoubtably produce different results. What I can state is that I have studied the Portae Lucis formula for quite some time and to a great depth. I believe that I have captured all of the elements of that formula and put them into a different magical context, operating on them through a different magical system. Thus I would wager that the intentions of the original formula and my method are likely analogous. However, that’s my opinion, and it is yet to be proven as a fact. Right now, it is only a hypothesis, but one that I believe has some merit.

My critic has made the following observation, and since it was made on a public forum, I feel entitled to quote it here for my readers to examine.

Now, when a Teacher like Jean Dubuis outlines a method for experiencing a contact with Eternity, I have little doubt that it will do just that. It is a treasure being handed down to me. I trust his wisdom as he is a recognized Adept with considerable years--decades of experience. His writings are some of the most profound and clear that I have ever read on esoteric subjects. So to modify his Teaching without trying it first according to his instructions, is tantamount to spitting in in his face and devaluing the contributions he has made to western esotericism. Sure, perhaps there are some genuine adepts out there who understand well enough what they are doing in these areas to modify the work in some way--kindly point me to someone writing on Qabalah, Spagyrics, Mineral Alchemy and the Experience of Eternity currently or even within in the past 30 years who even comes close to providing the kind of information Jean Dubuis has made his life's work. I have seen no evidence that you can make such a claim. I can think of at least one,namely Mark Stavish and what has he said about the Experience of Eternity? As I recall, he said that it may be the single most important esoteric document of the 21st Century. There are many others whom I respect who say much the same thing and it is also important to note that neither he, nor the others felt the need to modify the work. Thus, for all your supposed expertise, compared to others beyond your stature, you look like an utter fool.”

Of course, I can also quote Jean Dubuis from his book “The Experience of Eternity,” particularly in the beginning under the rubric of “Attitudes” (found on page 8) where he appears to completely contradict the dogmatic and rigid attitude of my critic. He says the following about how to approach this work.

The student should be mindful that the experience discussed in this [treatise] should not be considered as recipes in a cookbook but instead should be approached as processes that honor the rules and underlying laws of the universe and incorporate them after personal reflection. He is invited to forge his own opinion through experience. He should not go forward with knowledge that he has not personally verified. Step by step knowledge frees the individual.”

Reading the above paragraph has given me the impression that Jean Dubuis was steadfast against treating the formulas that he taught as some kind of sacred writ. He made his teachings public because he felt that one should be able to achieve the highest level possible for a human being without having a guru or a constraining tradition. In other words, Jean Dubuis was against any form of dogma or the cult of personality, which sometimes becomes the standard for many kinds of occult teachings. He wanted his students to form their own opinion about this operation, and to approach it on their own terms, basing it on what they already knew and could personally verify. So it would seem that Jean Dubuis would have strongly disagreed with my critic, and would have likely approved of someone who would have examined his ideas, and if they were so moved or inspired, to approach this working with what they knew and could accomplish. I can solemnly attest that I have done just that, so while I may have deviated from the traditional formula, I believe that I have been true to the spirit of the teaching. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery, and it should not be construed as being disrespectful.

I agree that the Portae Lucis working, as put forward by Jean Dubuis, is one of the most important esoteric documents in the 20th century. When I first encountered this working nearly a year ago, I was profoundly affected by it. It lit up my imagination and powerfully inspired me, like nothing else that I had encountered before. I had every intention of performing the working exactly as it was written. However, as I got into the details of this formula, I began to have all sorts of realizations and insights. What I saw was that the symbology of this working was hauntingly similar to the various ritual magical workings that I had produced and worked on over the years. I had vivid dreams and even some visions that seemed to push me into making a comparison of this formula with my own system of magick. It certainly wasn’t my ego or personal glorification that compelled me to look at this method in a completely different manner. If anything, it was likely my own Inner Plane connections and my HGA that were active in moving me in this particular direction.

Once I set aside all my prohibitions from viewing the formula from a different light, then amazingly, all of the pieces fell into place. I realized that the Portae Lucis working had analogous lore in my own system as yet undeveloped, and I assembled that lore to perform a completely different variation of this working. It became for me a methodology based on talismanic magick instead of spagyric and mineral alchemy. As long as I can make the case that I was inwardly compelled to make this change, and that what I developed and performed was not the same (but maybe analogous), then I believe that I am on safe ground for stating that I performed a completely revised working.

You can examine my first article on this subject, which I posted in October of last year at this link. I didn’t discuss how I discovered this new variation since that represented a personal and internal struggle that lasted for a few months. By the time I wrote that article, it had already become a given fact within my regimen of ordeals. Now that I am being harshly criticized for having the gall to change something that was put forth by a master and to be supposedly glib about making that change, I felt that I needed to discuss the context of how and why I decided to do something somewhat analogous but very different than what was laid down.

I didn’t plan on doing something different, it’s just that my own inner process compelled me to consider that possibility, and when I did, I saw that synchronicity was at work in the way everything turned out. Even so, I am not someone who refuses to revise or rework something so that it more aptly fits a specific need in my own spiritual and magickal process. I don’t believe that the lore that I am given can’t be changed or modified, since most of the lore that I possess was written by me at some point anyway. I believe that I must be open to my own inner process and be flexible enough to change, modify or even create something entirely new. So you see, I am not in agreement with those who believe that rituals and formulas are sacrosanct, and that you must follow the directions whether from a grimoire or a traditional ritual, exactly as they are written. I can see where this logic should be applied to sacred texts or even some forms of traditional religious liturgy, but not to magical operations or experiments. Therefore, I am against what I perceive to be the “grimoire only” crowd who believes that you should follow the texts exactly as they are written, and change not a jot or a tiddle.

One question that should be asked of me is that have I experienced any dramatic changes since I performed this working over a week ago? Even though it has only been several days, my answer is an affirmative yes. Others have witnessed this change in me as a kind of grounding, solidification, an intuitive connectivity to others, a powerful sense of compassion and a wholeness of being. I feel wholly and completely changed in a manner that even performing my own version of the Lunar Abramelin Ordeal did not reach. Is this the Experience of Eternity? Perhaps, but I will only fully understand this process that I have already passed through when I can compare notes with other occultists, or perhaps next year, perform the original formula for the Portae Lucis. What I can say is that I was compelled to perform this alternative working now and at this time, and I obeyed the urging of my own process.

I think that my critic has been overly harsh and highly rude. He has said that he eschews polite discussion as mere political correctness, and instead feels the need to bully or brow-beat others with whom he disagrees, perhaps a bit like the cartoon character Bluto. In behaving like a thug instead of a fellow practitioner, he has shown himself in deep need of some kind of transformation. Maybe after he has finally undergone the true Portae Lucis working, he will learn to be more compassionate and thoughtful in terms of how he deals with other occultists. 

However, his decree that I have no right to change anything, and that I am an utter fool for proposing a different variation on the Portae Lucis working is completely without merit or even relevancy. I feel sympathy for him, since what is probably driving him is a fear that I might be correct, which is that innovation, when properly harnessed, can spur spiritual evolution and even ascension. He is also correct, if I am indeed attempting to pawn off my variation of this working as the defacto original, since then I would be perpetrating a fraud. Yet I believe I have said all along that my version is different, and I have even called it the Talismanic Portae Lucis ordeal to ensure that everyone is aware of that difference. Maybe I should change the name altogether to something like the Talismanic Gateway of Saturn; but even so, I don’t believe that my readers have been mislead by what I have previously written.

If someone were to ask me whether they should work the original Portae Lucis formula or acquire and work my variation instead, I would likely tell them not to follow my path, but instead to perform the original formula in whatever manner they can. Only someone initiated into my Order and who is well versed in its lore could actually make that kind of decision, and it would have to be based on his or her own internal experiences and workings. I would urge them at some point to perform both the original and the new variation, and then judge for themselves. What I had to do was completely in accord with my own spiritual and magical process, and it would likely have little relevance to anyone else. I leave that judgment to anyone who would seek to realize this ordeal for themselves.

Frater Barrabbas

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