Magick Routines: Rituals in the Lulls

2017/09/26

Routines can be hard, especially when we don’t see results. A lot of people stop exercise routines because their gains are too slow, or they don’t track their progress and thus don’t see what results that they are actually getting. Magick routines very much fall into this trap. I don’t know of any daily ritual that produces overwhelming fast and major results, so a lot of people let routines fall aside. I mean if these daily rituals did produce overwhelmingly fast and major results, every sorcerer would achieve apotheosis in a matter of weeks. Much like exercise though, results tend to be slow, steady, and subtle. Also much like exercise, in the long run you probably benefit more from small consistent routines than you do from sporadic intense bursts, though both definitely help and have benefits.

 

Another trouble with routines like these is that since the results aren’t necessarily obvious, when life gets tough they’re often the first thing to be dropped. If you’re low on time and energy, why would you commit it to meditation and magick that doesn’t seem make things different, when you could use that energy to try to keep the rest of your life afloat? Unfortunately the time when a regular routine would be the most helpful is exactly the times we’re likely to push them aside.

 

I’ve long advocated for daily routines, and I freely admit, I sometimes drop mine, and right now my daily practice isn’t what I’d like it to be. I know a lot of talented magick folk, I’m blessed with great friends who are sorcerers whose abilities I can respect and appreciate. Yet often when we get together (for we’re scattered across the North American landmass) or catch up in online discussions at least one of us will says “I feel a bit rusty, I haven’t really kept up with my stuff the last few months or the last year.”

 

Again, I’ve been there, I totally sympathize.  I have a physical form which doesn’t always want to cooperate with…well living. I have depression which when untreated or flaring up can really drain me of my ability to function. I have a rich and busy life between family, friends, lovers, and temple. I know it can be hard, but it really does sadden me when people feel that they’re rusty or falling behind because they do not keep up with a daily practice.

 

Over the last fourteen years, I would say I have probably kept up some form of daily practice for a good 95% of that time, even if it wasn’t as much as I wanted. So I would like to share some of the routine activities I’ve found helpful, especially for the times when you feel it is hard to keep up a practice. I would also love to hear from you my dear readers what routines you’ve found have helped these tough/rusty periods and what you’ve found easy to carry through these times.

 

It will surprise no one I’m sure that the first thing I will advocate is meditation, it’s almost like I’m a Buddhist monk. Specifically though meditations that are either centred on mindfulness, which I consider the best choice, or meditations that are connected to purification. Yet I admit meditation is one of the hardest things to keep up of my following suggestions. The results are slow and subtle, and it can be hard to convince yourself to prioritize even fifteen minutes a day to sit and “do nothing.” Yet I think more than anything else, this will help you through these periods because regular meditation helps you identify, and control your thought processes more than any other practice. Also I really do recommend 15 minutes. Various research has shown that meditation tends to hit “peak benefit” with a plateau around 10-12 minutes. Unless you’re going for a marathon session of over an hour, 15 minutes will get you what you need from the session. It’s really hard to deny we have 15 minutes to spare a day, especially when it’s so important to our wellbeing.

 

My second suggestion is simple “prayer.” Prayer can be vague, and some of us, myself included, might have baggage with the concept. Prayers don’t have to be long, they can even be a bit routine if that’s all you can manage, but they’re great for these times when it’s hard to do anything else. You can pray to a god if you like, to your HGA if you’ve made contact, to angels, spirits, ancestors, whatever. Prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be the begging image we often have of it, it can be prayers of thanks, or prayers of embodiment. For the last six years, I’m made daily prayers to the planetary angel of the day. It’s nothing major, just a request that I be able to embody their traits, be blessed with their nature. Pray to the angel of Mars for strength, vigor and vitality, the use of the sword of Mars. It doesn’t have to be much, but prayers are easy to do, can be done quickly, and help keep us connected with our spirits, and our spiritual side.

 

Another practice that I’ve found useful in times when it’s been hard to maintain a ritual is Resh, known as Liber Resh, or the Four Adorations. I prefer the Thelemite version because it has a long evocation/hymn at the end, but the version from Regardie is good too. The ritual is a fairly simple evocation and praise of the Sun in four different forms as four different gods at four times throughout the day. Ra as it rises, Ahathoor at noon, Tum at sunset, and Khepra at midnight. At first the idea of having to do a ritual four times a day seems counterintuitive to ritual work when it’s hard to maintain a practice, but it’s actually rather easy. The ritual requires no implements other than you, can be done anywhere (preferably outside or able to see the sun, but it’s really not required), and it’s rather short. The advantage to Resh is that it is time bound. The two most common excuses for not doing a practice is that you don’t have time, and you’ll do it later. But when you have to do the ritual at certain times during the day, you can’t say you’ll do it later. When it’s noon, it’s time to call on Ahathoor (Hathor), you can’t keep putting that off. So by having set times it’s actually easier to do in many ways. (Also while it ideally should be done at these times, I’ve found there is practical wiggle room. If the sun rises well before you wake up in the morning, then salute Ra when you wake up, if you go to bed before midnight, then salute Khepra before laying down, if you’re in a meeting or working at noon, do it as soon as you can. In university one year I had a three hour lecture from 1100-1400. Sometimes the prof would give a break around 1230, but if she was in the zone and barrelled through I’d just get up to go “to the washroom” and step outside, do the ritual, and come back.) The structure of Resh also really helps develop the habit of a magick routine. You get used to being able to stop your day for magick, making it easier to follow up Resh with another ritual.

 

My last suggestion, which is less than ideal, is hypnagogic rituals. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my hypnagogic rituals, I have three that are part of my nightly routine. I don’t think they’re ideal on their own, but if you have trouble making the time for anything else, at least doing something as you drift off the sleep is better than nothing. You can do lots of things while falling asleep, basic mindfulness meditation is great at that point, prayers can be good but make sure it’s to an entity who won’t be offended if you drift off midprayer. Other good recommendations are the elemental purification meditation, or any of the preliminaries of Dream Yoga. Again, these things work a lot better if you have more of a routine, but last ditch effort, if it’s all you’re willing to make time for, it’s a start.

 

What about you? When you are in those hard to practice periods when your magick routine just sucks what do you find helps you get through it, or get out of it, what practices survive that?

Advertisements

Shapeshifting Saviours, Meditation, and Logic

2015/03/25

Mercury WebDue to the convergence of newage and Buddhism I’ve seen the so-called “non-violent” communication for a while. I’m fed up with it, and I’m not the only one. Here is a look at how non-violent communication is just as violent, if not more so, than normal communication.

Why is rape such a central element in many religious myths? This came up at dinner this week actually, it’s more than a bit unsettling to modern sensibilities how the mothers of Zoroaster, Jesus, and Buddha never gave consent to become pregnant, it was just placed upon them.

Speaking of that Jesus fellow, the first written description of him calls him a magician. Not surprising to most occultists, but still neat. Also not surprising if you’ve read Jesus the Magician by Morton Smith.

A later text about Jesus calls him a shapeshifter. While I would never have labelled him such, it’s an interesting reason and covers a small hole in the Gospels. (And I don’t mean the ones through Jesus’ palms…too soon?)

Want some great life advice from five awesome female mystics? You got it.

Like a lot of sorcerers I collect tools, but I like to know the whys and hows, and histories of the items. Here is the start of a great in depth look at magickal blades, which helps fill in some of that.

I’ve wanted to talk about ancestor work for a while, because I keep getting more questions about it, and why I do it, and how do I make peace with the idea. Brother Moloch addresses the common question of why to work with ancestors, especially if your family was less than stellar.

Believe it or not the Onion wrote an article about me. Or at least it sounds like how many of my friends talk about me.

Speaking of meditation, TUM talked briefly about a short meditation retreat he did and how it’s not all fun, games, and stress relief. Let me say to those curious about his experience, that’s just the tip of the rabbit hole.

Continuing on meditation, I know I always complain about those scientific studies explaining the benefits of meditation…we get it, it’s good for you…the American Psychological Association says it helps fight depression. It’s also good seeing it from a serious source, not just random blogs or papers pulling info together.

On the flipside here is a list of 10 things science will make you happy. Bacon must have been 11th on the list. It might seem initially odd that I’d share this, but remember I think a sorcerer is judged not achievements, titles, tools, or training, but by the life they live and if they’re content and productive.

I also think a sorcerer should be firmly grounded in reality, which is why I advocate for more scientific rigour in practices, and scientific literacy. So, to kill a favourite pet I see among pagans, an analysis of 240 different studies shows that there is no notable health benefit from organic food.

Keeping with reality, here are eight common mistakes in how we think, and how we can avoid them. Some of these are even more an issue to those who follow magickal forms of thought.

Another problem with how we think is how often we ignore omens, and how the majority of deaths are caused by such ignorance. Totally true fact.


Communion Breathing

2014/09/23

This is a simple, but scalable, method of working with a figure in a devotional sense to help bring you closer. It’s not an invocation (oh no ey didn’t!) of them, but more of a way of melding their energy into yours. (Invocation and energy, two faux pas in one sentence) It’s less about a conscious-mental connection and more about blurring the lines between you and residing as them. This is loosely based on some aspects of tantric fascination, but isn’t a traditional representation of such. I don’t recommend this with any general spirit you’re trying to work with and call into your life, this has more of a devotion and communion sense. Myself while I’ve used it frequently it’s only for three figures with me: Kali, Yamantaka, and my HGA. I’ve done it for years in preparation for my work with Kali, and it is often my introduction to more serious prayers to the Asshole In My Head.

While not totally required this is far more effective when you have an image of the deity in front of you. Sit comfortably as you would for any meditation facing the figure. (Also, doesn’t have to be a deity, can be a saint, angel, whatever, I’ll just keep saying deity because it’s easier)

For this you’ll be using a variation of Square Breathing, or Fourfold Breathing, which is very simple. Breathe in for a set count, and hold your breath for the same count, breathe out for that count, and hold your breath out for that count, and repeat. In, hold, out, hold, all for the same lengths of time. You might want to experiment to see what pacing working for you.

Simplest version:
If the deity has a short mantra or prayer, use that, otherwise you can use their name repeated or something like “Io Evohe [Name]” or “Om Ah [Name] Hum.”

Begin the Square Breathing and focus on perceiving the energy of the deity, after a few rounds of breathing this way sync your breath with the mantra. It works best if you actually say it aloud in a whisper while breathing in and out, and mentally while holding your breath. Match the mantra to the breathing pace you’re comfortable with.

Now on the in-breath/recitation draw the energy of the deity into you with the breath. As you hold your breath saying the mantra mentally have it radiate through you mixing with your energy. On the out-breath/recitation send your energy (which is partially mixed with theirs) to them. As you hold your out breath see the energy radiating through them and mixing with their energy.

As you do this you will slowly incorporate more and more of their energy into your system, each time you draw in and mix, you become more and more of them. (Technically they become more and more of you too, but they’re so much “bigger” than you that it doesn’t really affect them. You’re a bucket of fresh water, they’re a chlorine pool, if you keep pouring a cup of water from one to the other, you’re going to be chlorinated, but you won’t noticeable de-chlorinate the pool.)

Intermediate version:
Same as above with two differences. See each syllable of the mantra leaving the mouth of the deity as a ball of light, if possible in an appropriate colour to them, and when you return the mantra see it again leave in the form of balls of light. Draw these energy balls into your solar plexus when you breath them in, and from there let them radiate outwards. When sending the energy out have it return to the solar plexus of the deity. Breathe in the balls of light into the solar plexus, hold your breath and have it spread from there, breathe out balls of light into the solar plexus of the deity, hold the outbreath as the energy spreads through the deity.

Advanced version:
Same as above with more detailed integration. How you do this exactly will depend on what model of the energy body you work with, and even within that it allows for increasing layers of complexity. When you breathe in the mantra, have it flow into your channels and throughout your body. This can be as simple as breathing it down the centre channel into your root centre and up the side channels to the top of your head, or into each centre individually and then down/up the leg and arm channels, or into each centre following out the energy pathways that radiate from there. In this case the mixing happens gradually as the lights move through your system. Slowly the lights meld with you as they travel through the channels radiating out the energy of the deity and drawing in your energy.

More Advanced version:
Because this one requires a lot more visualization/perceptive skill you can start off with the basic process again, of just breathing the energy in and defusing it through you in general, but ideally you should work back up to running it through the channels. This time for each syllable of the mantra the deity releases a tiny tiny version of themselves, which you breathe in and run through your system. When you breathe out you’re also sending out versions of the deity, but know that they’re composed of your energy, rather than the god’s.

If you do this for ten minutes you can really get a sense of the deity being embodied in you. It’s a great way to take in their energy and I find it’s less “fragile” than a lot of invocation styles. With a lot of things like assuming a godform and what not it’s fairly easy to “lose” the deity once your focus slips, but this way you’ve been running their energy throughout your system it is harder to lose in the same way and tends to fade out, rather than just dropping off. Use this before prayers, or magickal workings, or just as communion. There was a long time when I’d just do this every night before bed with Kali, no prayers, no communication, requests, or anything, it was just 10 minutes that I shared with Her for no reason other than to be with Her. Use it however you want, and as always: experiment.


Wednesday Webshare: Shamans, Doctors, and Mind-to-Mind Communication

2014/08/27

Mercury Web

Jason from Strategic Sorcery did an Ask Me Anything on reddit. It’s a disjointed read (it is reddit), but interesting, and funny. Personally I think the grimoire I’m working on will need some unicorn scrotum now…

Remember that Shaman gathering I mentioned? Here is a fascinating interview with a Russian shaman who was part of the events.

Here is a collection of 21 cool videos of sacred sites around the world filmed by drone. I love the view of Ankor Wat. Which is your favourite?

Alex Sumner reveals who the Secret Chief of the Golden Dawn really is. My response was to ask Who?

Help sponsor Chris Wilkinson translate a vast collection of Buddhist texts through gofundme (More crowdsourcing spirituality, the wave of the future)

I know I harp on articles about the brain and meditation…but a new study shows that Vajrayana meditation produce different responses in the body/mind than Theravadan meditations. Simplified for those less knowledge about Buddhism is shows that “Tibetan Buddhism” is doing something different than Buddhism that mindfulness meditation. Other than tummo isn’t not often studies focus on Vajrayana, so I’d be curious to see more on this.

Mummification starts nearly 1500 years earlier than previously believed.


Are blue eyes going endangered? (No) But some interesting information about where/when we think blue eyes arose. (And if you don’t know why this is relevant on this blog, get back to your Apocrypha)

First mysterious holes appear in Russia and now a huge crack appears in Mexico I think it’s safe to assume this is a sign of various Old Ones shifting in their sleep.

Scientists have found a way to email brainwaves. After a successful test sending “hola” and “ciao” the system was bought by a wealth prince from Nigeria who wants to help spread his fortune to the world.


Wednesday Webshare: Dragons, Dracula, and Meditation: Sex, Breath, and Darkness

2014/07/02

Mercury Web
Interestingly enough a study says that sex and meditation do many of the same things to our brain. Of course I’d wager that lasting effects are more likely to show up with meditation. Maybe I’m biased, but I know a lot more calm, compassionate monks than calm, compassionate people who just get laid a lot. (But as always I take the middle road)

Mike Sententia makes a good, short, post about foundational understanding. I’ve ranted about this for a long time, but he puts it in a short and simple package. We wouldn’t learn science the way a lot of people want to learn magick.

Everyone’s favourite Chick Track combining Dungeons and Dragons, and the occult is being made into a movie. So excited.

A study suggests that non-directive meditation is the most effective form. Despite all the more complex forms I’ve learned over the years, I still return to anapana/vipassana more than anything else, maybe this explains why.

Researchers think they found Dracula’s grave and want to open it…because that never turns out bad in the movies…

Slyphs, and Gnomes, and Undines too…but there are a lot more unusual creatures from medieval manuscripts. Lots of these weird creatures from medieval bestiaries get used in magick, but many have been forgotten, so who wants to figure out magickal uses for the bonnacon?

My friend Psyche discusses the issues around gender essentialism in their time with the OTO, and why they left. As many people know, I recently was part of a panel on queer and gender queer magick, so I’ve found Psyche’s experience with the OTO interesting and relatable to a lot of my issues around rigid binaries. It’s not without hope though, a few commenters said that not all OTO bodies hold to rigid physical sex and gender prescriptions with the roles in ritual, and allow people to move between them based on what the identify with or feel at that time, which is great to read.

Arkansas bans the creation of a pagan temple when they realized pagans aren’t Christian. I wish I could be surprised.

I ❤ Dave, and he recently did a Lyric or Satiric game, using the Bible. Basically he and friend take turns either reading Bible verses or fake Bible verses, and guess if it is real or fake.

Buffersafe has a comic on Ghost Stories…and frankly this is far closer to the ghost stories I live.

Back to Spiral Nature, Psyche addresses a question from someone who isn’t sure if they’re ready to begin spellwork. My favourite part is the advice includes something I see way too many occultists forgetting, and that’s SMART goals (or worse…any goals…).

Frankly I’m more likely to blame moldy chip dip than the Ouija board. Hell, I was at a party last weekend where drunk people made a Ouija board, used it while drunk, with a My Little Pony planchette, and no one got possessed.

The world’s first affordable sensory deprivation tank, only $1,700. Okay, that’s still a fair sum, but a lot cheaper than most. As someone who has had great results with the Ganzfeld procedure magickally, I have to say I’ve always wanted a full-blown sensory deprivation tank, and this is just one step closer.

The dark side of meditation. People in the West forget meditation isn’t about relaxation, it can help, but that’s not the point. It loosens the ego, deals with sankara (impurities of the mind), and that isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. I feel this person needed more help processing his experience and he didn’t get it, but it’s not an unheard of, or even uncommon response. The times I live in temple or meditation retreat contain some of the more horrible and terrifying thought-experiences of my life, all while on a cushion. Meditation can bring you to some really “dark” places, but it can also take you beyond them, just return your focus to your breath.

A distant dharma sibling is crowdfunding to support her work on an elaborate thangka depicting the chöd practice and it looks amazing.

What a Shaman sees in a mental hospital. Interesting reframing of mental conditions through a spiritual lens. (Though I’m not a fan of people who say all mental/cognitive conditions and illnesses are spiritual awakenings.)

A piece on why the tarot has/needs structure. A bit controversial to some, but I wouldn’t say it’s wrong. It’s not a judgment about tarot v oracle decks, but just clarifying that they’re different things, and there is only so much you can change in the tarot until it becomes something else.


Silence, Self, and Socialization: Krishnamurti- Right Education and Meditation

2014/06/15

One of the degrees I just finished was related to how people learn and process information. Below is my final essay from a course studying the philosophy of schools as a system and individual education. We read Plato, Dewey, and Krishnamurti in that course, for their opinions on education and schooling. Yes, I mean that Krishnamurti, Madame Blavatsky’s pet. His belief is that schools are completely and utterly wrong and misguided, we teach the wrong things and the wrong way, and all schooling really should be is a place to nurture people to their true self. No math, no science, no English, no history, just learn who you are…and when you can’t get a job…I’m not sure. Anyways the final project was personal (rather than academic) in which we were to reflect on a “learning experience” and how it relates to one of the authors we studied. I wrote upon the first time I did a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat and related it to Krishnamurti’s idea of a true self hidden by social conditioning. This is longer than most posts, but I felt there was no where good to divide it. I’ve reformatted it when I could to include information from the readings or a previous essay of mine that would have been known/contextual to the prof. This is basically me looking at the value of meditation and isolation in regards to understanding/experiencing/revealing the self. I think this is something crucial to being a magickian of any value, and something a lot of occultists overlook, or claim they have done without doing so with any real effort or result. So while it’s geared to a prof dealing with education, read it as a magickian and question what would happen if the world fell away, and who would remain?

Theosophy's "World Teacher" and a total babe

Theosophy’s “World Teacher” and a total babe

“The individual is of first importance, not the system; and as long as the individual does not understand the total process of himself, no system, whether of the left or of the right, can bring order and peace to the world.” To Krishnamurti there was no more important concept than the self and self-knowledge. To him all the problems of our world essentially can be laid out at the feet of self-delusion; a misunderstanding of who and what the self is, and how the self is connected to others. This philosophy led him to advocate schooling as growth, not a method of schooling that is indoctrination and conversion, but an education that is first and foremost about the self, and developing the self.

While I cannot help but find his text idealistic, and perhaps even hypocritical due to his time and support with the Theosophical Society, I also cannot deny the wisdom of what he says. Perhaps it is idealistic to think humanity as a whole will ever reach the state of self-abnegation Krishnamurti hopes for, or that by having “right teachers” all other problems will fall away, but idealistic or not it is a start. “Right teachers” and “right education” may not solve all the world’s troubles but it can start the change. He claims that “[t]he responsibility for building a peaceful and enlightened society rests chiefly with the educator” which is a daunting responsibility for anyone who wants to be a teacher, but he is largely right. Outside of the family, teachers are the most influential socializing force in the life of the student, in some family structures they may be more influential, and if this teacher isn’t the right kind of educator, then the student receives the wrong education, and the wrong conditioning.

When I did social work I focused on oppression and realized how much of all the racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ablism, transphobia, and other oppressions were rooted in socializing and conditioning, often unconsciously. There is a difference between knowing a candle produces heat and feeling the flame, and there is a difference between knowing how conditioned we are intellectually and experiencing that conditioning. Experiencing the social conditioning is exactly what I feel happens when I’ve undertaken ten day long vipassana meditation retreats, or when I’ve spent time in retreat at temples. One might argue not all conditioning is bad, but I’d argue that all conditioning is false and restrictive. This is much the way that Krishnamurti sees it, something restricting the self from understanding the self; conditioning is all the masks and distractions we put upon ourselves and others and that prevent us from a true engagement or understand, preventing personal freedom.

king of spades tom“Freedom comes with self-knowledge, when the mind goes above and beyond the hindrances it has created for itself through craving its own security.” Only by being aware of our conditioning can we overcome it, only through overcoming our conditioning can we see the self as it truly is. My qualm with Krishnamurti’s text is he advocates this state of self-knowledge but gives no vehicle for its development. Personally I’ve found this self-knowledge, at least to some extent, within vipassana. Vipassana, meaning insight or seeing deeply, is the meditation attributed in mythology to the historic Buddha, though it predates Buddhism as a social-religious institution and the practice of vipassana requires no belief in or understanding of Buddhism, and as such is a secular practice. I do not attest that vipassana is the only way to gain insight into the self, for that would be arrogant, assumptive, and do what both Krishnamurtia and Buddha reject and that is set one “belief” system against another.

Writing the memoir on a vipassana retreat and analyzing it is quite difficult, for parts of it are very abstract. Part of the trouble in writing the memoir is one of the reason that the retreats are so effective: the monotonous repetition of the days, all the same with no variation. I’ve explained the value I’ve found in vipassana retreats and personal practice as an experience in deconditioning, over the course of ten solitary days, where all you can do is meditate/breathe, sleep, and eat, there is nothing to distract you from yourself. After a time you are left with only one object, yourself. In that time, in that place, everything you think and believe becomes a question. It is so radically out of the ordinary to do nothing but focus on your breath for ten days that you can’t help but evaluate and doubt the self. Some of this is conscious, and some of this isn’t, which is what makes this so hard to write about. As I sat in the meditation hall fear and grief crept up on me as I wondered what would happen if my fiancé died while I was in retreat, and slowly this faded away. Not the thought that it was a possibility, but my self-investment in the possibility faded.

If someone died while I was in retreat, there is nothing I could do, and there is nothing my awareness of the event could change, so I had nothing to do but keep breathing. Some people think this may be a cold reaction, but I find it is a truly logical and loving one. Part of my conditioning is to think of people as “mine”; my mother, my sister, my lover, my friend, but that thought is just limiting them and me. While I was in retreat an estimated one and a half million people would die across the world. The only real difference between these people and the people above is I don’t consider them “mine.” Another part of my conditioning is to think I can dominant and control the world [Edit: Not in the paper, but this idea is compounded as a magickian obviously]. I can influence myself and my reactions and actions in the world, but I can’t dominate it and control it. This illusion of power is one of the vices that Krishnamurti sees as inhibiting the free person from accessing their own potential for growth and in retreat in various aspects I came to grapple with some of this illusion of control. What happens when someone lets go of that illusion, if only for minute? There is a peace, and an ability that Krishnamurti values, to not impose a false-self upon the moment.

That was a clearly defined experience for me, the object of the experience is easily pointed to and traced back to me –lover, possession, attachment, dominance– but others are more nebulous experiences that can’t be pointed to in the same way. Slowly during the retreat there was a dawning of self (or non-self) awareness. So much of “me” is made of what I’ve learnt from everyone else; in fact most of what is “me” isn’t me, it is everything but me. Waking up at 0400 is not a pleasant experience for a night-owl, but over the retreat 0400 quickly became an easy time to wake up, because I’m not a night-owl, that’s a label of convenience placed upon me due to when I find it easiest to operate in our society. Being an avid reader, an athlete, a musician, a child, a sibling, a friend, a lover, political identification, gender, race, class, sexuality, likes and dislikes; all of these are to some extent a conditioning, a mode of thought and identification placed upon me, without others to reflect them these identities are meaningless. More importantly in many ways all of these are restrictions keeping me from being or perceiving the self that I am. Yet in silence over ten days, with no distractions, these labels, these conditioned ideas begin to fall away. Manners, mores, social patterns, ethics, morality, in that same silence these get challenged. How much of what is thought of as right is objectively right, and how much of what is right is what teachers, family, friends, religion, media, and society have said and implied is right? How much of the identity is something “real” and how much is convenient labelling and conditioning?

breakthroughI have no answer for these questions beyond the vague: “A lot more than we realize, and a lot more than we are willing to admit.” I feel through vipassana I’ve been able to grapple with some of this conditioning, see who is left when the world falls away. In this way I feel that I’ve been granted access to Krishnamurti’s “right education” in some ways, not in the system he saw it embodying, for that is something required to be on going and from an early age, but through a type of deconditioning or deinduction. Rather than being granted an education that taught me “to question the book, whatever it be, to inquire into the validity of the existing social values, traditions, forms of government, religious beliefs and so on” or “to discover the true values which come with unbiased investigation and self-awareness” I was, and am, given the opportunity to retreat from society, the source of this conditioning and restriction, and for a short period at a time deal only with me. This let me cultivate my own understanding and freedom, rather than be coerced into a social conformity, understand my own values and define them in absence of an imposing social force. In solitude from others, life, and society, the self can become the focus and one can see the distractions and conditioning that hide the self, from society and ourselves. When in the throes of life we never have the chance to deeply question what we feel, what we think, what we want, because we’re too busy doing what we think we want, or reacting in the ways we’re supposed to feel and think.

This is the conditioning that Krishnamurti finds so damaging. While his idealized education may not be realized, he is quite right that in order to truly develop and nurture students the teacher “must be aware of our conditioning and its responses, both collective and personal” or we will only perpetuate the systems of dominance and oppression, restriction and devaluation. While many of us like to think we understand how much of our life is based on societal conditioning, we don’t, and for me it was the strange alien world of ten days of meditation that began to shake my identity, to thrust my awareness against the cage of my ideals, wants, and beliefs and force me to look at them. It was there I got to try to see how many of these concepts are me, how many of them are valid, and how many of them are damaging memes that if I want to be a “right person” or a “right educator” I need to confront and eliminate.


Wednesday Webshare: Cutup Corpses, Memories, and History

2013/02/20

Mercury Web I received a lot of interest in the earlier photoset of the sky burial I posted a while back. I recently came across another one, this one is done in a different more hands on style. There is a lot more work with the caretaker really dismembering the body. Still fascinating to take a look, but of course be warned that it is graphic.

Shivian talks about when it’s time to really ditch a spell. It’s worth a read. Two common mistakes I see with people are those who continue to do the same spell/ritual repeatedly when getting no results, and those who assume that one fail means it’s time to drop it and move on. So here is a small checklist of things to run over before you decide to drop it.

Have a tough choice? Let your subconscious make it. Here is an interesting article about letting your brain work subconsciously to make decisions, and how that tends to work out better. I’ve often recommended anapana as a decision making tool, it focuses the conscious mind and leaves the background clear to process everything else.

Want to give your friends fake memories? Here is the basic how to. (By the way, you owe me $200 for the time I bailed you out of jail) I bring this up for two reasons. First, as someone with past life memories, I continually stress to others that memory isn’t solid and unchanging, that’s why it needs to be recorded and why it can’t necessarily be trusted. Secondly though not explicitiely said here, we can rewrite memories, which is why magickal journals are important, for you would be amazed how even the best of us can trick ourselves into remembering something working out differently than it did.

Another fantabulous Whisky Rant over on Rune Soup. As someone with past life memories of forgotten civilizations…no kidding, as someone who is working on a history degree this is part of the stuff I have to battle with. History doesn’t always make sense the way we want it to, and while I’m not saying what’s right and what’s wrong we have to question history. Who benefits from what survives, and who benefits from how history is constructed. Also as someone how has been suspicious (to be polite) of the Egyptian Indiana Jones it’s nice to see some more criticism against him.

There is more to magick than just memorization, check out a matching of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning/Knowledge (a theory I love and is a big part of one of my degrees) and magick. Then ask, are you doing it right?

Lastly I have one quartz mala left in my store, so I decided to mark it down and try to move it. Last one, so get it while you can, I probably won’t make more outside of custom orders for a while.


%d bloggers like this: