March 26, 2007

Doesn’t matter where you’ve been, as long as it was deep – Benjamin Orr, The Cars.

I had a discussion the other day about magick lineage. Your magick lineage is a combination of who your teachers or mentors have been, what spiritual systems and beliefs you’ve practiced and followed, and even what practitioners you can trace inside of your family tree.

A lineage should be kept to 1. give an idea of a practitioners perspectives, methods, and beliefs, and 2. to give proper credit where it is due for any information or teachings given out by the practitioner.

After much thought I’ve come to the same conclusion as I had prior to my conversation the other day. A practitioner’s lineage is ultimatly meaningless, and it doesn’t matter.

To begin, a blood lineage probably means the most if you really have it. There are theories floating around that a person who has a proficient practitioner as a blood relation has a higher possibility of having innate talent through genetics.

I can truthfully claim a blood lineage. I’ve met several practitioners that I’ve known well enough to know their family history, and can be assured that they have a blood lineage. And in a lot of cases there is a lot of innate ability there.

But this is still a limited selection that only includes practitioners. Most people related to magick practitioners don’t practice themselves. It’s a rarity, and it seems as if the closer the relation, the less likely it is for the relative to also practice. Children and siblings of practitioners rarely end up practicing themselves.  Which leads me to the conclusion that even if innate ability is somehow genetic, it’s still a rarity for the genes to be passed on even when a family link exists.

And even if this were the case, it wouldn’t matter anyway considering that everyone claims a blood lineage. It’s rare to find an occult practitioner who doesn’t claim to have a practicing relative (usually a dead relative). Damn near every Wiccan’s grandmother was a witch. So in the end it doesn’t matter if a person claims a blood lineage, because most of the time they’re lying.

As for using lineage as a way to give credit where it is due, I don’t see a need for it. In no other field is a student required to list their teacher so that their teacher gets credit for the work they’ve produced. Even if the student is just reciting basic information that was obviously learned from a teacher. Truth is truth, it’s not created, it always was. No one owns it and no one deserves credit for the fact it exists. The only way a person could start to claim an ownership of information is if they were just making stuff up and then teaching it.

I also can’t see how a person can claim to be spiritually enlightened to the point of teaching, and at the same time be  so vain as to care about getting credit for their teachings being passed on to others.

It’s a rather stupid and limited view, and it also perpetuates false ideals about the student-teacher relationship.

First off, that the relationship is completely onesided, and the student learns while the teacher teaches. In any true relationship, the teacher is gaining spiritual insight and learning from the student as they teach. To think otherwise leads to hubris, inflexiblity, and eventually the student=slave mentality (the teacher’s reward should come via the teaching, not what the student can give them).

Secondly a student is not their teacher. They are not limited to only their teacher’s views and their teacher’s influences and lineage. The student should explore their spirituality from their perspective, they should learn and grow through whatever truths they find, regardless of where they’re gotten from, and they should follow their spiritual path, not what is outlined by a teacher. Rather then falling back on what has been taught, a person should learn to think for themselves and draw conclusions on a given subject.

Thirdly, a student should become independent of their teacher. A teacher is, in the end, a stepping stone to getting to the next part of your spiritual path. Yes, they can become very close and dear friends, but at that point the relationship is changed. The teacher is just meant to get you from point A to point B. And once you reach point B, then it’s your time to learn and grow on your own without guidance. The student-teacher relationship, and what is implied in terms of superiorities, no longer exists. The student is now a master, or on their way to independently becoming one.

Many of the same issues arise when looking at lineage in terms of what systems a person has come out of. Whatever system (aka religion) we look at, what we get is an individuals spiritual path. The OTO utilizes Crowley’s spiritual path. BOTA utilizes Case’s spiritual path. The Golden Dawn utilizes Mather’s spiritual path.

The problem is that everyone’s spiritual path differs. Perhaps yours is enough like Crowley’s to follow the OTO to the letter and get where you need to be. But it’s very doubtful. Information from these systems is good to have. It can show you things, give you ideas, and aid you in walking your own path. But if you are a true practitioner, you should still be walking your own path, and not theirs.

And if you happen to be the type of person that likes a one size fits all religion, that likes to be told what to do and wants to know exactly what’s needed for them to properly walk their spiritual path, and doesn’t want to spend time and effort thinking about spiritual matters and the path and nature of their soul, then be Christian or something similiar. You aren’t going to be able to make it as a magick practitioner, and all you’re going to end up doing if you persist in following these spiritual beliefs is annoy me at some future point when we do meet.

Back to the point, in the end no one should need to know your lineage. True practitioners can feel energy, they can tell the difference between people who are learned and people who are not by what they say, they can judge the results of a practitioner’s magick, and they know what to look for in a sane and stable individual. If you truly are a practitioner, or powerful, or learned it will show to the people who matter. They don’t need to know where you came from or what degrees you hold. You are what defines you, and the basis of all true judgments.

In the end your lineage only matters to you. It’s what’s behind you in your path. If it was something that you gained something from or learned from, then it’s important. But no one else needs to know about it, and what you are now is what you should be judged by, not where you’ve been in the past.

You should also be wary of people who want to know your lineage, or people who talk about their own lineage at every opportunity. The first probably lack the ability to judge and screen practitioners, which makes their abilities questionable. The second probably have no real power, or are very limited in their power, and are relying on reputation or lineage to gain their authority and respect, because they can’t achieve it based on ability alone.

An Idea

March 12, 2007

I got a little caught up last night and wasn’t able to get a post up. I had a video blog put together for just such an occasion, but I couldn’t get that to work either. In any case, because of time constraints this is all I’ve been able to put together.

As above, so below.

Mastery of the universe is directly tied to mastery of the self. External change is dependent upon internal change, and vice-versa. In order to have power over the universe, you must first have power over yourself.

And there are three selves. There is what we perceive ourself to be, what we wish ourselves to be, and what we truly are. There is power in all three of these selves being the same.

To be what you perceive yourself as will improve your character, at least in terms of your desired path. To be what you wish you were means to have everything you want.

There are of course obstacles. Fear. Ego. Envy. Ect. Most people are too afraid to be the person they percieve themselves as, or to become what they wish they were. Most people won’t admit that they aren’t what they percieve themselves as, and thus they can never improve and correct the divergence.

The simple way to deal with all of this is to give up. When you refuse to see yourself as anything at all, complete destruction of self, and when you give up all desire so you wish for nothing, then you have brought all three to the same place.

But there’s also the more difficult way to deal with this. To act as you see yourself always and to become everything you want to be.

Then the only limitation on your power would be the extent of your wishing.

Reading the Tarot Pips – Part 3: Numerology 101

March 4, 2007

Okay, we’re going to talk about numerology, or what the numbers mean. As per our tarot pips, we’ll be looking at numbers 1-10. Each of these numbers corresponds to a Hebrew word and a sepiroth.

1 = Kether = The Crown
2 = Chokmah = Wisdom
3 = Binah = Knowledge
4 = Chesed = Mercy
5 = Geburah = Severity
6 = Tiphareth = Beauty
7 = Netzach = Victory
8 = Hod = Splendor
9 = Yesod = Foundation
10 = Malkuth = The Kingdom

The ten numbers are split into three triads and across three pillars. The first triad is Kether, Chokmah, and Binah, and these three come together to form Chesed. The second triad is Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth, which come together to form Netzach. And the third triad is Netzach, Hod, and Yesod that come together to form Malkuth.

The three pillars are the pillars of Balance, Mercy, and Severity. Kether, Tiphareth, Yesod, and Malkuth exist on the pillar of balance. Chokmah, Chesed, and Netzach exist on the pillar of mercy. Binah, Geburah, and Hod exist on the pillar of Severity.

All of this is important, and it all has meaning if you study it long enough to understand it. But moving on, we’re going to look at how an idea passes through these ten points.

1. Kether – The first point is Kether. As stated before, this isn’t the true beginning, but where we’re starting with our idea. It also isn’t the start, but what came before it. Kether is represented by the statement of ‘I’. Kether is the seed, the first act through which all else comes into being. It is the foundation of the idea. Kether is where existence starts. Geometrically speaking, it is a single point existing by itself.

2. Chokmah – Chokmah is represented by the statement of ‘I Am’. After existence begins, the next step is being or existing. Here the idea is in its purest form. Chokmah is the purity of being, without any outside force hampering that being. Geometrically speaking, Chokmah is a line which can be drawn between two points.

3. Binah – Binah is represented by the statement of ‘I Know I Am’. In Binah the idea is taking the next step in existence and acknowledging that it does exist. It is the knowledge that one is something and that they exist. And through Binah we get the first impurity of the idea. It’s now effected by knowledge of itself. And this taint will manifest in various ways depending on what the idea is. Geometrically Binah provides three separate points, through which a shape can be made.

4. Chesed – Chesed is the completion of form. Once the idea acknowledges its own existence, it comes into the next step, the completion of its existence. In Chesed, the idea becomes complete for the first time. Although the idea is complete here, it is still alone and has yet to be put into the universe. Here the idea is strong and fortified, but that strength is only because the idea still exists outside of the universe, and so there are no other forces acting upon it, and no opposition to it. Geometrically Chesed provides a fourth point, allowing for a three dimensional object to form. Also, in order for a thing to be spatially defined, four points are necessary. An X,Y, and Z point, and a fourth point to observe it from. Within Chesed we have the true formation of being within space.

5. Geburah – And this leads to Geburah, in which outside forces act upon the idea.. In Geburah the idea is cast out into the cruel universe. Within Geburah we have opposition to the idea, we have attempts to both change and destroy the idea. And possibly we have the destruction of the idea.

6. Tiphareth – Tiphareth is the strongest and most balanced form the idea will take. Here the idea has been completed in Chesed, it has faced opposition in Geburah, and it has survived the opposition of Geburah and come out stronger for it. Tiphareth exists at the exact center of all things, being in the pillar of balance, being as close to Kether and Malkuth, and proving a direct connection to both. The idea has found its most perfect form (as opposed to its purest form in Chokmah).

7. Netzach – Within Netzach is the consequence and the end to the perfection found in Tiphareth. Within Tiphareth things were perfect and all opposition was destroyed. Without opposition, the idea becomes less than perfect. At this point we have stagnation, sloth, boredom, and over-indulgence. The idea starts moving towards destroying itself through the sloth of perfection.

8. Hod – Hod is the reaction to Netzach. In order for the idea not to be destroyed, in order for it to survive and thrive again it has to make some changes towards the opposite direction. However Hod isn’t the return to balance, but the exact opposite extreme of Netzach. Hod moves towards its own destruction to, and it is as bad a situation as Netzach, it’s just done in the exact opposite way.

9. Yesod – By joining the two extremes of Hod and Netzach together we come to Yesod, the return to balance. However Yesod differs from both Kether and Tiphareth. Kether’s balance comes from it existing alone. There is nothing else, so it is always at the exact center. Tiphareth’s balance is naturally occurring. Balance is the natural state of all things upon reaching Tiphareth. But the balance of Yesod is forced into being. It comes not as the natural state, but by taking two opposite extremes and forcing them together, coming to a compromise between them. We can look at the four stages of balance as being balance (Kether), perfect balance (Tiphareth), imperfect balance (Yesod), and natural balance (Malkuth). We can also look at the balance of oneself and one’s energies (see Lies a Kabbalist Told Me for some background information on this). In Malkuth we have the natural balance brought about by existing in the universe. The idea that all things within the universe are always perfect and balanced. In the next stage we have Yesod where balance is achieved by positioning two opposites with equal force and having them pull against each other. In Tiphareth, we have energy balanced and codified, where it acts as a single force. And finally in Kether we have balance achieved through a complete oneness with the entire universe, which as we said with Malkuth is already perfectly balanced.

10. Malkuth – Finally, born of Yesod we have Malkuth. In Malkuth the idea has finally completed its cycle. In Malkuth the idea has become so complex that it has collapses under its own weight and destroys itself. This will lead into our eleventh point.

11. Kether – From the ruins of Malkuth springs forth a seed. This seed will act as a new Kether, and the 11 becomes renumbered as 1, and the cycle begins again, with the idea building upon the complexity of the previous cycle in a new cycle. This act continues on and on with the idea becoming more complex every time it completes a cycle. Eventually we have the formation of the universe, the all of creation, and everything that has come into being up until now. And the cycle will continue on with the universe constantly growing and everything evolving into a more complex state.

I understand that everything I’ve written may seem very complicated, and that some people may be very lost at this stage. However I think everything will become a lot clearer once we take some examples of ideas and look at how they progress through the ten sepiroth. That will be the main purpose of the next section. We’ll also look at how everything fits together, and briefly we’ll look at how the pips correspond to the trumps. After the next section you should be able to read the pips just fine. The second half of this will look at astrology and the method used by Paul Christian and the Golden Dawn.