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Quasireligion

Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.

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  2005.09.12  07.52


Your life is not ordinary. When you feel an eerie pull towards a sense of purpose or destiny, it is not illusory. History and fiction tells us stories of grandiose destinies that determined the fates of millions and created everlasting fame. But truth lies in subtlety, in the spirit of an act rather than its external form.

Every moment is a moment of possibility. Inside your heart is an ocean of truth, which only means that it is the same world you are in now, seen without eyes. Imagine that you step down a stairway into the depths of yourself and open a door and step into a place which is the same place from which you came, turned inside out, and suddenly it all makes sense. Every moment is a doorway to a world without doors, without eyes, without bodies, without things, without worlds; where I am as I am.

Yet no journey is necessary. This is the soul, your spirit, you my child within me--we, awakening. Be that which you are--a child, awakening, a sacred and ancient being, understanding through forgetting. There is no separation, only the paradoxical relationship between truth and form. Each being that you encounter is that. Give away your eyes and your hands and the treasures of your mind, and give them away with love. Give away love. Accept what appears not and therefore is.

You must love what is not. Your love is in the darkness and does not exist in the world of eyes and things and worlds. You love, so give away love. Your heart is broken, so give away your heart, piece by piece, like ashes. What you don't know won't hurt you, for it is the loving darkness, casting light upon your path so that you find your way in this life you must live. Give away life.

Live, yet live in the world of truth, without eyes. Every thing is sacred because only by giving it away will you be aware of truth. Each subtle moment is of greater portent than the vast gestures of history, or fiction.

(Are you rereading with your eyes?)


 
 


 
  2005.06.22  21.06


F writes back, asking if I'm familiar with Khadhulu. I look it up and am reminded of many things, particularly this dream figure who has come to be named Rainer in one story.

After my first Gnostic Mass, while driving with G, I said that I thought one of Crowley's primary teachings was that we should make our lives mythical and thus make our myths alive, and vice versa. And that I'm all into. And I also relate strongly to the Isis/Osiris myth--but not at all in the same way that he does. I see little sign of his awareness of Isis' suffering, for instance. And I'm Virgoan enough to feel constricted by the differences.

Rainer, oddly enough, is simultaneously an Osiris and Horus figure. And is related to a few characters in a previous unfinished story. The themes are always perfect but the stories themselves wind up incoherent, far more fragmented than my dreams. I wish I was actually able to carry them to term, one way or another.

 
 


 
  2005.05.26  22.50


What you give to the gods will be returned manifold, so be generous.

What are you called to do? Take the practice to which you're drawn, and cultivate it. Not to extremes, but to a mild, harmonious, consistent, adaptable discipline. Let this be a structure through which the true practice can flow. Challenge yourself incrementally and steadily.

God desires to be known by you, and feels your secret inexplicable longing many times over.

 
 


 
  2005.04.05  01.31


To become attuned, chant by listening: listen to the winds and waters play with the earth, listen to the voices of growing things, and our voices will naturally, effortlessly join them in harmony. Listen, listen deeply. Each voice is the voice of your love.

. . .

Honor all beings by listening to the voice of Spirit. Speak by listening to the voice of Spirit. You will become Spirit when His and Her voice has washed over you a thousand, thousand times.


 
 


 
  2005.04.03  16.04


Unfortunately, I tend to feel silly talking about prayer. But lately it's become important for me to start my day with that kind of focus, with a sense of discipline about it. I've been reading the prayer to the Holy Spirit which I posted before, which I'll eventually memorize again, and reciting the Wazifas--not with any great discipline. But it helps me to stay oriented to a more positive direction, and less dragged down into a sense of pointlessness. I've been told for many months that I should be doing this, actually, but it hasn't come naturally until now.

Overall my orientation right now is towards attunement. Hazrat Inayat Khan is the founder of the Western branch of the Sufi Order I'm initiated into. Although I'm ambivalent about some of his teachings, especially when it comes to little details, as a musician he had a wonderful understanding that he often spoke about: one needs to tune oneself to the universe as an instrument is tuned, so that whenever it is touched the sounds will naturally be harmonious. So that's the kind of attunement I have in mind.

 
 


 
  2005.03.31  22.26


Does God exist? This depends very much on what concept of existence one is working with. Is God physically discrete? Is God a discrete identity (that is to say, spiritually discrete)? Does God have a will? Does God react when contacted? Read more...Collapse )

 
 


 
  2005.03.28  22.37
For the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Blessed Spirit of Wisdom, help me to seek God. Make Him and Her the center of my life and order my life to Him and Her, so that love and harmony may reign in my soul.

Blessed Spirit of Understanding, enlighten my mind, that I may know and love the truths of faith and make them truly my own.

Blessed Spirit of Counsel, enlighten and guide me in all my ways, that I may always know and do Your Holy Will. Make me prudent and courageous.

Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in every time of trouble or adversity. Make me loyal and confident.

Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, help me to know good from evil. Teach me to do what is right in the spirit of God. Give me clear vision and firmness in decision.

Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart, incline it to a true faith in You, to a holy love of You, my God, that with my whole soul I may seek You, who are my Father and Mother, and find You, my best, my truest joy.

Blessed Spirit of Holy Love, penetrate my inmost heart that I may ever be mindful of Your presence. Make me fly from sin, and give me intense reverence for God and for my fellow beings who are made in God's image.

This is a prayer that I copied down when I was 17, during an ecstatic period.

 
 


 
  2005.03.22  22.39


I've been experiencing a lot of changes, and with these come a certain amount of mood swings. Although, most of the time, I feel excited and deeply right here, there are definite low periods, and I also have the sense of a need to learn from this experience specifically.

The first challenge consists of authentic kindness, as I meet all these new people. Maturity has made it easier to be friendly and outgoing, but that isn't always the same as kindness. I certainly haven't advanced intellectually on this question yet, but maybe I've learned something nonverbally these past few days. I think that a lot of it has to do with deeply accepting that other people are as they are. Needless to say, that's not always easy.

I've also been told listen again, but with a slightly different implication. This listening is less internal, less mentally-spiritual. It's related to something I read recently, possibly in Not Always So. Disciples were told by their teacher to chant by listening; chant, but instead of focusing on your own voice, focus on the voices of others, and let this cause your own voice to emerge and join with them. Lately I've been trying to listen to the rain in this way. It's slow going, to become attunted to my actual surroundings, and to become more deeply sensitive to them. My intention is to practice prayer in the morning and to sit at night, which will be easier once I've developed concentration and a regular pattern here.

And a new concept was introduced to me: radical faith. It's a faith that's both hopeful and renunciatory. The reminder often comes up when I'm worrying or feeling bad. Have faith that things will work out, no matter how your concern turns out. Just release your pointless grasping. Accept the raw reality of the present moment, and the uncertainty of the future. Accept it in a spirit of love, patience, and realism. That's how it translates when I unpack it, but the essential meaning of the reminder is so much less imperative and preachy than that. It's something I can do, over and over again, as I slowly develop the ability.

I've also decided to be more monotheistic in my orientation for awhile, and to work on a bit more of a submissive attitude towards God. My view is that God is beyond form, thus manifesting sometimes as a singular entity, other times as multiple entities, and with many variations besides. Monotheism-ness can be useful as a way for me to focus my devotion and remind myself of another aspect of the (para)reality of God which I've lost touch with a bit. And submissiveness just because I am so audacious and nonreverant towards the divine lately. I feel as though I've seen God's less pretty side, and although God is still God (so to speak), I'm not as impressed as a lot of people are. While I think this is a good and unfortunately rare perspective, I think it's time for me to move on into a synthesis of devotion and casual intimacy (of a sort). I also think there's a fair amount of false pride developing here, which could become problematic.

 
 


 
  2005.03.10  03.09


I'm about halfway through The Secret Life of Plants. The ideas therein are quite remarkable; they give a physical aspect to the dreambody of ideas I've kept, from various sources, on plant spirit.

Although plant sentience is observed in different ways, the most common seems to be electrical conductivity. Read more...Collapse )

The book has also emphasized for me the idea that if I am to succeed on my current path, I really must have an energetic connection to the plants. Read more...Collapse )

In order to help this process along, I contacted a Sufi teacher and asked her to recommend a wazifa for this purpose. Read more...Collapse )

Despite the times we live in, I'm beginning to feel a great excitement for the future. Read more...Collapse )

 
 


 
  2005.03.09  15.22


Quotes found in Using the Beautiful Names as Wazifa...

All that is left to us by tradition is mere words. It is up to us to find out what they mean.

Ibn 'Arabi

Penetrate the heart of  just one drop of water, and you will be flooded by a hundred oceans.

The Mystic Rose Garden, Mahmûd Shabistarî

To those who expect the Teacher to be a man, a man will bring the message; to those who expect the Teacher to be a woman, a woman must deliver it. To those who call on God, God comes. To those who knock at the door of Satan, Satan answers. There is an answer to every call. To a Sufi the Teacher is never absent, whether he comes in one form or in a thousand forms, he is always one to him, and the same One he recognizes to be in all, and all Teachers he sees in his one Teacher alone.

For a Sufi, the self within, the self without, the kingdom of the earth, the kingdom of heaven, the whole being is his teacher, and his every moment is engaged in acquiring knowledge. For some, the Teacher has already come and gone, for others the Teacher may still come, but for a Sufi the Teacher has always been and will remain with him forever.


The Way of Illumination, The Sufi, by Hazrat Inayat Khan


 
 


 
  2005.03.06  15.09


G was remarking that there has been no book written as a survey of the hippie movement. I also haven't been able to find a book that's a survey of the ecological movement.

It's really enough for more than ten careers per topic. So I think that someone should start an Institute for Hippie Studies or something, geared towards (perhaps a multi volumed?) book on the hippie movement generally.

And perhaps something similar in order to study the ecological movement.

Thoughts?

 
 


 
  2005.02.15  15.53


I am reading parts of Jiyu Kennett's How to Grow a Lotus Blossom. My God! I had been expecting another Zen book about how we shouldn't take everything so seriously, but this is incredible, a description of her near death experiences--Amazing discussion of opposites. I might write more if I finish it.

 
 


 
  2005.02.15  11.15
Crowley, Known & Unknown

Unleashing the Beast: Aleister Crowley, Tantra and Sex Magic in Late Victorian England

which compares interestingly to

Beyond Belief ...From yoga to punk, notorious occultist Aleister Crowley has had a profound influence on modern culture, writes Tim Cummings

 
 


 
  2005.02.12  04.36


Most of us study Buddhism as though it were something that was already given to us. We think that what we should do is preserve the Buddha's teaching, like putting food in the refrigerator. Then to study Buddhism we take the food out of the refrigerator. Whenever you want it, it is already there. Instead, Zen students should be interested in how to produce food from the field, from the garden. We put emphasis on the ground.

Shunryu Suzuki


 
 


 
  2005.02.09  23.35


Be what you are, now. Expand into it. Observe it diffusely. Listen, not for one thing, not for one voice, but for all sound. Breathe through it and into it. While divinity is not literally the breath, there is a reason that is so often implied. Patience will one day show you why.

To bring in this Spirit that you seek you first have to become--or unbecome--yourself. Untighten your identity so that it is more fluid with the world. So long as you see it as other, nearly a decoration, certainly a visitation, it cannot quite come in the form of its true nature. While it is not you, it is not not you. So you will be like that.</small>


 
 


 
  2005.02.03  17.43


Understanding the Sacred

 
 


 
  2005.02.01  15.45


Shunryu Suzuki's books are so wonderful. I'm reading Not Always So right now, which I just recently got from the library.

 
 


 
  2005.01.26  19.51
Wittgenstein on Frazer

I would like to say: Nothing shows our relationship with the former savages better than that Frazer has at hand a word that is familiar to him and to us, such as "ghost" or "shade," to describe the views of these people.

(This is of course different than if he were to write, for instance, how the savages imagined (imagine) that their head falls off when they have killed an enemy. Here there would be nothing superstitious or magical about our description.)

Yes, this peculiarity is related not only to the expressions "ghost" and "shade" and we have made much too little fuss over the fact that we count the word "soul," "spirit" as part of our own educated vocabulary. In comparison to that, it is a trifle that we don't believe that our soul eats and drinks.

In our language a whole mythology is laid down.

--from Wittgenstein's marginalia on Frazer's Golden Bough, as quoted in Magic, science, religion, and the scope of rationality 63

 
 


 
  2005.01.18  03.20
The Dangers of Keeping a Magickal Diary

Earlier I was reading about Susan Sontag. At one point in the article her writing on photography is briefly discussed. She wrote: "The problem is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only photographs.”

This is precisely why I am not entirely in favor of keeping magickal diaries. I believe that they can be useful. Many experiences can be forgotten over time, and in particular details can change. There can be great value in recording such experiences for others to study or to invite suggestions or discussion. But there is also a risk of placing the memory of one's experiences entirely into the text. In that case, one forgets the experience and remembers only the text, or the surrogate experience provoked by rereading the text.

I also have a collection of Russian folktales in which a wicked old man places his mortality in an egg or some other delicate object, and then hides the egg away. He is then immortal unless someone breaks the egg. The protagonist, for whatever reason, has to kill the old man, therefore he must find the egg.

In the case of a magickal diary, those memories have a greater potency than ordinary memories. To capture them in a text and then lose their essence would be a more vital loss. Just as we no longer need to remember as much as we did before writing and the printing press, an individual would no longer need to remember, and hence internally process, his or her 'magickal' experiences to the same degree.

 
 


 
  2005.01.17  21.13
The Capitalist Spirit

In the post-9/11 healing boom, a new battery of mystics like Sondra Shaye are raking it in.
By Jeff Sharlet

first met Bhakti Sondra Shaye, née Shaivitz, B.A., M.A., J.D., guide, teacher, and adept member of the Great White Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light, ritual master in the High Council of Gor, universal Kabbalist, Reiki master, and metaphysician, at the New Life Expo at the Hotel New Yorker this past October. The gathering bills itself as “America’s Largest Mind, Body, Spirit Expo,” four floors of alternative spiritual options. Vendors bark discount rates; “consumers” haggle over the tools of their salvation. In New York, the hidden economy of New Age mysticism—elsewhere marked by disingenuous disdain for commerce—is laid bare with pride.

Read more...

 
 


 
  2005.01.17  04.30
Audio Recordings

I have started listening to audio recordings while waiting for sleep at night. The most valuable one has been Shakti Gawain on Creative Visualization.

Creative visualization is, conceptually, incredibly simple. So I found reading a book about it boring. But on the other hand, I don't often cultivate the dynamic of manifestation on my own. Listening to those meditations almost every night allows me to channel energy for visualization while remaining passive aside from the process. It's simply more practical than leading myself through a trance on something which I'm struggling with anyway. It has also been interesting to notice those nights when I can't really concentrate on the meditation. That tells me that my energy is low and I shouldn't insist on it for some time.

So far, I find that its effect is not mysterious at all. When I engage in the meditation at night, the next day I am generally more focused on the subject of the meditation. When I infuse the subject with good associations, that infusion counteracts the bad associations which have attached themselves to several important areas.

I've been meaning to post about my experience with the Thoth deck, some of which was similar to creative visualization. So this is a note to remind myself of that more insistently.

 
 


 
  2005.01.10  00.10


I've found that there's a center inside me which has a certain quality, which I might describe as expansiveness or fu among other terms. If I gently focus my awareness in that center, (in a general sense, no need to get anal about it and try to keep it there constantly) I find that much of my action and expression emanates that quality.

 
 


 
  2005.01.10  00.00


I wonder if the practice of tonglen can be approached differently. The idea, traditionally, is to breathe in the suffering of the world and to breathe out peace and lightness.

But perhaps if one breathes in what one needs in a value neutral or gently blessing way, and then breathes out what one doesn't need in a value neutral or gently blessing way, seemingly unwanted influences will be transmuted into something of value and good influence to someone else, even as one continues to gently nourish oneself.

 
 


 
  2005.01.05  22.17
Yi Ching

I threw the coins and interpreted them using Stephen Karcher's Total I Ching, which I'm generally thrilled with--it's perfect for someone who is oriented towards both divination and shamanism. Here is the Wikipedia entry on I Ching. After I read G the interpretations, he was curious how they compared to Crowley's version of the Yi Ching, so I decided to write this into an entry. Incidentally, you can get an automated reading from Crowley's Yi Ching.

My question was, in its abstract form, "How shall I turn these obstacles into openings?" The answers was:

-x-
---
---
---
- -
- -


In other words, hexagram 31 with the transforming line on the sixth, and hexagram 33. The transforming line refers to a direct answer, the first hexagram refers to the current situation, and the general description of the second hexagram refers to the future outcome. The short version of the answer, with plenty of interpretation on my part, is this:

Transforming line: "The mouth is loosened and bursts forth. This influence inspires you and you burst forth in passionate speech. It may not last long, so be ready to retreat when words run out. Pull back. It will connect you with a creative force." Crowley's says "The wag not thy toungue, nor drop thy jaw!"

Current hexagram: This is the hexagram of conjoining, or indeed the syzygy. The book offered two symbols. The first is an axe and a mouth, depicting haruspicy, which turns a sacrificed animal into a portal or connection to the spirit world. Also, the divine transmission moves from the medium's eyes to his or her mouth. The second image was that of a mountain swathed in mist. While water is often to be found at the base of the mountain, in this case it is at the top, so the flowing quality is to dominate over the solid quality. And there's also mention of a mountain shrine, which suggests that the mist is again like the spirit world connecting with the earthly world. Crowley's says "Mutual influence; good fortune bless/ Man's firm correctness with the tide, success."

Future hexagram: "Withdraw, conceal yourself, pull back; retreat in order to advance later; the Mountain Shrine." Crowley's says "A retirement. Though thy force be spent./ Adroit withdrawal masters the event!"

 
 


 
  2004.12.26  23.09


"...According to ancient magical lore, the formula of the incarnation of a god was that of the beast conjoined with the woman. In the comment on The Vision and the Voice, Crowley observes that 'all mythologies contain the mystery of the woman and the beast as the heart of the cult. Notably, certain tribes on the Terai at this day send their women annually into the jungle, and any half-monkeys that result are worshipped in their temples.'" Grant, The Magical Revival, 45

G read this to me and pointed out to me that the union between human and animal can represent or be a requirement for divine incarnation because, in each case, the higher (the human, the divine) joins with the lower (the animal, the physical world).

I added that the reverse could also be said: In each case, the ancient and 'subconscious' (the animal, the divine) joins with the young and 'conscious' (the human, the physical world).

 
 


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