Friday, March 22, 2013

"the ordeals I write not!"

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I'm approaching a year since I took the first degree into OTO. My life is permanently changed. There are inevitable changes as life rolls along; then there are changes that you know have a relationship with those sacred rites and oaths: by the current established in yourself and your life that will shape and transform everything.

I have been tried and tested in some of my weakest areas and have learned to conquer those things. I have had to face serious fears. I have been required to become a better, stronger, wiser, refined, more loving, more confident, more powerful person.

My life has been turned completely on its head twice within a year, which is a record for me! It's usually just annual that literally every fucking thing about my life changes,
making it virtually unrecognizable on all points except the one: the spiritual and magickal life.

My mind is completely blown and yet. I am completely detached in a way. It is as though I have learned to stand firm upon an earthquake. Life is something precious, mysterious, and fascinating. Here's to knowing your own Will, doing your own Will, rejoicing in the Will of your God!

Love is the law, love under will.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On Christianity.

As I see it
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
            Recently, I have developed an animosity toward Christianity that I am not sure I am comfortable with. Alas, there is nothing I can do about it, because it is founded upon certain irrefutable facts, problems, and inconsistences in modern Christianity that simply cannot be reconciled whatsoever. Having a background and upbringing in several forms of protestant, charismatic, and evangelical Christianity gives me a firm foundation upon which to express these problems and points. It will not be necessary to quote scripture, as the truth of these statements will be readily understood and acknowledged to any and all concerned with this writing. Additionally, many of the problems arise from the general attitude of the average Christian, whether scripture is the basis or not.
            The general premise of almost every problem I have with Christian thought is “cherry picking”, that is, selective adherence to certain laws and principles upon personal taste or group creed and interpretation while conveniently letting alone those matters which in their estimation are not culturally relevant (or bothersome and inconvenient). The first well known example is that Christians are quick to tout the supposed scriptural admonition of homosexuality all the while discussing their hatred for it over a stack of bacon, ham, and/or shellfish. It doesn’t seem important to them and yet! Other hot button topics in Christianity are, of course, imprisonment of the sexual nature of each individual, a general rebuking of all other forms of worship that do not echo their own idea of worship, republican politics, inconsistent views about drugs and substances, and a general illusion of comfortable self-righteousness.
            It is said in scripture that what you have thought in your mind, you have committed in your heart: fornication, adultery, idolatry, etc. The self-righteous will comfort themselves in that they have not physically engaged in premarital sex, have not physically been unfaithful in their marriage, and have not tangibly given worship to any other god or idol; most all of them and indeed most everyone by nature has thought of fornication, thought about or imagined, whether willfully or uncontrollably, sex with someone other than their chosen and preferred partner or spouse and most everyone has and continue to give their affections, effort, and attention to most everything except their god. For Christianity, this is a problem. Whether they are chasing money, trading their lives (family, church, etc.) for their careers, spending entirely too much time on vain and mostly useless pursuits: television, sports, every variety of materialism, unhealthy obsession with sex because of senseless religious oppression, and myriad other things which are not becoming of a path with such high demands and indeed such a hefty judgment of others, everyone, sometimes especially Christians, are guilty of worshipping other gods or committing idolatry.
            Some Christians are aware of their continuing shortcomings, in some cases actually acting upon these urges, and have no problem or guilt in continuing them. I would congratulate such a stance of individual liberty except that in the case of the Christian, it is usually accompanied by a disgusting and vile display of hypocrisy and judgment of others, often along the lines of what they are also guilty. Additionally, it is inconsistent with Christian thought.
            I am particularly amused by the Christian attitude about drugs. It is actually laughable and pathetic. Most Christians I know figure that it is okay to drink in moderation, as though that amount of alcohol has absolutely no effect on mental and emotional function (which is nonsense), but it is unquestionably sinful to smoke pot, whether or not legally. Most Christians think that a cigar, pipe, or nicotine replacement therapy is okay, but cigarettes are absolutely unchristian. I actually know a charismatic evangelical Christian who celebrated his son’s 18th birthday by sharing a cigar with him. My stringent and fundamentalist mother, who has cut ties with me on spiritual grounds, chews Nicorette, drinks wine, and has the occasional cigarette, though she chided me for the same in my teenage years and even when I came of age. It is acceptable to take synthetic pharmaceutical medications riddled with side effects and often potent psychoactive effects, yet it would be an abomination to visit a root doctor. Just where do you draw the line exactly? Where is there this interesting and totally arbitrary distinction between what kind of substance can be used and what kind can’t? It is absolute nonsense and completely inconsistent in every possible way.

            Christians will fight and yell in defense of the scripture, calling it infallible, without flaw or contradiction. Let us assume this asinine proposal about the good ole’ book is true; Christians themselves are full of contradictions, most of which they cherry picked from the same book that they gnash their teeth at others for calling into question. Fine, let us call you into question and address you, the Christian. Jesus himself is not the problem in concept or teaching. YOU are the problem.

            You deny your basic human nature, since human nature is fallen and worthless and the devil’s plaything, yet you cannot help but engage in it. You are generally not sorry for it, at least those things you continue to do and wish so badly to do with impunity or wish to quit on the basis of fear and guilt and nothing else. The rest of the things are mental fetishes that you abstain from. Need I repeat your own stance on sins of the mind and heart? I can hear 1984 now: “you’re a thought criminal!” This is your scripture, folks. So instead of allowing yourself to, at the very least, get them out of your system, you allow them to stagnate and become mental, emotional, spiritual (and indeed one could postulate, eventually, physical) cancers that riddle you for life (ever heard of Ted Haggard? What a piece of work); the next course of action, naturally, is to infect others with this cancer. Misery loves company, it is said. 

            Christ is supposed to be the way and the prince of peace. To know God is to fear (in the sense of respect) God and only God, yet Christianity is replete with examples of unhealthy heaps of fear. I should know; I was raised with them and even after strenuous effort, have not managed to rid myself of them entirely. I knew fervent Christians who were afraid to listen to music, handle certain objects, interact with others, and in general function on a basic level, because of the possible and likely interaction with impure spirits. The cases are not typically this extreme, but it does exist. The main thread of fear that exists in Christianity is obviously hell. Hell ushered them in and they continue the tradition by warning others of the dangers and getting straight to the punch: turn or burn. I particularly love the tracts I find while I am taking a dump that ask me “Are you going to heaven?” One of the first spiritual ideas I was presented in my very impressionable early years was the concept of hell and fear.

            Is there no other value in your religious path than to save you from flames and guarantee you a lofty eternity in the best gated community one can possibly conceive of? This is where it ends for most followers who converted in this manner, which is a substantial figure, unfortunately. Isn’t that awfully cheap? It’s like an express checkout lane at the local Wal-Mart. You get in and out and that’s all there is to it. Right through the proverbial gate (salvation) the “newly born” is slapped in the ass kicking and screaming and riddled with fear and trauma while in a delicate and helpless condition. What a fantastic way to handle the human spirit: by squashing and scarring it. You may not feel it at first, but you will as soon as you realize you are still a human being and you realize that though you may commit one time infractions for which you plead for forgiveness and genuinely intend not to commit again, the majority of your shortcomings will come attached to the hip for life and you will be riddled with fear and guilt for all of your days. Why? Because other than your concept of deity, who is a judge in the sky with some bizarre justice system, the majority of Christians “practice” a religion with no discipline, no accountability to oneself and their fellows (except to save face), and no place for self-examination.

           Why examine yourself? The urge to “know thyself” is apparently in direct contrast to the notion that the Christian need only know God and set himself aside. Self-knowledge is apparently antithetical to a relationship with God hinged only on an arbitrary collection of 66 books. What inevitably happens is that they don’t know how to develop a personal code of conduct from experiences that indicate personally that one choice is harmful and counterproductive to recognizing and accomplishing one’s Will, while another places you in an orbit and track with a certain magnetism and current that, as it were, causes the doors of life to fly open, and find that you are on a path with inertia that will take you to places you never imagined. Yet again, we run into an issue which would interfere with this process of self-examination. 

            We are supposed to suppress our own Will in favor of “God’s” will. As if anything could be more erroneous, because the Will, the true one, which exists for every person for those who would but simply grasp it, is identical to God’s will. The aforementioned process of self-examination would bring one closer to realizing and then accomplishing that Will. Since neither of those things can apparently be reconciled with this form of mental slavery, it would be heretical to even consider these points, for they must inevitably take one away from the Lord. 

            This division of self and God leads to two major delusions: one is very ascetic in the sense that a person is so utterly controlled and propagandized that they are literally unwilling to live their lives; the second is that the individual either finds him or herself in a state of constant cognitive dissonance, because they have a Will they wish to pursue and yet can’t seem to reconcile it with the notion of “laying it all at the feet of Jesus”, or better yet, that they are out realizing and accomplishing their Will, or what they think it is, while paying lip service to piety and devotion and judging others on the basis of self-interest. Why even bother?

            One of the biggest problems of all, which most are very aware of, is the ill side effect of that doctrine, “once saved always saved”, and “salvation by faith only and not works”. One need only repent to be redeemed. Over. And over. And over again. Generally, they did exactly what they wanted to do and then confessed their sin and worthless and unholy condition to God (mostly to the church and to his peers, rather than to God himself) out of some sense of guilt and fear and tarnished reputation, rather than sincere sorrow--as if one needed to be sorry to begin with, unless the infraction harmed another or infringed upon the right of another individual: then you should absolutely be sorry.

Repentance is not enough here. Actually, repentance in this case is nothing but a mental Band-Aid which helps one person, and does so in an illusionary manner: the one who committed the infraction. Instead of attempting to make amends and be of use and service to their fellow man, whether or not they had harmed him and are seeking retribution, one instead simply slides along in the comfortable illusion that since he “laid it at the feet of Jesus”, he is now absolved of any responsibility for his actions. It’s so convenient, is it not? It’s like sinning and repenting were a bubble gum dispenser. You get to enjoy that yummy, delicious, lip smacking “sin” you really want to commit as long as you pay your 25 cents! After all, it only costs a quarter, so you can just keep doing it over and over, for the cost is so negligible it hardly needs mention!

            Additionally, I have always felt that one’s politics, if they have them, should be an extension of the spiritual or religious path they walk, if applicable. I think most people feel this way and to the best of their understanding, they try to use this as a standard. How then is it possible that most of today’s Christianity is in bed with Republicanism? I could understand the social conservatism, because there would at least be a relatively scriptural basis for that position, but fiscally? Nothing could be more antithetical to the teachings of Christ but fiscal conservatism! Christians will try to point out that fiscal conservatism is biblically sound on the basis that it is built upon personal responsibility, but what did Jesus say over and over again? Feed and clothe the poor and the sick. He didn’t say “blame them for their poverty, because it was probably their fault anyway and their illnesses were probably preventable based on their horrible lifestyles and upon establishing that this is the case, do absolutely nothing to help them and even if it is not the case, be of little help to others anyway”. No, most Christians chase after the good ole’ American dream. The American dream is not at all a Christian idea. It is not an inherently wrong idea, but it is inherently unchristian. Jesus would probably have been a socialist… Or something like that.

            The vast majority of fundamentalist Christians believe strongly in the idea of America, of being patriotic, of supporting military efforts, one can hardly imagine that they actually believe in the scripture they cram down others’ throats! What could be more radically antithetical to Christianity than patriotism? Belief in a nation built upon liberty and justice for all? Belief in a nation built upon religious freedom? The right to choose what he will or will not do based on his own judgment and self-interest? Yet again, there is another inconsistency: today’s patriotism is sickeningly contrasted by the constitution. They have been blinded by this self-righteous attitude of to-the-death loyalty to the country, despite that it is in the process of destroying individual liberty. They both “believe” in the constitution and also believe in loyalty to a government who is destroying the constitution! Good God, are you thinking at all?

As an extension to the disgusting materialism that infests Christianity, one of the many reasons I left the church was because at the grand opening of my old congregation’s new building, I saw extremely expensive chandeliers, TV’s, a full coffee bar, an incredibly high quality sound system, and tons of BMW’s and Mercedes in the parking lot. All of it made me sick. Jesus would have been eager to gather his flock in a field and then send them on their way with all the money that wasn’t spent on useless extravagance to actually help others. How pitiful. How disgusting. Shame on you, Christianity.

I would like to bring all of this to a head now. I have no problem with people engaging in the many activities I have just called Christians out for: the fornication and lust, the self-indulgence, the “sinning”, the use of various drugs and drink, fiscally conservative politics, etc. If it by thy Will, exceed! Exceed! I have a problem with this phony guilt complex. Quit with feeling bad or pretending to feel bad about being yourself and having urges that aren’t perfectly in line with a set of scriptures you’re ignoring more than half of anyway in your ridiculous cherry picking. May the ridiculous illusion and sorry excuse for spirituality you have be ripped wide open and torn to shreds! It belongs in the lion’s den! It belongs in the trash heap! Realize that nothing you do can keep you from being a human being. You are not full of flaws and worthlessness, needing to grovel at the feet of a dictator who despises all but the subtlest layer of who you are. You are not a problem to fix. You are very God of very God, as much and not less than every man and every woman, who are also very God of very God. You are created in God’s image and you are the god of your own universe. Deep inside, you know it’s true: you know that truly, you wish to go your own way, make a life that satisfies you, and follow the interests of your heart. Still yet, you cleave to an illusion that demands you do none of those things! All you do is take away the joy of being yourself and rejoicing in your way!

If you need a code to live by, make your own. A preface to that code of conduct should be that you interfere not with the right of anyone else to live, eat, write, travel, love, and die as he will and no one should attempt to thwart your rights to the same. My code of conduct came from serious introspection and it is improved upon every day through the same process. What is okay and safe for you may be poison to me and vice versa. Self honestly is the only discipline which has made it possible for me to genuinely improve upon myself and realize how I ought to live. The basic formula for this is: actions = consequences. If I attempted to follow a set of rules given to me, I would fail to recognize those things which are unlawful only for myself, and which things need not be unlawful for myself. Actions reap consequences, good or bad. Experiment with that formula and you will learn, sooner or later, what the different choices in life will reap you. Aleister Crowley said, “It is much more difficult to comply with the Law of Thelema than to follow out slavishly a set of dead regulations.” What could be more true? It places all of the responsibility and freedom in your hands! With that freedom, you may destroy yourself with no one to blame but you! With that responsibility, you may choose never to assume it and stay a ruthless child for life! The undeniable fact is that what happens in your life is totally up to you. There are forces, spirits, deities, or what you like, to help you along the way: but it all comes down to YOU. Beyond that, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.  

            Dare to be who you are. It’s what you want to do anyway. It’s time to stop pretending like it’s wrong and it’s time to stop feigning sorrow when you attempt to be yourself. You have ultimate control and responsibility for yourself. No one: man, god, or aught else, is here to wipe your nose for you. Frightening, no? With that control and responsibility comes liberty and freedom. The Universe and your god is there to assist you, empower you, and guide you, but you must cut your own way through the jungle. You are the god of you and of your world.

As far as I, the author, am personally concerned: I despise Christianity. I respect its roots and that is about as far as it goes. It may sound childish, but it always bored me. It lacked any real feeling or depth for me. It was actually less interesting to go to church than to school and I despised school also. I think that the letter of the law is impossible to uphold and since I don’t believe in cherry picking, I wish for all to stop wasting time on futile attempts at following this mental slavery. If you genuinely follow the letter of the law to the best of your ability, I applaud the effort, but I still feel very sorry for you. I gave many churches and denominations a fair shake and found that, without fail, I felt completely out of place and out of my element and frankly quite miserable. It made me uncomfortable in my own skin and it made me dislike life. It made me look at myself as a lowly creature, deserving of nothing good or worthwhile. It made me afraid to be myself. I am a Thelemite. I stand for the Law of Liberty and I wish for every man and every woman to realize that they are a star, each with his or her own proper orbit and function in the great harmony of the Universe. I wish for everyone to free themselves from their slavery and bondage: mind, body and spirit. 

            Under the premise of the Law of Thelema, personal freedom and responsibility, I have become the best I have ever been: sober, hardworking, a husband and daddy, and in general one happy guy with a lot of love for himself, for others and, for life. I have done more to improve myself under this premise than the Christian one. At one point in my history, I was in an extraordinarily dangerous and fatal place in life and the experience of “dying and raising again in Christ” literally saved my life, if nothing else. The truth is, though, my experiences led me to new places and self-knowledge.  Experiences, self-honesty, and introspection ought to speak the ultimate truth for each individual, I think. Once I realized that I belonged on a different path, I pursued that path and have not looked back, save for the indoctrination of fear and guilt that still sometimes lurks in my shadow. 

Do away with it all. Christianity has become a disease to the world, to the individual, and to everything it comes into contact with. It manufactures mentally, emotionally, and spiritually handicapped people who may never actually live life. If it can’t be done away with, get out of our way. It’s had an undue chokehold on the world for long enough, it had its turn, it devolved into this degenerate and obscene pestilence and disease and I wish death upon it.

Live free. To thine own self be true. Man, know thyself. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Thou hast no right but to do thy will; do that and no other shall say nay.
Love is the law, love under will.
-Frater Serpentis et Aquila

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"...argue not; convert not; talk not over much!"

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not over much!" (AL III:42)

Often, I am confronted with a conversational dead end with people of various backgrounds on occult and esoteric subjects. Most often, this occurs in conversations about astrology, as that is the most common topic I discuss openly with non-practitioners.

The nature of that dead end, as well intentioned as it may be, is thus: "I respect that you believe in this, but I do not believe in it." For an array of ideas and beliefs for which I may or may not have a good, solid foundation, but simply accept a sensible theory until otherwise challenged or confirmed: Fair enough, I say. No matter the case, I never push the envelope. I'm not out to convince anyone.

But what irks me most about the topics of magick and astrology is that basically, I do not believe, in general. I experiment. I study. I observe. I analyze. I write. I repeat the process. What happens in this process, is that I discard of ideas that are dubious or ineffective and I draw conclusions about ones that I have found significant evidence for. Evidence, in this case, can not even be closely approximate to a materialistic and empirical approach, no: not when dealing with spiritual sciences. Certainly, I may suspend my disbelief in a certain practice or idea until I have duly investigated and experimented with it, but there is no "blind faith" here.

This is all brings me to my major point of contention: Belief vs. Observation.

When I am often able, for instance, to describe accurately the Sun sign or other astrological traits of an individual and later confirm those as correct, it is not because I believed in astrology. It is because I studied it, utilized it practically in magick, and made a lot of observations in the field: the workplace, friendships, relationships, family, television, and so forth. Through intense and repeated application of the spiritual science of astrology, I have concluded to myself beyond the realm of belief and superstition that there is a great deal of truth in the study. It is not infallible, no matter how adept you are with the subject. What sciences are infallible? None. They change upon the same basis that my conclusions change.

Belief implies superstition. There is a marked difference between a suspicious believer in astrology and occult arts, and a diligent and studious practitioner of them, who has license to say, "I have been there, I have done this, I am qualified to speak with a relative level of authority here."

The sometimes unfortunate fact about occultism is that in order to confirm for yourself that there is some truth to be found, you must be willing to take up the study and practice without lust for result (to set out to prove or disprove) and honestly see for yourself. Some individuals are more malleable in that with a detailed analysis of their natal chart, they can at last begin to grasp after all that perhaps there is a bigger, "hidden" picture that they have been unaware of, or denying without cause. In this case, the difference between materialistic, empirical science is where our conclusions differ as well as what types of knowledge we are trying to ascertain; but the the basic mentality of the approach should be very similar in both instances. We are all guilty of bias, of course. What is not so different at all is that all subjects worth studying and understanding take time, patience, diligence, honesty, and application in order to glean some level of reward.

In conclusion, I am reluctant to say that I "know the truth", even if my world view is based upon a more scientific approach to spirituality and occultism than mere belief. It is something more than belief, but something less concrete than indisputable knowledge.

Now, to get others to understand at least this much...

Love is the law, love under will.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekend with the Wassermans!

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

To say this weekend was awesome would be a sad understatement. At Dove & Serpent Oasis here in the Valley of Atlanta, Georgia, we hosted James and Nancy Wasserman for a Gnostic Mass Workshop, a lecture on his new book, In The Center Of The Fire, (which I was unfortunately unable to attend), and a performance of the Gnostic Mass.

First of all, meeting these people was a priceless opportunity. They were both very friendly, down to earth people who really lack the pretentiousness that many of the supposed "greats" in the occult community possess. They are both very direct and no-bullshit in their approach to instruction, but human enough to establish a genuine connection with people. They weren't busy getting their egos stroked and any who were interested had ample opportunity to talk to them and get to know them a bit, as well as purchase books and get them signed. How awesome.

I figured that given the circumstances of the weekend, all Mass roles would have been decided in advance, but apparently not! Jim (James) wished for the participants of the rehearsal aspect of the Workshop to go into Mass the next day, therefore the role of positive child fell into my lap. Though it was at first a bit nerve wracking, what an awesome opportunity to officiate in a Mass with the Wassermans as Priest & Priestess, Brother Volo Adamo, our Body Master, as deacon, and Sister Joy as negative child! This was only my second time childing and wow, what an incredible time.

Temple setup with them was interesting. Mostly, we straightened up and got ready, and then I sat in meditation as Jim performed the Star Ruby before the Mass. Even that much was enough to get a buzz going and so I knew I was in for quite a time. After preparation, we all had a Mass Team group hug, and Jim grabbed onto each of us, smiled, and said, "This is going to be great!" Oh, and it was.

We used their temple gear, which was pristine and beautiful. Particularly their robes were stunning and added a special distinction to this already special Mass. Nancy was graceful, beautiful, and tender in her approach, awakening and arising the "man among men" who was to become Priest of the Sun. Her invocation of Nuit was very intimate and personal and I think we all felt her touch then. Jim's performance as the priest was stunning and invigorating. I have envisioned how I thought the Priest role ought best to be performed, and his was right in line with my concept of that. He was convincingly full of fire and fury at the right times, and soft, subtle, and humble at the right times. There was a smooth, streamlined effect between Priest & Priestess and a perfect balance struck that really immersed all the participants in the current established by the rite. All in all, it was passionate and sincere.

Of particular interest, I loved that he held his intonations and really allowed the vibratory formulae to build and build. There is something to be said for charging through it, but his approach is similar to my own in that the practitioner allows resonance to build in himself and in his environment. And it certainly carried through!

Particularly during the flame of adoration, I was experiencing pain, tension, and heat that I don't usually get, at least not to this extent. I don't know about others, but Sister Joy and I felt like we were on fire! One could feel the energy just pulsing and at times it was difficult to maintain posture.

By the time the Priest turned to the congregation and declared, "There is no part of me that is not of the gods", the man known as James Wasserman was clearly obliterated and shining through him was something else entirely. One got the sense, as he intended to teach us at the workshop, that those words at the time were the absolute truth for him and you could just... See it. And feel it. He had been thoroughly broken down and was a conduit of this force, no part of not-god was even left anymore.

Thanks also to Joy who, without her nudge upon my back once or twice, I'd have not known when to begin my walk behind the deacon! It was good to have someone who literally had my back there.

I hope to get the chance to attend more lectures and workshops with them in the future, and hopefully even participate in Mass with them again! Who knows? Perhaps I can deacon the next time.

Love is the law, love under will.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Musings on natal astrology.

Do you ever wish you could rid yourself of some of your natal astrological qualities?

I do.

Frankly, I'm sick to death of the Scorpio sea of emotion. Certainly, it has its uses. I am an individual for whom many people will drop their walls, let their guards down, and share feelings, thoughts, scars, memories, and secrets that they have either never shown to a single soul, or have only shown to those closest. Often, they will divulge layers of themselves upon our first contact. My empathy allows me to access others in a way that few others can and see things few others, perhaps even the individual under my watchful eye, can see. When I walk into a room, I know a little bit about every person I see. Sometimes, it's things they don't want me to see, and they become uncomfortable. Other times, they are comforted that someone noticed.

But the depression. The anxiety. The sleeplessness. The brooding. The irritability. The suicidal thinking. The propensity toward addiction. The insatiability. The obsession. The fragile pride. The inability to simply let things go when an argument or fight occurs, or when my feelings get hurt by those closest to me. Yeah, it all looks fine on the surface, when really I'm about to drown over here without some serious restitution. These traits often make life unbearable for me.

With Scorpio on the rising, the only thing I have to hide behind is the fact that, unless you are keen and perceptive, or unless you are an empath or fellow water sign, all you see is a collected, stoic demeanor. Many people have the advantage of a rising sign which allows them to wear a mask when the situation calls for me. In a world overwhelmingly bent toward extroversion, it would be nice if it were in my nature to function on a level other than Scorpio, now and then.

So, my Moon in Libra should be helpful and lighten things up a bit, right? No. Not at all. The most noticeable effect that this bears upon me is coupling my emotional extremity with sappy romanticism, a need for praise and attention, an insatiable need to feel adored (because clearly, I am illustrious and beautiful, and you had better tell me so: see mirror, mirror, on the wall) and an even more insatiable sexual appetite. Oh, joy. In fact, Libra Moon fucks me out of the parts of Scorpio pride that *don't* require such ridiculous levels of maintenance: that is, most Scorpios don't need praise and attention, constant words of affirmation and sweet talking, or to be adored. They know they're the shit and don't need to be reminded.

Perhaps my Mars in Libra could round things out a bit? Okay, it has its perks: I'm not a violent guy. What would be potentially violent and dangerous in many Scorpios is simply not present in me (Well, it's there... But I have the good sense to think it through). I can also be very just and levelheaded where other Scorpios may be cold and callous. Otherwise, why don't ya fuck off, Libra? Haven't you made me enough of a needy-softy in the Moon? Now you have to go for one of my ruling planets, too? What a bitch. My sexuality is therefore plagued, to an extent, with similar problems to my emotional condition. That constant need of affirmation and idolatry that is part & parcel of Libra's needier traits has not only my heart, but my sexuality, all in a twist half the time.

My Mercury in Scorpio. Must I even? Can't one part of myself and one moment of my existence not be overly serious, mysterious, and deep? Of course not. Now, "cheer up, Chris", "lighten up, buddy", "don't take things so seriously" are mantras that are repeated to me more than I care to admit. I am endearingly and half-jokingly referred to as "so goth" at my workplace because, well, I am not known for my cheerfulness. I love dark music. I am sarcastic. I am an occultist. I dislike frivolous conversations and I don't like dealing with people much. I am known for my biting and bitter sarcasm. I am somewhere between melancholic or phlegmatic almost all of the time.

Unless the moon is full in Libra. Then I'm super cheery.

You know, I have almost no earth whatsoever in my chart? Neptune in Capricorn. That's it. In other words: it's irrelevant in terms of traditional astrology. Nothing to ground me out. Nothing to bring me down to earth. When my circuitry gets the juice, it has nowhere to go without considerable effort to dispense of it. Also, I'd really trade an emotional quality or two of mine that are in over drive mode for a natural disposition toward simple pragmatism and discipline. But no, no. In order for me to accomplish anything, I have to be passionately in love with it. Sure, once I've fallen in love with that and set my sights on it, I will be the best and yes, I will be better than you. And you. And you. And... Just stay out of my way before you look foolish.

But if I don't feel so absolutely intimate about it, I will go nowhere. I will fail utterly. I will either never get started, or get off to a great start, and then just forget all about it, like yesterday's news.

Not fond of that. It's like the opposite of ADD. I concentrate too intensely and too highly in one or two things and become utterly consumed by them, or else it has not even the slightest portion of my attention.

Ah, well. End rant. What kinds of things drive you nuts about yourself that can positively be attributed to your astrological nativity?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back to basics.

Throughout the past 6 years, in my aforementioned frantic searching and experimentation, I had embarked upon a number of magickal projects and began the process to initiate and/or work through different systems. Some were very valuable and others were basically a waste of my time. Specifically, I got hung up on the Golden Dawn for a while. Now, now, don't you Golden Dawners get into a tizzy about it, because I know that it has its good and for many of you, it's a good system that you have worked hard and owe thanks to.

But methinks you have probably worked a bit too hard for the lofty promises of the Golden Dawn and while you may have gained a lot along the way, to quote Rufus Opus, it's "overly complicated basic magick". I couldn't possibly agree more.

I don't know why, for the longest time, I insisted that the most basic of magickal endeavors had to be accompanied by so much dross, too many words, too many details (for the nature of the work), and too much repetition when there are older, simpler, tried-and-true, more effective means for accomplishing the same with much less brain damage

It is true that various rituals, if practiced diligently, will develop the practitioner's skill set to a pretty competent level. It is also true that there is a great basic foundation of knowledge on various esoteric subjects and I will always remain impressed at the synthesis that is the Golden Dawn, especially given the time it was synthesized. But considering that I can work effective planetary magick in 15 minutes or less with very little preparation, no need for lengthy opening and closing batteries, no need for banishing, I am glad to finally... Return to the basics.

Okay, I use Golden Dawn banishing rituals pretty regularly, but it's because they are familiar and because if I do no other magick in a given day, it's kind of like taking a shower or washing my hands, magickally speaking. They also help neutralize disorderly mental and emotional states and are great preparation for meditation or fortifying you before going about your day. Beyond that, I'd much rather be conjuring angels a la RO-style.

The one really great thing that came out of this searching was my involvement, initiation, and subsequent fraternal bonds in Ordo Templi Orientis. Say what you will, but the OTO has a way of connecting magicians of different walks of life, interests, and strengths, that I can't find elsewhere. Not to mention, the Gnostic Mass is an amazing ceremony and the degree materials offer a lot in the way of optional, but recommended, practices and a treasure trove of useful study.

But lately I have felt the urge to return to my roots. Not at all that I am leaving the OTO behind, but my primary magickal focus is returning to my foundation: pure Hermetic Magick. I've been reading back through RO's courses as well as studying Agrippa and I do wonder why I stopped paying as much attention to these things. They opened my eyes, gave me indispensable Gnosis, put me in contact with my HGA, generated good results in a simple fashion, but the practices were often so deceptively simple that it was almost elusive. Surely, more glitz and glam ought to be attached to magickal practice.

Glitz and glam has its place, to be sure. But often you are merely over complicating something that is supposed to be, by design, beautiful and efficacious in its simplicity.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finally, I've got it.

Throughout the years of my study and practice of occultism, I've had the hardest time specifying just what I wanted to put most of my effort into developing. Being naturally passionate for all esoteric subjects, I'd like to be an occult mastermind and simply know and be fucking awesome at everything. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

I've been pushed and pulled in so many directions by all manners of subjects, with an anxiety that has always kept me from really committing myself to anything in particular. I've learned loads along the way and have a unique perspective because of my approach and I wouldn't trade those frantic years of searching for anything. I stumbled across some really great things that I still intend to investigate fully in time.

What has been most challenging of all has been the desire to excel at certain practices I'll never be great at in this lifetime. I can get by in all forms of magick, but I am only naturally geared for a select few types. All the while, I've largely pushed aside the stuff I'm really great at and really resonates with me out of my lust for result... Elsewhere.

So it is with mixed feelings that I say, above all else, I am... an astrological magician. There. I said it. My astral sight is a weakness, I'm not gifted at channeling and working with "energies", my communications with spirits are effective and occasionally profound, but I'm not great at it. I am good enough at modern ceremonial magick to banish and invoke, but my experiences and results are not profound and leave much to be desired. Maybe it's the tech, maybe it's me, but one thing it definitely is not: my forte. Give me a dagger, a robe, and a lengthy invocation in barbarous language complete with detailed visualizations based on scales of color, and I'm liable to gloss over, feel like I'm doing chores, or fall asleep in the process.

But give me a chart, and all I see is opportunities. Give me some paper for a talisman and good planetary elections, give me roots, herbs, stones, dirt, and personal effects, and all I see is untapped power and potential. Walk me into a room full of people, and all I see is the function of elemental qualities and the chemistry that occurs when water meets fire, when air meets earth, when fixed water meets mutable water, etc. Every moment of every day of my existence is, to one degree or another, immediately affected by my awareness of planetary and elemental vibrations mingling and coalescing to form my reality and my experience that day. Ever since I was given a vision of the "Machinery of the Universe" by my Holy Guardian Angel, I, and consequently my mystical, spiritual, and magick path, have never been the same.

I fancied myself many things in the course of my searching and Working: some to my satisfaction, but a great deal to my disappointment.

But this bittersweet realization signals that I have accomplished something I've been aching to accomplish for a long time, something that gnawed away at me and kept me from ever feeling confident or content: I have at last found my way. For sure. And for that I am grateful.