Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Phoenix'ing

It's been about two years since I wrote in this blog--two very difficult, transformative, painful years.

Last I wrote, I was married and helping raise a stepson. It was a very difficult marriage. I tried my best--I really did. I made a lot of mistakes along the way (psst: so did she!) Regardless, never in my life did I want things to come to what they have. Never in my life did I envision myself getting married and divorced by age 27. Many times I think that if I could have foreseen the pain and loneliness that this has resulted in, I would have opted never to have met her. This is, of course, folly. I just hated the pain it brought.

From the very beginning of my relationship with her and her son, I viewed it as an initiatory ordeal. I took my Minerval initiation, and we got involved a few days later. I took my first degree initiation, and we got married shortly thereafter. I took my second degree initiation, and problems that I ignored going into the marriage started to stand out in technicolor. This, of course, is an incredibly rough synopsis of the synchronistic perspective I have about the last few years--the many details surrounding these developments would make the truth of my conviction rather obvious.

The thing is--I envisioned everything playing out so differently than it did. I saw, in marrying her and helping raising a child, a great real-world opportunity to live out and integrate lessons from an initiated point of view. About this, I was not in the slightest bit mistaken. It has certainly coincided with and deeply cemented many initiatory lessons. What I was wrong about was thinking that our irreconcilable differences could be, well, reconciled.

I'm approaching a year since we physically separated and a mere month since our divorce was final. To be very honest, this separation and divorce has shattered me. I found myself in a very lost, lonely, dark, hopeless place. My life has been completely built around them and things were so much more complicated than a mere girlfriend-boyfriend breakup. Nothing in this world could have prepared me for the hollowness and deep disappointment that followed. (It doesn't help that our wedding ceremony was a very magical ceremony wherein some pretty serious exchanges were made. I must be more cautious next time--if indeed there is a next time)

During this period, I was losing my will to live and questioning everything in my life. It seemed it was time, yet again, to blame something--anything--as being the root that eventually brought me breathless, to my knees, crying "Why?" As I am wont to do, naturally I blamed my occult involvement. Writing this out for the first time, I think I am beginning to see why. I felt cheated. I felt cursed. I had this conception of what magick had done for me and within me, and it was all crashing down around me. It seemed like a grand spiritual conspiracy had played out to get me to give up on myself--to give up on life. I nearly did just that.

As a result, I turned my occult self off and turned my dogmatic, religious self on. I renounced the occult and finally made amends with family that had cut me off for years due to my occult involvement. It was nice, after all, to have loving family to fall back on during these incredibly trying times. Upon making a decision to go home and live with them while I healed and put myself back together again, I stuffed OTO, Thelema, Qabalah, Tarot, Hermeticism, and even astrology into a closet. I intended to entirely ignore that whole part of my life and myself. Having purged myself of all esotericism, I threw myself head long into the more exoteric religion of my family.

This isn't the first time I made such a strict renunciation; I did a similar thing as a teenager. The difference is that this time, I'd done so much more of the Great Work. I had set things in motion, sworn some serious oaths, saw and learned many things I can't un-see or unlearn. But, no matter--I decided I would more or less live as though it had never happened. Ha.

The first Mercury retrograde of 2014 rolled around. Merc. Rx has always been one of many astrological phenomena that grabs my attention in undeniable ways. Let's remember, though--I had stuffed all of this into a closet, right?

So, it turns out that you can't stuff planets into closets.

My recognition of the effects resulted in my checking an astrological calendar to see just what might be causing me such mental upheaval. If my suspicions were correct, I was in trouble. I would be forced to recognize an esoteric phenomenon and by extension, many other esoteric problems. Mercury busted the "closet" door down and this whole other part of me, my life, came rushing to the forefront of my mind, making war on this new self I was trying to create.

Astrology, my initiations and oaths, and my unfinished Work knocked me down, splashed my face, and said "GET UP. STOP LYING TO YOURSELF."

I let this sink in for a bit, for it caused me quite a bit of trouble. I contacted a few Brothers and Sisters I hadn't spoken to in some time, I prayed about it, I internalized, and I tried, once more, to stuff it all back down. I didn't want to confront this at all. You see, I was trying to make a new life--a life devoid of esoteric thought and practice. I was already living back home with family who abhor the occult and would be utterly devastated to know that I, yet again, find myself unable to abandon the path. Very simply, I cannot hurt them again, and I cannot lose my family again. To add additional pressure, old dogmatic fears of hell, failure, and falling from grace began weighing in on me. In a certain sense, I feel like there are two conflicting identities inside myself--two conflicting world views. Does this predicament suck? Damn straight.

Skip ahead to about a week before this current retrograde took hold. All that stuff I tried to stuff down just wouldn't stay down. I've had to go through a process of accepting that this simply cannot be ignored. I'm still learning from my initiations. I'm still tapped into the current. I'm still on the path. I must go forward, baggage and fears and difficulties and all, toward the accomplishment of the Great Work. I have to get back out on my own two feet, live my life, do the Work, and learn to be whole and content without a relationship or marriage to give me a sense of identity or self worth. In short, I have to be the Magician that I am.

If you've made it this far in my very honest, transparent post, I thank you for reading. I'll be writing more soon, hopefully.


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.

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.