Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Willpower, easier said than done..

For the occultist or magician, the most powerful tool is his will. The power of concentration and willpower are arguably the most important tools at his disposal. Their are various exercises and techniques to improve this, and I'm going to highlight just a few that I find particularly useful.
Firstly it is important to find a position that is comfortable for the student. It needs to be relaxed but not so that you will fall asleep. This in itself may take some time to master, but once you have found it, it is a comfort to resume when you are looking to meditate. A simple way to relax the body is to go through every part of the body tensing and relaxing, or just concentrating on each part and telling it to relax.
The mind is the really tough part to relax. The aim is to eventually still the mind, but that is for a different purpose, and for now we are talking about formulating will and concentration.
In the mind you should pick one simple object, a triangle, or a cross. Perhaps a white cross on a black background for example. Now although it sounds easy to concentrate on this, it really isn't. Once you have tried for a while, you may think you are doing it easily, but you will soon realise you are not. To fix the object visually within the mind, without it moving, changing shape or transforming into somthing else is very difficult, even for a few seconds. The mind often wanders and before you know it you may be thinking about somthing completely different. This is also where the use of a mantra comes in. The purpose of chanting a mantra can be likened to a spinning wheel or cog, any mud thrown at it will be spun away, deflected. The mantra should be spoken quickly and should be something that flows off the tounge. It needn't be aloud, but it may be easier to have it on the lips when first starting. Your mind should not think of anything exept the matra and the object. Now, I wouldn't advise trying this for to long to start with, maybe five mintes practice or something like that, as it is really quite fatiguing.
The more you practice the more you will find it easier to do and you can move to more complicated objects, such as pentagrams and hexagrams. And two at once. You may come to a point (i did) where it seems you are going backwards and concentrating is almost impossible. Keep persevering, I found this the point where I actually began to do this properly, instead of half kidding myself I could do it.
This exercise is invaluable at hightening concentration. And when mastered can be used effectively when beginning to project your 'images' or 'will'.

The second exercise I will mention is a key part of Gurdieff's system of work. (Gurdieff was a Russian philosopher who had a complicated system of occult beliefs he had devised through years of travelling in the east. - I will talk more about him at a later date, or if requested.) It is a method to help formulate the 'I'. It seems for most of us our 'I' changes all the time, from 'I' will do this later, to 'I' don't want to do this anymore etc.. (not a good example, apologies its late here!) It helps to develop the moment when we feel alive, Colin Wilsons X-factor, the moments memories are made of. Gurdieff believed we were the most part as machines, asleep through life and needed awakening. Anyway, the exercise is 'self observing'. This is simple but highly effective at sharpening the mind.
Whenever you remember (literally) look at yourself as objectively as possible, observe what you are doing, how you are feeling, what you are thinking about etc at any given moment. Don't analyse or judge, just look. Personally I almost imagine I'm looking at myself from outside my body, looking down at how I seem. Now this seems easy, and it is - the difficult part is remembering to do it!! One of Gurdieffs students, and famous philosopher in his own right P D Ouspensky, had been doing this for some period of time when he suddenly noticed everyone around him looked as though they were asleep. I personally had the same experience whilst travelling. I could almost see what poeple were dreaming, their faces fixed and 'vacant'. It is a bizarre experience and not one I shall forget. BUT it certainly sharpens the will. Trust me...
Go on, give it a go - let me know how you are getting on (see my profile for my email address)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Occult and Satanism, a common mistake.

OK, now as soon as I post up my email address (assuming anyone reads this stuff - notice the new counter at the bottom, currently on 4, haha) I'm probably going to get some interesting mail from certain religious groups, no problem, but I want to make something a little clearer.
Satanism. The word 'occult' tends to be linked in poeples minds to Satanism and Devil worship. Firstly these are Christian invented terms, that have since actually been spawned into existence by poeple rebelling against the church. From the days of burning witches and blaming the Devil for all the wrongs in the world, the notion of Satanism and devil worship became an outlet for poeple who wanted a way to strike back at Christianity by welcoming the one thing that they can't stand, and is the epitamy of their evil. These days they are usually excuses for debauchery, or as in the case of the Church of Satan, really just a group who have different and actually quite intelligent ways to live life. In fact the Church of Satan is rather a poor title if you read some of their literature, although amusing (for them) in its capacity to irritate the Christian fanatics. In fact I tend to class true 'satanism' along with christianity as they are basically the same beliefs taken from extreme angles. And treat them both with a dose of salt :)
Occultism on the other hand is a more generic term: Occult \Oc*cult"\, a. [L. occultus, p. p. of occulere to cover up, hide; ob + a root prob. akin to E. hell: cf. F. occulte.]Hidden from the eye or the understanding; invisible; secret; concealed; unknown. [1913 Webster]
As with everything in the Occult world it has several meanings. Secret and invisible as in 'not obvious' and kept within secret systems and mysterie schools (the green language) etc, and also hidden within nature, and only seen by those who can "see behind the viel of Isis" and who have been initiated into the mysteries. If a path is traced throughout the history of occultism and the hidden meanings of things, we come from early Mithraic and Egyptian religions to western occultism via the Gnostics, Cathars, Alchemists, Kabala and other secret schools. It is the study of the secrets of nature, to view and perhaps harness their power. To turn every Demon into an Angel. To turn Lead into Gold. To turn the base animal of human nature into a spiritual being. Of course along the way there is Faustian pacts, communication with angels and Demons and of course facing oneself. Although in any study of occult texts one must remember there are several layers and meanings one must find to truly understand the work. Some poeple could read the texts and only see one meaning (as in constantine reading the works of the Gnostics and ending up with the modern bible - sorry couldn't resist) and their are other initiates who know how to look deeper and see the hidden meanings. They will read something on a completely different level. That way everything is kept secret from the masses and out of dangerous hands, by this I mean from poeple who cannot grasp the concepts. For example, most poeple still think the Alchemists of the middle ages were simply trying to turn base metal into gold, when actually it was allegorical for turning the base soul of man into a heavenly entity. This doesn't mean they didn't try to turn metal into gold, but that there was a far deeper pupose to it.
You find that with modern 'magick' for example, demons and gods will be chosen for a particular purpose. They must have particular qualities and realms, concerning prefererential days, hours and months, colours and planets to make the nature of the ceremonies more agreeable. To the outsider it certainly looks like an bizzare evil pact, but think of it as imagery to focus the mind completely into the detail of the wanted outcome, and it simply becomes a tool to harness the power of the 'magicians' mind completely on the situation at hand. Now many poeple believe in the power of the mind no? Many respected hypnotists and doctors will use and recommend 'visulization techniques' to help 'heal' a patient. Whats the difference?
I'll leave you with that tonight, tomorrow, who knows...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Spooky action at a distance.

OK, so its Monday night and I'm going to get the principles of quantum mechanics out of the way. Now normally the thought of science and physics puts off the average truth seeker from reading any further. Well, I'm no scientist and I havn't got books and papers all laid around me to help me explain this, so I'll do it in the most easy to understand and layman terms I can (apologies to those whose thirst is greater, I will go further into this at later dates).
The defining principle as I see it to quantum physics is this: Nothing physically exists on the quantum level. By this I mean that when things are broken down to the smallest composite particles that make up the whole, we find they behave differently. They cease to exist as physical objects and begin to behave as 'waves' of probablility. In other words, everything that we know, when broken into small parts doesn't actually exist and knobody actually knows why or how this happens. This statement on its own takes science into the realm of the occult. Don't be fooled into thinking that because it is scientists that investigate this phenonimon it suddenly becomes scientific in its explanation.
So how exactly is this the case? Well, the simplest experiment that any book on quantum physics will explain, is this. Imagine a peice of cardboard with two slits in it. On one side is a light bulb. On the other is a photosensitive screen that the light through the slits shines on. (some of you may have done this experiment at school to explain the nature of light) Now when the light bulb is on, rather than two spots on the screen (one for each slit) you get a pattern of dark and light stripes, as the light from each slit interferes with each other. like the ripple from two stones thrown into a lake hitting each other. Now with the brightness turned down so low that only one photon (light particle) comes out at a time, the experiment is repeated. Common sense expects that as only one particle at a time is leaving the lightbulb, it can only go through one slit or the other. (we have replaced the screen on the other side with a photosensitive plate that records where each photon hits.) Suprisingly as the amount of photons hitting the screen mounts up an interference (dark and light) pattern is still formed? Bizarre, but it gets stranger. As the photon can only go through one of the slits at a time (you would think?) we can add a sensor that tells us which slit the photon goes through. By only adding the observation to the slits, the outcome is again different. Now the interference pattern does not show, but instead two lighted areas are built up on the screen with no interference.
Phew, thats long winded and the science bit out of the way. That experiment (although slightly more complicated that my example) has been repeated many times and is factual in its evidence. The experts tell us that what actually happens is the photons (or electrons, or other small particles this experiment has used) actually disappear, become 'probability waves' and then reappear on the screen when we are awaiting the result. BUT, the action of observing actually forces the photon to exist all the way, as if it knows we are watching. Now I could go on and on about how this could mean these quantum particles must have intelligence, or that the travel back through time once we observe to creat the obsevable journey and so on. The bottom line is knobody knows. There are many instances of these strage phenomina in the scientific world. Some quantuim actions create particles that seem to communite instantly over time and space creating what Einstein called 'Spooky action at a distance' and baffled him until the day he died.
Its a long one tonight, but go away knowing this. The particles that make everything we know, you, me, the computer your looking at - all these things don't exist at the quantum level. They are just waves of probability. Why they at some point 'solidify' into matter - knobody knows. So just how real is our universe, and how much of a part do we play in creating reality?
Goodnight, I'll promise to make the next post something a bit more interesting for those occultists out there.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The open mind..

I'm going to begin this meandering with a brief description of something true and accountable, but something that may help the sceptical reader to open (or at least loosen) their mind. I'm no new age fancier who believes in tangible fairy's and keeps a tarot pack under their pillow to "harness the energy" or any of that rubbish, I like to have a certain amount of evidence, personal experience or at least a 'sensible' reason other than wishful thinking to believe in something. As I think we all should have.
The human mind is a much more powerful entity than we believe. To expand on this, let me give you an example. Multiple personality disorder. In a multiple personality patient, as I'm sure your aware, the person has several (usually six or seven I believe) different personalities. These personalities can actually have distinctly different brain wave patterns. Strange enough, but imagine one personality is allergic to nuts. If they eat a peanut they swell up, get a rash, their throat closes up, or whatever physical reaction a nut allergy brings about. Now another personality comes to the forefront, this personality isn't allergic to nuts. They eat a whole load of peanuts and nothing bad happens attall. Another personality pops up, drinks eight pints of fosters and is drunk. The next one pops in and is sober as a judge. Now I'm not saying this is common, or all the above happen in one person. But these are facts about medical cases of split personality patients. Now to me that sounds impossible, but it happens.
The point of this is just to demonstrate how reality can sometimes be bizarre, everything we know about it may, just may, be illusiory. I'm going to ramble on over the course of time about some theories and ideas that are a lot stranger than this, so I thought it a good place to start. Perhaps some brain food for your day. Goodnight.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The occult, quantum physics and the quest for madness..

Where to start.. Erm.. Well, from the first wobbly steps of conciousness, my life has pretty much followed a shadowy path. A path of strange encounters, temporary madness, rediculous experiments and generally striving to see behind the vail of reality that we normally focus on. From 'apparently' seeing 'ghosts' at an early age, to dabbling in the 'black arts', (sorry, have to chuckle here) again at an early age, through to studying religion, quantum physics, alchemy and a whole whost of other strange fruit. I'm no expert on anything, but perhaps in my persuit I may have picked up some pearls of wisdom that might give you something to laugh, cry, or even scoff at. Be my guest...