Archive for November, 2012

Let me tell you a story. Lend me your ears, your minds, and by extension your bodies.

All settled in, all ready to fire up the magic-lantern show of your imagination, to light the flame?

After all, if you’re reading this, the sparks between us are already flying as you make sense of the words. All you need do is add some kindling, starting even now to add the fuel of your mind, watching the flames dance and the shadows leap on the wall. You’ve seen them, haven’t you, these leapers, those dancers – the fast-flickers that twist and stretch, swifter than matter, darker than burning air.

The painted gleaming darknesses, the shining ones hidden in stone and rock, under the hollow hills. The night-black folk who move through earth like water, faster than the wind. You know the ones, don’t you?  But I’ll bet you won’t utter their names, even if you know the real, true ones which are secret above all things. I’ll not even call them by their titles, by their use-names. No, for such things are not entirely neccessary, not if you look inside the cave of your heart.

So, to the story, which also – and not  coincidentally – includes a cave. As with all the best stories, it’s an old thing in a new skin – though the new skin is thousands of years old, by itself. In that very cave, there is also a fire, and there are people gathered around it, just as you can gather about the central light of the tale and all the things it’ll show you, if you watch carefully. The people in the story, we shall say, also watch quite carefully, for they can do no other thing. The fire is warm at their backs, and they see the shadow-play upon the wall, just as you might see it now, if you consider this most carefully.

Eventually, you’ll notice the most obvious thing; they’re carefully watching because they cannot move, what with being chained up and all. Slipped around their necks are collars, snapped across their wrists are manacles. Now, sometimes a few of them might look uncomfortable. Perhaps they’re experiencing an awareness of the metal against their skin or something. They struggle for a bit, panicked, but unable to break free, eventually soothed by the rhythmic clinking that their struggles have produced in the chains, somehow more satisfied than before. At least until the next bout of feeling helpless strikes, that is.

Here’s the thing though; most don’t even do that because the chains are placed on them at birth, reforged as they grow. Perhaps the restriction is comforting, or something. Now, it must be said that these chains are mostly of the same type, varying only in size, their shape dictated by variations on an average person, and average necks and wrists. There is actually some room to move given the variety of people, but most if not all choose not to explore it; after all there is less stress that way, right?

So the staus quo remains. Yet every so often, there are slaves born, just a few mind you, who for some reason, don’t fit their chains very well. Maybe they have different sized necks or different shaped bodies. Maybe they’re stronger or even weaker than the average. Let’s focus on those weaker folks for a second; they’re the type of people who might end up getting dragged along on a chain gang, the ones who drop from exhaustion, held aloft only by their chains, or driven on by pain from ill fitting metal digging into flesh. Maybe they’re disabled in some way, blind or deaf, old, ill, or even bizarrely pregnant with something from birth.

They’re there amidst the rest. Perhaps the rest see them as making trouble for the majority, and try and beat them into line out of some fervent desire to have a more unified group, or perhaps they’re seen as a burden. RO’s already covered the strong angle, the Red angle of wilful fire that parts the Waters and leads to the Promised Land, and that’s why, as traditionally seems to be the case, I’m talking about the Blue Way. The Cold Way, hel-blár  or ná-folr in nature.

Try and put yourselves in the shoes of those folks, and feel the way they feel. You could talk to them all you like about being children of G-d and they’d probably say that he was an absent parent, or at the very least, might have visited some further curse upon them. They’d probably say that, especially if you were silly enought to say that it was all part of the Divine Plan, or that “Everything Happens for A Reason.” Most of them would have, at some point, probably wanted to die, reasoning that it was probably the only rest they were ever going to get. So perhaps they’d believe in Paradise after death, a return home to the land of their people or something like that, and you know what?

Good luck to them.

But it’s not those people we’re concerning ourselves with. No, this story doesn’t concern them, and the Moses types only come in tangentially. It concerns the others, the ones who are dragged in the dust and beaten for their differences, are wounded by the fact that the accoutrements of slavery bite even more terribly than for others. They are the ones for whom the metal does not simply chafe, but lays them open to the very bone itself.

It renders them naked in a way no person should be; even their body goes a little nuts in attempting to help them heal, as skin tries to grow over metal to cover the wound. They are more intimately accquainted with their chains than almost everyone else. It’s got inside them, spreading through the blood-stream like a poison. They know it’s going to kill them.  They know their difference has separated them for the whole of their existences, but unlike the Moses’ of their tribe, its only going to bring death rather than freedom, and unlike the ones who see death as final rest, they are restless beyond belief.

You’ve seen them, perhaps you even know them – the ones with smiles like knives that never seem to shift. The ones who laugh at everything for its inherent ridiculousness. They are the differentiated.


I’m not!

They don’t even have to try to differentiate themselves, they simply are. This makes them distinct from those who seek to be individuals, because those always refer to others. They are sui generis; of a different virtue entirely. They share this with the Moses’ of the world, but where the wilful stretch out their hand and shape the world as they see fit, those we are concerned with ruthlessly pursue their difference because they have no other choice.

TAO TE CHING – Chapter 36. Opposition
To reduce someone’s influence, first expand it;
To reduce someone’s force, first increase it;
To overthrow someone, first exalt them;
To take from someone, first give to them.
This is the subtlety by which the weak overcome the strong:
Fish should not leave their depths,
And swords should not leave their scabbards. – Merel trans.

Remember that nakedness, that inescapable  bite of the chain? Remember that they do not fit? This is their virtue, this is their subtlety. They do not seek to be free of the chain, for the chain provides the method of their freedom. Their differentiation, applied with the nature of the chain provides an impossibility. By accentuating that nature until it is undeniable and inexorable, they become something great and terrible.

In inner alchemy, this is the cold and dry way – the direct consequence of exposure to Air and the breath as I said in my last post. It is the essence of exposure, of walking out into the wilderness, of  Captain Oates the polar explorer who said: “I’m going out, I may be some time.” In another sense, it is heavily implicit in the notion of Sky Burial and the chod of Tibetan Buddhism.

(Click the image if you want to see a Sky Burial Gallery. WARNING: NSFW, Contains corpse being chopped up, then eaten by vultures)

If you’ve ever stood beneath the dome of the sky on  a clear, cold day when your breath steams and is visible before you. If you’ve ever fallen to breathing and felt the cold fill you up with a burn that seems to lighten and clarify your being, to hollow you out into a crystal diamond, then you know a little of what I’m talking about. If you have ever heard the wind sing as it flutes through your hollowed-out bones as the sun sets and the light is filled with the luminescence of the gloaming? Then you’ve tasted some of it as your blood thickens to gleaming ichor and begins to burn with its own inner light.

There is no will there, is there? No exertion save the merciless focus on what is. On Being, itself.

I call upon thee, awesome and invisible god, with an empty spirit.”

Sound familiar? What about about this?

I am the headless daimon with sight in my feet; I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one that makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll; I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth is utterly aflame; I am the one who begets and destroys; I am the favour of the Aion; my name is a heart encircled by a serpent; come forth and follow.

Now, I’m not saying that RO is incorrect. Far from it. But in terms of our story of chains and cave-dwellers, we must consider the notion that the daimon of which the Stele of Jeu has spoken, is, by necessity and name, Headless. Whether the head is in another realm or non-existent is neither here nor there. The fact that, amidst all this bombast, there is a peculiar notion of the sight in the feet, might make one wonder what excatly this being is standing on.

More to the point, the immortal fire is just that. It does not die, and when we get to considering it, might we not consider that fire as the ancients might have done, as the fire of Heraclitus – the constant move and change of state, later shifted outward by Christian and Islamic theologians into the realm of the Empyrean, and as the dwelling place of G-d and the Elect.

Plato would perhaps have had us believe that the fire inside the cave is a poor reflection of the Light beyond the cave, and in one sense he would be correct – for those in the cave can only infer the existence of the fire at their backs, nevermind the fact that they probably can’t see beyond the confines of the cave, or even conceive of such a thing. They would identify with the shadow-play, sorrowing when these echoes seemed to shift and die.

For our calm, cold folks, there is no such sorrow. Indeed, in their singleminded pursuit to use the chain to their benefit, to cultivate their alone-ness, their differentiation, they would uncover the extent of their ability to move, which through that pursuit, would be far more than those who never tried. Perhaps the next step after discovering that movement is to once again use that unique method of movement to increase their influence. Perhaps they manage to turn around and behold the fire. and in their contemplations, they may move slightly, raise a hand perhaps, to feel its heat, and in doing so gain the ability to learn how to cast shadows against the wall, deliberately?

Might this not seem to grant them apparent powers over the worlds of shadows which all others regard as real? Might not it be said of them that they hold discourse with the hidden folk in the stone? That they can command things to occur and it will occur?

More to the point, have not our differentiated folk seen the fire at the heart of that world of shadows? Have they not seen the secret, ever shifting source of the ten thousand things of the manifest world? Might they, by use and domination of their restrictions, their “sins”, be able to infuse those chains with fire?

Being beyond Good and Evil, following an inner law which seems to be in defiance of conventional morality. Seems sort of familiar .Not living from the head but from the heart which is encircled by a serpent – the daimonic symbolism is clear. If there’s any love in this heart, it burns cold and is not ‘wet’. It is a sober, disciplined intoxication ‘unassuaged of purpose’, as precise in character as the prima materia itself. But the heart remains steadfast, ever giving, ever being itself. This makes more sense when we note that the Ancient Egyptians, in whose mysteries Moses was well versed, viewed the heart or Ab as the seat of the soul. This was not some airy fairy, quality, but that which infused and reddened the body, gave it life itself.

The soul itself becomes empowered by the daimon. “Lord, King, Master, Helper, empower my soul.”

At death, the heart, according to the Ancient Egyptians, was weighed against the feather of Ma’at – the embodiment of Divine Right/Order/Justice. Only if they were balanced, would the sould survive death. One might argue there’s a secret there – that the soul becomes equal to Ma’at. That the heart is thusly capable of exerting divine right, by virtue of its totality and hence surviving death.

You can see where I’m going, can’t you?

For if our differentiated folk pursue their path unflinchingly within the heart, they may be soft, they may give, without loss. If they have found that cold fire within, within themselves as apparently the basest of metals, sat naked and unflinching on the mountainside as all their illusions are stripped away by virtue of their gifting it to any and all. By making it a discipline, one excels. The sword remains in its scabbard, with no need to take it out and test it. The fish remain where they are, excelling in their Being.

So our chained ones smile, for they recognise themselves within that immortal fire, and hence they can become like the sun which exists without the cave.

Besides, you know that metal becomes brittle at super-low temperatures, right?

 

 

I’m not up on my astrology, but y’know, when’s that ever stopped me from taking a topical issue and twisting it until it gives up wisdom? However, what with the recent election circus in the US and the odd archontic currents floating around in certain areas, I thought I would pontificate a little. That said, if you are into proper astrology rather than your average tabloid crap which boils down to trying to cram the vast celestial machinery into half a bloody page to be gulped as greedily and unthinkingly as the morning coffee you need to function?

Go see the Art(e)ist formally known as der Baron. Seriously, get him on your case, because the man knows his stuff and is currently hard at work  on the next version of his wondrous Astrological Almanac. Tell him I sent you while giggling into my prodigous beard – it probably won’t get you a discount or anything, I just like people to know I’m…watching.

Yes.

Seriously though, most people will have heard of Mercury Retrograde which is when communication and other such things within the Planetary Purview of Mercury end up going a certain creek without a method of propulsion. Now, if you’re caught in this particular mess, nothing seems to go right at all, does it? Yet it’s interesting that US Election Day happened at the same time, and in a a peculiar way you can see the strangeness looming in American politics. People are unfriending folks on Facebook over election choice and other such things. There’s a pall of despair hanging over the world in general, or so the narrative goes. Gordon has his finger on a pulse which anyone with half a brain in the UK can see – I suggest you read his posts on James Bond vs The Demiurge, The Rex Mundi Jigsaw and The REALLY SCARY HALLOWE’EN STORY to get a flavour of the deep weirdness of what’s going on now, on a mythic and on some horribly real level.

It doesn’t matter if you believe it – you don’t have to. All that’s required is to spend enough time to get that odd, acrid taste in your mouth. You know the one I mean – the electric-chemical tang of artificial sweetener mixed with sour lightning. The faintly disgusting spiky cloyingness of texture you just want to scrape off your tongue; it lingers even afterwards, and just when you think its gone, it queers up your dinner and makes you feel nauseous. You push the plate away, formerly nutritious and delicious fare suddenly rendered with the spoiled nastiness of something rotten.

It’s the bad acid, the ominous rumble, the Murdochian Black Magic; the reptile tongue flicking obscenely to taste the air, fouling it with dirty fire of Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt. It’s the spell Geist or Spirit casts over the world, the divisive and tricky blade that teaches things are only really there if they have a border that cannot be crossed. The deathgrip of avarice, the glorification of apparent objectivity, the Panopticon dread that means everyone must see and be seen to have any value. You might say it’s Mercury in its poisonous form – for all its shining glitter, its reflected gleam it brings that most fearful of things – death.

Let me tell you a secret though – its a caricature. Its an exageration, an overloading. Watch the news and you’ll taste it everwhere, this distilled vileness, and in that noticing, perhaps you’ll begin to wonder why it’s so damn effective about getting down into your hindbrain.

Notice how it makes your heart-rate kick up, your breath quickening as the fingernails of adrenaline begin to scrape the inside of your veins. Notice how it polarises and strengthens your identity; predator/prey, black/white, Republican/Democrat, male/female, straight/queer, Christian/Atheist, dead/alive, friend/enemy, Us/Them.

Feel the rage, feel the fear. Feel the hopelessness in the guts of the Kali Yuga. Feel the Kyriarchy grinding its boot into your face.

 “You’re nothing. Nothing at all.”

Maybe They are right, or maybe you want to deny Them. Maybe you want to fight, to rebel. To go to gods-damned war, to  burn the the world They’ve made and make something from the ashes? To be a shining Phoenix gleaming with glorious light.

Can you feel that surge, that rising in your heart? Good. Because that is what They want. Because there is no Them, not really. There’s only Us. And that’s the point, whether you believe in shadowy intelligences playing games to leech energy off people or not. Anger, fear, hopefulness and hopelessness, social position, money and wealth and countless other things?

Thse emotions are strong animal survival drives. They kick your body in action, set your mind awhirl, heat your blood. Think about how powerful you feel, how righteous  and mighty, when you’re going to prove someone wrong. Really, take a minute to savour the idea of being victorious, of being free of restraint.

I’ll wait.

Bet it felt good, on some level. I bet you felt a little less helpless, a little more in control, yes? A little more sure of yourself and your place on this spinning space-ship in an ever expanding universe, this little bubble of life voyaging in the endless interstellar gulfs.

Welcome then, to the archontic urge. Welcome to the desire that makes people “sell their soul” and allow obscenities to go on for fear of not being believed, or because it might affect their position. Welcome to the bestial awareness that you can do horrific things and get away with it because you’re covered by a big, trusted organisation or position. Welcome to the realisation that you can make or break someone else’s life.

Welcome to Empire, to the conversion of the heathen and the slaughter of the infidel. Welcome to signing your name to kill-lists, to being a Super-power, to Weapons of Mass Destruction. To gas chambers and concentration camps, to nationalism and fanaticism. To killing with words and drones, to demonising sections of the population for wealth and political gain.

Welcome to the evocation of authority without soul and understanding. Welcome to a morality based on fear of exclusion and conversion, lacking any higher aims other than maintaining social coherence based on a framework of sin and scarcity. Welcome to the age where the only authority comes from the barrel of gun, and the individual lifespan is more important than the whole.

What has this to do with Mercury Retrograde, I hear you ask?

If Mercury is the messenger, is the medium of communication, then its retrograde is by necessity divisive. When you consider Mercury’s elder form of the Greek Hermes, you get some more answers. Hermes is the god of thieves, merchants, tricksters, travellers, lord of roads:

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline, angel of Jove [Zeus], and Maia’s son divine;
Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Corucian, blessed, profitable God;
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind:
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory’s increase.

Orphic Hymn to Hermes

And:

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell
O Bacchic [Bakkheios] Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius [Dionysos], parent of the vine,
And of celestial Venus [Aphrodite] Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Proserpine [Persephone], retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of thc way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Proserpine [Persephone’s] thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

– Orphic Hymn to Hermes Kthonikos

Hermes, the leader of souls, the stealer of cattle, guardian of sheep and shepherds. Hermes with the rod, Hermes with the magic wand that drives souls and leads them to their destination. If you look at all these things, you find a guide and manipulator, through magic, communication and language. If Hermes were retrograde, all these things would not be good and right. To drive cattle, to tame them and move them where you want to go takes skill and discipline, and there’s a secret there. Imagine then, that these arts were deployed to divide an conquer, to amass wealth and hoard it instead of letting it flow along the roads in a constant shifting exchange. Imagine what would occur if language was deployed to divide and separate, to isolate and destroy?

All of these things can be easily seen – the map becoming divorced from the territory, the abstraction and disconnecting from the actual into the theoretical framework, where prediction and its short-term practical efficacy is viewed as more important than seeing implications and wholes, or at least in seeking them.  ‘Good enough’ becomes the new watchword, oversimplification destroying nuance and subtlety. Excellence is valued only so long as it makes money, as long as it is profitable.

So, in a sense, our entire culture is governed by those who’ve made Spiritual pacts with the demiurge – everyone wants the disks, the pentacles, the earthly prosperity. And this is a mistake, because Mercury is the root of merchant, merchandise, mercenary etc etc. It’s about trade, about movement, not about profit and loss, and that’s a mistake many occultists make. But let’s look at the swiftness of Mercury/Hermes; he’s the fastest bastard there is, the trickiest bugger there ever was. He invents musical instruments, carries messages for the gods, is patron of memory and most of all, is kind to mortals. He passes through the air, unstoppable as speech as conjoining as desire. He acknowledges no difference between living and dead, he’s the guide of the soul. He’s air, breath, music, leader of the trail of the dead.

Wednesday is Mercury’s Day in Romance language – Wodan’s in the Germanic. Both of the wander roads, and ride through the air Woden is the storm, the mantic speech, the warrior poet, the inspirer of men. That’s the trick of it, you see – the breath. All life respires  even if it’s not oxygen based. There’s movement and exchange, and that’s how you beat the Archons.

The secret is that everything breathes and that’s the truth of it. Everyone breathes and shares that breath. It’s a fundamental fact that cannot be denied, the great leveller, and if you’re clever, you can do something with that, the Air which is full of Mercury power. You can outrun the Archons while you’re standing still, and the ancient Gnostics knew that, and the Stoics definitely did. Have you ever heard of the pneuma? Go on and look it up. The breath shot through with Primordial Fire – the word of God. Hermes is the Herald of Zeus, the speaker of that divine word that makes supposedly dumb matter leap to life. Even inanimate objects hold the pneuma, according to tradition, slumbering until it is  quickened – quickened by the soul that is disciplined, that is not pulled hither and yon like an animal that isn’t being driven correctly.

The archontic forces are divisive, distracting you, enflaming your emotions, leading you by the nose by hacking your body, flooding you with hormones and worry, reducing you to something a thousand times less than you are. There’s no point striving for excellence, just get good enough, says that little voice. But who decides what’s good enough? Society? Your family and friends?

So what about excellence in breathing?

On a practical level, there are many breath techniques which can help you, the key is mindfulness over automatism. When was the the last time you breathed well, for more than one breath? When was the last itme you disciplined that most basic of functions, and enforced a rhythm upon it? A pattern that you decided, a breath of ice and fire in which your thoughts suddenly seemed like pebbles in an icy rushing stream, so easily picked up, examined and put to one side as your whole body begins to to share as part of a whole, as part of life itself.

Control is a fallacy, and your money is going to slip through your fingers, your lives are constantly moving. How many  people do you meet every day? How many of them do you give something to, with kind words and an implacable heart full of the knowledge we’re all together, because we’re all breathing? If you don’t give, then why not? What exactly does it take from you? Networking is under Mercury’s purview, but does he do it for a return, or does he do it because it’s what he is?

In today’s world, we’re being pumped full of FUD, convinced we’re losing our grip on sanity and sense. The tried and tested ways seem to be breaking down, sand what was once thought to be immutable morality has been shown to be the mumbling of a child hanging on to their security blanket with a death grip. Today’s technology merely reveals, through a glass darkly, what’s always been known, that we all breathe the same air.

So go on, take a deep breath of the Frankincense and the Storax that call Hermes, and learn from it.

Be seeing you.