Black of the Secret Chiefs, Monday 13 June 2022

Blog, The Great Work

On Monday 13th June 2022, we again contacted Black of the Third Order, the Secret Chiefs, the Bodhisattvas, the White Lodge. Tommie and I enlisted the help of our good friend Nuggan, Jason as his Mammy knows him, to act as the in-between. He’s hooked up to a radio sweeping quickly through stations and repeats the words he can make out. He’s blindfolded and cannot hear out questions or comments.

What’s going on in the World?

Monday 13th saw 1000s of people fleeing their homes across the Western United States as wildfires raged and ranged from California to New Mexico. Already this year has seen double the 10-year average for forest fires in the US but still we have people who believe that climate change is a hoax. It’s a strange old world we live in, even as the planet literally burns people won’t accept the fact that we’re living in dangerous times. 

Boris vs Ireland

In Ireland and the UK the idiotic gombeens at the Conservative Party have decided that they want to break an international treaty with the EU regarding Brexit and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement because, well, to be honest there isn’t really a good reason as to why they’re doing it. Head bottle-washer and all-round hapless buffoon Boris Johnson said ‘it’s not a big deal’ while the people on the island of Ireland are terrified that it can lead to a resumption of fighting between Nationalist and Unionist paramilitaries. Boris Johnson is a fool

The issue comes down to this; the British agreed that Northern Ireland could stay in the EU Customs Union (CU) since Northern Ireland (NI) has a land border with the Republic of Ireland; if the Nordies hadn’t been allowed to stay in the CU this would have meant border checks at all 300 border crossing along 499km of the border. No doubt the British wouldn’t have bothered providing staff for such an undertaking and we’d have seen British Army soldiers on Irish soil. Again. Nobody wants that. So, because NI is allowed to stay in the CU that means, thanks to Brexit, that a whole load of paperwork is needed for Scottish, Welsh and English firms when exporting to Northern Ireland and vice versa. 

Northern Irish firms need no such paperwork when exporting to the EU, none more than other EU exporters anyway. The Conservatives don’t like this even though 61% of Northern Irish voters voted against Brexit and didn’t want it. So, now they’re being forced to take the British Hard Brexit. Why? Well, the Unionist Party, (made up of those who want to be British even though were born on an island that isn’t and has never been British) who recently, for the first time since Northern Ireland has had a parliament, lost their majority in said parliament, are looking to appease their hardliners and have the same ball-breaking Brexit as their English cousins even though Northern Ireland’s economy has actually done quite well out of Brexit. Sinn Fein, the party of the (mostly-Catholic) Nationalists who won the majority don’t see an issue. Oh, and of course because the Unionists didn’t win the last general election they’re refusing to go into power with Sinn Fein even though they democratically lost. Even though everything would be run in a ‘power-sharing way’ because y’know, it’s effing complicated up North.

If you understood all that I congratulate you but we can sum it up in a word; clusterfuck. Politicians in Dublin have said that relations with the UK i.e. the Conservatives, are at their worst point since Ireland became an independent nation (this includes the Anglo-Irish Economic War of the 1930s). The fact the Conservatives even see it as a non-issue is outrageous and while they’re happy to send arms to Ukraine (for a fee obviously; British governments will sell arms to anyone and everyone) under the pretence that they’re helping a country defend their right to exist and the consensus of the people they don’t actually give a flying fuck about the consensus of the people of Northern Ireland and/or Ireland and/or even their own country/countries. Yea, one word; clusterfuck. 

Sievierodonetsk

Speaking of Ukraine, the battle for Sievierodonetsk rages as the Russian invaders now hold the upper hand and have pushed back the Ukrainians to the outskirts of the city. Here’s the thing about that, to the West of the city are on the other side now of a deep river and they’ll have the high ground meaning they’ll be able to snipe their way back in as they slowly but surely pick off the Orcs. It turns out that over the past few days that Sievierodonetsk is somewhat of a symbolic battle for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as it was one of the last Ukrainian cities to declare for Ukraine. Over the coming days and weeks we’ll likely be looking at the battle for Kherson in the South of the country as the natives move on retaking the city and taking on their largest counter-offensive mission of the war so far. Sievierodonetsk may well turn out to be another Mariupol; a battle that takes up Russian resources so Ukraine can strike elsewhere.

In Australia a newspaper writer (I wouldn’t call them a journalist) apologised to Australian actor Rebel Wilson for outing her as being gay as the publication in question featured an article of the Bridesmaids star along with a photo of her and her girlfriend. They took down the article. What a strange world we live in that someone can’t have the privacy of their lovelife respected. Do people really want to know this stuff? Ask people and they’ll say no but it’s still the kind of nonsense that makes up quite a high amount of the content in raggy magazines you’ll find in waiting rooms. And the Daily Mail, which isn’t good enough to be used as a rag.

The Third Order

This was the state of the world we found ourselves in when we contacted Black once again. We had some questions we needed answering and they were somewhat to do with the recent Ultraterresitial Hunt/Ritual which although went kind of well; something didn’t sit right. First of all there were two, even three distinct entities, and in the first session it was quite creepy and, well, a bit of a dick. In the second one it was mostly one voice and then another came in and it really didn’t seem to like one of us taking part.

Now this led to us doing some soul searching and really we want to find the best way to speak to these entities without annoying them. I’ve to take much of the blame here as for the questions for the Ultraterresitial Hunt I submitted the majority of them as I was keen to know all about this Indrid Cold character and why he’d ‘been abandoned by the Third Order’ as the case was made in Hellier. More questions about Hellier and connected issues followed but it seems the Third Order are only interested in awakening humanity, which is a tough ask as it is so they’ve not all that bothered about ‘material’ things. Still though, who better to ask about an issue regarding the supposed Third Order than the Third Order? I really don’t know the answer other than; the Third Order.

The point to remember though is if you’re going to be contacting the Third Order, the Bodhisattvas maybe it’s best to ask them questions about those things. Lesson learnt.

We chose as well, to stop butting in with questions to allow whatever it is that’s speaking through Jason to speak so we elected to do three sessions, 10 minutes of an intro, three questions with five minutes allocated for each answer and then a closing 10 minutes. 

Here’s the transcript and you can listen along to it (without the silences) here.

Tommie: We would like to call in BLACK who is part of The Secret Chiefs, of the Great White brotherhood, Bodhisattvas of the planet, who previously told us that we could call on him.

Jason: Hey guys.

Tommie: Hi, how are you?

Jason: I’m coming in hot.

Tommie: What our intention today is to–

Jason: It’s funny, to be doing this.

Tommie: Okay, why is that?

Jason: Are you ready?

Tommie: Hope so. Our intention today, BLACK, is to each ask a question, including the question from Jason himself.

Jason: Nothing strange, please.

Tommie: Okay. That’s fair enough. We actually as much as possible, want to leave it open-ended and leave it over to you to talk more, rather than us constantly interrupting you because as you can see already, I’m doing it! And so just to kind of very–

Jason: Okie, dokie!

Tommie: We’re trying our best to find the best way of doing these communications and to not be, I suppose, rude or insulting, or in some way impolite. So please know that all of our intentions are always positive and that if we do in any way cause any harm, it’s certainly not where we’re coming from.

Jason: You’re becoming masters.

Tommie: Well, we’re trying our best to learn from our previous mistakes. And we hope we haven’t in any way sullied our relationship with you. So, is there anything you would like to share with us today before we get into the questions?

Jason: Playful. Enjoy. Let’s tune in so we don’t ruin it. Are you getting pretty comfortable?

Tommie: Yea.

Jason: All right. You’re welcome.

Tommie: Okay. Can you give us some feedback on the last session that we had with the being called NOTHING?

Jason: Earthenware. It’s good. Oh, the Master. Thank God for that.

Tommie: As in calling in?

Jason: Finally.

Tommie: We called in The Master today. The Servitor.

Spud: Or Nemo’s the Master.

Tommie: Yeah, Which were you’re referring to because we called–

Jason: Alrighty then.

Tommie: Master of the Temple, or, The Master servitor?

Jason: There are 12 here to talk to you. But this is fine. How is your air conditioning?

Spud: It’s very warm here.

Tommie: I actually got a new air conditioner a few days ago. My wife gave it to me.

Jason: I hope it’s not too much.

Tommie: Well, I have to switch it off when we’re recording, so. BLACK, can you tell us something about the screams that occurred last time, during the last session?

Jason: I hope it’s not condescending really, but it’s approaching the zone of overt philosophy. Unnameable. In the air. What’s the first round of questions?

Spud: Ask him about the Ultraterrestrial thing again. BLACK, when we contacted Nemo- nobody, were our questions inappropriate? Did we do something wrong?

Tommie: Why did it feel so weird after it compared to the other sessions?

Jason: Well, honestly, I’m not thrilled with you. For the company.

Spud: Interesting. Could you elaborate on that?

Jason: Pain. Conversations for dollars – never! But we’ll get back to the prophecies.

Tommie: Okay. And I want to reiterate that it was never our intention to annoy you or to inappropriately contact you, or do something inappropriate. It’s a learning experience for us.

Spud: I want to ask something there, Tommie. Time looks like only a minute or two left. From–

Jason: I am BLACK.

Spud: BLACK, from, the teachers that humanity has had over the years. Is there any particular ones that you would like us to spend some time with, learn from, read their books?

Jason: The one that I asked you for a piece of, you don’t know yet.

Spud: That’s cryptic.

Jason: But it will come.

Spud: Okay.

Tommie: Okay. So, as we come to the end,

Jason: Your credit is good.

Tommie: Time is running out here. So we will be moving on to the questions in separate sessions just to delineate them. So, is there anything you’d like to say before this session ends? We will talk again really at the end.

Jason: Every day, it’s only making the world!

(it sang the words, the world.)

Coming to joy and wonder. A playful song is on us. If you slow down to listen.

 

JASON’S QUESTION

Tommie: Jason wants to know what, if anything, should he be aware of regarding the growth towards his next awakening

Jason: On it. This summer.

No trouble for you, and It’s going to be a lovely, heavenly, good development.

Just a sec. The details. Are you ready?

Over and over again. Number four is spectacular and imminent. Don’t worry. Have faith; you’ll understand. According to him, it’s already part of you.

(There’s a lot of music playing.)

Patience, and fondly you will love it.

An invitation. It’s good to find the others. Synchronicity. Yeah, that’s right. Don’t wait until the stranger finds you first.  Have a good chat online with the new friends. It is certain this leads to the next shot.  

 

TOMMIE’S QUESTION

Tommie: What should I know?

Jason: Oh, Tommie, everything!

(I’m hearing laughter.)

Will you be satisfied? You’re good, great even. You’ll find yourself. Restrictions apply. One needs to pull together. I know it sounds fucked up.

1 and 2 in safety. It’s a party!

Let’s give you having to deal with the confusion a break. It’s all grand, just back up 100 out of the basement. Erect your soul in the light. Don’t worry about what that means. Just take my hand; you’re going to be proud of yourself.

I just know why it hurts, Tommie, and there is relief at the Oasis. An offer direct.  

 

SPUD’S QUESTION

Spud: Hello, BLACK. Spud here. Big fan of your work! Regarding my true will, BLACK, how best to integrate it in the wider world?

Jason: Numerous emergency actions are impossible. Focus on today. It’s good.

Here’s one. Campaign, if you take it up. I hope you’re alert and never stop. Don’t stop it, Pat.

(I hear the sound of like children playing like at a playground or something like that, like just laughing and shouting.)

This is the dream. This! Just know it. Just come and join in for these reasons. Down the storm.

It’s good to look out for problems, but you can’t be so vigilant every vacationing day! He will counsel you.

If you call second and come back now we can journey and find new ways to share. It’s not just one thing, but a lifetime.   

ENDING SESSION

Tommie: Well, thank you very much, BLACK. That was immensely helpful and very generous. And it seems like the communication is really clear today. Is there something we did better today than previous the other days so that we know to future?

Jason: (I’m hearing trumpets like, uh, like a fanfare.)

Spud: This guy knows our sense of humor, man.

Tommie: Are you Irish, BLACK?

Spud: He did say “grand”, earlier.

Jason: Might be!

Tommie: Right. Okay. That’s interesting. It’s very hard to know what to say now.

Jason: Good chats with our family.

Spud: Yeah. That was a good chat. Thank you. We’ll all get a lot from that. So thanks very much.

Jason: You’re welcome.

Spud: Yeah. There was something that you said in the first session before we took up the three individual questions. And you said something about a prophecy that you will return to the prophecy. So what’s that in —

Jason: Tune in now.

Spud: What’s that in reference to?

Jason: It’s a fine thing, gentlemen, now. The wisdom- it’s a miracle.

It’s important how you question me. Be respectful, and be awesome. Why wouldn’t I want that?

When it comes to what you don’t think you know – it’s mobile, what the words are, honestly. It’s ephemeral. So don’t worry about it.

It’s here now, our plans. It seems impossible. At no point should this work. But I’m really, really, really fantastically, devilishly, rather than on autopilot, thankful for human awareness, exploration, imagination. That fine thing. It’s important to have it checked. It’s incredible. If you wait.

Spud: One more, Tommie? Because time is nearly up.

Tommie: Yeah. it’s just, he did tell us to wait.

Spud: Sorry, BLACK!.

Tommie: How long have we left, Spud?

Spud: Two or three minutes.

Tommie: Yeah. Because we’d say goodbye too, and all that stuff.

Jason: There is at least… we all in this moment help to boost the signal right now. Your ones too, hold the flame. [You’re ones to hold the Flame?] It gets a little burny at times. I’m proud of you – don’t go anywhere!

Tommie: BLACK, we’re coming to the end of our time.

Jason: Well, that was delightful!

Tommie: Equally delightful for us! As always, thank you very much for talking to us and we hope we can do it soon.

Jason: An ally.

Tommie: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Spud: Awesome.

Jason: I’m never going to reveal the words. I just want some thing good for you. Like children. Cheers!

Tommie: Cheers

Spud: Cheers, yeah,

Jason: I’m really good.

Tommie: Okay. Thank you.

Spud: Us too, man. Thanks for that. Buzzer should go any–  

 

Reincarnation in Different Religions

Blog

Reincarnation keeps making flirty eyes at me of late and I can’t quite figure out why, other than it’s a possible sign from the great unknown that it wants me to look at it. But then again, if all we ever have is just the constant awareness of the now then why would anything need to make itself known to someone for them to investigate it? Indeed, if that is all that we have, and I’ll die on that hill, then we already have the answers, don’t we? Well, no it would seem like we don’t. 

There’s plenty of proof out there for reincarnation. But there’s an even larger amount of proof that it doesn’t exist. As far as I’m aware not a single person in human history has died and come back as themselves. Except that is Jesus Christ but nobody can seem to agree on whether he actually died or not. One theory suggests he and his uncle hung out in the cave for a few days and got high as motherfuckers until the coast was clear and they skedaddled. Although to be totally honest on the Christ crucifixion I’m pretty much onboard with the theory that he survived, went west and taught about non-duality and all that lark and ended up in Kashmir, where he’s buried. You can read more about it here: https://www.indiaheritagewalks.org/blog/tomb-jesus-kashmir-roza-bal-shrine On a fairly recent episode of the podcast we spoke about a BBC documentary about it which you can listen to here: https://youtu.be/tFNyiHl7-CM

The Dalai Lama; sound chap

The documentary goes into some pretty speculative stuff, suggesting Jesus was a Buddhist and this is supposed to account for his so-called ‘missing years’ when he was, the doc suggests, taken off to India and learnt about Buddhist teachings. This, they say, explains the appearance of the Magi at his birth; they knew of his earthly arrival and were sent on a mission to claim him and educate him. Now, that doesn’t sound so crazy when we consider that Tibetan Buddhists carry on this tradition to this day and it’s what happens when every Dalai Lama is born. A child is identified as a born-again Bodhisattva of compassion and they are raised and educated to carry on the line of Lamas. Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, is turning 87 this year and has stated in the past he’ll announce when he’s 90 if he’ll reincarnate. There’s much political heave-hoing over who the 15th Dalia Lama will be, as China currently controls Tibet they say they’ll announce who the next one will be. Nobody outside of China will support that decision though and we may well see a split in the coming years.

So what exactly is meant by reincarnation, well, how long is a piece of string? It’s twice the length from the middle isn’t it? The Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism all preach of reincarnation with slight yet important differences. In Hinduism the belief is that we all have an atman and this soul persists after death and is reborn again and again until it attains self-knowledge. This might help explain why the earth’s population continues to rise; we’re feckin eejits that can’t realise we’re all one soul because we’re too busy watching Reality TV and watching people on YouTube playing video games. We are really dumb in fairness. 

The Buddhists, on the other hand, believe there is no soul and no self so while Buddhists do believe in reincarnation there’s no self or soul that’s reborn as there is no self. But you are reborn. Yea, look, it’s a bit confusing and I’m not sure what’s reincarnated if there’s nothing to be incarnated in the first place. Unless everything is an illusion but plainly that can’t be the case as there’s no such thing as no-thing because for something to exist it either does or does not. And everything that exists exists. Duh.

Nothing is Real…man!

Buddhists will say the soul, or self does not exist and while I can see the self not existing, as in it’s a construct we build so we can live as best we can, I cannot see existence as not existing, because y’know, it plainly does exist. And anyway we, humans that is, can only experience about 0.0035% of reality so, yes, ok, while we don’t experience the fullness of existence and it may seem like our existence is an illusion in terms of the other 99.9965% of actual reality you can’t just say that everything outside of our perception doesn’t exist because, well man, it’s just wrong. Sorry my Buddhist friends, I’m all Hindu on this. 

Jainism then is a bit more like Hinduism but you need to be more restrictive in how you live, a life of asceticism is the name of the day there, along with the shared beliefs of Yama and Niyama (non-killing, non-violence, compassion, charity etc.) of the more well-known Indian traditions.

Buddhist Wheel of Reincarnation

In the three main Western religions then we have reincarnation coming into Jewish thought during the middle ages when Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism began taking root. It’s similar to the Hindu thought of a soul existing that leaves the body on death and floats around upstairs for a while before coming back to perfect its work. Some early Christians believed in reincarnation, many Gnostic sects did too. I mean, they’d kind of have to wouldn’t they since their main dude came back to life. But then things get all muddled up when the idea of the trinity comes along and God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit become one being instead of three even though they are also still three separate beings but also one in the same. Yea. Try making sense of that and try sitting through religion classes in Catholic school with priests telling you that you literally have to believe it if you want to live in the clouds after you depart this mad shop of a planet.

Of course, these two religions, and Islam that I’ll get to later all owe quite a debt to Ancient Greek religion and philosophy and the Greeks had a few different traditions that believed in reincarnation, the earliest being Orphisim which was centred on the death and rebirth of that mad craic Greek god Dionysus, Peter Kingsley’s grá Persephone and her auld one Demeter were important in that tradition too. There’s a mighty book I listened to (The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name by Brian Muraresku) that posits a great argument that Christianity is the bastard child of the Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries (which is what the Orphic tradition evolved into) and that the wine they drank was some high-octane ergot-infused wonder punch that got you off your chops and you got to chill with the head honcho of the clouds for a bit and have a chinwag with him. 

Reincarnation in Christianity

According to plenty of research he cites, women played such a crucial role in these traditions because they controlled the crops to ensure there would be some ‘spoiled’ by ergot and they knew how to made the kickass brew and this tradition might, maybe, maybe, just maybe have made its way into early Christianity but then was stamped out by the zealots because those lads are no craic and don’t like anyone having any craic. They still don’t. Reincarnation was stamped out pretty quickly too by the lads who called the shots.

Islam followed suit; we have a soul but we only get one shot at being good otherwise it’s an eternity imprisoned in the fiery brimstone of hell along with Satan and his lubed-up pitchforks. What am I saying, there’s no way there’s lube in Hell. How and ever, some sects of Islam do believe in reincarnation and there’s a group in South Asia who perform a yearly ritual where they ask for forgiveness for sins committed during previous lifetimes.  

Celtic Reincarnation

Let’s do one final one just because I’m Irish. The Celts, sure I couldn’t do an article about reincarnation without mentioning them. The Celts also believed in reincarnation, well, of course they did as Hinduism and the Celts came directly from the Proto-Indo-Europeans, and that the soul lived on after the death of the body and after a certain number of years it would return to the earthly realm and take up a new abode. The belief was so strong that money could be borrowed based on it being paid back by your following incarnation. 

Reincarnation in Thelema

Oh, Thelema is worth a mention too as it’s a little confusing. Aleister Crowley dismissed the idea of reincarnation because “The idea of incarnations ‘perfecting’ a thing originally perfect by definition is imbecile.” But then again, Crowley was sure he was the reincarnation of Edward Kelley Dr. (Dr-not-a-medical-doctor) Dee’s buddy, a Russian farmer called Ivan, a chap called Heinrick van Dorn who was into some baddie magic (evil shenanigans), then Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, an Italian occultists and merchant of the craic and then, finally Eliphas Levi. Not content with having a fairly wild life himself, Crowley also had experienced plenty of other eventful ones too. Well, his higher self anyway. Fair play to him, Aiwass the lover of the craic. 

As mentioned above there’s plenty of both proof and non-proof for reincarnation. But the guy I trust on this is the American professor and child psychiatrist Jim Tucker. He popped up again in a recent episode of TaSTA where we were talking about a documentary you can watch here. I’ve seen him now in a number of documentaries and since watching the doc have been reading up on some articles about his work and listened to/watched a good few interviews with him too and y’know, the argument is really, really, really convincing that some children can remember their past lives.

At this stage I’m pretty much convinced in reincarnation, largely thanks to my belief that the one soul is all that exists and we’re all just teeny-tiny cogs in the varying sizes of larger and smaller cogs of the universe and as such it’s a God that experiences consciousness through our lived experiences. In other words, I’m with the Hindus on this. However, I’m well aware that I also want it to be true because y’know as tough and troubling and strifeful and harsh and shitty and terrible and god-fearingly brutal as life can be, it’s still wonderful to be alive and it’s not always those bad things, everything, every-single-thing we experience is fleeting and to have the awareness to experience it fully is bloody magical. So, yea, I want it to be real because I’d love to come back after I draw my last breath and do it all again. But I won’t get to; Spud won’t get to, but the conscious ever-awareness that I experience will and I’m pretty happy I got to experience it as this version of it.

Maybe I do know why reincarnation keeps making flirty eyes at me. There’s something in me that wants to know about if I had past lives, maybe I was an animal before and this is my first go as a human. It might explain why dogs and cats and horses and birds and snakes and turtles and even capybaras all seem to like me more than a fair deal of humanity does, or that’s just a bias I’m showing, actually, yea, that’s definitely a bias/projection. Regardless, I’m curious as to what the soul in me experienced before it was brought crashing down to earth in a wee rural village in Wexford. I’m bloody petrified of finding out too though. 

There was a TV programme on Irish television a few years ago now. It was about one of Ireland’s best-known news reporters, Charlie Bird, a fantastic reporter and journalist and a proud Irish man. The show was about looking into his ancestry and all that goes with that. Well, the look of sheer horror on his face when it was discovered he had English blood in him and not just English blood from a normal lad from say, Stoke or Birmingham, nay, poor Charlie was a direct descendant from an occupying soldier who had been given land by an English royal because he was so good at the raping and pilaging he’d done on Irish soil. Maybe it’s better I leave sleeping dogs lying in front of the fire but you know me by now, someday, probably not any day soon, but someday I’ll get around to it and get to the bottom of who I was before I became who I think I am. 

And anyway, they’re not supposed to be blood relatives. Mostly. Christ, I just know there was  some god-awful redcoat in the 1600s called Brigadier Montgomery Ramsbottom III who rounded up 50 Murphys, men, women, children, auld lads and biddies into a shed and set it ablaze somewhere in Wexford. FFS.

Imagine Being Original

Blog, The Great Work

The most difficult thing about writing isn’t the writing. That’s actually the easiest part. Writing well is obviously a little more difficult as there’s meant to, at least, be some editing involved but the toughest thing, for this version of whatever this incarnation is, seems to be the confidence to run with what ideas to write about. Only really on the days when I’m flat-out busy with the horses or something similar do I not think about writing something. But if you follow this blog you’ll know I don’t post often and that’s because 99.99% of the things I think about writing end up being tossed into the bin, three-pointer, Hail Mary-basketball-style shots of course. And swish ones too. Of course. We all play the hero and the victim at the same time don’t we? Oh, I’m so useless, I can’t write, pity me while I make this awesome three-pointer shot from across the court. 

Now, those 99.99% of my ideas can’t all be bad, can they? Of course not but let’s safely say that about half or even 70% are muck, then we’re left with about 30% of the ideas being good. Why don’t they make it to the page then Spud?

Well, I think I put on a good face but it’s this immense lack of confidence I have in myself and my abilities, mix this in with the overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome among the likes of my occult peers and you can quite quickly see why when I do come up with an idea that I’m toying to write about, I sit with it for a bit and then just think ‘ah fuck it, it’ll be shite and anyway, what exactly can I say that hasn’t been said before?’ This is the same old problem I seem to have had for years and years and years. And years and years and years. Donkey’s years as we’d say at home.

Tommie and I have spoken about this both on the podcast and in private too. I seem to have this nonsense idea that everything we do creatively should be original. Isn’t that impossible? Imagine a world where every song and every poem and every film and every newspaper article was original. We’d only have one love song in each language, or maybe we’d allow one per year? Actually that’s a terrible idea, it would all be done thanks to one of those heinous ‘Talent’ text-in shows that pollute weekend television. We’d have one break-up song for each tongue too. Now, there would be pluses to this. Adele wouldn’t have had a career, not that I bemoan her having a music career and becoming minted but y’know, all her songs are the same so she wouldn’t have made the cut. Unless she’d won my imaginary talent show that it. But messing aside, how can we be original? Is it possible? Maybe the only music on radio would be Jinx Lennon, imagine that world. And if you don’t know Jinx Lennon, well, take some time and wallow in his mighty weird-greatness.

Interestingly, Tommie used to be in a band with Jinx and when I was running the old music website I interviewed Jinx a number of times and went to tons of his gigs. Not a sync but also not, not a sync. 

The problem with trying to be unique and original is that while you quite clearly have ground-breaking artists like, say Radiohead or Zdzisław Beksiński or WB Yeats how original are they? Radiohead still use the same chords and notes and scales that are used by every single guitar player ever. Beksinski painted some pretty weird and scary and thought-provoking paintings but he wasn’t exactly the first to do that, he’s the best though and sure Yeats, jaysus Yeats was obsessed with a woman who barely had the time of day for him and when she did finally give in he gave her the most mediocre of 30 seconds ever given a lady. And Christ knows there’s nothing original about any of that.

I got a couple of cards from the divination bot on the Adventures in Woo Woo Discord today, the Librarian and the Lovers. I’d asked the ether what to pay attention to today. The quick definition for the Librarian is: ‘This Servant shows us the theory behind the subjects that interest us. She encourages us to study, and ever increase our knowledge.’ while the Lovers’ is: This Servant shows us how to love after the lust has subsided. They encourage us to connect on a deeper level with our partners so that sacred bonds are formed.

Christ on a bike, learn to love yourself Spud and get out of your own way. Ya eejit. But there’s more here, when I was on the Discord I was listening to a recent OEITH podcast, the one about our hero Duncan being touched by a sexy, nun ghost in his bed. He didn’t say she was a sexy, nun ghost, but all nun ghosts are sexy. That’s just fact. He was speaking about when the Buddha would encounter ghosts he would meet them head-on with some Metta, or Loving/Kindness and this would certainly fit with the common belief that ghosts are trapped or lost souls who can’t move on because of some trauma they cannot get passed. If we give love and kindness then they’ll surely see the issue isn’t with us and they’ll move on. Duncan could’ve gotten himself a ghost handjob out of it first and then gone with some Metta but sure he’ll know that for the next time it happens. But the moral of the story and the outlandish synch of him talking about Loving/Kindness at the exact same time as drawing the seond of these cards just bangs the nails further into the message of love, love, love.

Sister Fisty McWristy

Let’s reverse to the question of originality and uniqueness though for a moment. The reason we all want to be original is that we all think we’re unique even though we both are and aren’t at the same time. That’s non-duality baby! But then how can you be so low on confidence that you struggle to write yet have the arrogance to think you have to be original because you’re supposed to be unique? Why do our minds work in such riddles? Surely the answer is it’s because of our biases and conditioning and all that goes with it. So rather than trying to shoulder the imagined ‘pressure’ of having to deliver something original or unique the answer is surely to create what you want to and be damned if it’s not original. I’m still not sure where this idea came from – do a Binding on it the Magia lads would say – not that it really matters either way because the fact is that we don’t have to be original to be talented, I mean look at any orchestra around the world, they never break out into a jam session when they’re playing Mozart and they’re all still immensely talented musicians.

There’s one more element that the cards speak to though and I want to be careful with my words here. To learn to love myself means to love all the good and the bad and of late I’ve been having some let’s say issues with family members and because they are such a part of me and me of them then I also have to love that part of me. While it’s hard for me to see people who seem to be unhappy living their lives and indeed entering their twilight years not exactly in great mental health I will endeavor to feed the flame of the unconditional love I have for them. It’s not for me to say people are unhappy and it’s certainly not for me to fix anything when it hasn’t been asked for. It breaks my heart to see family unhappy but as many times as I’ve led horses to water you can’t make the nags drink. And that’s not to wash my hands of a situation it’s instead to say, look man, get a grip, it’s not your issue. Just be there, give love, be a good relation. When arguments starts, be above it and do your best to make good memories before the chance is gone.

I feel too as if I have some kind of issue with ancestors. Be they blood relations or ancestors in a sense of the path I’m on and they’ve been along a similar road. I still can’t quite place my finger on it – do a Binding eh? -. An urge came over me the other day to buy a candle, a bee’s wax candle, don’t use those petroleum ones for the love of God because you may as well be sucking off a car’s exhaust with them yokes. It would look nice on the mantlepiece and a nice way to remember them, even involve them over the Christ-a-mass, as it’s called in Dublin, if that’s possible? I don’t know where the idea came from but since the idea came to me there have been some synchronicities. You know, we’re all someone’s son or daughter and all of our parents have made mistakes and all of their parents and theirs too. It’s the nature of life, we are not perfect, we are not original, we are not unique, we’re not even all that different. We all bleed red and shit brown and the consciousness that experiences the world though my eyes is the same consciousness than experiences it through yours. But, look, we are here and alive and we owe it to the ones who have come before us, and who had it a whole lot tougher than us too, to live as well as we can and with as much love as we can because when it’s gone, that’s it, it’s gone.

 

Eliphas Levi

What is True Will?

Blog, The Great Work

Aleister Crowley was a scoundrel wasn’t he? Making mad claims like finishing the whole Abramelin shebang on the back of a donkey in a desert; writing pro-Kaiser articles during WWI, y’know, praising the baddies, (in fairness he was shrewd enough; getting coin for being a writer for a German newspaper and as a British informant), publishing a boatload of Golden Dawn rituals he’d sworn to keep secret. Ah y’know what, there’s little point in going into all the bad stuff Crowley did, we’d be here all day and some Thelemite is going get the hump and give me abuse and it’s not worth it. Arguing with a Thelemite is never worth it, they’re like Christian priests, they’ll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. 

Suffice to say I’m not Crowley’s biggest fan and no doubt by now you’ll know my feelings on him from the TaSTA podcast and either way, it doesn’t really matter does it? An opinion is just an opinion and sure we can still all get along, hopefully. And anyway, we can all admit that his influence on occultism has been nothing short of immense. Arguably he done more for spirituality in the Western world than anyone else previously. A case could be made for Helena Blavatsky too of course but Crowley’s vastly superior output would see him win that debate surely. But if you added in Jesus then, ok, Jesus would win. 

What is True Will?

Eliphas LeviCrowley believed himself to be the reincarnation of a French chap called Eliphas Levi. Levi was an occultist, poet and author who wrote quite a bit about the term ‘True Will’. He argued that the grand purpose of magick was for a person to find their True Will, i.e. to find out what they were incarnated here to do. It’s a crying shame that thanks to the nonsensical, rampaging capitalist society we now live in many conflate this idea with what career they think they should have. More on that later though. Levi was also responsible for popularising the idea of Baphomet, he didn’t exactly invent it but his version of it is the one that has lasted into today and the added symbology and meaning that he attached to it has seen it cementing a home in the occult world. Best of all is it’s not a Satanic image at all, it was Levi’s idea of ‘the all’. Isn’t it mad how the world sees one thing and gives it meaning which totally contrasts with what it was meant to mean? It’s a bizarre world we live in.

To get back to True Will though, there are some quotes regarding True Will from Levi I’d like to have a stab at. There’s plenty around the internet that even a little digging will show you why Crowley had such a grá for the Frenchman. And indeed, it’s pretty easy to see why Crowley would at least have wanted to be the reincarnation of his French hero, they were singing from the same hymn sheet so it made sense. 

“The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will.” The Doctrine of Transcendental Magic.

Doesn’t take much to see what he’s getting at here, the Great Work, i.e.The Seven Operations of Alchemy enlightenment, awakening, individuation, samadhi etc. is nothing more than a person becoming the best version of themselves, achieved by their own doing and it is the process of freeing their soul. I can only speak from personal experience here but I would have to agree wholeheartedly with the above quote about what my experience of the Great Work has been. In the most simplest terms that I can put it into, for me it is; to endeavor to become the best human I can be. That begs the question though, how do you do that? The first step would have to be connected with the accumulation of knowledge, learning more about the self, the yin and yang, the good and bad, learning about our individual biases, conditionings etc, where they come from and the illusionary nature of them and learning more about spiritual practices to stay on the proper track. Let’s look at another:

“Every intention which does not assert itself by deeds is a vain intention, and the speech which expresses it is idle speech. It is action which proves life and establishes will.” The Doctrine of Transcendental Magic.

My spin on this then would be; Doing something that does not prove its worth in the very act of doing it is worthless and to speak about doing things which are akin to this are just a waste of breath. Mindful action is life and it helps creates the real person. Again, aren’t we looking at learning here, learning and meeting challenges? By doing, by creating and learning to create, by loving, by simply being we are living and carrying out our simple, collective destiny; to be. Knowing that we are ‘being’, this is what ‘free will’ is, the choice to know that we are here and alive via our senses and our mind and knowingly experiencing them without identifying with them. Basically, a distancing of the identified self from what the self is experiencing right now.

Finally then what would have to be my favourite from the quotes I’ve dug up from Levi.

 “Everything is possible to him who wills only what is true! Rest in Nature, study, know, then dare; dare to will, dare to act and be silent!” Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual.

The world is your oyster if you act with honour. Rest in nature, study and learn, be brave, be brave to be yourself and just. And don’t boast. Yes, I have to say this one speaks the loudest to me, it’s very stoic and y’know too, it’s something I should be more mindful of. I know too well that I can have a bit of a mouth on me at times and I feel I would be far better served and more in-tune with my own nature if I didn’t feel a need to impress others. Because when it boils down to it, what is an attempt to impress others other than an attempt to impress yourself because you don’t see yourself as an equal to your peers. Rural Ireland left me with a deep love of nature but also with about as much self-confidence as a lame dog coming into his last weeks in a government-funded shelter. 

What is True Will?

To enjoy nature and to learn. Man, Levi, were you alive today I’d be all over your newsletter and YouTube videos. There’s no point in going into my love of the outdoors here, you already know how much I love getting into forests or walking mountains or getting up on a horse, or doing all three at once. As for the learning part, what I honestly find so appealing about living is the constant learning and the challenges. Lord knows I’ve failed a million times at things and will do so again, and again but to learn from every experience fills this old nerd with excitement and yes, there have been plenty of times when I’ve not learnt something for years and years and it’s taken something drastic for it to smack me in the face but eventually it turns up. 

I remember in secondary school, high school for you lads across the water, we were learning about scibes in early, Christian Ireland, reading and learning the holy books and copying/rewriting them in Latin or Irish and that blew me away that you could have such an amazing job as learning and writing. Sign me up lads. I’d be a crap monk though in fairness, randy head on me, I’d be chasing village maidens and missing mass.

ThelemaWe can easily see then why Levi was such a hit with Crowley and far be it from me to say he wasn’t Levi reincarnated. He might well have been for all I know but just from those quotes alone we can learn a great deal from Levi and his ideas about what true will was.

Crowley obviously ran with the idea and even the name ‘Thelema’ more or less translates as ‘will’ and sure isn’t the process of Thelema all about reaching your true will/self?

What I find both cool and fascinating about Crowley’s Thelema is that for the small number of actual practitioners of the religion/philosophy/(can we say cult?) it’s had an incredible influence on occultism and spirituality. Everyone and his dog seems to be in search of their true will or Crossing the Abyss or trying to get a Tinder match with their Scarlet Woman and even with the Tarot cards, Crowley’s Thoth Tarot kicks ass compared to the, snore, Rider-Waite deck. 

But…there’s always a but isn’t there?…you read up on what True Will means to people and they harp on about nonsense like becoming a film maker, or a writer, or an artist, I even came across a video where the person said ‘content creator’. OK, look, let’s put the brakes on the judgementalism here and say, cool, at least these careers are creative. Imagine you undertake the Great Work in the Thelema vain and you get to K&C with the HGA and she turns around and says “Yea, look mate, you’re going to have to change your name to Nigel, get some brown suits and you’re going to be an accountant for the income tax department in Roscommon because that’s your True Will bucko”. Do you honestly think that True Will is a job? As a society we didn’t even really have jobs until what? A hundred years ago? Maybe a bit more if you’re from the heartland of the industrial revolution but I’m from rural Ireland and living in what would be classed as a rural town in Poland. Up until 50 years ago you either farmed some land or you built things and your purpose was simple; live as best you can, with honor and dignity, be just and help when called upon.

I struggled with the concept of True Will for an awful long time, well, not in the grand scheme of things and sure afterall, time isn’t real anyway, but you get me. Tell you what, I’ll put it another way. It was doing my head in. I’ve had all these amazing mystical experiences, I’ve spoken with gods and told Satan to blow me, felt the breath of angels and union with the One. I’ve even taken disco biscuits with Carl Jung, he some chap that lad. But, then to have this kind of grey cloud over my head, what am I supposed to be doing, what’s my True Will? Wasn’t I supposed to be writing books and scripts and screenplays and horsing speedballs into me on the Copacabana by now?

No, I wasn’t. Because if I was I would be doing them all now. And what am I doing instead? Learning and being and being and learning and sharing what’s been learnt along the way to help if possible. Much love brothers and sisters, our True Will is one and the same.

persephone and aphrodite

We Find Meaning Where We Want To, Don’t We?

Blog, The Great Work

ParmenidesPeter Kingsley’s name comes up a good bit around these parts and on the TaSTA podcast too. I’m just finishing up his book Reality, it’s the first edition, I only mention that because there’s a fairly recent second edition and I’m curious as to what’s been added or amended. I had another dream about Peter again last weekend, a more previous one involved him and Rupert Spira renting pedal boots at a lake and then Peter trying to sell me drugs. I was awful disappointed. Anyway, I had another over the weekend but we’ll get to it. In this article I want to jump into where we get meaning from.

Reality is our first port of call. Please turn to pages 288/9 of Kingsley’s book, where we’re told the following…it’s pretty grim, well, it is but it also isn’t. Because it’s Parmenides and he’s always pulling a fast one. Big mêtis head on him, the cullián:

Really to understand that we are trapped, held fast in bonds, that there is nowhere else to go, no possibility of transcen­dence, is devastating. It knocks the bottom out of everything we once thought we knew.

All of a sudden we are faced, inescapably, with the horrifying reality of what before might have seemed such an attractive ideal— the terrors of complete­ness. For in the experience of completeness there is nothing to become. There is nothing else to look forward to. The endless searching is over.

The greatest single trick of existence is to make us forget we are trapped, because then we are hopelessly trapped. When we keep believing we are free, that’s bondage. And paradoxi­cally the greatest freedom of all lies in knowing without the smallest room for doubt that one is trapped, because then the struggling and pretending stops.

ParmenidesThis is all sounding pretty grim isn’t it. If I’d read that as a suicidal teenager I might have been tempted to end it all there and then. What’s the point of going on? There’s literally nothing else and it doesn’t get any better, well, it does but only when you see through the ‘illusion’ that there is an alternative and that when do you see that you just have to accept it. You can, of course, choose to opt out if you so wish. I’d recommend though that you don’t. You’re a long time dead and it sounds pretty boring from anyone that’s come back. Anyway, back to uncle Pete…

And yet all we need to do is to turn our awareness back, at every moment, to its source.

It only takes the slightest shift in consciousness, the sub­tlest movement of awareness, and instead of being bound and helpless we are binding the binder. We have completed the circle, inside and outside ourselves. Then the bonds and boundaries of existence are not in some far-off place any more, at the illusory edges of the cosmos.

They are wherever we happen to be. And we are absolutely free — not because we are free from something but because we contain everything, every perception and thought, inside our­selves.
This is the experience of utter stillness: more exquisite, more full, than anything under the sun.
And so Parmenides leaves us just where we found him, right in the middle of our very ordinary life. Or so it seems. For if you have understood anything at all in what he says, you will have realized that there is no leaving.
There are no comings, or goings; no goodbyes. And there most definitely is no death.

Oh well, thank God for that. What Parmy is really trying to tell us about is samadhi, awakening, enlightenment etc. Being-ness and Is-ness is all there is and I’ve written about that before and probably will again too. Thankfully though Parmy has shown us the truth though, it looked like he was telling us to find the nearest high bridge and get it all over and done with. Noel Gallagher

Sorry that the quote is so long but I just want to show here that we tend to find meaning and attach meaning to the things that we already kind of identify with. You see, Kingsley is going to go with the depressing stuff first, he always does but it’s in that depression that he finds hope. And I really like that about him. Oasis’ Noel Gallagher used to do the same thing in his Oasis songs, kick off with something depressing and sad but find the kernel of hope. Peter Kingsley then is Noel Gallagher. Oasis were the guitar band for people who didn’t normally like guitar music; Kingsley is the philosopher for people who don’t normally read philosophy. 

persephone and aphroditeNo, come on now, I’m being facetious, mean and not very nice. Well, yes, I am but there’s also truth to it. Look, there’s no getting around that Kingsley’s knowledge is pretty fantastic regarding Parmy, although, equating Persephone with Aphrodite in a kind of erotic Yin-Yang, death-vs-sex, all-girl, all-goddess-duality is a bit of a stretch, seeing as Aphrodite was her aunt/great aunt, depending on certain myths and/or also, a rival in love for Adonis. Indeed it was Aphrodite who made Hades fall in love with Persephone in the first place and it all went sour for the poor girl after that. Didn’t Zeus bone her too? He took the guise of a serpent and did, they had a child; Zagreus and then Hera, Zeus’ main squeeze killed the poor kid. Greek myths are seriously messed up.

Anyway, look, what I’m getting at here is that I’m not quite convinced that we don’t add our own meanings onto what we interact with. OK, let’s apply mêtis, dispel the ‘illusion’ and see through reality to ‘really’ see what’s there but you’re still going to hear/read/see, or understand, a song/poem/film as how you interpret them. You simply cannot be objective, and indeed, according to Kingsley’s understanding of Parmy, knowing that you cannot be is the best outcome. Engage your senses, all of them and see reality for what it is. And while you can bask in the is-ness of existence you’re still going to pass a judgement on whether an ice-cream tastes good or not. Knowingly engaging with existence is the key to applying mêtis.

Just to add, with music, when you add music video into the equation a song meaning is forever changed from what you might have thought it was. Last weekend, that great 1993 song Runaway Train from Soul Asylum came on a televisionSoul Asylum station we were watching. I have very little time for music videos, I listen to music, I don’t watch it thank you very much. That’s not the idea of music but anyway, I’d never seen it before. I had always thought the song was about ‘running away’ from a bad girlfriend. Simple enough. Turns out the song, according to the video anyway, is all about abused children that have ran away from home because of the terrible situations they lived under and now the song is ruined. And it really was, turns out thanks to the milk cartons featuring the missing kids in the video some, not all, were found. It’s properly tragic. Now, I’ve ruined it for you. But you’ve probably seen it. Probably.

As teased in the intro I had yet another Peter Kingsley dream over the weekend. He had a wheel type of thing and inside the wheel was a smaller wheel that was geared to the larger one. The smaller one was powering the bigger one. He enlisted me for moral support and we hit up the Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He was going around from university department to university department trying, in vain, to convince professors he had reinvented the wheel and this was going to revolutionize the world. All the professors just told him to do one saying things like, ‘look, we already have that/that was invented yonks ago/what are ya at, ya plank, we’ve had wheels and gears for years, this doesn’t help anything’ Poor Peter was distraught, it’s one thing to be rejected over an email or in text, it’s another to get it to your face. So we went to the pub, had a few local ciders, are ciders local to Cambridge or Oxford? Are they even close to each other? Nobody knows. Well, they do know. English people do. I don’t. I’ll look it up. Oh, they’re like 140km apart. Which is ages away. Anyway, a few pints and I consoled Peter and that was that.

BeksinskiWe don’t need to go into what the dream means, it’s not exactly like trying to decipher a Beksiński painting but ask yourself; is the meaning you’re giving it based on my attitude to Peter Kingsley, is it based on your attitude to my attitude towards Peter Kingsley, is it based on your attitude towards Peter Kingsley, is it based on your attitude towards me?

Surely then we can agree that we give everything our own meaning? Sometimes though, we are given something. Kingsley argues in Reality and in In the Dark Places of Wisdom that Parmenides was given his teaching by Persephone and who am I to argue that he wasn’t? He says that Parmenides didn’t put any of his own spin on it and just delivered it as he received it. Even though Persephone does play a few tricks along the way. I’m convinced that Kingsley has the meaning of the poem spot on for what it is but let’s remember that what remains are something like 160-ish lines of a 600+ line poem and the 160 lines that did survive were recorded by someone else much later.

A week or so after I had my K&C with herself, the synchronicities were still popping but slowing down. One morning I heard a voice whisper ‘Amon Tobin’. If you don’t know Amon Tobin, he’s a Brazilian music producer living somewhere in England. Think Fourtet, RJD2, Moderrat…I call it shoegaze dance music. I’ve seen him live at least once, maybe more, I’ve been to an awful amount of festivals and can’t remember everyone I’ve seen but for sure I’ve seem him at least once, so I knew the name when I heard it. I spent most of that day researching him, trying to find out what the HGA was telling me. As I worked I listened to everything he had on Spotify, reading up on him as much as I could and was getting nothing. Just frustration. Which is slightly more than nothing yes but all I could think was, what am I missing here?

As night came I threw in the towel and gave up, which is the same thing but with added effect. Or so I thought I had. I was on YouTube looking at a few things and decided I’d check out his YT channel, below was the first video that came up. Something weird about it was the fact that it was uploaded on what is one of the most significant days of the year for me. It was too much of a synch to dismiss. On watching the video, the meaning was clear. Oh, it’s a NSFW video too, there’s a big, floppy dong in it.

The meaning of the video is quite obvious; take the leap of faith. But dear reader, my questions to you then are; was I given this or is that just the meaning I’ve put on it? And, for you, how many things have you been given to understand?

god of the moon, sacred texts, mathematics, the sciences, magic, messenger and recorder of the deities, master of knowledge, and patron of scribes

Thoth Be, or Not Thoth Be

Blog, Mysticism, The Great Work

On Sunday night just past (3-10-21) I was particularly tired, it had been a long week workwise and between doing a few things around the house, keeping the kids busy I was shattered tired by 9pm on Sunday night. But being the good glutton for punishment that I am I soldiered on for another hour and a half before bed.

When I finally did lay my head down it wasn’t long before that feeling came on me again and I knew a vision was coming. There seems to be two times when these are most likely, when I’m fasting or when I’m dog-tired. But honestly, I don’t want to force myself to the point of exhaustion every time I’m to have one of these. Anyway, as I felt it coming on the first thing I could, for want of a better word, see, (or maybe experience is a better way to phrase it?) were fractals, black and silver and white. Where the black met the white there was always a slight line of silver to keep them apart. There was kind of a mirror sheen off of them as well and like a kaleidoscope they were constantly, but slowly changing their form.

1980s Want Their Reference Back Old Timer

What it reminded me of in the instant was…d’ya remember that flip Rubik’s game thing, I’ve just learnt it was called Rubik’s Magic (hmmm) that came out after the initial 1980s Rubik’s Cube madness? Yes, I’m older than you, probably, showing how long in the tooth I am here but, if you don’t, they looked like the image to the right. The one on the right side of the photos is usually what you ended up with, the one on the left is the correctly-completed one. Anyway, what I saw/experienced was a giant fractal, just out of arms reach, constantly changing like a kaleidoscope, black, silver and white all interchanging and evolving and it, well, shined and it’s movements reminded me of this Rubik’s Magic puzzle.

It could have lasted 10 minutes, it could have been 10 seconds. It could have been an hour. I have no idea. Time seems to just disappear when these things happen. One second you’re lying in bed the next you’re just, I don’t know how to explain it but I’ll try, it’s almost like you’re beyond it all, suspended outside time and space. It doesn’t even feel like time stops or slows down, most of us have experienced that, like when you’re in a crash or something dangerous is happening around you, time seems to kind of slow down. It’s to do with becoming intently focused on what’s going on around you so you can react in the best possible way and either get the hell out of danger or face it head on. It’s not the same as that. Time just isn’t a factor, it’s not that it doesn’t exist because if it didn’t exist you’d know what it is for it to not exist. Time just isn’t.

Yea, look, I don’t know what to make of it either. I hope I’m explaining it in a way that you can understand it. In John Higgs new book about William Blake (William Blake Vs the World) he talks about what it must be like to try and explain a feeling to someone that’s never had it before, or explaining a colour to someone who has no concept of colours. This feels a bit like this as I write it. No doubt, this can all be easily dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic but, ah well, I can only stare off into the distance and sigh you-weren’t-there-man, you weren’t there. And then Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son kicks in.

Fractal vs Mandala

This fractal, or was it a mandala? What’s the difference? A fractal is a never-ending pattern that repeats itself at differing scales while a mandala is a geometric doohickey that represents the universe. It would seem then that the difference is the mandala has the complexity within it, while a fractal changes and evolves its complexity as it scales up. OK, what I experienced then was a fractal. The fractal anyway gives way and there’s a pastel ombre, I want to say background but it’s more like a landscape but it’s also not a landscape as in when you watch a film and you know it’s not a real background it’s like a background from a 1970s Clint Eastwood Western. It looks real but it only looks real, it’s not.

This lingers for a while and it it changes from being ‘pretend real’ to having a sense of life about it. Then I notice it moves to the rhythm of my breathing. I didn’t even know I was breathing until I noticed it. Is this what morphic resonance could look like? Is any of this making sense?

Thoth Be, or Not Thoth Be

Then the proverbial hits the fan. From nowhere a massive figure appears from below the pastelgod of the moon, sacred texts, mathematics, the sciences, magic, messenger and recorder of the deities, master of knowledge, and patron of scribes background and he’s suddenly towering above me and I am so utterly and totally tiny and infinitely tiny. It’s Thoth. Well, mostly it’s Thoth. It’s Thoth but with a different beak. Thoth is almost always depicted as having a long beak, from the Ibis bird apparently. However, as he looms above me he seems to have what looks more like a puffin’s beak. Maybe this was done for comedic effect so as not to scare the living bejaysus out of me. No idea.

I grow a pair then and I ask ‘Who are you?’ He says ‘I am Las(s), Lord of Peace.’ He may have said ‘god’ and not ‘lord’ but it was certainly one of them. Then he says ‘Spread Peace’.

And then he’s gone and I’m drifting off to sleep begging myself to remember all this in the morning. Since then I’ve been looking up ‘las’ and getting very little. Las is used in Spanish and it’s basically a plural of ‘the’ so it’s pretty useless for symbolism. The only other language that I could find that has a word ‘las’ is Polish and it means ‘forest’. Maybe there’s a Pan connection here? In Greek mythology Thoth is kind of the same as Hermes but there are some differences and Hermes was Pan’s father. Thanks Bera for pointing it out to me.

Of course I turned to the oracle that is Tommie Kelly and asked for his opinion on it all. Of course he pointed out straight away that it could have been ‘lass’ and not ‘las’. Lass obviously meaning ‘girl,’ a word commonly heard in Scotland, Ulster and Northern England. He also turned up an ancient pre-Arabic goddess called Al-Lat/Allat/Allatu/Alilat who was basically the Devine Feminine from that part of the world.

The Egyptian Museum website describes Thoth as:

‘god of the moon, sacred texts, mathematics, the sciences, magic, messenger and recorder of the deities, master of knowledge, and patron of scribes.’

He’s pretty kickass in fairness but if it was him, why give me a different name? Does ‘las’ here having something to do with knowledge in nature, i.e. the Polish translation of ‘las’ or was he calling himself ‘lass’ as a female to turn my attention to the Devine Feminine again?

The 40 Servants

The 40 Servants, the Librarian, the Depleted, the Guru.I pulled out my 40 Servants Deck on Monday night and did a three card reading. Two cards for interpretation, one for advice. For the first two cards I got The Librarian and the Depleted. Seems to fit, Thoth was a big nerd, so if any 40 Servants card is going to fit him it’s The Librarian. And my old friend, The Depleted, Spud mate, you’ve got to give it all up, exhaust yourself and run to the ends of the earth to get what you’re looking for. You’ve got to get past winter and the tough times but renewal is not far off. Keep going. I like The Depleted in fairness, means there’s a reward at the end of the hard labour.

The Guru then for the advice. Use the lessons you’ll learn or have learnt in your day to day life. I will. Peace man, I love you all. I don’t want to close this chapter yet though, maybe on the next TaSTa we’ll get the bossman to give his interpretation of the cards. 

 

Sunyata

…And God is Empty, Just Like Me

Blog, Philosophy

Eckhart von Hochheim has become a big hit within these four walls I call home. Meister Eckhart was a great man for, well, you could just put a full stop there couldn’t you? What I meant to write was he was a great man for putting his thoughts about God into action. Of course, he’s one of the most well-known Christian mystics but rather than just writing down his ideas, in German rather than Latin to reach more people, he would also give lengthy sermons about what his thoughts were and the more you read up on him the more you will notice than he didn’t just stand on the shoulders of other Christian mystics that came before him, he also delved into Eastern and Ancient philosophies.  

Meister EckhartIn his own words “I have read many writings both of heathen philosophers and sages, of the Old and New Testaments, and I have earnestly and with all diligence sought the best and the highest virtue whereby man may come most closely to God…” (source)

Now, unlike most Christian preachers he would quite often use his sermons as what we’d call ‘thought experiments’ and challenge his congregations and audiences to ponder upon the being-ness and is-ness of both themselves and God. There are numerous occasions where we can read than in his sermons he would say things like, ‘I’ve never said this before,’ or, ‘the thought has just occurred to me,’ thus inviting those listening to engage with the same thoughts. There’s an often overlooked characteristic which most of the best teachers, gurus, yogis, whatever term you prefer to use, all share. They all wanted their students to think for themselves and to find God, being-ness, unity, again, whatever you want to call it, by themselves. They were more than happy to teach but ultimately it was up to the listener to do the work. It would appear that many, many people fall into the trap of following exactly what certain spiritual teachers say and end up idolising the teacher over the teachings. 

Is-ness and Being-ness

There’s two passages in particular I’d like to quote here:

Being is God…God and being are the same – or God has being from another and thus himself is not God…Everything that is has the fact of its being through being and from being. Therefore, if being is something different from God, a thing has its being from something other than God. Besides, there is nothing prior to being, because that which confers being creates and is a creator. To create is to give being out of nothing.

What is Life? God’s being is my life, but if it is so, then what is God’s must be mine and what is mine God’s. God’s is-ness is my is-ness, and neither more nor less. The just live eternally with God, on a par with God, neither deeper nor higher. All their work is done by God and God’s by them. (source for both).

Let’s have a gander at these quotes. In the first one Eckhart is saying that being is the same as God because anything that came into being not created by God wouldn’t be God and therefore just wouldn’t exist. How could something exist in God’s creation if God hasn’t created it? It couldn’t. This is Neoplatonism 101 here lads. I also like the final sentence and I think it’s something artists/writers/musicians/builders, those of us lucky enough to have a job/hobby where we create things should remember; to create is to give existence to something and to really think on that for a while can give some appreciation for how profound it can really be. For example, even just to write a song for a lover that you might only even ever play once for her is a thing of incredible, and heartfelt, beauty. To think of all the little things that had to happen for both you and her to share such tenderness and love to be inspired to write a song about that love and then to let it go out into the aether, back into the nothingness it came from. That’s just majestically mind-blowing.

The second quote then addresses that age-old question of why are we here? If God is life then we’re here living life because the being-ness of living is God itself. It’s almost too simple and yet too deep to really fathom isn’t it? But like Eckhart explains, God’s existence and our existence is the same, it is existence, so they must be one and the same. Our being-ness and is-ness is the same then as the Big Cheese’s. God, Twitter

But Being-ness and Is-ness, well, it’s not exactly tangible is it? OK, I can smack myself in the face and I’ll feel it thus proving I’m alive, to myself anyway, but if we sit down and meditate and really investigate the bejaysus out of is-ness and being-ness it’s not a thing that’s touchable, like my pretty face is anyway. But it’s still there, there’s still an is-ness or a being-ness to that being-ness. And indeed, it self-reflects because it knows that it’s there. We’ll come back to this self-reflecting later, for now let’s look more at emptiness.

Of course when you dip your tootsies into Buddhism the idea of ’emptiness’ is going to come up a fair amount. And it seems to be something that Westerners in particular seem to have a problem with. Even back in Eckhart’s stomping days, the late 13th and early 14th centuries, he wouldn’t have termed what the Buddhists call ’emptiness’ as that. For the most part he used terms like ‘silence,’ ‘stillness,’ and even ‘desert’ for example. If the argument that the Western mind is ‘more logical/rational’ then trying to rationalise ’emptiness’ is always going to be problematic. But we can all appreciate what ‘silence,’ ‘stillness,’ or ‘desert’ could mean in the context of deep contemplation on the mysteries of existence.

Tathātā

Buddhadasa BhikkhuIn Buddhism there’s a term, Tathātā, which has been usually translated as ‘thusness’ or ‘suchness’ and it’s the same as this being- or is-ness that Meister Eckhart spent so much time wrestling with. In Buddhism it’s seen as the absolute nature of things before even ideas or words concerning them exist. So, it is the is-ness of is-ness, again we see the characteristic of self-awareness here.  There’s a nice quote on the Wikipedia page regarding Tathātā that comes from Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a perennialist and reinterpreter of Buddhist doctrine. Look him up, his rejection of the idea of rebirth rattled a few cages a few years back. Anyway, he said:

When tathātā is seen, the three characteristics of impermanence, dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), and no-self are seen, emptiness is seen, and specific conditionality is seen. Tathātā is the summary of them all — merely thus, only thus, not-otherness.

In other words then, is-ness and being-ness is what there is. It’s all there is.

As you’ll no doubt be aware from listening to/watching the podcast, I’ve developed a major grá for Rupert Spira over the last few months and around seven years ago he put out a video about what we’re grappling with here; is-ness and being-ness. 

Matter and Consciousness

Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to dissect everything said in the video, do have a watch if you have the time after reading, but here are some thoughts about it. He begins by saying that is-ness is what everything and every object shares in our existence. And this being-ness is a kind of emptiness/void. This is the dreaded ’emptiness’ I wrote about above but here Spira says that it’s a first kind of emptiness. Matter is mostly empty, we perceive it as not being that but science will tell us that the space around atoms is mostly empty and while not empty in the sense of a vacuum, the space is  actually occupied by waves, perceived as points when observed. So, we can say then that matter is energy vibrating, it is a kind of emptiness yet we perceive it as matter. Bizarre isn’t it?Rupert Spira

Spira speaks about this is-ness and says there’s another characteristic though, that this is-ness is known by the objects, people, beings etc. So, is-ness has awareness. Is-ness, or being-ness is self-reflective, i.e. being-ness knows of its own being-ness.

This then is a second kind of emptiness. Consciousness knows of its consciousness, there is no matter involved, only self-knowing of its knowingness. He says: 

The emptiness of matter, which is made of being and the emptiness of thought, or knowing, which is made out of pure consciousness.

But that creates a question; where is the line between these two things? Well, there’s isn’t one. It’s the same as what Meister Eckhart says above, that our being-ness and is-ness is the same as God’s being-ness and is-ness.

Spira says about this:

“The reality out of which things are made, pure being, matter, and the reality out of which knowledge or the mind are made, which seem to be two; I, the inside self, made of mind and you, or it, the outside world, made of matter. If we explore them both, they are both empty…these two emptinesses are identical.”

He goes further and explains that space is what the mind occupies while matter occupies time. Both of which are ‘approximations and both are, as such, empty as well‘.

To end the video he explains that the experience of love (mind) and beauty (matter) are what happens when these two different aspects knowingly experience themselves. And who could argue with that? When you love something you know exactly what it is to feel and to be alive. The same goes for seeing or experiencing a moment of beauty.

What use is all this knowledge though? Well, if being-ness and is-ness and our knowledge of our own is-ness and being-ness is the same as God’s being-ness and is-ness then we can engage with it in three simple ways.

The first is to pay attention to sounds, pick something you hear often, birdsong or cars in traffic for example. When you hear them, pay attention to the moment and simply be present. Feel your body, witness your thoughts without judgement, do whatever it is that makes you feel there in that  moment.

The second is to just stop, engage with one, or more of your senses and say, I’m here and be present. Another is a meditation I made for myself based on Peter Kingsley’s mêtis because “when we live [the illusion] to the full, to its furthest limits, we are nothing but reality fulfilling its own longing” (source). Let’s ignore the ‘illusion’ word though, that’s not my bag at all. I sit or lay down and I say to myself ‘I see, I feel, I think, I taste, I smell, I hear’ as a mantra, repeating and repeating and repeating and doing the things I’m saying seeing, feeling, thinking, tasting, smelling and hearing. It’s not an easy meditation but when it all syncs up together, everything simply is.

Lego Executioner

Spud Must Die!

Blog, Mysticism

In early July I had another vision thing, why do I call them things? I guess I’m still uncomfortable with calling them visions. OK, let’s kill that shadow, the writing is well on the walls by now Spud lad. I had another vision in July and I had some trouble understanding it, thanks to the ever-awesome Tommie Kelly, he was able to decipher it for me. You can listen to it here on a recent episode of TaSTA.

Let me run through it very quickly for you here. I was doing my usual mediation and towards the end I saw two flashes of lightening, both of them contained a word that the flash of fork lightening revealed but I couldn’t make out either of the words. In the first one I could make out the Greek letter Sigma (∑) and in the second word I made out the Greek letter Omega (Ω). However, I’ve just realised now when putting this post together that what I described was Omega upside down, so rather than it being a Greek letter, it was a Latin letter, Upsilon (Ʊ). This is a bit weird I have to admit, that OmniSyn word I was told is also a mix of Latin and Greek. But we’re going to have to park that bus for now. 

I asked Tommie for help to decipher the meaning of this vision and he did a 40 Servants Card reading. We decided to do two cards per scene; for the first one he revealed The Depleted and The Fixer, i.e. to get what is worth getting you’re going to need to sacrifice everything. For the second one; The Depleted and the Master, the same thing but Tommie put it in a far better, musical way, for U2 to become the band they were going to be they had to kill the first version of the band, so again, to get to where you’re going, you need to sacrifice it all for it.  Here’s the link again , if you’d like to listen. 

Now, there’s something staring us in the face and we’re looking right at it but us being caught up in the moment we couldn’t really see it. Tommie decided to call upon one more card, this was the card to give advice; The Devil. This means appraising self-imposed restrictions and seeing if they are mine, are inherited, if they’re useful etc. It’s right there lads, we’re talking about, dum-dum-dum, the dreaded ‘ego death’ of spirituality.

At the end of the vision I heard a voice, she always sounds like Galadriel by the way, she said ‘By first giving love then by receiving love you become God’s love’. Tommie fit it with the cards better than I ever could, “By giving it all, by becoming the tree at the end of winter, The Depleted you’ll become the Master. It’s surrender.”

This all came back to me today after another meditation, although to be truthful on two things here I needed Tommie’s help to find the podcast, thanks man, and I’m not sure why as I write this, but I feel like I haveRupert Spira to mention I came across this on my Instagram feed this morning. Now, for anyone who has been listening to the podcast of late you’ll know that Rupert Spira’s name has come up a fair amount. This post isn’t going to go into what he does but suffice to say he’s an incredible ‘non-daulity’ teacher of the ‘direct path’ as it’s known and his YouTube videos and interviews are simply brilliant. Anyway, it kind of seems fitting that this image popped up today, particularly as it makes so much sense to my new understanding of what’s known around these parts as ‘ego death’.

I’ve been wrestling with Evelyn Underhilll’s Mysticism, A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness for the past while, man, it took a long time to read. It’s suffers from two problems, Number 1 being that it’s so full of well-researched information that it’s just quite a lot to process and Number 2, Underhill wrote like a poet, she loved her flowery prose, although, in fairness I’d probably be moaning if it was delivered in dry, academic language. Anyway, towards the end of her book she dedicated a chapter to ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ where obviously enough the idea of ‘ego death’ pops up. Now, what’s really interesting here is that it became obvious to me that the current crop of occultists and spiritualists obsessed with the Dark Night of the Soul/Crossing the Abyss love the heroic version of it. Evoking and Invoking angels and demons, learning passages and incantations and spells from ancient sages, or douchebags like Crowley, so they can ride triumphantly into some epic battle in the realms of the Shadowland armed with great spiritual muscle and vitality.

Aleister CrowleyIt’s all bullshit though. It’s just more of this constant hero/victim complex we see coated across all forms of spirituality. I’m better than you because I’m doing X and you have no idea how difficult my struggles are because you are not me. I am the greatest victim of circumstances in the world story but I am the hero in my own and I will rise above it all and show you all just how great I am. And then you’ll be sorry. Underhill goes to great lengths to explain that the whole Dark Night of the Soul, which comes from St John of the Cross was really just eroding the selfish acts we do and doing God’s work instead; giving, receiving and being love.

Underhill explains the two different types of ego death that mystics, well, Christian mystics undergo. They are the sudden revelation where an individual sees themselves for what they truly are and turn their back on their old ways and embrace God’s love and do His work. The second type is the slow, self-examination and self-improvement where finally a person emerges from their inner work and  becomes the person they were ‘meant to be’. It’s the same as Carl Jung’s idea of ‘individuation’. 

The first types seems to go with a period of great personal challenge when all seems to be going bad for the individual involved and when they are really at rock bottom in their lives providence seems to stand in, grab the person by the shoulders, give them a good shake and a smack in the gob and get them onto the right road. The second one is a tad less heroic but nonetheless the one that, it would seem, seems to occur far more often to the Christian mystics, according to Underhill’s research anyway. Why you would willingly invite on the first version is beyond my limited brain power. You shouldn’t have to need massive amounts of drama to need to want to make a change. If you want to make a change you already know you need to. Most of the people who go through the first version didn’t ask for it, it’s madness to bring that level of mental anguish into yourself. Then again, we’ll all experienced periods in our lives when we’ve been addicted to personal drama. I’d like to extend an olive branch of hope and help to anyone caught in that loop.

Over the past few weeks, certain elements that I would have identified as fixed parts of myself have seemed to die off, or fallen away, eroded. I’m not quite sure what the best words would be to use here. Let me list them first; making a joke of everything, being an authoritative, father figure with the wee Murfs (or at least being seen as that), my asthma has nearly gone suddenly, horse riding lessons and always experiencing something by comparing it to past experiences. Let me run through these quickly. 

On the podcast where we spoke about my childhood visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tommie put forward the idea that when I was laughed at for sharing my vision with the class that that was where I may have picked up on the need to laugh at things which I dismiss, or indeed that humour became a defence mechanism and it was easier to make a joke of something than to take something seriously. I’ve not stopped joking and messing and having the craic but I’m less likely to poke fun at something. Being authoritative with the kids;  I’ve spoken about my fatherhood struggles aplenty on the podcast so I won’t bore you but I’ve hated being a bossy parent so I stopped. What’s the point? Instead of trying to get them to do stuff, I roll up my sleeves and lead by example. I’ve gone from taking two inhalers up to six or eight times a day to taking one two times and with the horses, sure I thought I knew how to handle any horse in the world, that illusion all came crashing down when we started lessons at a more professional place and while many would question his methods I want to be as good as I can on a horse so I took it on the chin and see it as a chance to become a better rider. The old me, if such a thing is actually a thing, would probably take the lazy option and go back to the easy lessons. Yes I could ride any horse but I wouldn’t be able to master any of them. But I will.

I understand these aren’t huge things for most people but humour and my asthma are huge things for me to see evaporate. That Spud doesn’t need to exist, so why does he? Well, because we have our clinging to our experiences and that brings us back to Spira’s quote above (ha, I knew there was a reason why I wanted to include it) ‘It is not necessary to get rid of thoughts, images and ideas; just cease deriving your sense of identity from them.’ To be the perfect Spud, I don’t need to identify with always trying to come up with a joke, I don’t need to identify with being an authoritative father-figure, I don’t need to identify with having bullshit asthma at 40 years of age, or being a cocky horse rider or always explaining experiences by  comparing them to past ones. That’s a big one.

french guillotine executionerAs much as I can I try now to experience everything as something new;  a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast, I tell myself I’ve never had them before, or they’ve never tasted so good, or I add some different fruit, or dried fruit or nuts to it on different days to make it a new experience. If the kids are being difficult and not doing what we’ve asked them to do, okay, change tact and ask ‘if these were strangers’ kids how would I get them to clean up the strawberries they’ve just mashed into that blanket that belonged to my great-grandmother?’

This morning I had some very deep meditation sessions. I didn’t sleep well last night and I wanted to allow my body and mind to get some rest for the day ahead. Towards the end of the first one I could see a cave wall coming towards me and there was some resistance and I almost lost it but at the last moment I fell into the vision. I was standing at the bottom of a sheer cliff wall within a cave and water was trickling down it…caves do have cliffs don’t they, or do they have a different name, like steps are outdoor stairs and stairs are indoor steps, anyway, as sure footed as an old, mountain goat I made my way to the top where there was a small passage and the water that was making its way down the cliff face was coming from. I crouched down and I was in a kind of corridor, a bit like underground catacombs. I turned to my left and entered a tiny, domed room where a double-headed iron axe was mounted on the wall. I took the axe, went back to the corridor and made my way to the end. 

When I got there I walked out into a main square of a town, people were dressed like peasants during the French Revolution and in the middle of the town square there was a guillotine with a person with a black sack over their head waiting for their execution and the executioner was standing there. He was looking at me. I stared back at him until I realised, oh, I have his axe. As I approached the stage the crowd began to cheer, they had realised too that I held the axe and I was making my way to the executioner to get the show over with. Why he wanted an axe when the victim was already in a guillotine I’m not sure. Lego Executioner

I walked up the steps and the noise of the crowd was getting louder and louder until as I handed over the axe and a huge cheer erupted. With his eyes he told me to get off the stage so I turned around and walked off the stage, standing at the bottom of the steps. I wondered who was it that was about to be killed. Pretty obvious isn’t it?

The executioner removed the black sack off the would-be victim’s head and, of course, dear reader you’ve put two and two together quicker than me here, it was me. The crowd was silent. I stood there in absolute shock knowing I could do nothing other than watch. The crowd didn’t seem to notice the doomed and the axe-bringer were one in the same. The executioner lifted the axe then iron met skin and…

Suddenly the scene changed and my body and the victim’s body turned into two swarms of bees, they circled around each other in a dance for a while before merging in the sky in the shape of a man. When they were fully merged there was a flash of lightening. I was floating in the sky.

What I’ve learned then is that, for me anyway, what is called ego death isn’t some awe-inducing traumatic, meditation experience but it’s chiseling away at the biases, the conditioning, the self-image, the self-identity of the identified self and revealing that our ‘personal characteristics’ are the clinging of the self to ideas of itself rather than who I am.

So who am I? As we’d say at home, God knows lads!

 

Divine providence

Providence

Blog, Mysticism

Providence is given to those who take it.

I’ve spoken before about this on a recent podcast but a little reminder wouldn’t go astray.  In her book Mysticism, A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, Evelyn Underhill labels auditory experience as ‘auditions’. It’s been a fantastic read so far, I’m about halfway through and while it’s a far slower read that I’d want it to be, the fact is that it’s so full of stories and facts regarding mystics and their experiences that the going is slow.

Divine providenceBack to the quote though, I have used a method that’s been very successful for having such auditions. Basically when I wake up, I try to fall back asleep for a few minutes when I can.  Being in that liminal space weird, exciting, inspiring things happen. How many artists have you heard of who would speak about getting their ideas from that moment at where they’re just about to fall asleep or when they’re waking up. Having two small kids means this doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to but it is what it is. 

I woke up one morning and it was, if I remember correctly, a weekend, so the wee Murfs didn’t need rushing off to playschool so I was able to put my head back on the pillow, closed my eyes and tried to drift off again. What I’ll do is I’ll meditate, just try to keep my mind clear, count 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 for my breaths and if something comes it does, if not then it doesn’t.  As has been the case in all of these audition experiences I heard the voice of a woman, almost a whisper and she said ‘Providence is given to those who take it.’

What is Devine Providence?

What’s that mean? Providence is something to do with god’s will, isn’t it? God’s good will, i.e., God’s Grace? Or is it a spiritual troll and it’s something to do with that place in Road Island as well, no Rhode Island, of course it’s not spelt Road Island ya muppet. Rhode Island isn’t an island, I didn’t know that until today and Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island is close by. The more ya know eh? Back to the game at hand. What are you supposed to do when you hear a whisper in your ear when you’re in one of those liminal places? First of all is it real? Can I trust it? If I can trust it, is the information trustworthy? Who said it? The Big Cheese, the HGA, Mary or has the wife left a walkie talkie behead the headboard and she’s twisting my melon…man?

I’ve pretty much left this experience alone for a while, although I’ve mentioned it on the podcast,Devine Providence which doesn’t feel like it’s public at all, pretty much the conversations between Tommie and I are what a ‘normal’ conversation would more than likely sound like between us, albeit we’d probably swear a lot more. Only two other people know about it, both of which said more or less the same thing when I asked wtf does that mean; a shrug of the shoulders and a heavy exhalation meaning ‘damned if I know Spud man’.  But, I’ve wanted to leave it alone, I felt like I needed it to percolate in the background for a while. Last week’s article brought it back to me and I’ve delved into some possible meanings since then. Hopefully it hasn’t gone rank like coffee that’s been there for too long but then again, I’m not one of those weirdos (I am a weirdo, hands up there lads) who doesn’t drinks coffee for the taste, it’s for the thing that tricks my brain into thinking I’m not tired so we should be fine here. And I actually like cold coffee. Freak, I know.

Providence Definition

Let’s look at some definitions first. The Oxford dictionary defines Providence as: God, or a force that some people believe controls our lives and the things that happen to us, usually in a way that protects us. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as : an influence that is not human in origin and is thought to control people’s lives and Merriam-Webster defines it as: divine guidance or care. All pretty similar definitions there, the first and last ones especially, the care or protection of a supernatural something for our benefit.  The whole idea though of Providence has had people far, far smarter than me scratching their heads and stroking their beards for a long, long time.

In an article on Britannica.com, The Dutch poet, professor and historian of religion Theodorus P.Theodorus P. van Baaren van Baaren writes that there are two basic beliefs when it comes to Providence. The first being: belief in more or less divine beings that are responsible for the world generally and for the welfare of humans specifically. Although omnipotence as an attribute of gods is rare, it is true that, as a rule, gods and other divine beings have considerable power not only over human destiny but also over nature. The gods take care of the world and of humankind, and their intentions toward humans are normally positive.

He writes that the second form is: belief in a cosmic order in which human welfare has its appointed place. This order is usually conceived as a divine order that is well intentioned toward human beings and is working for their well-being as long as they are willing to insert themselves into it, to follow it willingly, and not to upset it by perversion or rebellion. 

Where do you stand on those? I’d have to swing with the first one because the second one seems to be more like (potentially angry) sky god will be upset with you if you’re not a good boy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And especially with what I heard being “Providence is given to those who take it” then god’s grace is given to you if you want it, there are no retributions, if you want it, it is there, if you don’t want it, it’s still going to be there if you should ever change your mind. 

Monkey in the BrainOf course there’s a mighty fat proverbial elephant between the four walls here. What does all this mean for free will. If I have free will to choose to go along with the flow of the world then god’s got my back, right? But, well, where do I start on this one? Is free will a real thing? I’m not so convinced it is, even though I said on a podcast I do believe it, I’ve since changed my mind somewhat and since today have changed it again. Bear with me here…If I seem to make a particular decision, we know now that what I call ‘I’ didn’t really make that decision, it was internal parts of my brain that aren’t what we’d call ‘I’ that make the decisions before I told myself that I made the decisions. In the 1980s, an American scientist thought he’d proven that free will is nonsense. He had an experiment that recorded how the brain told participants’ arms to move before they consciously made a decision to move their arms, and significantly so. This truly was the death of the whole notion of free will for me. Or so I thought until today when I went looking for the scientist’s name, Benjamin Libet, and found that his theory has been debunked. 

Is Free Will Real?

Now, this is important. Seriously, this is really important. So much of new age spirituality and new thought uses Libet’s experiment as a pivot for their arguments for things like surrender, god’s grace, law of attraction etc. In 2012, Aaron Schurger and two colleagues, Jacobo Sitt and Stanislas Dehaene, gave a possible explanation that no, we don’t make decisions before movement, the decision to move and doing the actual morement occur at the same time.  Some Standford researchers couldn’t resist the bait and along with Schurger redid Libet’s experiement with a control this time and found that Schurger was in the rightpeople’s subjective experience of a decision—what Libet’s study seemed to suggest was just an illusion—appeared to match the actual moment their brains showed them making a decision.

Until I read that linked article and a few other this morning I had been convincing myself that free will wasn’t real but now I’m not too sure. I prefer the idea that Bernardo Kastrup has on the subject, we tell ourselves stories about our decisions even though who we call ‘I’ isn’t really in charge of them, as really the decisions are made by different parts of the brain and they can be working with or against other parts and when we do something our inner monologue tells us that the identifiable ‘I’ did it and thus we give ourselves these myths. We play the hero, the victim, the warrior, the sage, the wounded within our little stories. He posits that that’s the reason why myths have been so important in the development of cultures since the year dot. 

So then, let’s solve what Providence is given to those who take it means to me. For now anyway. If you know me at all dear reader you know I am wont to change my mind when I so feel like it. To me then it means that there’s a whole load of good in the world if you’re willing to see it and if you want more of it in your life, make more of it. Basically; be sound lads, just be sound.

Please indulge me the ending of this article with two quotes. The first from William Ames: The efficiency of God may be understood as either creation or providence. And another from St Ignatius: Above all, remember that God looks for solid virtues in us, such as patience, humility, obedience, abnegation of your own will – that is, the good will to serve Him and our neighbor in Him. His providence allows us other devotions only insofar as He sees that they are useful to us.

 

 

 

Virgin Mary LGBTQ

Mary and the Magus

Blog, Christianity, Mysticism

I’ve been reading a good bit about Mysticism and Perennialism of late, devouring YouTube documentaries and deciphering some of the texts of the most well-known mystics and Perennial philosophers. Basically, after my Big Event a while back someone reached out to me and helped me make sense of it all. Being given a word, I was told, put me in the ‘rank’ of Magus in Aleister Crowley’s Thelema and we laughed that in times long gone we’d be known as saints. Imagine trying to convince your wife you’re a walking saint. I’ve tried. I failed. I’ll try again though.

Now, that’s fun to talk about and fun to make fun of but Jesus, what? A saint? Me? I’m a swampdonkey from rural Ireland.  Now, the Magus, though, that’s good craic…

The Magus seeks to attain Wisdom, declares his law, and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense. His will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; His work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his Will. This grade corresponds to Chokmah on the Tree of Life. It also bears some resemblance to Nietzsche’s “new philosopher” who creates values, although with more focus on self-transcendence according to Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin.  

That’s taken from here. Now, look, as any of you who listen of the podcast  knows, I dig what Crowley was trying to do, or did, with Thelema but I’ve very little time for the man himself and it’s not so easy for me, yet anyway, to put much distance between the man and what he done that was good and moral and what he done that really, really, really wasn’t. And this isn’t an article about the ranks of Thelema or the qualities of a Magus or the like but the parts about attaining wisdom and the focus on self-transcendence are of the main interest to me. 

Perennialism and Mysticism

Aleister CrowleyLike most of us when I first came across the idea of awakening or having an awakening/becoming enlightened I balked at such a notion that anyone as lowly as me would be able to. Sure, you’d literally need to be a saint to be one with God, like, by definition even. Sure, why would he/she/it/insert favourite pronoun, be bothered with a scumbag like me? But by reading more about non-duality and oneness with the Big Fella and the transcendence of teachers like the Buddha, Jesus etc. you start to say, aye, actually this can be done. And then when I was introduced to the Baptist Head books and saw that two working class lads from England could do it then by God, a working class lad from Ireland could fecking do it too.

Perennialism is basically the idea that at their most basic level all religions are aiming the same thing, i.e.  Union with God. Mysticism is achieving union with God via contemplative practices and/or prayer and, if you’re Christian and into it, some self-mortification (no thanks). The more and more that I read about the Perennialists and the mystics of Christianity in particular and some from Islam and Eastern religions/philosophies the more I reluctantly have to accept that what I’ve been experiencing for longer than I’ve ever admitted have been mystical experiences. That’s a strange and tough sentence to write. I was a card-carrying atheist until not too long ago. But I’d have to admit now that I was only one because I was too ashamed or scared or too unsure of myself to admit I’ve had religious and mystical experiences for quite a while. There isn’t a Christian God, I’d tell myself, but there’s something calling the shots and running it all, or at least behind it all there’s a unity to it all. 

1980s Ireland was still a hotbed of Catholicism, rural Ireland was still very much a hotbed of folk-Catholicism and rural Wexford was no different. Indeed, where I come from, having a local saint,St Fintan Munna, Taghmon St Fintan , who had been a fairly important abbot in the early Celtic church, (St Colmcille claimed God gave him specific instructions for Fintan) religion seemed to be everywhere. I’ll make a point too that the village I’m from has a high population of Irish Travellers and as such their (folk)-Catholic beliefs were very evident, particular at certain times of the year, May and October, when you’d see plenty of May bushes and statues of the Blessed Virgin and lighted candles in windows and the like. Nothing unusual for 1980s Ireland at all. You see less of these traditions now but they’re still around. 

In Catholic countries May is traditionally dedicated to a month-long devotion to the Virgin Mary while October is dedicated to the Rosary and with it having 150 Hail Marys in it, there’s an obvious connection. A classmate of my brother’s had cancer as a child, his older brother was also in my class, and we used to go to Rosary Novenas for him twice a week. They were sad, really heart breaking and it looked very bad for the lad. When it started out damn near half the village were going but as the weeks stretched on and on into months the numbers dwindled as hopes faded. Fair play though to the woman who organised it and said the prayers, Alice was her name, she kept at it and while I didn’t go to all I went to most of them. He recovered anyway. Maybe they had something to do with it, I’m not so sure but years later he thanked us for continuing to go. Least we could do. If nothing else it brought some people closer together. 

Hail Mary

Here’s something I didn’t know until researching this post, the Hail Mary was supposedly given to St Dominic by the bosswoman during the beginnings of conflicts with the Albigensian, more commonly known as the Cathars. The Cathars had some cool beliefs, most notably that theSt Dominic Received the Rosary universe was dualistic and that we (the goodies), had a moral obligation to be good to escape the burdens of the material world. St Dominic founded the Dominicans but during his time he would debate the ‘heretical’ Cathars, he lived the life of an ascetic and didn’t lead any of the genocidal battles against the Albigensian, although it is reported that he supported military involvement. It should be said too that he died before any of the inquisition of the Cathars took place. It’s said that Mary appeared to him and gave him the Rosary to help him get the Cathars to see the error of their ways. The problem though is that until Alanus de Rupe came along and said she appeared to St Dominic and gave him the Rosary two hundred and seventy-odd years later there wasn’t a single document written by any Dominican who said that St Dominic had said she appeared to him. Case closed then. 

Anyway the point I was trying to make before I got lost with Dom and Al there was the Virgin Mary was a bit of a big deal in Ireland and I would have been about three/four years old when all the Moving Statues phenomenon was occurring around Ireland a well. Most people I would have known back then would have had framed pictures of the Blessed Virgin and the Sacred Heart somewhere in their houses, you might have seen the odd Pope and JFK one as well. Unusual now but certainly not back then.

Visions of the Virgin Mary

I’m trying to remember what age I was. I remember the teacher I had in primary school so that would have meant I was in second class, that’s nine years old I reckon. Anyway, I was still sharing a room with my brother and even back then I used to have pretty bad insomnia for a child. I’d usually lose one night a week to not being able to sleep. Just lying there, worrying about everything and anything and trying to fix the world with all the mighty power and desire that a nine year old could wield in his head. My brother was fast asleep and it was a pitch dark night which I don’t remember that being all that usual because being in the middle of the countryside the stars and the moon would usually mean there’d be some light coming in the window. Must have been very overcast. Doesn’t matter.

So there I was, lying awake and then there she was. But not the film-version version that we see on our screens. She wasn’t in blue and white, there was no angelic music, no cheesy, disco fog machine, there was only silence. She was just there, shimmering, well shimmering is the wrong word, is there a word for solidly shimmering, in a kind of ghostly-luminous grey/green. It more had her shape than had her commonly-held features. There was no distinct face but her hand was outstretched, wide and downward and he head was facing downward too.

I was scared out of my tiny mind. Up to that point in my life it was without doubt the scariest thing that had ever happened to me. Thoughts tsumanied my child brain…Why was she, of all people, coming to me? I can’t do anything to help her, I can’t even get to sleep. I didn’t want the responsibility of having seen her. Was I hallucinating? Is this real? Am I already asleep and this is a dream? Why doesn’t see look like what she’s supposed to look like? I remember pulling the bedsheets up closer to my face and looking over at my brother to see if he was awake and had seen her too. Nope. Just me.

Virgin Mary LGBTQShe didn’t speak. I wasn’t given a prophecy. I didn’t receive any knowledge, secret or otherwise. She just hovered there in the top, left corner of the room and looked at me. And I stared back with the absolute fear of God in me. So I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. One Hail Mary after another until I must have fallen asleep. 

The next day in school we had a religion class where the teacher was talking about visions that people had, Knock, Fatima and so on. I suppose now I’d call it a synchronicity. Like the idiot I am I put my hand up when she stopped talking and I told the class all about what had happened. Isn’t it a strange thing that a group of people can sit down and listen to someone tell stories about strangers having things occur to them but when someone in that same crowd admits to having a similar experience the crowd will turn on them? Anyway, I was laughed at and made fun of for a good while over that. Nobody believed me. Why would they? I was nine. 

There were two other times, one in a forest locally called Paddy’s Rock, when I’d gotten lost. It was the same thing, she was up in a tree and just looking down at me, although that time she was in her usual white and blue garb. She didn’t point me in any direction or anything, you know, she didn’t help me get unlost. Just was there up in a tree, with that faint smile she’s so often depicted as having. I eventually found my aunts and cousins again anyway, I told them and, yea, they didn’t believe me either.

There was one more at a place very close to that forest, a grotto just down the road. Now, there’s a cross on the top of the grotto as you can see in the pictures in that link and there’s always been a statue of Mary in the rock too. Anyway, I was up at the cross, looking down at the short trail up waiting for my cousins and she popped up again, in the sky. I don’t know the history of the grotto and why there’s a statue there and if she’d been seen there before or if it’s just a place of calm and quiet and a place for prayer. She just appeared in the sky, smiled and was gone again.

Anyway, I had just kind of pushed these experiences away until pretty recently. Literally nobody other than you dear reader knows about these experiences. I realise now what they are/were. I wonder though having pushed them away have I pushed her away? Then again, one of my first HGA visions had the white and blue motif and I saw a shield with IHS on it. Still though, got to be a little bit annoyed at myself for not having the guts to say hello but at the same time when you’re in the middle of these things talking seems to be the last thing on your mind. Things happen the way they happen. I need to accept them and take any lessons I can from them. Kind of bizarre to think and write that I’ve had visions of the Virgin Mary. I don’t really know what to do with this information.

Suggestions are welcome, you know where to get me.