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. 


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


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.