Hear What St. Paul Saith

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“St Paul in Prison” by Lars Justinen

A Chrysalis fan once asked, “Is Chrysalis anti-Catholic?”

The official Chrysalis position on this question is that our deck works perfectly well alongside all religious beliefs; it prefers no particular religion to another. We are, however, decidedly anti-dogma, which I’ll go on to explain.

However, the church’s position on tarot is worth noting: The Catholic church, as well as Christian fundamentalism in general, condemn not only Chrysalis, but all forms of what they pejoratively term divination or, even worse, New Age. The church has always feared what it fails to understand and then demonized it. But our minds are not mired in 15th century thought, are they? They shouldn’t be.

Chrysalis is tarot designed to help its users fulfill their personal destiny. Jung called it individuation. The Buddha called it the process of becoming. In other words, Chrysalis teaches how to listen to one’s Higher Self, which itself is divine. You are not able to accomplish this unless you can think critically for yourself, trust your inspiration and inner voice, develop your innate intuitive talents and reassess all dogma. Dogma, whether religious, political or cultural, instructs you specifically WHAT to believe; indeed, what you MUST believe in order to be a good ______ (e.g. Catholic, liberal, useful idiot).

5 - Divine ChildThere can be no enlightenment – no fulfillment of personal destiny – unless one refuses to become a marionette to some self-serving dogma. As Einstein said, “Question everything.” Dogma stifles free thought by depicting it as a bad thing. Dogma considers itself beyond question.

In the spiritual quest to align personal consciousness with Higher Self (or God, the gods or whatever else you wish to name that unseen metaphysical reality that is greater than the whole), certain religious doctrine, as opposed to dogma, can inform the spiritual journey. For example, Paul wrote to the Philippians (2:13) that God gives us the “desire and the accomplishment.” This is a beautiful spiritual lesson that implies several things.

First, that we must be our own spiritual directors: We ourselves, not priest, hierophant or politician, must intuit, interpret and discern the manifest desire that hails from beyond. This is the lesson of the Chrysalis Divine Child, which abides in us all. Second, we must sublimate the personal ego and surrender it so to be guided in the accomplishment. Paul’s ultimate teaching here is about accepting personal responsibility and exercising free will in the quest for spiritual growth and then NEVER relinquishing it, lest we lock up our minds with debilitating chains of weighty dogma.

Paul was literally chained to a member of the Roman Praetorian Guard for all hours of the day while imprisoned in his quarters awaiting a trial that, according to Christian tradition, led to his eventual execution – in this case in point, to his own personal destiny. Paul wrote his famous letter to friends in Philippi from prison, as well as letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon.

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Actually, the art pictured above is Joan Miro’s “Constellation Awakening at Dawn” (1941) not “Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman” as stated in the graphic (also 1941).

© Toney Brooks, 2018

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Mysticism II

butterfly-effectThe Butterfly Effect refers implicitly to chaos theory, although the phrase has become a popular metaphor. Basically, chaos theory states that small perturbations, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can produce a significantly larger effect somewhere down the linear road of time.

While there may be no discernible patterns in a chaotic system, scientists have been able to squeeze predictions from chaos by using machine-learning algorithms, a “field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without having been explicitly programmed,” i.e. artificial intelligence. The term machine learning was coined in 1959 by one of the pioneers in artificial intelligence, Arthur Samuel.

“It is not the world that is mysterious. Rather it is the way we view it that makes it mysterious,” is a quote from George Sugihara, a theoretical biologist who has applied machine learning to the chaotic behavior of financial markets. You could call Sugihara a secular (non-religious) mystic like Edgar Cayce and many others. A mystic is someone who practices the apprehension of truth beyond the intellect, e.g. a psychic or shaman.

As I noted in the previous blog, the West never developed a strong tradition of mysticism because the Church lassoed the practice and branded it with a narrow, self-serving definition. Anything outside that definition was heresy. In religious-speak, mysticism meant “becoming holy” or attaining “Divine union,” which were the only acceptable means of predicting the future (divination, prophecy). That’s why religion has always frowned on fortune-telling, tarot and other avenues of divination as “work of the devil,” a thoroughly medieval and preposterously childish notion.

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To paraphrase Doc Brown’s famous quip in Back to the Future, “Where mystics go, we don’t need roads.” All information about the future now present in any chaotic system, such as our universe, is also available to the human mind’s own algorithm (Third Eye), although machine learning may be more efficient. That’s because most human minds are laced with biases, hopes, illusions, fears and dogmas that interfere with logic, reason and clear thinking. However, we humans are better than machines at complex pattern recognition, which fuels our unique intuition and perspicacity.

The human mind’s algorithm is capable of predicting chaos well into the future (clairvoyance). Although we might still think mostly in terms of classical causation (A→B→C), causation in the quantum world is often an illusion. We live in an indeterminate universe – some stuff just happens. While mystics can clearly discern future eventualities, and even prophecize them, the precise when of such events cannot be known. There are far too many variables, such as human free will. Yet mystics do perceive things others fail to see.

C58If you insist that you live in a deterministic universe and that someone somewhere up in the sky is pulling all the strings, you may be in for a rude awakening. Your worldview of a clockwork universe will need to shift dramatically if you are to gain any hope whatsoever of coping with the enormous changes that lie in the offing.

The gentleman at the left is Aeolus, master of the Four Winds, which symbolize the future. We placed him on the  Chrysalis Tarot companion book cover to underscore the necessity for perseverance during difficult times, especially times of change, the most difficult of all.

A helpful book is Path of the Novice Mystic, by Paul Dunion. Its theme is secular mysticism. Anyone can become a mystic, and should.

© Toney Brooks

Mysticism I

002-felicien-rops-the temptation of st anthony

I thought I’d begin a series of blogs about mysticism since the subject is vitally important to understanding almost all areas of anomalous psychology, which we often term the paranormal. It’s been a subject of great interest to me personally for many, many years.

First a word about the painting. It’s titled Temptation of St. Anthony by Felicien Rops (1878). I feature it in this opening piece about mysticism because of its archetypal significance to tarot. It invites contemplation. Let us consider this painting an exemplar of the archetype of repression, the primary mechanism the ego uses to ward off danger. The woman who has replaced Christ on the cross symbolizes the nature of Anthony’s temptation, which horrifies him. The pig, by the way, is one of St. Anthony’s attributes, his totem or spirit animal.

I should also mention that this particular St. Anthony is St. Anthony the Abbot, the Father of Monasticism. If you studied theology, you remember him as one of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the ascetic monks and hermits who lived in the Egyptian desert in the third and fourth centuries. That’s significant because all mystics are necessarily reclusive, albeit these days not to such extreme degrees. All tarot enthusiasts are either mystics in some stage of spiritual development or frauds.

After Christianity hitched its wagon to Greek philosophy, it was never able to develop a strong tradition of mysticism – a dialog with the Otherworld. That’s because the word theoria in Greek means contemplation (meditation), a subjective process, whereas in the West the concept morphed into theory, something objective to be analyzed, measured and defined.

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Chrysalis Tarot art by Holly Sierra.

Inspiration we receive from the Otherworld, and tarot, should be contemplated. This may be why tarot shares far more in common with feathery Eastern thought and shamanic philosophies (Celtic, African, First Nations) than with weighty dogmatic monotheism.

One of Chrysalis’ built-in goals is to assist you in raising repressed and suppressed fears and memories into consciousness. In other words, Jungian shadow work. Becoming self-aware of your unconscious mind, by definition, will raise all kinds of flotsam and jetsam to consciousness. This act of will alone removes 99% of mind-clutter that skews effective communication with the Otherworld.

Rops penned these words about his painting, “Jupiter and Jesus did not carry off eternal Wisdom, nor Venus and Mary eternal Beauty! Even if the Gods are gone, Woman remains. The love of Woman remains and with it the abounding love of Life.”

© Toney Brooks

“Real Magic” with Dr. Dean Radin

(The following article first appeared in Psychology Today)

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Dean Radin, Ph.D., has pursued the most mind-boggling fringes of science – ESP, telepathy and other wonders – earnestly and with excellence for decades. He is the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (link is external) (IONS) in Petaluma, CA, a next-level research and educational organization founded by the late astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. Dr. Radin also worked on the United States government’s top secret psychic espionage program known as Stargate.

His new book, Real Magic (link is external) (Harmony, April 10), is a triumph of an open mind over limitations. As his publisher points out – what was magic two thousand years ago is scientific fact today. No less than Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge calls it,  “A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.”

His publisher states: “Radin has spent the last forty years conducting controlled experiments that demonstrate that thoughts are things, that we can sense others’ emotions and intentions from a distance, that intuition is more powerful than we thought, and that we can tap into the power of intention (think The Secret, only on a more realistic and scientific level). These dormant powers can help us to lead more interesting and fulfilling lives. ”

The book begins with a history of magic, continues on to a review of the scientific evidence for it and concludes that magic will play a key role in frontiers of science.

And he is a synesthete. This is our (edited) Q & A:

real magic

Please tell me about your new book.

DR: The unique aspect of Real Magic, which may end up in the occult, metaphysical or religious section of most bookstores, is that it’s really about science, and in particular what happens when science looks at the full nature of reality, including unusual subjective experience and consciousness. Because I want to promote it as a science book, I sought endorsements from my scientific colleagues, so I’m very grateful that it has been endorsed by two Nobel Laureates, a president of the American Statistical Association, a program director from the National Science Foundation, and etc. I could have asked historians, notables in the human potential arena, and ceremonial magicians for endorsements. But there are plenty of books available from those angles. This one is different.

Can you tell me about your early experiences with synesthesia? What forms did you have? When did you notice it?

DR: I didn’t realize that tuning my violin strings according to their colors was unusual. The E string was a clean silver, A was ​a pleasant blue, D was a rich orange, and G was an earthy green. When the string was at the right pitch, the color also carried a feeling tone, hence terms like clean, pleasant, rich, and earthy. I think I was always aware of this, but I noticed it as a “thing” when I learned in my late teens that not everyone experienced sounds this way. This combined sound-color-feeling sense was not always welcome. I recall practicing my violin one day and becoming aware of something intrusive and “off.” I tracked that feeling to my mother, who was in a room on the other side of house, quietly humming to herself. The just barely audible humming, blocked by multiple walls and closed doors, felt so “loud” to me that I couldn’t practice. To this day if I’m listening to music and there’s other music or just a rhythm beat playing somewhere else, even very far away, it drives me to distraction.

Do you think having synesthesia when you were young “opened you up” to unexpected experiences? 

DR: No, because I don’t recall having any of the classic psychic experiences​ when I was young, and nor did anyone else in my family. In hindsight, I suppose I was highly sensitive and empathic (as many young children are), but not in a way that today I would call psychic. I was attracted to parapsychology mainly out of curiosity. I was always curious about everything, and I’ve never found anything more curious than phenomena like psychic phenomena because they tell us that something about our common sense understanding of reality is missing something important. Of course, this is also what mystics have been trying to tell us throughout history, so I’ve learned to pay close attention to that literature as well.

Are we at a crossroads in science? Does your new book signal the death of materialism?

DR: Science is always advancing into new territories, so what I’m proposing in Real Magic is just part of that evolution. Today’s version of materialism is still quite robust, and it will likely remain so for a long time because it’s very effective for learning about certain objective aspects of reality. But materialism doesn’t cover the whole territory, and that’s where we’re seeing rising interest in expanding our scientific worldview to embrace what philosophers have called idealism.

Real Magic explores the challenges of fitting psychic, mystical, and magical experiences into the scientific worldview (which is only a few hundred years old) by carefully considering the wisdom of the esoteric traditions (which are many thousands of years old). It’s in that ancient lore, most of which is still vibrantly alive today, where we find clues about the next big advancements in science. Those advancements will entail a change in our basic assumptions about reality. Consciousness will be placed front and center, rather than relegated to the far fringe as a meaningless epiphenomenon, which until recently has been a basic tenet of academic psychology and the neurosciences.

Dr. Radin has conducted research at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He is also the author or coauthor of over 250 technical and popular articles, three dozen book chapters, and three books including the best-selling The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award winner, SUPERNORMAL (Random House, 2013).

Tarot and the All Seeing Eye

3rd eyeThe engraving pictured above is familiar to most everyone but few know what it’s about. Titled “The Flammarion Engraving,” the artist is unknown, but most likely was Camille Flammarion himself; the art was for a book he published in 1888. It depicts a missionary (a seeker of truth) who unexpectedly discovers where Earth and Heaven meet. More precisely, he came upon the liminal space (threshold) between them. That’s the stated objective of Chrysalis Tarot’s Papa Legba: to aid you in your discovery of liminality.

This blog is the third and final piece in a series about how tarot works. Many (quite wrongly) believe that tarot is something to be taught; that it is simply another decoding methodology, in this instance of randomly dealt cards. “This means that and if it’s next to that, then it means this and if it’s upside down, well then it means something entirely different.” Put bluntly, that’s just utter nonsense. It is, however, nonsense that quite a number of people successfully have turned into a profitable cottage industry constructed upon the twin pillars of medieval superstition and self-serving esoterica.

As long as tarot is identified primarily with woo-woo fortune-telling rather than with spiritual growth, it will never (and should never) earn anyone’s respect.

awaken-open-your-third-eye-and-see

This is not to suggest that tarot doesn’t work – it most certainly does, as we all know. We suggest only that this is not the way tarot works and that true cartomancy, as opposed to woo-woo fortune-telling, is not comparable to, say, a Captain Midnight Decoding Ring. Not in the least! True cartomancy involves psychical communication with an unseen realm.

To glean meaning from tarot – valuable, useful, spiritually nourishing meaning – you first need to develop your innate intuitive skills and sow a fertile field for human imagination. You must, like Flammarion’s awestruck missionary, peer through the firmament that separates the seen from the unseen, the finite from the infinite, the known from the unknown, and become truly awe inspired.

We accomplish such an awakening not by consorting with rote definitions and fanciful gimmicks but by raising our Third Eye into consciousness and trusting our inner voice; by allowing ourselves to embark upon an astral journey like the lady pictured above and by contemplating energy patterns (chakras) that twist around the backbone of our being like a coiled snake – kundalini energy, which is female. The Third Eye is also known as the sixth chakra or indigo chakra. A Third Eye mandala is pictured below between two Chrysalis cards that invoke Third Eye symbolism.

Tarot employs what we might call speculative metaphysics or meta-philosophy, which is nonsensicalism to most materialists. Only those willing to peer beyond the veil can begin to comprehend the true nature of reality. At Chrysalis, we urge you to contemplate (not analyze) Holly Sierra’s extraordinary artwork on each of our cards rather than aspire to decode it.

The human psyche interprets symbols and archetypes via its personal unconscious – a realm of female energy symbolized by the moon and the serpent; the masculine conscious realm is symbolized by the sun and the raven. Archetypal symbols often mean different things to different people but always represent an initial spark of understanding that becomes the kindling of enlightenment.

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Serpentine Apotheosis by Hakan Hisim

© Toney Brooks, 2018

 

 

 

CQ, CQ, Consciousness Calling; Come Back.

A statue of a Buddha head in the roots of a tree, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This Bing wallpaper image popped up on my computer the other day suggesting a direction for my second piece in a series on how Chrysalis Tarot works. You’ll recognize this Buddha art as the inspiration for Chrysalis’ Three of Spirals, “Contemplation.”

You may also notice that the blog’s title was inspired by the movie “Contact,” which starred Jodi Foster. I watch it at least twice a year. In shortwave radio communication, and communication in general, the term CQ identifies a “general call.” Anyone who hears the call can respond.

Chrysalis is based on the premise that consciousness is non-local, a term in physics used to denote “action at a distance.” Examples of non-locality are gravity, electromagnetism, and tarot, indeed any action not explained by one object’s physical interaction with another.

Action at a distance became weird, or as Einstein put it, spooky, when quantum physics and the strangeness of quantum entanglement were introduced. When two protons, for example, are entangled, they can be located at opposite ends of the universe yet still remain connected or correlated. If you spin one proton clockwise, the other will spin counterclockwise instantaneously, although the two are separated by gazillions of light years.

Chrysalis Tarot works because the entire universe is connected by whatever defines the ground state of the universe. In the terms of quantum physics, this ground state is known as the quantum vacuum or zero-point energy. In theology, the ground state is, obviously, God; Paul Tillich asserted that God was the “Ground of All Being.” In the metaphysics of Chrysalis Tarot, the ground state of the universe is consciousness. That’s right. The universe is conscious of itself and growing more conscious of itself by the second. And the speed of consciousness pays no heed to the speed of light.

consciousnessradioAnother metaphysical tenet of Chrysalis is panpsychism, which asserts everything is conscious. Such a view is not exactly groundbreaking news: panpsychism is one of the oldest philosophies around. Plato was a panpsychist. The Greek goddess Psyche was a panpsychist. As a Chrysalis archetype, Psyche represents personal transformation and the Universal Mind.

The human brain is analogous to a radio. It tunes to different frequencies. When tuned to its own frequency, it experiences self-awareness, a good thing (visualize a self-reflective Buddha under a bodhi tree staring at his or her belly). Well, it’s a good thing as long as it also tunes to other frequencies – other humans, intuition, dreams, ancestors and even protons on the other side of the universe. “Come back!”

Chrysalis encourages you to tune to and contemplate the frequencies of relevant archetypes as a means not only of increasing your own self-awareness, but also to better comprehend the true nature of reality. Your spiritual growth and wellbeing depend upon your willingness to soar beyond society’s imposed intellectual constraints, most notably its petrified dogmas and Earth-bound ideologies.

21 - Psyche

© Toney Brooks

 

When Archetypes Cognate

keep-calm-and-look-for-cognates

I know, I know, but let’s have a little fun. While the linguistics may be battered and bruised – cognate is not a verb – in this instance let’s suppose otherwise. Cognate (the adjective) means analogous in nature; of the same bloodline, specifically a female bloodline. Male archetypes, i.e. gods and demigods, would therefore arise from agnate bloodlines. We’ll return to these terms directly.

The purpose of this blog and several others to follow it is to explain how and why Chrysalis Tarot distinguishes itself from more traditional decks whose origins and schematics date to the turn of the 20th century when metaphysical worldviews were much different and far less sophisticated than today. For example, recall the days of the archaic “divine right” of kings, queens, emperors and empresses to rule; of the unquestionable spiritual authority of supreme religious leaders; of hocus pocus, spells and sundry other superstitious fiddle-faddle which, unfortunately, still pollute traditional tarotists and other metaphysical disciplines today.

Pierre Teilhard de ChardinWhat is an archetype and how to they cognate? Well, an archetype, in 21st century metaphysical parlance, can be defined as an integrated, anthropomorphized emergence of information defined as attributes that exist concurrently in the brain and in what is known as the noosphere, a concept developed by the great philosopher Teilhard de Chardin (left), who often was called the Prophet of the Information Age. The noosphere itself is cognate with the Akashic Record, which also is known by many other names, e.g. Jung’s Collective Unconscious, aether, astral plane, Indra’s Net, etc. In Chrysalis we refer to it simply as the Otherworld.

When you read using Chrysalis Tarot, you access a particular psychological construct located in the noosphere and also in your own consciousness. You do what shamans do: you access the astral plane, where the ones and zeros (the essence of all information) that comprise the eternal energy (consciousness) of your ancestors and archetypes exist. Gods and goddesses are archetypes; integrated information constructs. The more information the better.

What’s equally important is what you DON’T do. You do not access an objectified Divine Will or some other mystical source of preordained circumstance from which you have no escape. Such thinking epitomizes precisely the type of Sunday School spirituality Chrysalis Tarot seeks to debunk!

hathor by Sharon George
Hathor, by Sharon George
When archetypes cognate they evolve – they subsume and share attributes with other archetypes and grow in grace and knowledge. The consciousness of those individuals with whom they communicate, with whom they experience affinity, also evolves. Spirituality is fluid, not static, and cannot be codified. Codification of spirituality results in the entropy of spirituality, a.k.a. religion.

Throughout human history the most ubiquitous cultural archetypes have been the Great Mother Goddess and her cognates. Examples of  her ethereal offspring are Aphrodite, Ariadne, Isis, Hathor, Mary of Nazareth, Diana, Gaia, Freyja, Quan Yin, Chehooit, Kali, Ma’at – the list goes on and on ad infinitum: the cognation of divinities is timeless.

Traditional tarot proceeds from a masculine, monotheistic, abnate mindset that is uncompromisingly dogmatic and authoritarian. Chrysalis Tarot, on the other hand, is unabashedly feminine, polytheistic, cognate, free and self-liberating. Chrysalis was created to empower its users as well as to actively assist them with spiritual growth – to help them better understand themselves and the true nature of reality.

© Toney Brooks, 2018, first in a series

Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2

Screenshot-2017-11-27 Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2
The Apotheosis of the Slavs, Alphonse Mucha (1926)

We commonly see practitioners of various spiritual traditions—serious and learned practitioners, at that—who spend a lot of their time and energy in criticizing human social and political tendencies. There is no inherent problem with this, as an increasingly “spiritualized” perspective on psychology tends to reveal these and other outward behaviors certain occult interactions of the mind (see my article Politics as Counterfeit Spirit.) We do see, however, that many of these Gnostics and Yogis come to resemble the very things for which they criticize others.

Such criticisms often come along with name-calling, such as the now-infamous “sheeple” or just a sneering inflection applied to words like “humanity” and “people”. Terms and phrases are coined or co-opted for labeling a particular in-group, not just for the practical sake of distinguishing practitioners from non-practitioners or a spiritual family group, but to differentiate between people who are worthy of existence versus those who aren’t.

In so doing, these practitioners come to embody the very things about humanity which they spend so much time decrying: lack of charity, braggadocio, violence (social or literal), and bigotry. Just as we tend to become more like that which we love, we also come to resemble that we most hate.

The key factor, here, is a lack, or even rejection, of peace.

Peace has suffered a public relations problem ever since the failed hippy experiment of the ‘60s and ‘70s gave most Americans the impression that the word implies, at best, a shallow failure to recognize the necessity of strength and, at worst, utter cowardice. But there is no long-lasting spiritual or religious tradition in the world which does not hold peace as an ideal—however, representatives of these traditions often fall far from it.

It seems that to ignore peace is to reject spirituality itself.

We must rework our vision of peace to the individual rather than society. If social peace is even a possibility, it must come from individuals anyway, a fact which would-be revolutionaries all too easily forget. Peace is simply samarasa, the pinnacle of what we know in the West as equanimity. As with all virtues, it isn’t likely that we’ll suddenly find ourselves in full possession of it after a few weeks, months, or even years of effort, but cultivation of it is entirely within our abilities. We will all have our ups and downs, but steadiness of effort will carry us, as ever; progress, not perfection, is the watchword.

Peace and inner stillness do not mean lack of effort, but that effort is directed where it most needs to go without getting drawn out into petty distractions. It also does not imply apathy, for then no effort is directed at all.

The Stoic virtue of apatheia is a far different thing from the apathy of the slacker. It does not indicate lack of care or concern, but distance from unnecessary suffering. Pain is inevitable but, as the saying goes, suffering is a choice. That is to say that suffering arises from the engagement of consciousness with the fact of pain rather than the simple experience of pain. Pain is what the body and brain do; suffering is what the mind does when it won’t stop pouring over the pain, grinding its gears over the present situation rather than calmly taking the message of pain (namely: there is a problem) and finding a solution for it. Suffering therefore arises concomitantly with lamentation, whether it takes the form of fears or anger matters very little.

Equanimity is a skill which we develop through practice. Meditation is, of course, a major tool in this process, as it provides us with the intellective distance necessary to watch the workings of the mind and its habits. As we see suffering, despair, anger, hatred, and other unhelpful patterns arise, we can begin to also see—bit by bit, don’t worry—how we may stop them in their tracks, turning our minds to thoughts, words, and deeds which help rather than hinder.

Equanimity is poise, a stance whether of gymnastics or martial arts which allows us to remain calm and relaxed while observing, yet ready to act, explosively if necessary, at the very moment it is most necessary. Peace is activity with meaning rather than a mere reason or justification.

(Reblogged from Phalanx)

Halloween Disambiguation

8850-munch-the-scream-Many well-intentioned people conflate spirituality with religion, but the two differ considerably. Spirituality can be likened to a crystal-clear, free-flowing stream; religion, on the other hand, is the dam that arrests the crystal-clear flow and then seeks to define the brackish muck that collected behind the dam. Halloween can help to illuminate this point.

The word Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve that denotes the evening before the Christian celebration known as All Saints’ (All Hallows’) Day, a festival invented by the church in the 8th century. But the rich history of celebrations on this day is well over 2,000 years old.

The ancient Celts celebrated New Year on November 1. The Celts, of course, were Pagans, a word that simply means country folk but has become a pejorative. The Pagan feast, which the church sought to eradicate, is known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). The word itself comes from an Old Irish term meaning summer’s end. Pagan feasts begin the evening before the feast day itself. Indeed, Samhain is still celebrated on Oct. 31-Nov 1.

Samhain calls attention to what is known as a “liminal” time – that betwixt and between separating spiritual time (eternal) from worldly time (temporal). It’s a time when ancestral spirits danced on the curtain separating the two. Liminal time is also associated with the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleep;  with out-of-body experiences resulting from deep meditation, and with bilocation, the ability to be in two places at once – to possess an earthly body and an astral body simultaneously.

Eight of SpiralsPropitiation of the ancestors, which the church vulgarized and anathematized as “ancestor worship,” as well as paranormal expressions of liminal time, are heresies. Hence the dam named “All Saints’ Day” was built so that this unseemly Pagan spiritual nonsense could be corked, codified and rendered respectful. This is what dogma (correct beliefs) does to living, breathing spirituality.

As a secular holiday Halloween is a joyous occasion, as are all holidays that sharpen our focus on kids and families. But there comes a time to “put away childish things,” said Saint Paul. You can do that by mitigating the brackish water of dogma and by not allowing it to morph into a self-satisfied entropy of your spirituality.

For adults, tonight is also a night to remember and honor our ancestors. It is a night to light candles, muster courage and venture behind the threshhold curtain; a night to experience the spiritual wonderment commonplace to our ancient pagan ancestors – Celtic, Greek, Roman, First Nations, Latin, Asian, Aboriginal, Egyptian, et al., but especially to the shamans of the world, masters of the ultimate liminal experience.

Politics as Counterfeit Spirit: A Metapsychology of Liberation, Part I

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An astute piece about the toll political disputations and other group-think activities take on the psyche and essence of who we truly are (Higher Self).

 

Rise above the chaos and ego-obsessed Egregores, characterized by the dispirited fellow on the left!

Phanes

I find it interesting to watch and listen to “political discourse” not because I care about the politicians or parties themselves but because of the patterns and forces which they reveal. Saying this is liable to bring accusations of disconnected or apathetic privilege from the impassioned Left or else of Satanic refusal to tow the Nationalist line from the effusive Right, but this is evidence of the selfsame patterning.

In the occultism of the West, we might speak of egregores: group-minds which take on a literal life of their own, directing human activities on a more or less large scale in line with their own survival and expansion needs rather than the explicit desires of the human agents themselves. These egregores, however, may be dealt with, tricked, trapped, or, more commonly, compacted with just like any other spirit-being. Such pacts, whether explicit or implicit, are more common than not.

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