Monday, March 24, 2008

"Aleph" & "Teth"

Two of my esoteric poems on two of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were published in Issue 2 of "Hidden Spirit" here last year, but not they've been reprinted online in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, so I thought I'd share the links:



Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Book Of Beth

The Book of Beth

by Fr. J/Yachin

1. The House of God has many colours, and it has ten rooms, and it has four floors. It is built of a stone that has no form, and the blueprints of the house are hidden in the words of the Architect.

2. The foundations are strong, yet this house was first built from the roof downwards; each person who enters it shall build it anew from the foundations up.

3. There are two main floors of attainment, a basement at its base where Man is cemented in form, and a roof that opens out into the sky, where the Air is full for the breathing.

4. And God is found through Spirit in the House, the Air that blows here and there; and He is found at the back of the House, where the back door is open to the fullness of His infinite majesty.

5. The breath is as a gale from the East, so the House was built to face the West, for the builder must face the tools of his creation.

6. A King must build a Kingdom, and the beginnings of His Kingdom start with His House.

7. The Kingdom is the Door to the House of God, and you shall enter by the basement, where the chamber is damp and moist.

8. The clay is broken and built up over years, and weeds from the desecrated garden slither in and out of cracks and crevices. There are seven weeds that coil and spring, and they are the Rulers of the garden.

9. The basement is dark, yet there appears to be three passages where light streams down, and the light of a Great Lantern above illuminates the moss and the mould below.

10. The Basement is cluttered and overgrown, and the garden needs tending, lest the weeds overrun the garden above, smothering the roots of the tree that knows no bounds.

11. The people of the Kingdom must beseech the King, and they must approach His Palace by way of the steps that rest upon the foundations.

12. The Palace hides a Temple, and you shall not shake the foundations of the Temple, lest it be to raise new steps to the Summit.

13. The King has a Seat in the middle, but you must pass through His guards; one is a pillar of strength, the other a pillar of mercy. You must thread the path between them, and this path encompasses a second stair.

14. The King sits upon a Crossroads, and he has six wings, and he has eight arms, and these arms point in seven directions, and one points at you.

15. The King hears the words of His people; then He casts off His robe of glory and they hear the Word of their King: Tiqqun.

16. The Garden of God’s House needs gardeners.

17. The people must cross into the Heavenly Garden to know what tools they need; a third stair waits for them, and these steps are as a bridge, and each step is formed from their thought.

18. Stray thoughts create stray steps, and you shall stray with them. Keep then to the Way and you will keep your footing.

19. The Attic appears dusty, for it has seen little use by Man; but you grow to find that the dust is merely in your eyes, for there is no dust in this place.

20. What you see you will drown in, so keep to the goal of the garden and meet with the one who drew its bounds.

21. He will have the blueprint, but He has another Master, and this is the King Above.

22. God is in the Rafters.

23. Take a Ladder of Ten Rungs and you shall meet Him, yet you shall not glance upon His fullness, lest you become smoke and ascend into the clouds, where His majesty is unknowable and true.

24. There are three great clouds which obscure your view; the concentration of condensation is thickest near the chimney top, and this cloud is as a Limitless Light, so bright as to blind the onlookers who are not meet to meet that which is above.

25. Should you penetrate that (Heaven of Heavens be praised), you will see the Limitless, and there the Mind of Malkuth crumbles, for none can look upon the Infinite and live.

26. Life is only Life in the Light, and you shall have Life from the Limitless Light.

27. Your old eyes will melt, and you shall be given new ones, and you shall see the majesty of He that is unknowable and true, for sight is the sword that cuts the Veil, and sight is the source of penetration to the Source, where you shall see Not.

28. There is no Darkness here, nor is there Light; there is no Day, nor is there Night; even the Monad ceases to Be.

29. Hail the majesty of He That Knows No Bounds; and Hail the majesty of He Who Knows Not, for He is the Knower of All.

30. He Who Knows All knows how to mend the garden of God’s splendour, and he gives three commands:

31. You shall keep the weeds down, for they choke the flower of God’s worth.

32. You shall plant new seeds, for the Sower is the Reaper, and those who plant well supplant the Throne of Saturn.

33. You shall know the Tree by its roots; climb to the top and you will see them.

34. This is the glory of God’s Garden, and the glory of His Garden is the glory of His House.

35. Those who know God’s House know the manner of His living, and those who know the manner of His living know the mystery of His life.

36. The mystery of His life is found by the back door, yet few will think to open it.

37. So ends the Book of Beth; it ends in Silence.

For anyone who wants a nice PDF copy of the above, click here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Asceticism & Why Starving Is Bad For You

Asceticism is the practice of extreme abstinence, primarily in a spiritual context. Think: No sex for the priests and no alcohol for the Muslims. Only, chances are that a true ascetic will abstain from both, as well as perhaps many (if not most) types of food and other physical and sensory pleasures (TV, music, books, games…).

“Now, why would anyone do this?”, you might ask. Surely food, for one, is a good thing? Well, that depends. If we look at the theological and philosophical side of things, it’s easy to see where the practice of asceticism came from.

Humanity tends to think in a dualist way. It’s either right or left, up or down, in or out, off or on. We’re talking good and bad here, heaven and hell, spirit and matter. I blame the Fall for our divisive nature, but even this blame game is a divisive comment, failing to acknowledge that I am the Fall just like everyone else is (and also the Restoration, but we’ll leave that for another topic). It’s this dualistic form of thinking, so natural for us as (seemingly) separate entities from God, that makes us wonder: If we want to be up “there”, doesn’t that mean we have to stop being down “here”?

In a sense, yes. Now, let’s follow this to a logical conclusion. “There” is, perhaps, heaven. It’s God. It’s the Pleroma. It’s spirit. “Here” is earth. It’s matter. It’s physical. The common Gnostic belief is that we (our true spiritual selves [our divine spark]) are trapped here in our physical bodies, in this physical world, on this physical plane of existence. Woe is us. In general terms, it’s pretty easy to be consumed by this world, to be consumed by consumerism and commercialism and the con of “this is all there is” physical existence. We might be striving for the American Dream. We might want a house, a job, a family. And it’s very easy to forget about the spiritual, to let those godly whispers be drowned by the rush-hour noise of our hustle-and-bustle everyday lives. So what do we do? We abstain.

Sex is pretty distracting. I don’t need to back up that comment. We all know that. Humanity is a very horny species, particularly with that blissful realisation that sex feels good, and isn’t, as we currently utilise it, just for procreation. Chances are that if you’re eyeing every passing woman (or man) because you’ve got “the urge”, you’re probably not thinking about God. Crowley sex magick aside, most usage of sex (am I making it sound like a game console?) tends to be a purely physical endeavour. In order to avoid this distraction, we can abstain from sex and dedicate ourselves more fully to the spiritual side of things. This is the primary theological argument for priests abstaining from sex and/or marriage. Instead of dividing their attention, they effectively marry the Church, thereby allowing a fuller form of spiritual dedication.

Alcohol. Personally speaking, I don’t drink (or shall I say, very rarely [once in a blue moon] do), but I don’t have any religious reasons for doing so. I think it’s safe to say, however, that abuse of alcohol is quite high, especially in modern society. It’s no surprise that many people of a strong religious persuasion (like followers of Islam) refrain from drinking. Not acting like a fool, not throwing up, not having a hangover, and actually remembering what happened tend to be seen as good things. Unlike other drugs that may open you up to spiritual experience (however chaotic or limited those may be), alcohol tends to inhibit the spirit just as much as it releases your earthly inhibitions.

But what about food? Well, we could say that vegetarianism is a form of abstinence. Asceticism goes a bit further than that. In extreme cases it can actually involve the complete refusal of food for extremely long periods of time. Sometimes only basic survival is encouraged. I don’t think that’s healthy at all, and I’m talking spirit-healthy here as much as healthy in a physical sense. Yes, food is a physical thing, and eating will strengthen the physical body, but taking the division of body and soul to such an extreme tends to miss the point entirely. Let me put it simply: if you don’t eat, you will die. I don’t care if your soul still lives, you’re dead and there’s nothing you can do now to set your soul free. Remember, this prison isn’t just your physical body. There’s a whole cosmos here, an entire Matrix to break free from. If you (extreme example) commit suicide in order to escape the physical you’re more than likely going to end up back here in a new body, still trapped in the cycle of Samsara. It’s not that easy. The Gospel of Judas shouldn’t be taken literally.

What happens when a Gnostic “wakes up”? Things can get a little difficult. You see, when you start fighting the chloroform of creation, the universe starts fighting back. The Archons are loosed. Every attempt to break free is met with a brick wall and an Agent in front of it. You simply can’t break free using brute force. Why? Brute force is a physical thing. Try subtlety. Try assimilation. Try persuasion. Because if you keep fighting the physical world you’re going to end up living a miserable life here, and waking up to the truth, however frightening, is not meant to make you miserable. It’s supposed to set you free. Suffering is another prison.

God is here. Yes, he’s “there” too, but he’s here. He’s always been here. This is part of waking up. It’s the realisation that just as you are “here” in the Matrix, you’re also “here” in the real world too. God is flowing through the veins of all creation. It’s a subtle invasion of divinity, permeating all. It’s not enough to elevate yourself from the physical to the spiritual. You have to bring down the spiritual into the physical. It’s a symbiotic process. As Above, So Below.

Thus, for anyone considering asceticism as part of their practice, let me say this: There are good reasons for fasting and abstaining from certain things for certain periods of time. It helps develop your Will. It strengthens you. It highlights your strengths and weaknesses. It can aid your spiritual growth. But don’t do it because a book told you to, or because your spiritual leader told you to. And don’t put your life at risk or think that you need to suffer to grow spiritually. That’s an illusion. It’s a lie that the Demiurge feeds us when he realises he’s losing his grip on us.

All that said, if you are an ascetic or are considering asceticism, there are theological and philosophical justifications for this, and I am in no way dismissing the practice as a whole. However, for the average Gnostic, I think it’s better to nurture your body and mind so that the nurturing of your spirit is made all the easier.

I’ll end with a quote that a member of Occult Ireland forums shared recently:

"...if you kill your ego, you might kill what motivates you to embark on the spiritual path and stay on it. Therefore, do not attempt to kill your ego or even to weaken it. What your ego needs is purification, transformation, and guidance."

- Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

P.S. Kudos to Anthony for suggesting this topic.

The Disappearance Act


Back from the dead... you know, like that fella... E.T.

Okay, so many of you might have noticed that I haven't really been around much lately. Apologies for that, and I'll try to rectify the sheer lack of posting on this blog. That's my side of the bargain. Here's yours:

In order to encourage me to post (there's an Archon out there called Laziness and he's incredibly hard to kill - get me Neo, please), why not comment with some suggestions for topics for me to tackle? Indeed, I'll even go so far as to make an oath that I will post about every suggested topic, so long as it relates somewhat to Gnosticism, religion, spirituality, philosophy, or the occult.