Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fear and Pride

A fast trip straight down the ladder, right to the primal fear, right to the base anger.

Jacobs Ladder, Bruce Joel Rubin

 


The Practical Kabbalah is replete with warnings; the occult is a dangerous business.  If it doesn't feel dangerous you're probably doing it wrong.  The three most serious dangers that face the practitioner are blasphemy, insanity and death - we face them constantly.  Blasphemy arises from failure in  practice or when results go awry - fuck this shit.  Insanity occurs as a result of possession or when the mind becomes so saturated with symbolism and significance that rifts inevitably result - schizophrenia.  Untimely death can occur in a number of different ways but more often than not it will appear as the result of sudden sickness or unusual accident.

Although we need to distinguish between the dangers of magick and those of mysticism I agree that the best occult results are achieved when they are thoroughly intertwined.  While calling tricky or hostile spirits could easily result in possession and various banes, when the Kabbalists warn us to run and return they are fully aware that mystical union with the Godhead could also mean the divine kiss of death. Like the moth to the flame, in ascending the Tree of Life you should understand that Kether may well be a black hole, not a worm hole.

When practitioners warn us to stay grounded, holding on to our belts lest we float away they are trying to protect us from these three perils.  We must learn to fly but when we do we need to make sure we hang onto that silver cord of a lifeline.  When fusing ourselves with the Zodiac man we must remember that while the rams head may well be the crown of the celestial heaven our feet of fish walk upon the Earth.  Learn to fly, but grow into a giant so you can reach Heaven without ever leaving the Earth.


In all my life I never knew such terror as when I lived at Edward Kelley's haunted tower at the Donkey in the Cradle House in Prague.  Insanity threatened from the failed attempts to rationalise all the spooky shit that surrounded me - noises, temperature drops, feeling Lovecraftian things touching you, caressing you in the night (this might sound funny, the reality is appallingly awful, believe me).  People think it would be exciting to experience The Conjuring as your day to day life but it isn't it.  Its terrifying and exhausting.  Frequent attempts at posession by someone or something pretty much had me sleeping through the day and remaining vigilant all night. I feared the hour of eleven when the invisible wires would ting ting ting.  What I learned from all of this is when the master wizard gets killed by the wraith then you flee the cursed tower built on the bones of murdered orphans on Corpse Street next to the old plague cemetary.  Fear and Love, know which is which and use appropriately.

Ignore practitioners who urge you to just do it, in fact ignore anyone who seems arrogant or reckless - this is not the right attitude at all as people can get hurt or killed.  Do the work, but as a scientist follow all safety advice and be absolutely respectful of the spiritual environment and possible contagion.  And most of all, beware hubris, fellow mage.  Pride is the mind killer not fear, pride will make you press on when all Reason is calling for retreat and pride will convince you of success when you have fallen into those deepest of pits - blasphemy, insanity or death.





Monday, March 21, 2016

Problems with Pathwalking


Throughout this article on Simple Pathworking Augoeides refers to learning about the nature of the path but regrettably the Kircher path attributions are only one of 22!* variants of the Tree of Life and one that does not follow the clear rule of 3, 7 and 12 - 3 horizontal paths for 3 mothers, 7 vertical paths for 7 doubles and 12 diagonal paths for 12 simples. The onus should now be on members of the WMT who willfully ignore access to new/old sources in their following of the Kircher Tree variant to make sure that it is clear that they are referring to the Kircher Tree of Life not the Tree of Life as if Kircher is the sole Tree.  Isaac Luria has a Tree of Life, as does Cordovero and the Gra. I understand there is considerable inertia in the WMT, and many of these Kircher adherents do not even bother to check actual Kabbalistic sources but rely solely on Aleister Crowley et al even though this is frankly ludicrous.**

If you are new to the WMT and you are serious about studying Kabbalah you need to study some Jewish sources.  It feels odd stating the obvious like this but you will be surprised how many haven't and for how long they haven't.  I recommend starting with Sefer Yetzirah in Theory and Practice by Aryeh Kaplan as this will give you a very good sense of the plurality of opinion in the Kabbalistic community, some logical tools/key information to manage it as well as exploring what is the foundation text of the whole belief.  I am aware that many of the Golden Dawners, Thelemites and other various Kircherites have had this version of the Tree embedded in the very foundation of their system of thinking and I am sorry to say that this was probably an honest mistake in the inception of these orders. There is no evidence that these groups shopped around with different variants before settling on the Kircher, they just ran with it.  If you are a member of one of these orders and you have spent the last however long studying only the Kircher Tree and memorizing it as ''the'' Tree of Life, I appreciate that studying the Kabbalists who actually created the Kabbalah may cause some cognitive dissonance... but if you don't you are being intellectually dishonest with yourself as well as maintaining profound cultural ignorance.

3, 7 and 12

Regarding astral path-walking it is painfully easy to see what you want to see and you are your own worst enemy in this respect.  In my experience genuine astral explorations*** are not guided in the way explained in sources like Donald Michael Kraig or Dion Fortune.  If working on the astral I recommend using the letter itself as a gate - ignore the Tarot or other ''777'' associations - let the letter speak for itself.  Once you are seeing the pixelated tessellating darkness of pre-astral vision cut the shape of the letter in the darkness, go through it and try to take in what you see without preconceptions. Your interpretations will generally harm the quality of the vision.

Another way of exploring a path is to summon/conjure a letter on to an actual path and then physically walk that path paying especial attention to the phenomena that you encounter upon the path as a conversation with the intelligence of the letter.

1.1240007e+21
**Even Aleister appreciated that there were things that were wrong with the G.D. Kircher Tree of Life Tarot gestalt - note Tzaddi is not the Star (a misinterpretation I explain here) or Charles Stansfield Jones' experiment with flipping it upside down.
***i.e. on the astral plane as opposed to taking a tour of your own lesser psyche.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stoicism, Magic and Meditation

The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me.

Hamlet, William Shakespeare 
Can you do magic without meditation?  Can you do magic without being more or less in control of your own mind?  Yes, the same way you can operate heavy machinery while drunk.

The Western Mysteries are not bereft of ''meditation'' at all, these practices were not imported from the East 150 years ago. Practical Stoicism - the study of personal tranquility, poise, diet, meditation and training through voluntary discomfort - combined with Neoplatonism and Judaism in forming one of the main components of the Western Mystery Tradition. Renaissance men like Dee and Bruno were not unfamiliar with stoicism.  The idea that a magician can summon the spirits without being in control of their own mind is ludicrous and when they do do it anyway... downright dangerous

The discussion of the Kabbalistic tradition of Hitbodedut in Meditation and Kabbalah by Aryeh Kaplan begins with the role of Stoicism in equalising the self, Hishtavut.  According to the Baal Shem Tov, Shivi-ti, a term for I have placed could be read as I have become stoic.  Isaac of Acco speaks of mitbodedim, or meditators.  This meditative work is not just for mystics, many practical Kabbalists are included in this book which also demonstrates the obvious similarity between Jewish mystical practice and Indian mystical practice, yantras, mantras, etc - there is clear evidence that writers of key texts like Sefer Yetzirah and Sefer Raziel ''meditated''.  A division between prayer and meditation seems futile.

STOA


Stoicism has informed my practice from youth.  How can you claim independent will if you are constantly too and fro between praise and criticism?  How can you unify dimensions without steeling the will?

Having seen many ''widely respected magicians'' completely flip out and others be demonstrably manipulated by spirits maybe a bit of a refresher course on stoicism et al is long overdue.  I find it startling that this is even being discussed.  I agree with Miller but I am not sure he has phrased it strongly enough. I am not saying that you are always being manipulated by spirits as you set about your daily routines of sorcerous desire fulfilment in the woods, or whatever you think magic is all about these days, but without some kind of meditative practice I fear that the magic may well be doing you.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Raziel - Sleeplessness

I'm almost convinced that I'm never awake. I'm not sure if I'm not in fact dreaming when I live, and living when I dream, or if dreaming and living are for me intersected, intermingled things that together form my conscious self.   I don't sleep.  I interexist.

Fernando Pessoa, the Book of Disquiet

SLEEP NOW

I have never slept, I haven't - yes, you told me, but I knew.  Back and forth between waking and dreams, each world seamlessly shaping the other, amnesia narrowing the hourglass. Experience is relentless - there is no such thing as sleep, its a delusion, a lie I tell myself to forget. The only substrate is continuous, contiguous thought, a duality between that which is willed and that which comes unbidden.  I am one cell amongst many, experience is the fluid I bathe in, self consciousness my nucleus.  I am a whisk in a fish bowl. I am a bauble with a painted interior - characters, events, stories diffusing from the bloodstream of time becoming shadows on the walls of my glome. Locked in the hypersphere of the self, a cellular bathyscaphe, I dutifully replicate events - respiring, digesting, sweating; remembering and forgetting - I work these wheels for the necessity of time. Somehow break away on a tangent and I'll find the loop again or die. But this means no end, I'll sink and resurface; experience is relentless.  An incredible exhaustion comes over me, have I never slept?  How long have I been here? Every moment of my life branching into still breeding daughters, even in the dead ends where nothingness spawns matter. My own fallen daughters!

I CAN'T REMEMBER TO FORGET YOU
Studying the occult both exhilarates and terrifies me in how it continues to flip my world view.  After early studies in occultism, alongside my degree in genetics, I remember the Metabolism of Time crystallizing in my consciousness during my supervision of a trampolining competition.  Afterwards, I wrote the four acts in two weeks.  I knew it before, but now I understood - and that understanding was a foundation.  I no longer looked through my eyes I looked at them.  I heard my ears and felt my feelings.  The membranes went live. Intricate details followed for years upon years. The key to the great mysteries?  The letters are chronosomes and the stoics were right about the soul.

'tis magic, magic that hath ravished me!

Dr Faustus, Christopher Marlowe

The lines between my own thoughts and that of my daimon are increasingly blurry.  To what extent do I own my thoughts as an achievement of logical reasoning and practical experimentation or are they granted to me as boons, falling as manna from my higher consciousness.  Zeir or Arikh Anpin?  Both host and guest?  Watching those trampoliners rise and fall, run and return - something flipped my mind upside down and inside out.

I watch celebrities or philosophers talk about how the existence of deadly pathogens in the world disproves the existence of God.  All it disproves is the existence of a Just Good God and they are too frightened to go further down that road with an evil God, a set of morally ambiguous ones, or one for whom the virus was made in its image.  They'd prefer a dead universe to a terrifying one.  Atheism is their nuclear bunker.  The universe is bristling with higher intelligence, replete with macrobes.

Weirdly, its a similar fear that keeps occultists rooted in the shells, a fear that betrays what should be their wonderment.  Fear that keeps them circling the 101 track, discussing anything, anything but the thing, barely talking about the trampoline - certainly not jumping on it.  Fear, ill-discipline and laziness.  Easily distracted and eager, rabid, to avoid the work - I'll tidy my room instead!  Don't make me get on the trampoline!  And pride, oh pride, because they know when they take that first bounce they are going to look like a fool. There is nothing wrong with walking the earth, groundlings, except with your posture and your stature as you do so.

You've forgotten how to trampoline because you pretend that you sleep.

I am only half-asleep.

Fernando Pessoa, the Book of Disquiet











Friday, March 11, 2016

Raziel - Astral Projection, Honorific and Malorific


I was discussing the atrophied WMT with some colleagues yesterday and trying to explain what I see as the biggest problem in its decay and I think if I could get people to work on and discuss anything it wouldn't be Kabbalah*, it would be Astral Projection.

When I was studying the WMT in the early years of my career, the development of an astral body and learning to master moving around in it was absolutely central to the disciplines.  You couldn't really move into anything advanced without it.  Those early attempts at projection probably lead me into the dark world of sleep paralysis that I have somewhat struggled with ever since (although it is a gift as much as a curse).  Eventually I learned to do all sorts of things in the astral body, from projecting it around the earthly plane to accessing the astral. 

The only things I really see people discuss these days, when they drag themselves away from advertising products or discussing politics** are altars, spells and sigils or the ''cultural appropriation''/ethical issues around them, which as far as I am concerned is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to esoteric work and not the be-all and end-all of it by any means.  I am not knocking work with these kind of strange attractors, I think they constitute an important and powerful set of skills to have, but I can't help feeling that the immensely more rewarding experience of astral projection has dropped off the radar of the WMT.  I guess partially because it requires a great deal of discipline and hard work and people are too distracted by the false astral of the internet, partially because people are actually too frightened of what they might find out and behind all their puffed up exclamations of what awesome adepti they are they are really just dabblers, and partially because the genuine leaders of the community aren't really teaching it or leading by example.



Last night I called upon Raziel and entered the astral plane - I've been doing it for so long now I know what to look for to begin with and it has become an easy state for me to slip into.  Chanting the name and steady breathing helps calm the mind.  I stare into the pixelated darkness of my own mind and a swirling begins. I am long past the astral larvae that sometimes emerge at this point.  They are trails of my mind and my mind is at peace enough to not turn them into serpents. The entity that stalks the living nightmares of the sleep-paralysed has been transformed into an angel.  The darkness is alive with colour and texture, curtains of tesselating intelligence.  After a while the upward force of the will towards the gateway reverses and you are pulled in. So getting on to the astral is fairly easy now, staying on is another matter.

SHUT IT DOWN

The plane was full of fairly strange entities that night, insectoid and semi-humans, hanging out in some kind of anarchic basement bar.  It was clear there was to be some kind of performance on stage, maybe some kind of astral open mic.  I felt like someone, Raziel, had ''snuck me in'' and that I was drawing too much attention to myself already - probably because of my clothes.  I escaped strange stares down a corridor into a room filled with diagrams of mathematics (which seemed to contain the information I had come for?) and a small group of pale, and deformed old men followed me in there. 

Two of them introduced themselves as ''John Honorific'' and ''John Malorific'' before shooting me with a revolver once in the throat and then once again in the forehead.  I snapped out of the astral trance around 5am.  Kicked off again - but I was in for about 5 hours which is not a bad score when all is said and done. ''Honorific'' and ''Malorific'' looked a lot like the alien entities in the film Dark City.  Although this was a shocking encounter in some ways it is a reassuring one.  Often being kicked off the astral in such a way is a clear sign that you were there.  The beings are completely independent.


In my experience if you really mess around with big magic, like say Edward Kelley did, then you can expect to encounter the Earthly equivalent of these types as well.  The sub-lunary Earthly world is effectively a prison yard, although we are free to fool around in it to some degree.  Try and get past the Moon and expect to be stopped, questioned and kicked back to Earth.  With allies you can stay on for longer.  Start some kind of riot or plan a mass escape though and they'll show up - MIBs, ''Timecops''***, accusing angels, whatever you want to call them. As I said frightening stuff.

But the work with Raziel has given me heart.  Although these entities appear hostile in some of the ways they deal with you there are definitely allies to be had amongst them.  I am interested in hearing about the astral projection experiments of my fellow practitioners, be they earthly or otherwise.



*Although to be honest if you haven't gazed into Kabbalah, one way or another, you're missing another treat.
**There is nothing to be achieved in politics, discussing (chatting) politics is a way for you to avoid hard work.  The only solutions to our problems are metaphysical.
***Tying into the time-dependent model we have been working on in the blogospheres, I think what could be happening on the astral is actually time travelling into the future.  These entities occupy/colonized ''the future''.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Tree of Life - The Hypersphere and the Voids


I have been musing on how I just effectively bashed spheres as a manifestation of the evil forces of the Klippot and therefore consigned my own structures in the Metabolism of Time to the recycling.  I thought about posting a 14 yr old re-interpration of the middle pillar ritual to fit the biological cell but - spheres!  spheres!  spheres!  Is our cellular nature really spherical?  Not really its more blobby and the nucleus is off centre.  Then ''I thought'' about the 3rd Act of the Metabolism of Time or ''The Conflux'' and the principles it teaches about flux, shards, rifts, veil and colour.  This image surfaced and I was saved from my theoretical despair.

FLUX



What the above image does is apply the principles of the Hypersphere to the Metabolism of Time.  (The appearance of) Spheres may be limiting in the sense that they detach us from our higher dimensional selves, (5D) hyperspheres return us to them.  The 3-spheres and 4-spheres, or glomes, may well explain the blobbiness of our cellular nature, that blobbiness is the imperfect 3 dimensional rendering of a higher dimensional sphere on a lower plane.  So if we approach the spheres in the metabolism of time with this in mind, I think we can be safe.


GLOME


Secondly after comments from Andrew on the Brickwork of Sapphire about why the bricks don't have names (which I think refers to the gaps in the Tree of Life as opposed to the paths and vertices) I was reminded of the communication from Raziel in the Tower.  That the nothingness of the void breeds matter - the matter which precipitates out being the ''mortar'' if you will, and that the nothingness itself is the bricks.




Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Occultism isn't dying, its just difficult

SCUMBAG ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER


That Crawford Tillinghast should ever have studied science and philosophy was a mistake. These investigations should be left to the cold and impersonal investigator for they offer two stark alternatives for the man of feeling and reason, despair, if he fail in his quest, and terrors, unutterable and unimaginable, if he succeed.

H.P Lovecraft, From Beyond
You can't measure the life or death of something by how popular it is.  ''Occultism'' isn't dying its just extremely difficult so it has a lot of dropouts or people who flit from one one oh one to another.  The complexity that occultism offers in all that ''maths'' is not to get in the way of practising magick, its a way of refining the quality and specificity of it as well as allowing you to access something deeper than wish fulfilment and the wanton manipulation of sub-lunary ''earthly'' reality by hacking probabilities.  As I said before, its not a how to means unto itself but a gateway drug into the why.

People tend to chose the path of least resistance because they are largely lazy, easily distracted idiots therefore occultism, inherently difficult as it is, was never going to get really popular just like higher level maths isn't.  If systems other than classical occultism are becoming more popular its because they are easy or offer quick satisfying results.  The simple truth is that people do not have the time, the patience, or the nous, to learn and memorize the necessary concepts. Why go to the lengths of developing an astral body when you can just get what you want by firing off a sigil, eh? Not only do they not have time for ''occultism'' but the average occultnik is just not smart enough either.  When the non-discerning do mess around they make a pig's ear out of it.

Large parts of the modern esoteric community remind me of that FB page ''I fucking love science''. Its been criticized before but what these people actually love are photographs of nature and famous figures bashing religion or espousing the virtues of a scientific world view.  Actual science, like actual occultism, is, in the main, both tedious and difficult until you get your first Eureka! moment. The public face of occultism these days is a substanceless stream of spooky esoteric images on tumblr or in-jokes on facebook.

The dumbing down of the occult community, the corresponding increase, then decrease, in its numbers and therefore the apparent need for the conversation about whether or not it is dying has been largely driven by authors and speakers, of varying quality, seeking to make a buck out of it.  Some knowledge is necessary to understand whatever it is they are offering and in order for them to make sales they need to write in such a way that thousands of tumblroids can access it. The first time an esoteric author told me to ''get a coffee and sit down for this one'' I vomited in my mouth a little and then retreated to a text written in a lost language by a dead magus as staring incomprehensibly at ancient impossible genius was immeasurably the more valuable experience*.  Even Aleister Crowley in his relentless mockery of his readers is way more pleasing than these platitudes.

The realities of esoteric studies in the WMT are years of exercises in logic, intuition, concentration, faith and imagination, and memorization of classification systems (some which require serious critical thinking), finally followed by terrifying and ecstasy inducing ritual experiments.  If you want to associate with Dee, Newton, Paracelsus, etc and their cutting edge 21st century incarnations you are going to need to understand things like hyper-spheres and endocrinology, etc. I am not talking down to you but you need to step up your game. Posting on tumblr or reading an ancient alien theory does not an occultist make. 

Do the maths, summon the alien angel, tell us what it says and you're in


Studying the occult means you are going to have to do lots of actual work memorizing what at first seems to be a series of extremely boring things that in the end lead to incredibly deep realizations and the ability to achieve highly specific magickal results (and not only the ''earthly'' variety).  Like Science. You are going to have to actively avoid wasting your time chatting shit about nothing on facebook or confusing identity politics with magick and letting your willpower turn to sewage in skinner boxes.  You are going to have to spend years performing spiritual titration.  And you'll never get a Nobel prize.  Suck it up.

Are there too many lists, too many numbers, too many difficult metaphysical concepts in occultism? Are we doing it wrong?  Do you need a coffee? And more importantly are we being judged on how ''accessible'' it is? Because fuck that. Is there too much geometry in occultism for you?  Too much classification? Does it seem too much like its more publically acceptable but equally boring nephew Science (with a capital S!) that stood on the shoulders of that self-same ''weird uncle'' Occultism to gift you the computer you bemoan about it on?

If you don't want to do that work, or in fact aren't capable, then you can kindly take yourself off to the kid's pool with its eminently readable and enjoyably inflatable material.  Leave us alone in our towers of indecipherable ancient texts, intricate theoretical hierarchies and endless calculus - we'll be fine.  Go have ''fun''.  Go ''chat''.  We have absolutely no problem with the ''death of public occultism''.  The public can get lost. This subject is, and always will be, for the secret and the few.

Occultism is too difficult for you?  Maybe, just maybe, you are just too stupid or too lazy for it.

The Yi King does not care if you read it.

Now redouble your efforts.
 
Love and cuddles.

*I really hope they weren't telling me to ''get a coffee and sit down because this is going to blow your mind'' in Sumerian or Etruscan.  I'd be a right fool then.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Tree of Life - The Brickwork of Sapphire

They saw a vision of the G-d of Israel and under His feet was like the brickwork of sapphire and like the essence of the heavens for its purity. 


Shmot 24:10

GATES OF ISHTAR


In The Tree of Depths I discuss the problems with the use of spheres in the Tree of Life - they automatically limit the mind to three dimensions when the Tree is trying to portray five dimensions and they also help people to unnecessarily conflate the planets with the Sefirot which goes on to cause a whole chain of logical contradictions in their thinking.  That the word Sefirah sounds like Sphere doesn't help but we know the word actually relates to counting, text and communication - i.e. to meaning.  Gershom Scholem in Kabbalah also points out the similarity between the word Sefirot and the word Sappirot (or Sapphires). As Io discusses in his post on Crossroads by removing the spheres from the tree and just looking at the Sefirot as points, or vertices where the lines meet, you see the appearance of diamonds/rhombuses or the brickwork of Sapphire.

But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute of God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When Mercy seasons Justice.

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

In the early phases of the universe you had a chaos of unconnected points or nekudim, the eventual connections between these points are the paths, the brickwork, conterminous with the letters of foundation. By differing arrangements of these letters the entire universe is constructed - like atoms or genetic code.  But the universe struggled to contain the light that the thoughtful infinity imbued it with so many of the Sefirot shattered and each of the points, or divine sparks, nitzutzot, sank into matter, wrapping themselves ever more completely in husks and shells, they sank into the Klippot, they sank into the Spheres...



How do we strip back these accumulated layers of confused meaning?  How do we de-spherify our thinking?  We can use advanced mathematics to meditate on toroids and Calabai-Yau manifolds as string theorists do; we can replace spheres with vertices and crossroads, help us understand interconnections/relationships; we can return to the brickwork.  The Tree shattered because the ideas of the Sefirot were separate and did not contain each other within each other - mercy did not season justice*.  But the Sefirot of the Supernal Triad, the worlds of Atziluth and Briah were not shattered and in those worlds we see the naked points and their connections themselves, as they were meant to be.

SPHERIFICATION

The ultimate problem is that ''spheres'' or rather circles** remain incredibly useful as text boxes after all there needs to be some way of writing the name of each Sefirah and pertinent information on the diagram!!!  We need to constantly remind ourselves, and those we mentor, that the sphere on the diagram is a blown up, zoomed in vertex, and the essence of that vertex is a singularity, not a sphere, otherwise we are, and have been, in great danger of mistaking the eggshell for our metaphysical baby chicken - and building a Tree of Shells as opposed to a Tree of Life.





*The roots of the shattering were in din, or ''unseasoned judgement''.
**In Lurianic Kabbalah, circles or iggulim are used to describe the pre-shattering arrangement of the Sefirot that did not work to contain the light - this is an explicit association between Klippot and our somewhat misguided tradition of sphereoth.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pathwalking - Brecht, Berlin, Bunkers and Babel

Last October I directed a production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht in Prague as I was increasingly concerned about the rise to power of various petty dictators and hard right types across Europe and the rest of the world.  Although I genuinely wanted my audience to contemplate these encroaching dangers this play was also undertaken as a ritual study of tyrannical energy which involved embedding esoteric concepts into the costume, light, set design and blocking -  theatrical ritual tends to produce powerful and immediate effects. The end of this show is particularly disturbing when the actress playing Hitler, our ''Brechtian'' choice, removes her costume to present a chilling final speech.

If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We'd see the horror in the heart of farce,
If only we could act instead of talking,
We wouldn't always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht

Coincidentally, the following weekend I ended up in Berlin at a conference for international teachers and took a tour through the centre  - Brandenbrug Gate, the Holocaust memorial and finally stood in the carpark atop Hitler's bunker - using this pathwalking as an opportunity to reflect on what I had learned through Brecht.  A couple of weekends after that I starred as an RAF colonel in Devil's Mountain, the cold war radar base in West Berlin, in a German TV show directed by Oliver Hirschbeigel (the director of Downfall) and filmed in an actual bunker.  The path between Prague and Berlin has continued to strengthen and this last weekend saw me in Babelberg studios in Berlin filming another German TV show, this time set in 1938.  As I was arriving I had literally just finished reading A Dream Play by August Strindberg - a work which starts with a clear evocation of Jupiter, explicitly mentions Babel, and is in many ways a pathwalking; the events, structures and characters in the dream being derived from the physical world of Strindberg at that time. All these paths have been brought together in a conflux set off by the initial ritual working of Brecht - they were all arranged individually and not planned by me to be sequential or as close together as they were - the spirits clearly moved upon the Rivers of Time*.

This conflux, a meeting point of the paths, suggests the approach to a Sefirah** itself and based on where I am in the curriculum this is almost certainly the opening of Gevurah, the Depth of the North, with its themes of power, tyranny, fear, war, judgement, nuclear annihilation, kleptocracy, and the emergence of evil. Taking a look at this crumbling, fracturing, shattering world it looks like I should speed up my weapons training anyway.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

*Realistically this conflux must have been ''caused'' by the intention to do the ritual as there was no way for the syncs to stack up as they did otherwise - with the exception of a predetermined universe and a healthy dose of retrocausality.

**Sefirah should really not be conflated with sphere as it resembles more of a point, or vertex where the lines meet, a crossroads if you will.