Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Practical Work Discussion I

As they continue to do the work the students are now leaving the Depth of the Past and moving along the Path of the Moon towards the Depth of the West.  As they acquire their first spiritual ally (their chosen Lunar deity), learn to hone the will through Raja Yoga and continue to attempt astral projection, they will gain perspective on the ''past'' that they are leaving behind.

As much as our experience of life and ourselves is fundamentally mental it is also fundamentally historical. We very literally live in the past - signals take time to get from [assumed] physical reality through our sense organs until they are organized and transformed into the representation of reality that we experience in our minds.  Being behind the moment in this way makes it really difficult to tell how far behind the moment we exactly are:

- did this already happen and are we in a loop?
- is this mental experience of reality happening in a dying mind, are we literally ''catching up'' with our own death?
- mindfulness only allows you to connect with this mental impression of ''now'' what I call the immediate past, it allows you to catch up with your ''catching up''
- consciousness as anti-time a) the idea of reverie being a shallow experience of highlights of this life but building into a honed, sustained reverie that can take you back through your own geneline b) the idea of prediction and anticipation being a form of future reverie which we can again hone and sustain to see the future (which is also history)

I set the students a series of tasks to complete between now and December when the course will continue with a further three lectures/practical workshops.  They have to:

- form a connection with a lunar deity of their choice
- follow the instructions and attempt to get results on the astral plane or fail gloriously
- succeed in one restriction/observance
- acquire knowledge of basic astrology

I think that although teaching styles are a problem within the WMT they are ultimately regulated by market forces, i.e. the less able teachers are finding that students are not interested in their work and don't want to pay for tickets, venues, lessons, etc.  The more able/flexible teachers will find themselves overbooked and will have to create co-teachers etc.  The more pressing problem regarding teaching at the moment is the notion that teaching = leading and this is probably why the community is treading water.  More on that later but right now I want to explain/explore/justify some of these choices from the perspective of the teacher and also discuss some of the issues the students are having and how I will address them as we proceed -  transparency about the teaching/learning process makes a big difference to the quality of the lesson. 

As we move into the world of dreams and illusion* that is the Astral Plane (beginning in the Depth of the West) the students must have acquired spiritual allies - these allies are for their own protection and will allow them to sustain a vision for longer than they would normally and reduces the chances of being kicked off. Although there are a variety of possibilities here lunar deities are a good place to start as the Moon is the traditional guardian to the entrance to this realm and we are going to need relationships with all 7 sacred planets. As outlined in the Seshat working one of the students made very rapid progress regarding astral experiences after they engaged in a small ceremonial magic ritual to their chosen Lunar deity, then used the prayer as a mantra during gazing.  Although this student chose an Egyptian deity my general advice was to pick a deity that your ancestors might have worshipped.  Another of Irish/Welsh descent is making good progress and has just selected their deity - Rhiannon. I consulted a scholar friend of mine who put this together for her, along with an audio so she can perfect the working in the (closest) language to the deity:

O Rhiannon sydd yn fwy hynafol na hanes y tir
Eich ceffyl yn gyflymach na syniad ac yn ysgafnach na'r gwynt
O Rhiannon yn sefyll ar y twmpath gyda golau lleuad
Rwyf yn eich addoli
Rhiannon doeth, Rhiannon deg Dduwies gwirionedd amyneddgar

The other two seem a bit confused and overwhelmed by the choice but they will make it in the end I'm sure. One is mainly interested in the history of alchemy and has Italian ancestry so I am thinking of directly referring them to Luna/Diana as opposed to another Lunar deity - if you have any other suggestions please advise in comments.  The remaining student is being very cryptic so we will see what emerges.

In addition to attempts on the astral students are also working on lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis.  Sleep Paralysis, an experience I recommend new students attempt to have, has the equivalent horror factor of the midnight ritual in the graveyard (when it comes to developing the astral body) and some students crave that kind of intense experience to ''jump-start'' their work.  Ignoring the roll-over signal is an incredibly easy way of inducing sleep paralysis and after a few failed/aborted attempts students seem to be making ''progress'' there.  Its a kind of cheap, dirty trick to have an OBE quickly and get the conversation on ''what is the self?'' moving outside of the confines of the [sensation of] the physical body - it starts a very different kind of conversation than lucid dreaming does (which is a more common experience although not one that is commonly mastered).  We can also discuss the way in which the outer mind protects itself from the activities of the inner mind.

Certainly having to teach is making me reflect on my own experiences and knowledge and how I structure the transmission - in many ways I am adapting an AA style approach but with the Saadia Tree of Life.  I think the systematic development of different faculties is important and in some ways we are ''climbing the tree'' while maintaining an emphasis on unification and ''grounding''.

1) Depth of Past - Question physical reality and embrace truth of mental reality
2) Depth of West - Memory
3) Depth of Down - Remembering
4) Depth of Up - Forgetting
5) Depth of East - Inner Mind

As we learn about the properties of memory in the next set of lessons, we will be learning more than microcosmic tricks for enhanced reflexes, referencing, learning to think with the spine, or recovering from trauma more rapidly etc but also to ''remember into existence'' and ''forget from existence'', we will also be learning about how the faculties of remembering and forgetting correlate with synchronicities and de-synchronicities.  Ultimately we will be moving through physical, psychological, informational, ''spirit'' and mind-only models to our final destination the time-dependent or temporal entanglement model.

*Like spheres this is an introductory explanation for the Astral Plane, my own understanding is different to this but its a way in.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Twin Peaks and the Tree of the Return

 Its 2:53 in Vegas and that adds to 10 the number of completion.

Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks the Return

Without denying other clear influences David Lynch used the Kircher Tree of Life as the structural basis of Cooper's Return to Twin Peaks. Beginning in Malkuth with Cooper sitting in the chair we followed him and his Doppleganger as they raced up through the Tree of Life through Yesod (the so-called ''Mauve Zone'') and beyond.  There are countless examples of where Lynch tied a particular colour to an episode or used other symbolism from the paths on the Hermetic Tree such as the ''palm'' (Kaph)  of Ike the Spike, or the ''hand'' (Yod) of Freddie, some of you may remember the ''window'' (Heh) where the loud scraping forces Cole to adjust his ear piece, etc etc.  Throughout the Return we see the magickal imagery of the Sephiroth (man on throne, wise man in profile etc) and Partzufim or magickal character-archetypes.

As I said in the beginning this idea of Cooper's Golden Dawn style ascent would prove difficult to resolve (and potentially cause magickal calamity) as the Kircher Tree is fundamentally broken but that he may have attempted to ''repair'' it in the remaining episodes after the characters had reached Kether - the way in which certain esotericists sometimes distinguish between a Cordoveran ''Tree of Emanation'' and a Lurianic ''Tree of Return''. I also said that there would probably be other discombobulating consequences from effects upon the cast and director all the way up to altering the weather.

As my close readers know I attempted something very similar to Cooper's ''botched'' attempt to restore Laura during my stay at Edward Kelley's Tower and although I was using a different Tree for my work, my colleague Vincent Bridges was using the Kircher.  Nevertheless the logical conclusion of this kind of Qabalistic work results in the recognition of the 4th dimensional self, the time-traveller/prophet, and an awareness of the kind of ''physics'' which it is necessary to understand in order to fully become this being and explore its new reality.  In trying to alter time, myself and Bridges, like Cooper, certainly failed but what emerged was a dialogue between us and ''entities'' (Raziel and others) regarding how to think about and operate in this new arena, that of being lost in time - which is of course the natural state of all humankind when they face up to it.

What is repair?  In my own research, repair is fundamentally about restoring the Fallen Daughter from her pendulant position in Malkuth to her original position in Binah, the seat of the superior mother which we see in the final attempt by Cooper to take Laura ''home''.  Repair means fully living your life with the knowledge that you are your mental self experiencing your mental universe as opposed to the delusion that you are a physical self living in a physical universe. I know that what I feel like I am inside right now is not my physical body but my own mind's homunculus of myself, I know that the objects around me are not the physical objects themselves but composed of the stuff of my own thought but I understand that it is one thing to ''know'' that and another to understand it and live that way.  It doesn't matter how much sorcery you do to get that foxy redhead or your fancy new promotion if you're going to forget it all when you die and wake up in your next life as if amnesiac from a shipwreck with your memories scattered like wreckage along the shoreline.  Its absolutely futile.  Without developing/becoming this time-traveller for all your sorcerer's power you're no different from anyone else.

In some ways we do see this repair in the finale of Twin Peaks which leaves Cooper both lost in time and questioning the nature of his and Laura's reality itself.  However disquieting it may be, Cooper, in fully understanding his new predicament is actually experiencing the awakening of the 4th dimensional self and eventually rising to meet the challenges of a fundamentally different kind of existence - is it future or is it past?  I feel like Richard and in truth I have for a long time.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Seshat Working

My partner has been steadily building a relationship with the Goddess Seshat through ritual offering and prayer and she reached a point where she wanted to experience some ceremonial magic.  The altar was set with a personally sculpted small statue of the Goddess, a small leopard statue, a moonstone specifically dedicated to her, and three candles one silver, one purple and one black.  The ritual began with her reciting her prayer 27 times to some Egyptian meditation music, an evocation, and then a series of questions that she would like for Seshat to answer:

- what happens to the soul after death?
- is there a physical world?
- are you telling me I should work with Wadjet?*

Mr partner's experience was confined to a set of visual/audio hallucinations/communications which she interpreted as answers to the questions.  The first question involved the statue of Seshat seemingly levitating and generating some kind of halo while she heard the word ''spirit'' in her mind, the second question resulted in the statue seemingly flipping from 2d to 3d which my partner interpreted as being related to the holographic universe theory and the 3rd question was not met with an answer.

While sitting behind her I concentrated on using my astral vision to attempt to see Seshat - to some extent I was consciously attempting to remote view Seshat through time, to see the person that the Goddess emerged from, using the ritual as a means of targetting and zooming in.  As I tried to concentrate I went through the standard clouds of nagging thoughts and itches/fidgets - ''breaks''.  As I cleared these attachments I tried to find a way to Seshat.  My thoughts landed on Thoth and my mind's eye traced the line of his beak.  As the beak was ''traced'' into the astral it rotated 90 degrees and became my beak.  I was flying in the body of an Ibis low over the muddy banks of a reedy river when I came across Seshat who appeared as a young woman in a smock with some purplish eye makeup but otherwise covered in mud, and studying and playing with that same mud.  As I observed her she became rapidly aware of my spying and I experienced a strong pain in my third eye which rose in intensity until it ended the vision.  What communication there was between us was telepathic. I got the impression [she told me???] that she was a low born girl, ''a claydigger's daughter'' who was immensely intelligent and complex.

The answers or rather reactions I recieved were as follows: to the question about the soul after death I got the sense that she had attempted to answer this question pursued it to considerable depths and even in spite of her intelligence could not answer it; the question about the physical world she thought the question was stupid and answered it with a yes and a raise of her muddy hand; the last question fell on deaf ears she didn't seem to know who Wadjet was or why that would matter.  I think at this point she also began to ''see'' the ritual, to ''gaze'' back into our world at which point she commented that she didn't look like her statue.

The following day I taught the lesson on astral projection to my partner and the rest of the class and she followed through with the instructions and had her first astral experience using the Seshat prayer as a mantra to steady her mind.  In this vision, she passed through mist [her visualization of the membrane] to find herself on some sort of Egyptian boat with Seshat who was a young girl.  She felt the intelligence radiating and that she was in the presence of a prodigy who was believed to be some sort of goddess by the people.  Seshat waved her hands and a group of leopards approached the banks of the Nile and then began following the boat with her and she realised that she had power over the world and access to true magic.  She got the sense that Seshat subsequently died early and that whoever she was inhabiting the point of view of had lost a dear friend.  This vision had a massive emotional impact on my partner.

In conclusion Seshat seems to be an extremely intriguing character if perhaps a difficult Goddess to work with in the beginning being seemingly somewhat socially awkward and aloof with her brilliance (this might not be fair) and the intrusion of Wadjet into my partner's sphere is clearly coming from something else, worryingly or otherwise.  I am really happy that she has experienced the astral with Seshat and that in itself has brought her answers and more questions about her mortality/immortality and as a teacher I am happy that by following the instructions I was able to get a student there already.  I am looking forward to the results of the others.

*The Goddess Wadjet is a character in a story she is writing and the work began after the work with Seshat so she was curious as to whether they were linked or not, whether Seshat was somehow recommending she work with Wadjet.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Light

- Importance of reflex and memory, learning to think with your spine, ''catching the ball'' and the problems with ''lust for result''.  Effectively this is about staying ''in the moment'' but in a reflexive way like when you catch a ball without thinking about it.  Later on this becomes important because all mental processes and knowledge need to be accessed in the moment and reflexively because you can't google stuff about the spirits while you are in astral contact.  I find that students generally have a great problem with memorizing the basic concepts - what the planets do, which one rules which signs, etc.  It is work and it has to be done.

- Hyperspheres, 3-spheres, when discussing spheres of consciousness i.e. physical reach/touch, sense perception and thought we have to be aware that what our 5D ''cell'' really is is ''blobby'' as opposed to spherical, the membrane shifting constantly, and that their sphere is not only in apparent motion constantly through the various rotations of the earth but also our own movements.

- Thought is more like fluid; although in creating the sensation of perception we appear to be surrounded by the atmosphere and other physical objects since all these senses are actually constructed out of ''thought'' the true nature of our surroundings is more like a viscous fluid - this will probably occur on astral at some point

- Lucid Dreaming - when talking about lucid dreaming this is background work that will help facilitate astral travel later.  Various hints and tips about how to lucid dream will be shared, such as tapping the doorframe every time you pass through and asking ''am I dreaming?''

- Sleep Paralysis - although sleep paralysis is a terrifying experience I think it is essential to seek it out in the early phases as it cements important questions about the conscious experience of things and if it happens unexpectedly it can be really frightening.  We will discuss the rollover signal featured in this series of videos and talk about hypnagogic hallunications resulting from sleep paralysis versus hypnopompic hallucinations.

- Use of ''physical'' lights - here we will discuss that all light one sees is seen as mental light created as a result of the stimulus of physical light, one never sees physical light persay.  Therefore the use of candles or the rising sun as a means of stimulating the vision, while highly appropriate and effective, needs to be employed in the knowledge that one is looking at mental light.

- Astral Bodies - when teaching astral projection I will not be teaching students to imagine their astral bodies rising out of their physical bodies, this is flawed for two reasons, firstly it comes from the delusion that we are in 3d bodies with thoughts inside our heads and secondly by throwing ones perspective outside of themself it often confounds attempts to get on the astral.  Since we are already in our ''astral body'' as has been established by the prior lessons in cellular consciousness/magical anatomy we are going to start looking straight at the astral.  In this sense we have to start looking through the perceptual membrane

- Gazing, as I teach actors one can hold ones eyes in various ways states to project different states to the audience i.e. looking, seeing, remembering, reliving all involve a different position of the eyes.  One of the most important steps for effective use of the astral plane is the manner in which you should set your eyes - you have to gaze.  Practical activity: hold the eyes in the ways outlined above go through looking, seeing, remembering, reliving and then gaze.  Once everyone gets gazing then we have to close the eyes but continue to gaze, which will take another moment to adjust to.  When one closes one eyes one blots out the appearance of the physical world and is left looking at ones perceptual field from somewhere else ''inside the head''.  This often appears to be a flickering, pixelated field.  We are going to gaze at this.

- Astral Projection Lesson

*Egoic babble - the first stage of resistance to astral planing is egoic babble - anxiety, etc, the eyes tend to fall down in the socket and must be brought back up.  Focusing on maintaining the gazing is sufficient in itself to cut down noise
*Physical discomfort - rollover signals if trying at night, itches, back pains, etc resisting these takes a few mins of breathing and focusing on the eyes, if you ''break'' for whatever reason you adjust and try again
*Astral larvae - early phantasms as you approach the astral often taking insectoid, or snake like forms, can be filled with incredible menace - they can be ''broken'' into pixels by staring ''into'' them
*Unchecked personal distortions - seeing what you want to see, I find that in genuine astral experience beyond the gravity well of the self the visions will be crystal clear and vivid and contain some sort of discovery.  The quality of visions when you are seeing what you want to see is also much lower. 

-Successes (for the sake of these primer lessons)
*Tesselating, possibly intelligent fields of colour emerging from ''blobs''
*Contact with entities

During the 3 month break there will be a number of tasks to complete:

a) Astrological memorization, be highly familiar with the basics of astrology/astrological symbolism
b) Actively succeed in both a restriction and an observance
c) Attempt astral projection and ''succeed'' once
d) Select Lunar deity, learn prayer to Lunar deity in as close to as possible their language
e) Use moon app and always keep eye on the moon phase

The next set of three lessons will begin with calls to the various lunar deities and be focused on memory, time and archetypes (uses thereof)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Mind

  •  Magical Anatomy of the Self

  • Hologram of physical self in centre of perceptual cell, internal feelings - digestion, heart, etc
  • ''Clock-body'': head in future predicting, anticipating; torso in centre, heart, lungs, beating, breathing ''in the moment'; abdomen in past, dealing with the decisions of the moment, digesting, cleaning the blood, genitals preserving ''memory of the past''
  • Molecular developmental biology - as embryo divides it takes on characteristics of front/back, top/bottom, etc who (how is it?) decides which cell gets to be the ass? 
  • Each cell in the body contains this pefect copy of the DNA physical self in each nucleus, although cells only express some of this info and are thereby differentiated

  • Physical sensations and [sense of] physical reach is the first sphere of cellular consciousness, the ''nucleus'' which encloses the [sensation of] the physical self
  • When you feel the table, you feel the feeling of the table, this sphere of [the sense of] physical ''feeling'' is limited by the physical reach
  • [the sense of] ''Smell'' is the bridge between touch and the other senses, it is concentrated in the first sphere but can extend beyond it
  • Discuss psychometry

  • All sense objects are mental artefacts arising from [assumed] physical objects in a physical world
  • They are composed of mental light - light bulb exercise i) look into lightbulb ii) observe blob of light on retina iii) observe how it moves iv) observe how all objects are in the mind and composed of mental light v) make a general theory for what must follow
  • There is no size - [the sense of] the sense-objects are derived from one undifferentiated field of thought in the mind
  • Cytoplasm which surrounds the cell is a ''mental-fluid'' and which is occupied by ''organelles'' in the form of the sense-objects
  • Liken the sensed space to the structure of the biological cell - pointing out features of typical rooms- lighting, heat, information sources etc
  • There is no movement a) ''hamster-ball model'' the sensation of physical movement can be reversed, since the cell is fixed in the mental sphere instead of the physical body entering different physical events, in truth mental events enter the sphere of the mind b) ''fishbowl model'' instead of a current of events entering the cell, events arise from the natural currents and fluctuations within the fishbowl - a) and b) are the way in which this ''mental fluid'' of sense-experience is linked to the outer mental fluid of the larger consciousness in ''the bloodstream of time'' and the action of the ''mental fluid'' or cytoplasm within the cell
  • Discuss how this may interact with psychic powers like clairaudience, clairvoyance

  • All sense experience (the mental fluid) is contained with the larger sphere of the outermind and is ''membrane bound'' - discuss membrane of physical sensation, the reach of our senses, not being able to see through walls, the limits of senses when staring into space, extensions of those senses through telescopes, microscopes, etc
  • Our physical, egoic and sense experience of our self is occuring within the subconscious and is in fact held imobile within the subconsicous
  • Discuss implications for dreams, prophecy
Practices of Raja Yoga build up this awareness of magical anatomy starting from the sensation of the physical self and the physical will at the nucleus and build up into the fact that all being is held within the sphere of the mind.  To begin, the will is developed by a series of restrictions and observances.  This will is converted into poise through the asanas.  This poise is ''energized'' and harmonized/regularized by pranayama or right breathing/breath control.  [Apparently] external sense objects are then contemplated as mental artefacts and senses are withdrawn and trained by will.  Since physical objects are mental objects all is one in the sphere of the mind.  Experience bliss.
  • Restriction (stop yourself from doing certain things - i.e. eating meat, lying, playing)
  • Observance (make yourself do things - i.e.  keeping clean/organized, studying)
  • Poise (diet + fitness + yoga practice = poise)
  • Breathe (breath control, nervous cleaning)
  • Sense Objects + Mind (observe world as sense objects not physical objects)
  • Meditation (observe how you own mind infuses all sense objects)
  • All Mind
  • Bliss
n.b. The use of spheres here will be corrected here and in subsequent lessons as spheres represent a misconception.  The correct term is hyperspheres - 4spheres, or 5 spheres/ ''glomes''. Spheres are only a way into hyperspheres.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Maps

I am teaching a three part course at the moment - three 45min lessons for a small group of relative beginners on a) maps b) mind and c) light.  The practical sides of the course are a) qabalah b) raja yoga and c) astral projection.  My students are all intellectual, have had some spiritual experiences and have a shared complaint about the difficulties of making any headway due to the sheer amount of information on these mixed subjects and the impossibility of making choices.  In describing the lesson I will be as succinct as possible and if you want to use this plan feel free to adapt.

(5mins) Draw map of the earth free hand
(5 mins) Draw timemap of human civilization 

(5mins) Discuss results.  Point out eurocentrism of the maps that students have drawn.  Use globe to show that effectively half of the planet is blue so they have only drawn half the planet.  Point out terra centrism. 

(5 mins) Using the results discuss usefulness and limitations of map(s) and shared language.

(20 mins) Dimensions - lecture and Q/A, elicit answers where possible

- Discuss physical and connotative meanings for the 5 dimensions

  • East - Sunrise, hope, rebirth, awaking
  • West - Sunset, end of things, dreams, sleeping
  • North - cold, contract
  • South - warmth, expand

- If we continue north in a straight line and not follow the curvature of the earth we would head into space.  At what point do the spatial directions lose their meaning in infinity?  If the universe is finite what happens to that line?  If the universe is infinite what happens to that line?

- Point out the usefulness of a certain kind of ''geocentrism'' that puts you in the middle of the dimensions.

- What does it mean if someone is ''warm'' or ''cold''?  The connotative meanings are important and will make sense of the Tree of Life as you look at it later for it is not only a map of space/time but it also a map of the psyche.* 

- Magnetite - studies have shown humans have magnetite in their brain in the same way other animals do who use it to navigate.  What would be the effect of calibrating the organism by spending some time in the north-south, east-west position meditating?  What ''powers'' could we have from the magnetite that animals have that our egoes drown out with their incessant noise about shoe shopping, etc?  If such powers are working unconsciously anyway then would our calibration have the effect of helping us to hear them?

- Use the location of the Pacific ocean to make points about the cultures of California and Japan.  If we suggest that the Pacific Ocean is like the unconscious mind of the Earth what does this say about those two places?  Do other parts of the world fill roles like this or not?  What does this say about the dimensions?  How useful is this idea what are the limitations/dangers?

  • Up - out, rise, lift, ascent, superior
  • Down - in, falling, descent, drop, inferior
- There is no such thing as a precise up and down they are more like in and out from our position in space.

- Why is the ''Fall'' bad, why is ''Down'' bad?  Side discussion on why down would be considered bad from the view point of evolutionary ancestors - down would indicate a journey to the jungle/forest floor with all the predators etc that this involves, falling would be bad in case the monkey breaks a limb.  Ask students to think about other evolutionarily built-in responses to dimensions as they continue to reflect.

- Point out that science as a rule tends to ''look down'' on things and break them into smaller parts in order to understand and that art/architecture as a rule tends to ''build up'' from smaller things to make larger creative structures.**

  • Good - nutrition, excellence/virtue
  • Evil  - poison, ineptitude/lack of skill 
  • Past - birth
  • Future - death

- Move students away from purely ethical understanding of the terms good and evil by asking them to think about what good and evil mean in art and what good and evil mean to a bacteria - think about our own instinctive reponses to eating vomit.  What is bad art? In general terms discuss at what point all dimensions either reverse in their meaning i.e. when does too much nutrition become ''bad'', when does too much warmth become ''bad''?

- (5 mins) Introduce students to sphere of the mind.  Ask students to meditate on the dimensions and insist that this should be pushed to the point where it becomes disorientating.

H/W - learn traditional order for elements, planets and zodiac signs

Notes for next lesson - discuss dangers of spheres in thinking

*For instance our Sefirah of Love and Compassion would be Warm and our Sefirah of Judgement/Fear/Strength would be Cold.
**This ties into an understanding of Hod and Netzach later on.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chaos Magic and Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth.

Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

When I was in Venice I had the fortune to find myself in Damien Hirst's exhibition ''Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable'' at the Palazzo Grassi and was provided with ample opportunity to reflect on Chaos Magic, its efficacy (or lack thereof) and its absorption by the mainstream.

The whole space is set up like the British Museum and the conceit is that Team Hirst have rescued and restored the antiquities recovered from a sunken wreck - there are numerous films whch show their work in action, exploring a seabed littered with glimmering treasure in the form of golden coins, weapons, ornaments and statuary - shoals of fish swimming by.  One of the first things I noticed was how everyone was really into it, they entered that headspace as if they were in a museum studying genuine relics and artefacts and only after a while did people seem to snap out of it and well... get the joke.

It was at this point in the exhibition that I reflected on the relative lack of success chaos magicians had had with working with thought-forms such as Mickey Mouse or Batman and how they tended to resort in the end to working with saints or ancient spirits.  From my understanding the post-chaos argument (that leads into the grimoire revival) seemed to be that older entities had had longer to gestate in some kind of astral womb or had been fed more by sacrifice and prayer and were therefore more capable of granting boons and inflicting banes than Scooby Doo was.  I wondered for a moment whether this was down to the presentist perception that is dominant amongst magicians, and whether there was an eternalist approach to the conjuring of cartoon characters that took into account that they would exist for centuries and therefore would grow stronger as belief in the older Gods waned.  Could you tap into that from the present, summon them from the future?

 As I reflected I attempted to sense some kind of eternal something emanating from these ''treasures'' but there was nothing there. It made me wonder that whether the connection that some people claim to have with antiquities at museums is more to do with their own mind than any kind of ''energy'' or ''spirit'' resting in the statue or tool itself.  In the end I concluded that it might be the case that in this timeline the relics of the modern world are brutally swept away by some catastrophe and so never have the time to ''gestate'' or ''feed'' in the astral even from an eternalist perspective.  Perhaps these cultural trinkets are only here for a brief moment, never amount to much and the inheritors or our civilization, human or otherwise, have no further interest in archaeology.  They might symbolise a culture that doomed the Earth and there may be another great iconoclasm?

Although the reverential air to the sacred past was broken after the first encounter with Mickey and other Disney characters the majority of the exhibition is made up of a selection of statues of deities and mystical figures from around the world - so it is very much like the British Museum.  Was it possible to connect with spirit/memory through these artworks or only to admire them aesthetically?   It seemed like there was nothing in these statues either apart from great beauty, and although surely noone had conjured spirits into them (Damien...?) it was impossible even to connect with the idea of the spirit through them.

Later in my pathwalking I ended up in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia and the Parthenon in Athens so I had a lot to compare and contrast with the exhibition and although the experience of Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable was spiritually underwhelming it was really very very funny.  A lot like Chaos Magic in that respect.  Let's hope it doesn't start taking itself too seriously.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Twin Peaks, Painting by Numbers IV - This is the Chair, Chesed

After Twin Peaks Episode 8 I made a prediction (according to the Kircher Tree hypothesis) that the following episode would be the ''Chesed'' one and predicted it would feature a lot of blue and be a comedy.  Lets see how well that stacks up and subject the episode to some deeper qabalistic analysis.

The magical image of Chesed is a man seated on a throne and the episode is called ''This is the Chair''.  The ''chair'' or throne ends up being revealed as the Chair of Major Briggs, one of the nicest, gentlest, kindest characters of the Twin Peaks saga always dressed in his distinctive navy blue and suitably representative of the forces of Jupiter both in his characteristics but also by dint of the fact that he is a major in the USAF.

This is the Chair
The major theme of the episode established (Briggs and Mercy/Loving-Kindness) lets look step by step as the characters walk the paths of the Tree of Life and Lynch continues to Paint by Numbers.  Evil Cooper takes the red kercheif from the fence (Chet - path of chariot, Binah to Gev. mentioned at beginning of Ep. 8) then enters farm - here we see him treated mercifully by his minions and his red shirt is juxtaposed between the blue of their costumes.  Evil Cooper then calls his agent in Vegas who is wearing a blue suit with squares (the shape of Chesed - 4).  The conclusion of this sequence shows Cooper between the two blue minions but now instead of red he is also wearing blue.


The first image we then see of Douggie Cooper is him against a blue flag, then we have the three heavy set cops (weight gain is indicator of Jupiterian expansion) where the central laughing policeman is wearing a blue suit, blue tie with white circles and on one side is the cop with Green tie (Netzach)  and on the other is the red tie (Gevurah) both with diagonal lines.  In the Kircher Tree the path leading from Netzach (7) to Chesed (4) is the hebrew letter Kaph, the palm, and this symbol is rendered into the film when the police (the boys in blue) catch ''Ike the Spike'' the line is: ''we have your palm print, in fact we have your whole palm'' - more laughter ensues.  The use of ''palm-reading'' is also seen earlier in this sequence when the policeman conspire to get Douggie Cooper's prints in one of the opening scenes.  This use of palm is very clear evidence of the Kircher Tree Hypothesis that I have been exploring here.

 Then we have a brief scene of Johnny Horne wearing blue pyjamas running into a wall and lying next to a picture of  a water fall.  In the Hermetic Qabalah Lynch is using the elemental correspondence of Chesed is water.

The examination of Major Briggs' body follows next and note the identical blue ties with their distinctive diagonal (now indicating the diagonal path of Yod from Tiphereth to Chesed - the ring and the reference to marbles might link to the seed concept here - we also have the fusion of male and female, and the headless rite) stripes.  Note that Diane was established as Tifereth (yellow - HGA) in a previous epsiode and the agents are now moving to Chesed.  Note Tammy in blue making the diagonal line with Diane on the steps outside whilst Gordon Cole smokes (in putting himelf into this drama to what extent is Lynch really walking the paths himself here...?  The writer/director is search of his characters)  The final long scene of this sequence is Hastings, a man whose actions have been motivated by loving kindness (his love of his lover and his obsessive search for other dimensions), begging for mercy from Agent Preston and who just wants to go to the sea (water).

Since this is one long film the overlap is not exact and I would argue that the Chesed sequences ends with this interrogation and we begin the next sequence which should either be Binah (where I expect we will see Audrey who will be the Dark Mother) or Douggie Cooper crossing the abyss.  Due to these two rather rough characters in the bar one of which has a rash from drug use, I am expecting us to head into Binah - we might see the drug mother from the first few episodes show up again plus a whole bunch of other dark mothers (AIMA, AMA themes - path details a relationship between Diane and the Dark Mother, Tifereth to Binah, path symbolism is ''the Lovers'' and ''a sword/weapon'' Zayin).  ''Chesed'' was not as funny as I thought it would be but the laughing policeman was pretty damn funny, Gordon smoking was funny awkward and the final interrogation was hilarious and harrowing at the same time.  What we have discovered if we didn't know already is that Gordon Cole is effectively the new/old Cooper and he is ''initiating'' himself by putting himself through the paths as actor, director, sound designer and writer.  Its also clear that the symbolism relates mainly to the characters outside of Twin Peaks so Twin Peaks is Kether, the White Lodge and where all the paths eventually converge.

I am about to leave on a pathwalking of the Adriatic so I won't be updating for a couple of weeks and I want to remind people that I do not use the Kircher Tree system that David Lynch is and these posts are no endorsement of that system just an analysis from someone who once practiced it but then got access to superior sources.  Although people are sometimes critical of the way I am detail oriented about the paths on the Tree of Life this is to get perspective and subject my Qabalah to where it is situated now i.e. with far greater access to superior sources than the G.D. boys had.  I think it is Kircherites, who aren't aware of other versions of the ToL, who are more likely ''to miss the wood for the trees'' than someone who at least does some comparison - maybe we can eventually argue that about David Lynch, who knows?  Don't get me wrong I love the magickal artistry of Twin Peaks but I think the Kircher Tree can be dangerously unstable and is based on a fundamental design flaw.  Part of my evidence for this is the amount of suicides and megalomaniacal psychotic breaks it seems to be inevitably involved in throughout its history of use in the West.  Maybe magick just attracts these kind of folks, maybe they are wiring themselves up wrong, maybe both.  Lynch may surprise me by resolving/rectifying the Tree in the course of the saga (in a kind of ''Tree of Return'' fashion argument sometimes deployed to allow for the starting error which is Kircher) but I think it is more likely this is going to play out in a very G.D./Thelema type way.  Again I am not condemning the whole thing, there are lots of good things, esp. in the AA curriculum of reading and their analysis of the ''grades'' but the tree itself is faulty as AC himself pointed out and that Charles Stansfield Jones attempted to correct for but made it worse.  At the very least modern qabalistic circles should adopt a Tree of Gates type approach where the paths begin as flexible to the letters (start them in the woods) as opposed to starting people down a false path and then forcing them to correct! - the whole thing is barbarically wasteful.

If I could again direct people to study the following posts which are about the biological cross-overs between ''qabalistic alchemy'' and modern science - your time won't be wasted in a deeper understanding of your own microcosm.  For the twelve zodiac signs it is enough to compare and contrast the zodiac glyph with the diagram I have given you from basic genetic rhythms and let those ideas percolate, don't worry about the scientific details but feel free to explore in depth if you want to get into them.

The Three Elements
The Seven Planets
The Seven Planets

The Twelve Zodiac Signs
The Twelve Zodiac Signs
The Twelve Zodiac Signs

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Twin Peaks and the Abyss

What is the stage? Its a place baby where people play at being serious, a place where they act comedies.  We've got to act a comedy now, dead serious.

The Step-Daughter, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello

The Roots of the Shattering (origin story of Bob) are in Din (Gevurah) - the unparalleled forces of destruction in the nuclear blast.  In Shattering the Vessels only the Supernal Triad survive, Malkuth (The Fallen Daughter/Laura Palmer) landing on top of the Klippot (Shells/Husks - the broadcasting skullcrushing Woodsmen), the rest of the Sefiroth 'scattered to the four winds'' (''Lost'' in the (Lesser) Time and Space of Zeir Anpin, the central six Sefirot, the small countenance/the mushroom cloud).  The Fallen Daughter is the Shekinah/Sofia the ''feminine'' presence of God on Earth and restoring her (to Binah) is the means to repair the universe, reconnect to the unshattered source of consciousness.  The Vessels are repaired through the use of Partzufim, personifications (the characters of the Show) which allow the Vessels to communicate/interrelate - share the light and not shatter.  In order to achieve this each broken Sefirah is given form and voice - becoming characters which ''talk'' and which have ''secrets''.  The Abyss is said to be the ''dividing line'' between dichotomy, Above the Abyss, in the Unshattered Trinity, opposites merge (something, something else and their context are as one), below the Abyss the world is separated/shattered into dualities - up, down, male, female, front, back, east, west, etc and perhaps most importantly for Lynch Good and Evil, represented in the WMT by the Black/White Brotherhoods or the Sitra Achra/Tov and in Agent Cooper(s) - this duality will ''merge'' above the Abyss, in the same way the White Lodge becomes/is the Black Lodge.

As I understand it a shattered individual exists as a delusional 3d entity in a world they take to observe directly, the repaired individual exists within a cell of consciousness and knows that all the phenomena they are surrounded by are in fact composed of mental light.  Restoring the consciousness involves separating out the archetypes/personifications from the rubble of the creative/destructive process, and understanding that since the people around us exist in our consciousnesses and are composed of pure thought that we are always in a dialogue with our own soul.  Seeing people this way allows us to access the secrets of their dialogues and understand that they represent the shattered Sefirot for us, as much as we do for them.  Although all individuals must repair all Sefirot, your role in the world of the other is very rarely one of them (a pure type) but more commonly a blend of two (a spectrum or path). From the fallen state of Malkuth, i.e. seeing ourselves as separate objects in a physical world, the Fallen Daughter of our consciousness is restored to Daath i.e. the experience of the moment becomes one of a direct observation of the shadows on the wall and the realisation that the people around you are characterizing different aspects of your mind and the larger mind in general and are composed of light as opposed to thinking that you experience physical reality directly.

 Recognizing that one has been sitting in that chair in the Black Lodge their whole life is the first step and most terrifying realization and one that has been traditionally seen as Saturnian (death of 3d self), but seen from after the fact it looks Lunar (birth of 5d self).  From the perspective of the mental bubble of representations based (we assume) on signals from physical objects in a physical world, the laws of reality are in fact the reverse of what they appear.  I have never moved, although everything seems to be moving all the time, in fact the world moves through me.  Everything is composed of mental light/thought, and there is no depth.  I have never moved my head, I am chained down to face one way all the time (looking at the screen/''astrally'' tesselated floor of the lodge) - the desire to turn my neck although feeling like my neck has turned has actually swung the world around me.  Realising this is different from knowing it which is different still from contemplating and understanding it.  Only through praxis can we aquire knowledge therefore we run and return reflect on the absolute stillness of our own mind and that we are mired in illusion, an incredibly disorienting experience, we practice accepting that we are in the Black Lodge and always have been - we search for a light. One of the keys is that we have never experienced the present, only the past because the future already exists.

This world is populated by projections of our own inner self which appear to be in a network of malfunctioning circuits - paranoia, megalomania, delusions of grandeur, anxiety, depression, anger, jealousy, hatred.  Through ''spiritual'' ''logotherapy'' we can question in ourselves/other people the nature of the source of meaning that feeds these malfunctions - by communicating with them on a secret level you can build the connections and circuits that are necessary to make the electricity flow again. Genuine repair is an experience of miracles of healing.  Only by confronting the ego in ourselves (I don't need, I want), our doppleganger, which is the desire to keep things separate (and therefore acquirable) can we have (mentally) objective transactions with others and seek this miracle - the miracle which emerges from the Unification of the Sefirot.  However, from ''Above the Abyss'' these dysfunctions appear like functions - the paranoia, the desire for revenge, for power, whatever, anxiety, worry, love, etc fuels/feeds the story below the Abyss i.e. people hang on to their suffering because it defines them and gives them character - the Greater Axis of Time from Luna to Saturn is ultimately sustained by the darkness.  The Black Lodge is the White Lodge.  You are the woodsmen.  And I wouldn't be surprised if the daughter with the roachfrog is the mother of Dale Cooper.

Do you want to be healed?

Nowhere!  It is merely to show you that one is born to life in many forms, in many shapes, as tree, or as stone, as butterfly or as woman . So one may also be born a character in a play.

The Father, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ares and Mars, War Aims

Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the blood curdling ways of strife.  Rather o' blessed one give me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.

Homeric Hymn to Ares #8, Lines 15-17

Magic From Scratch is an excellent blog which showcases the kind of work more practitioners in the WMT should be doing and sharing.  The visions and dialogues with various entities largely ring true. The author of the blog also made a post about Ares the other day, like myself, and I just want to address some of the points they raise and use this as a way to extend my own thoughts.

Firstly I want to say that I am a highly privileged individual who is ''neurotypical'', straight, white, male, well-off and generally lucky.  With the focus of the WMT on Identity Politics over the last decade and more it can sometimes feel like my voice isn't welcome, that the WMT and Paganism in general is really the domain of discussing intersectionality, the evolving worlds of checking our privilege, microagressions, safe spaces, etc and that ''there is no room for my sort here''.  Regardless of my own charitable endeavours or my support of the LGBTQA+ community in the local arts scene (which is extensive) I sometimes feel hated because of what I represent at a physical social level  i.e. this particularly coloured privileged bag of water animated by reincarnating information spirals as opposed to less fortunate animated bags of water.  It is extremely difficult to remain positive and supportive in the face of such obvious hostility so I can understand where some of the moaning Magick From Scratch talks about might be coming from.

In the post Never Stop Being Offended Magick From Scratch echoes the sentiment I hear widely on social media esp. from my progressive Pagan/Esoteric LGBTQA+ friends, that that outrage is not something that is going away, that that fire will keep burning and burning until the revolution has been successfully completed and society has been radically changed into being a fairer, more equitable place for all. Having been to the future I would like to add that the fire does not burn out and this revolution does succeed but because of climate change and scientific advance (and the various manoeuvres of the Deep State) the world we live in and the challenges we face as humans move way beyond what we are dealing with right now.  Skin colour becomes something people change on a whim and cybernetic advances/gene therapy actually reverse ''able privilege'' for a while - i.e. some of the creations of Hephaistos end up giving him a significant advantage over Ares, until of course it gets really crazy.  This is soon as well.

That said I am not sure to what extent Magick from Scratch is projecting a little on to Ares here. The tone of the post throughout I think is fairly balanced until the end when suddenly Ares looks like a violent jock bully again.  If we are going to go back here, like any stereotypes I have seen, this one is challenged incredibly frequently. Many of my peers from college, who were fair minded good hearted rugby jocks, now solidly fight the good fight for the Labour Party; the idea of PC Bro is brilliantly lampooned on South Park but the support of those bros is clear.

I happen to be good at ''War'' - I have spent a lot of time throughout my life being focused on strategy and tactics and this focus allows me to prosper in the various situations that these principles can be applied to.  In some ways I am often a victim of my own success and am always tempted to continue the ''War'' beyond my aims leaving me over-extended and under-supplied.  The justification is always to ''just finish this off once and for all'', ''put this thing to rest'', ''drive them into the sea'' etc but when I give into that temptation the war ends up continuing and continuing. So over the last year I have become almost obsessed with having clear war aims.  Although I understand criticism is almost entirely unwelcome, especially from my quarters, in some ways the mistake being made at the moment by the #outrage approach is exactly the misconception I was trying to approach in my post on Mars and Ares.  Pure rage is not going to win this war - it will just continue it.  The rage drives the alienation which ends up doing things like electing Trump.  Cool clear headed strategic thinking are what is needed.  When emotionality is the driving force, as opposed to logic supported by clear aims, the war will continue without end and the movement will become over extended, ridiculed and tangled in contradictions.  Fortunately for everyone concerned there are cool heads within that movement beginning to assert themselves and channel some of that rage a little more strategically. That is why it wins but sadly for all of us there ends up being a sting in this tale.

A final point to reflect upon. Magick from Scratch suggests praying for the reconciliation of Hephaistos and Ares is to pray for ''perfect inclusion'' but doesn't comment on the relationship between Ares and Aphrodite and how that may interfere.  Aphrodite is one of the two Gods that I have used the rituals in Liber Astarte vel Berylli to become incredibly close to.  The other is Enlil.  I have worked with many many Gods through various techniques including those used by Magick From Scratch methinks, which is why I value the work done on that site and why I would be interested in reflections upon the role of Aphrodite in all this...

Twin Peaks Season 3, Painting by Numbers III

As I suspected David Lynch is using the Kircher Tree *and* the misaligned Tarot paths.  I didn't comment on the Gevurah episode (episode 7) but the symbolism was strong, the evil Coop ('"Set''), the prison and justice system (cops everywhere), the red balloon, the pentagon officials (pentagon is sacred to Gevurah) and the ''right arm''.

I still want to avoid making this blog a popular Occulture blog so I will be very brief as I do appreciate there is a hunger for info.  In the mind blowing episode 8 we have crossed the Abyss! The scene opens with Doppledale driving in the car (path of the Chariot) and very quickly turns into an Abyss sequence.  Amongst many other things revealed in this journey through time Laura Palmer is very clearly identified as the fallen daughter (Malkuth) whose Fall leaves her lying atop the Shells/Husks (Qliphoth).

But why did we skip Chesed?  If you look at the Kircher Tree (and the Snakes and Ladders approach Lynch is using) you will see going to Gevurah necessitated a choice for Lynch as there is no direct route from 4 to 3.  So Lynch either sends the character across the Abyss from 5 to 3 (where the ''dark mother'' Binah will prob. be revealed as Audrey), or goes from 5 to 4 to 2 to 3.    What I suspect will happen is that Doopledale having crossed the Abyss from 5 to 3 (Sitra Achra) will mean Dougie Cooper will cross from 4 to 2 (Sitra Tov). So next episode should be the Chesed one which I imagine will have a lot of blue and be a comedy but maybe I am wrong.  As I said previously this Snakes and Ladders game played by the adherents of the faulty Kircher Tree tends to lead to disaster and although I am hugely enjoying this show I am beginning to seriously worry about the effects of the massive ritual he is working.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reality - Terms and Conditions

In the Science Delusion, Sheldrake criticises the underlying assumptions of science and this got me thinking about the underlying assumptions of magic. Magick is currently dominated by a belief in ''the probabilistic universe'' but there are at least two other ways we can look at things - the deterministic and the compatibilist.  The philosophical literature on the argument between free will and determinism is dry and dense and free wheeling sorcerers don't necessarily have time to dig too deeply (concerned as they are with preparing for long elaborate rituals, gathering authentic lion-skin parchment and whatnot) but I think challenging that assumption (of the influence upon probability) throws up some interesting points to reflect on.  In this short and highly limited post I am looking over the rival models and asking some questions which I think are pertinent.  I want to be clear that before my time in Edward Kelley's Tower my resting position would have been with the dominant probabilistic paradigm but since working with Raziel I have been moving to what I consider to be a more ''compatibilist'' model.

Probabilistic Universe

At any given moment you are a being with free will and various things are possible but affected by probability. Magick (strange attractors) is used in order to influence probability in your favour.  If something is more likely to occur then magick can easily tip the odds your way, if its a long shot magick can still have some kind of effect but may not work depending on the outcome of the various competing forces. - making Magick a subtle kind of Physics.  The future does not pre-exist (therefore Probabilistic Model is dependent upon philosophical Presentism) but comes to be as a result of these competing wills and forces already in existence. There is therefore no destiny or you make your own.
  • What is the medium through which magick influences probability?  How do the strange attractors (sigils, spells, altars, etc) work?
  • Why are you ''free'' at any given moment considering the amount of pressure on you from physical forces, genetics, reflex responses to stimuli, social privilege, etc?
  • Do you exercise free will at all times?  Or only sometimes?  Is free will truly global?
  • If there is genuine randomness in the universe then aren't your actions equally random when seen from a global perspective?  If objectively all entities are behaving randomly where is purpose in free will?
  • Often it is the case with magick that the result of your magick already had to be in the process before you actually did the magick and this implies either a retro-causal or temporal entanglement aspect to the act of magick.  If so the future already exists.  How does the probabilistic model explain these situations?

Deterministic Universe

Everything you do in life, including waving your magickal wand, you do because of things that happened before. You were led here.  The future already exists.  You are not free in the slightest and there is no such thing as magick because there is no such thing as free will.  Whether you choose to believe in the delusion of free will or accept determinism is also predetermined.  ''I created you in order to destroy you.'' The feeling of doing magick is explained by misguided prophecy, your ego is claiming responsibility for something that is happening which would have happened anyway. But your ego, your thoughts on this and your belief in the probabilistic universe that made this possible are also predetermined.  Self - Consciousness acts as an analogue narrator/commentator for events over which it has no control. Although this might feel spontaneous it is in fact entirely scripted. There is only destiny.
  • What is the point in life if there is no free will?
  • If my act of magick is predetermined doesn't that mean that magick works I am just not in control of it?  
  • Is free will a necessary component of magick?

Compatibilistic Universe

Several futures already exist.  The only surviving futures are ones where time travel exists - ''time travel'' binds the future to the past (the beginning in the end and the end in the beginning) and allows that universe/timeline to cohere.  You are in one of those universes.  Magick is only possible at certain key moments where those surviving universes intersect - they are knotted together. At these moments you can change/select universe from your list of finite surviving variants.  A ''Choose Your Own Adventure'' book where magick allows you to flip universes.  There are multiple destinies - ''Enlil'' is the Master of the Destinies (plural).
  • If I can only select an observational point at specific times from a limited variety of me then who am I?  Am I riding this vehicle?  How many observers can be on a given vehicle?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ares and Mars

Whenever I think of Mars and Ares I suddenly well up, my heart aches over this sense of profound loss that I can't locate the source of.  I have long wondered about the cause - I mean I am an Aries and ruled by Mars; I can be aggressive, competitive, combative, confrontational, etc though I always steer clear of physical violence and hold myself accountable.

In order to understand I think I must separate Ares and Mars.  Ares, the lover of Aphrodite and father of Eros, Anteros, Deimos, Phobos, Harmonia and  Adrestia was considered by the Greeks to be a violent, somewhat sadistic God of Destruction.  When we say ''the Greeks'' we have to be careful as a lot of our sources are Athenian and they gave all the virtuous martial attributes to their own Goddess. The Spartans obviously liked him and their raw recruits had to sacrifice puppies to him.  Mars on the other hand was an agricultural and sylvan God who was then converted into a war God as Rome built its Empire on the back of a militia of soldier/farmers.  These myths were then blended under the influence of Greek culture and as the Empire expanded.

Sometimes I see my fellow magicians taking Tuesdays as an excuse to work themselves into some kind of bane fest, smiting all and sundry but this is taking the low road when it comes to Martian working.  In some ways all of our ideas of the Gods are broken and we have to rebuild them but Ares/Mars seems particularly mis-characterised.  When your town is crumbling into the pits of hell it is Ares that will risk his life to come back and get you. When the other Gods run, Ares will hold the line. When I think of Martian working I think of loyalty, discipline, honour, and the defence of the defenceless not wrath, petty revenge and slaughter.

A long long time ago, I had a very strange encounter with a small grey man who was a follower of Robert Graves in the Bull's Head on the A47 who gave me beautifully hand written letters explaining the corruption/demise of the Etruscans as the result of the impact of some kind of cursed meteor in their lands.  This resonated with me.  I feel like thoughts of Mars bring up ancient memories, of a planet once beautiful but now laid waste.  The only way I can think of Mars as a truly violent character is as if he were himself a victim of war driven to madness, revenge and blood-feud by a sense of devastating, overwhelming loss of a planet reduced to absolute ruin - I feel nothing but pity and compassion in his grief.  In restoring and rectifying Mars I think of a God of Peace not of War - a God of family and of friendship, of passion and drive.  I think of the people who have encouraged me to push myself and I think of my own duty as a mentor as I push others to excel.