As you know one of the main subjects that is tackled by the Hermetic Lessons is Physiognomy (updated by genetics and biopsychology) and a few things have come up recently that I wanted to post a little thought experiment about.
I was reading this article on facial recognition technology being used to help diagnose the chance of acquiring/having a genetic disease at the same time I was going through my fb friends and noticed that of my friends who had disabled children all had ended up with someone who looked similar to them - in one pair, who have a child with Angelman's Syndrome, both of the parents have ''proto'' Angelman features which to my mind indicates the genetic disease lurking beneath the surface - they are already on an Angelman ''spectrum''.
We know from biopsychology that chemical attraction tends to try and link you to someone with as opposite an immune system as possible in order to increase the survival-ability of the offspring* but we also know that the distortions in the ego caused by modern society and the confusion of the senses due to makeup, perfumes, contraception etc can often lead people away from it in other random directions or perhaps the worst possibility, towards ''themselves''.
- People who are attracted to people who look very much like themselves normally have a positive self-regard often to the extremes of narcissism, this why they want to form relationships/get married to themselves or ''a mirror''
- The more similar you are in looks to a person the more likely you are to generate genetic disease because you are increasing the chance of two recessive alleles meeting
Obviously there are other ways that genetic disease can be acquired - radiation, etc - and we would fall short of suggesting the egoist in question is being ''punished'' by this but its an interesting idea to me.
Working out how many successful shags were necessary to create me from the 1400s rapidly becomes a scary number especially when you compare it to population. Work it out. Being kind here, lets just say that our genetic backgrounds are full of kissing cousins - so what could be happening... in these cases... could be a kind of genetic timetravelling incest thing (?) as opposed to pure Narcissism. But who knows? Is this idea insane? Let me know!
*Although that is no certainty of it increasing the survival-ability of the relationship!
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
In response to Io's questions on the last post, I do not think it is necessary for an individual to go through a grade system in order to find their natural position or true will in the grand scheme of things. I think that if you are a healer, a warrior, etc, and you learn that that is your nature early on and choose to focus on that, then that is a good thing - I do not think the path of the initiate is for everyone by any means. The A.A. schema which I have followed, more or less, is certainly not for everyone it was designed to be followed by the secret and the few and as a system it is extremely difficult and demanding.
In my early days of writing I distinguished between sleepers (those unaware of their ''natural'' position), players (those aware of their natural position and with a range of achievement) and ''the Last'' (those who are aware of their specific natural position and all other natural positions). The Last are, of course, the Initiated.
I was thinking about justifying why a particular system of grades would bear merit and reflection on Io's question, again it is not necessary for someone to pass a system such as this to find their natural grade. The point arises from this cryptic footnote of Aleister Crowley's in Book 4:
''Every person, whatever his grade in the Order, has also a "natural" grade appropriate to his intrinsic virtue. He may expect to be "cast out" into that grade when he becomes 8'=3'. Thus one man, throughout his career, may be essentially of the type of Netzach; another, of Hod. In the same way Rembrandt and Raphael retained their respective points of view in all stages of their art. The practical consideration is that some aspirants may find it unusually difficult to attain certain grades; or, worse, allow their inherent predispositions to influence them to neglect antipathetic, and indulge sympathetic, types of work. They may thus become more unbalanced than ever, with disastrous results. Success in one's favourite pursuit is a temptress; whose yields to her wiles limits his own growth. True, every Will is partial; but, even so, it can only fulfill itself by symmetrical expansion. It must be adjusted to the Universe, or fail of perfection.''
The point here is that the individual initiate is ''returned'' to the state of their natural grade upon becoming a Magister Templis which equates with the world of Briah, the world of archetypes. In many ways here the initiate, who has completed the journey throughout the Tree of Life (or most of it at this point) becomes a ''living archetype'', one of the Last, as opposed to simply a player of that ''natural grade''.
I will briefly list what I made out of the A.A. system (between Earth and Sol, simplified and slightly adjusted, each initiation taking between 4 and 7 years) and why I think it (or something like it) is necessary in order to become this ''souped up'' version of your natural grade. This is coming at it from the perspective of a Western student, growing up in a Western paradigm which the curriculum was designed for.
- Earth - Material based models - typical student explaining (+ accompanying research) their magickal effects through magnetism, non-verbal communication, bioelectricity, quantum fields, etc + meditation, stillness, grounding, connection work - started and developed throughout
- Luna - Memory work and psychology based models, both physical and magickal (Liber Thisarb is good because of the kind of thinking it suggests); Astral Travel (this really links Earth and Luna); Jung; Divination; introduction to important languages and semiology
- Mercury - Information based models Logic into Science: a practical science study during this time; research skills; compare, contrast and apply correspondences; Alchemy; Gnana Yoga; Qabalah (need to correct for problems with Kircher Tree - you can really screw up here, as many do, or quit, as most of the others do)
- Venus - Spirit based models Emotions into Art: practical arts study during this time; spirit work culminating in devotion to deity; (Liber Astarte vel Berylli is good); concentration, Bhakti Yoga
- Sol - *Mind* based models - ''energy work'' with ''mental light'', healing - work on Rajas Yoga should have reached Dharana
I can definitely see how these planetary style initiations build on each other, I can also see how the series of initiations relates to Plato's Cave, at the beginning of the journey of the initiate I would say we all start in the cave, chained forward and mistaking shadows for the real world. I would argue, and know from experience that it would be a huge ask for most Western students to jump straight into the light of the Sun, the form of the Good, and a Mind based model. Upon reflection I can see this system as fairly essential to the development of the initiate although I would certainly
de-Crowleyfy it and change the recommended reading in some areas.
Saying this if you are a healer and naturally of the grade of the Sun and you just want to do that, I don't think you necessarily need a mind based model, or even a model at all - there are all sorts of different approaches to healing whereby you may exercise your particular Solar skills.
But for an initiate, who endeavours to rectify the entire solar system inside themselves, following the Chaldean order, seems to make sense to me... Thoughts, feelings, reflections?
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The human body is divided into a variety of different cell types in the same way humanity is divided into a variety of different psycho-social types. For ease I divide these into types using the spectrum of the endocrine system, the glands, as they provide a useful general field of purpose (control, perception, communication, immunity, energy, engines, reproduction) and also a fairly easy set of physiognomical cues to identify them. Using these archetypal forms i.e. high testosterone character or high adrenaline character etc, I can zoom in more closely using the paths and identify where an individual might lie *between* these archetypes, I can determine the genetic ''alchemical'' mix at the essence of a person and subsequently diagnose the disease (or spectrum of disease), both physical and mental, that they are likely to struggle with.
The discussion on Disrupt and Repair is about the usefulness of making a grade system out of this and learning systematically about characters other than one's own or trying to replicate them within yourself. In this sense the process of initiation leads you away from yourself only to return to your ''natural grade'' when you achieve a certain level of enlightenment (8 = 3), and it also suggests that some grades are naturally superior than others. The natural grades we are discussing do relate to the intiatory grades that have been associated with them for example a Practicus is using adrenaline to fuel their recall ability when learning and utilizing systems of correspondences, an Adeptus Minor is using insulin and glucagon to store and release energy. This means that if one is an insulin/glucagon character their natural grade is Adeptus Minor. However this in no sense means that an Adeptus Minor is more important than a Practicus in this understanding.
Think about occupations in the real world such as the police force, associated with the immune system and Mars. There are some people with a certain set of natural skills that make them good police officers. There are other influences (spoiling, neglect, abuse) that can reduce their quality as police officers. Within the police there are a variety of different types of jobs that require different skills - armed response is different from detective work, in the same way an eosinophil immune cell is different from a B memory cell. Within these jobs themselves there are different levels of achievement and recognition, different ranks etc which are accessible, technically, by different displays of virtue and excellence. You can earn more money and respect as a highly ranked detective (Mars) than a lowly ranked government official (typically Jupiter or Saturn types) or teacher (typically Solar or Venutian). So I don't think there is anything inherent in a natural grade that makes one more important than the other, a skin cell or hair cell is equally important to a nerve cell in the grand scheme of things. When I look at the Tree of Life, I use it in its 2d upright form to find position within the body and don't automatically equate that to status - if we take people's misconceptions as someone whose character lies around cortisol and testosterone (or Netzach and Yesod), kidneys and gonads, I would be considered quite lowly. The head can't work on its own though - at least not yet - and even when it can it will be linked to things that are doing the equivalent of cleaning its blood, etc.
I do work ''up the Tree'' through initiations after a manner - when stepping onto a certain path or Sefira an individual of the physiognomical type enters my life, they are summoned as a spirit, and I learn about the Sefira by learning about them. I explore their traits both negative and positive and try to apply the most useful ones to myself. For example I have been working between Solar and Martian initiations for some time now and would reject the Pride and Aggression but try to absorb the Inspiration and Discipline.
Bear in mind that an individual is automatically a gestalt of the people they have met: an ex-girlfriend's smile, a father's frown, a mother's nod of assent - this gestalt forming a mask of memory or acquired behaviour, harmonious or otherwise, over a genetic core identity. We naturally acquire this mask of messily acquired other ''grades'', initiation simply applies some system of undertsanding that - we acquire experience of other cells this way and come to know ourself in the body as opposed to just ourselves in the cell. Without this tour of the inner space, which has beene expressed out into the world, we can't fully know what the point of it all is, although we may good at doing it.
When this process of discovery is complete the mask comes off (or is integrated and internalized) and the individual is revealed in their fullest glory as their archetype - this is the 8 = 3 grade - and in life this is where one is really good at doing what they do and what they have true will for be it artist or scholar alongside knowledge of the entire system - they are a real human being. Typically the artists, scholars, scientists, mothers, fathers, etc who are renowned are the ones who have achieved this understanding, they understand how their part contributes to the greatness of the whole, as opposed to those who labour in their various cells without that knowledge.
To give a practical example for my Netzach initiation, I conjured various forces - ended up working in Taurean and Libran spheres - my Taurean intiation was handling the FMD crisis in 2001, my Libran working as a waiter, balancing plates in an extremely fancy green restaurant. Due to excellence I was promoted and became the manager of this literal green sphere, outside of which were two statues of women one black (exposed to rain and pollution) the other white (less exposed). During these spheres and the pathwalking that followed them - which were mainly in either caring (Alzheimers, Schizophrenia) or entertainment (restaurants, pubs, shows) leading to teaching in the end as the Solar sphere - I formed close relationships with Mime types, listening to the transactions on the sod level. For my Solar initiation, I conjured various forces and went to work in a big yellow building numbered 320, I worked with and encountered many Prisoner types and again paid attention to them on the sod level. These experiences have not just yielded qualities of personality but esoteric abilities as well. As I said above I think there is substantial correlation between the physiongnomical archetypes and the grades of the A.A. and can go through it in another post.