The prevalence of reductionism in Western thought has had its wicked way with magical practice and reduced it to a set of techniques used for the manifestation of material results. As such, any method that purports to engender a transformative experience on the practitioner (such as an experience of the infinite) is usually dismissed as mysticism.
The arrogance of assuming you already know what the effects of a magical technique will be before you’ve experienced those effects is to deny transformation or revelation. In other words, you’ve stuck your head up your arse for a lung full of nihilism.
I’ve been performing the 169 adorations (and the relevant astral work) as detailed in The Pathworkings of Aleister Crowley every day for the past month. At first glance, The Treasure House of Images (the core text of the book) looks like nothing more than a bunch of bad poetry. However, what is actually gained from practising the 169 adorations cannot be gleaned from simply looking at the text, and it is very easy to dismiss it due to this lack of vision. But if you actually take the time to do nothing more than read out the text of the 169 adorations, you will find:
1). It takes approx. 35-40 mins to read;
2). It is therefore necessary that you sit in a comfortable position;
3). It takes 4 breaths per adoration, meaning you must necessarily go through 676 breath cycles;
4). The text must be read, so you must necessarily concentrate for half an hour.
Besides the effects of adoration itself, you can see that just by reading the text you must practice asana, pranayama and dharana for half an hour everyday!
Makes me wonder what incredibly potent practices I might have dismissed off hand in the past due to my presumption that I already know what magick (and various other ‘superfluous’ or ‘antiquated’ practices) have to offer…
My daily magical practice has been twofold: the reciting of The 169 Cries of Adoration at sunrise, and the memorisation of the relevant chapter (determined by my horoscope) from The Treasure House of Images, which I recite astrally to my star (which happens to be the Sun, being a Leo) in the evening.
Despite my earlier comments, this work is not simply yoga hidden in a Western occult aesthetic, but a magical ritual that employs symbolic actions to identify the individual with the unity of all things. The ritual works with a wonderfully complex symbolism: the Sun is identified as the unity of all things, and the dualistic material expression of unity, via the astral work; the Sun is also Tiphareth on the Tree of Life, or the Holy Guardian Angel, or the centre of the Self, thus identifying the fundamental nature of the Self with the unity of all things; which is further re-enforced by the symbolic union of the individual with the Sun through the adorations.
A lot of people often mistake ritual (or ceremonial) magick as an exercise in psychology. However, the work described above manifests a result outside of the ritual, just like ‘genuine magic’. Moreover, it is the greatest material result possible.
At the time of writing I have experienced 7 consecutive days of results proper, although I have deliberated over whether or not I should publish them at all: To do so would make it very easy for detractors to tar me with the ‘lying-ego-maniac-with-delusions-of-grandeur’ brush.
But if we are to get over our reductionist arrogance and re-introduce the transformative (and most important) aspect of Western magick back into popular occultism, then we need contemporary examples (and interpretations) of this kind of work out in the open.
As the results have been occurring, I’ve been keeping Duncan (fellow Baptist’s Head contributor) up to date with daily e-mails, no doubt to his irritation. I’ll present the results in this format as they were more or less written an hour or so after the respective result occurred, and are perhaps a little more coherent than my diary entries (although an excerpt from my diary is given in the first e-mail):
I got a result today from my adoration practice.
Here’s my diary entry:
Halfway through realised that if I’m adoring all things through the sun, anything normally considered a break (anything that takes my attention away from reading the text to the sun) could be adored as the sun too (which I did).
At the end I sat and continued to adore everything I experienced (all thoughts, feelings, etc). This led to a non-dual state of consciousness where I could apprehend love, or unity, in all things. I could see a rich, orange light. I found myself ‘letting go’ – which led to a total loss of any kind of fear.
This state lasted a while afterwards. It’s very strange to realise that unity (or God?) is in everything – all the shitty thoughts, feelings, doubts; all the crappiest, saddest things in existence are divine. I actually know what Ghandi meant when he said ‘God is in the rock.’
(Detractor: Look! He openly admits he thinks he’s like Ghandi!)
I did the same thing I did yesterday, and result number 2 followed. Instead of a rich, orange light, there was a dark light (work that one out). I experienced something unpleasant. The trance was sort of like yesterday, except this time I realised the divinity or unity or whatever in myself.
You know when you look for yourself and you don’t find anything? Or when you stop thinking you disappear? Well this was like the reverse of that: I experienced myself in contrast to the unity. The unity is REAL and I am a sham, and although the unity is necessarily ‘in’ me (because it is all things) that doesn’t stop the self (being dualistic) from really finding that experience unpleasant. You are forced to experience yourself as a BIG LIE. It didn’t help that the unity seemed to be selfless either. It’s like suddenly realising that in truth you’re a piece of plasterboard.
The trance went no further than this (I think it’s enough to deal with for today). I better get my bliss tomorrow, or I’m kicking off.
(Detractor: He thinks he’s enlightened, but he’s just a hedonist! And a violent one to boot!)
Today’s result was slightly different. No unpleasantness, unless you count inability to bear bliss. I won’t be kicking off after all!
It lasted a couple of minutes (I think), but it wasn’t the full bliss. I think it was a taster, but that was enough for now! I was vibrating, my heart was pounding like a twat, brights lights all over the joint, and I saw a crystal clear vision of the moon. I have no idea what that means.
(Detractor: No one has any idea what you’re on about either!)
This is getting boring, isn’t it?
Today’s trance was sort of similar to yesterday’s, except the smidgen of bliss had gone; however, I think it was a step up in that I experienced the fact that everything exists and does not exist at the same time. More important than that though, I could see I am a complete sham (I never have existed), but there was absolutely no fear or anguish (as in Result 2). This is hard to describe, but the best term I could th
ink of at the time was ‘masterful’. It was a feeling of complete assurance. Later, I realised a better term would be absolute peace.
(Detractor: Masterful?! The arrogance!)
I can see a pattern emerging – I get a little bliss, then the next day, when the state isn’t so overpowering, I experience something about the nature of reality. Today was more bliss. I found that if I focussed and made an effort to breath slowly and regularly, the experience became more ‘substantial’. I can now see that all the talk in alchemy and in Crowley’s stuff about being able to bear the bliss isn’t simply concerned with the ability to endure the ecstasy, but with ensuring you don’t miss the revelation by being swept up or getting lost in it.
Am I getting on your tits yet?
(Detractor: My God – He’s trying to rape me!)
I tried talking to K (Note: that’s my Holy Guardian Angel – whom, under his instruction, I’ve recently started communicating with through the African 4 cowrie shell method of divination, the Obi) last night, thinking I might have reached the end of my adoration work, but he told me to bugger off and keep at it.
Result number 6 happened this morning: we are functions of a perfect, infinite whole. What usually follows is ‘but we just can’t see it because we’re blinded by imperfect ideas etc’, but everything is part of that perfect, infinite whole – ideas, or thoughts (what we try to see past or slough off) are functions of, and so inseparable from, the perfect, infinite whole.
I experienced the most intense, ‘prophetic’ state I’ve had yet – which I struggled to integrate later (the crux of the experience was realising that my focus on decision making, which IS me, only works to create explanation for events (i.e. my whole existence) that has nothing to do with me, or that decision making. Of course, I later realised that my discomfort was due to still applying the ideas of self or events to something beyond (but including) reason). I had to make a willed effort at stopping this ‘focus’, which led to the peak of the state. I think the state was an experience of the Tao.
The strange thing was, although it didn’t seem as dramatic as the other results, I got the feeling that they’re superfluous – a side effect – and that what I was experiencing was what was important.
(Detractor: I’ve killed your cat)
Bit more bliss. It is very distracting.
In that state any thought or feeling (and by this I mean habitual thoughts and feelings – like the sense of being ‘Alan’) can be dissolved or manifested – I wonder if this is something I’ll be able to do in everyday life? I also wonder if I’ll reach the point where the material world is created, and similarly, gain the ability to manifest stuff out of thin air. Like a giraffe.
When I know I’m not ‘Alan’, it’s very strange. The difference between ‘Alan’ and who we really are is like dreaming you’re an amoeba only to wake up to discover you’re a thing called a human being. Going back to being an amoeba makes the amoeba feel weird as the human being is completely alien. I think that’s a failure to maintain the realisation that even the amoeba is part of who (or what) we really are.
I’m talking shite.
(Detractor: At last, a confession!)
To date, this is as far as I have got, but I think this work will continue for a while longer yet. I don’t feel it’s necessary in future to publish any further results from this work (unless of course I do actually manage to manifest a giraffe) as I think that would be labouring the point somewhat.