Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Holiday Break

It's the summer in England and now that the warm weather is finally here, I am taking a break from reading musty old tomes on magic. Researching the theory of golem building, how to change lifeless clay in to a living being, is one of many of my hobbies. But my other hobbies are falling behind. So I'll be hanging out with friends, collecting more magical paraphernalia and taking a break until later in September.

Alright... so I may have gotten distracted by computer games again. I know... it's not a productive use of my time... but hush now :-)


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Free is Priceless

In the previous post, I argued that free occult literature online is not worth a great deal if there is no emotional attachment to the material that is generated through a struggle to acquire that information. I'm now going to contract myself entirely by saying that it's really hard to put a pricetag on the free information available online.

Google image search can be a bit random....
The information that I am referring to is all the free University courses that have exploded on to the net in recent years. Below are a few examples of free courses offered by these Universities.

https://www.coursera.org/
http://www.open.edu/openlearn/
https://www.edx.org/
http://oyc.yale.edu/
http://futurelearn.com/

The reason this information is priceless, in my opinion, is that they provide context about the time periods in which magical literature was written & published. Without context it's really easy to jump to conclusions and fail to take in to account the social, political, economic, religious environments in which practitioners in previous ages lived & operated.

Understanding context is priceless in my view. The fact that these Universities provide this context information is what makes them priceless. So if you have not signed up and started listening to courses - why not start now? Here is just one of many excellent courses.

Build up a course list of things that interest you and throw in some that you know will rub you the wrong way. Now you're on your way to a continuing education with a healthy dose of academic information to balance the information in non-academic books on magic & mysticism.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Free is Worth Nothing



This blog is worth nothing. As in the information posted here may on occasion be of value to you, but this blog will never generate revenue because everything is given away for free.

OK, so that’s pointing out the obvious but please indulge me for another minute as I have a fetish for pointing out the obvious. You see I sat down recently and wrote a short list of all the things that truly value in my life. It was a rather short list. The one thing that stood out was that all of them had come through struggle, strife, heart-ache, and sacrifice.

This made me consider all the things that I consider to be free in my life and question: 1. Are they really free? 2. Do they have any value?

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library, Hereford, England
And now the point of this blog post….

There is a huge amount of information available today online in the general category (bucket) called Esoteric and Occult information. Ignoring information that is shared in breach of copyright there is still a huge amount of information available compared to what previous generations had access to.

Is that information of any worth? I would argue that the fact that there is easy access is not of any worth. Which, in a way, makes it even harder to make that information meaningful in my practice.

The information that I have struggled hours, days, weeks, or even months to gain has already gained some value on the simple basis that it was hard to come by. I feel a greater emotional connection to the book I waited 6 months to buy than all of the free content I have found online. That emotional investment means that I will spend the years of work required to translate and integrate the information in my practice.The hard-drive filled with PDFs containing esoteric information will probably never get read.

So in conclusion and to re-state the obvious… the things that I personally value have all come through significant (and sometimes continuous) effort, often with a level of resistance that more often than not came from me rather than an external source. The greater the investment of time & effort – the more it is of value.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Meditation Interruptus



Last week I tried a Tzeruf – letter permutation – exercise using the ADONAI name of the Divine. The exercise is quite simple - it just iterates through every combination of the letters Aleph & Dalet and then Nun and Yud. 

Each letter has 5 vowels and each letter pair thus has 25 permutations. Then factor in doing the letters in the reverse order, i.e. Dalet & Aleph and Yud & Nun. This makes a total of 100 letter & vowel permutations.

This might sound like a lot to remember but I practised it by going speedily through the combinations without doing deep “vase”-like breathing to make sure that the combination order was correct. After awhile, doing it at speed even the letter & vowel combinations sounded musical.

So I was reasonably confident that I would get the pronunciation right and hence set aside plenty of time to work through the meditation. Unfortunately as any project manager will tell you, no plan ever executes quite as expected.

It was during the 3rd part of the meditation, going through Nun & Yud that I felt someone pull my shoulder from behind. It was not a gentle tug. If I weighed any less it probably would have spun me around out of the chair and on to the floor. The only other thing I was aware of was that the arm of the thing pulling me was rather thin, the kind of thinness you see with super-models and people who have died from starvation.

I carried on the meditation, somewhat shaken and not sure what to expect next. It was at the start of the fourth and final section of the meditation that the figure behind me - who I would only really describe as a young woman with a loose lip who was either recently dead or within arm’s reach of death door – leaned around my shoulder and kissed me.

It was not an unpleasant kiss as kisses go. Somewhere in between a kiss “hello” and “I need to pass on something to you and the only way to get your attention is to kiss you.”

At that point I stopped the meditation.  I briefly considered looking in to my project management risk log for golem building to check if there were any entries about being kissed by zombie girls. But I knew without bothering to open the risk log that such an occurrence had not been foreseen or contingency planned for.

Instead I sat in silence for awhile and went to bed with visions of the dead pressing in on my minds eye. For the remainder of last week I was rather ill. Not a life-threatening illness, but an unpleasant “I don’t feel quite right or even aligned with my body” kind of illness.

I have no idea what to make of the experience. Maybe next time it will make more sense. Maybe next time doing this particular meditation - I’ll meditate with a circle of salt around me.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Get Moving and Be Still

Get Moving

The summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere and things look like they are slowing down. But they don’t need to slow down, in fact now more than ever is a time to leap ahead with wild abandon and take your practice up to a whole other level.

Jow for example is already on this wavelength. The more people who get in to this – the faster we’ll all advance. That advice in particular is for Mr. Black. I know that you’re going through a slow phase at the moment – but I’m confident that you’ll pull out of it soon and come out all guns blazing.

The blogosphere is not an egregore in my opinion, it’s too fragmented. But we do bounce off each other enough to move forwards, backwards or sideways in to unexpected new avenues on our individual paths.

Stillness

Anyway, I got a bit side-tracked at the start of this blog post… on to the main subject matter.

Stillness.

There is a scene in the 1984 film Dune in which there is water dripping ever so slowly in to an underground reservoir. Watching that scene gave me an immense feeling of stillness that I have not managed to recapture since… until I went to a talk by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki at Treadwells bookshop. Sitting in the room with her gave me that same sense of stillness.


Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve put out a psychic call to Rabbi Abraham Abulafia to get in touch, or to at least get someone alive today to get in touch in order to help me along my path. I follow this up with a few emails and sure enough I get a response.

The advice that I get from this living teacher is to spend more time in stillness post-meditation.

It seems silly looking back how I did not realise the importance of that before… The Rabbi’s teach that when the patriarch Abraham and matriarch Sarah heard the instruction to leave their place of residence in Haran and move to the land of Canaan – that advice was not for them in particular.

It was the small still voice as heard in Elijah’s prophetic experience that all of humanity is able to tune in to if they cultivate a sufficient level of emptiness and stillness. To leave one's place of comfort, old ways behind and strive to connect Divine without as a society settling on the worship of intermediaries as was common at that time.


Anyway... Unfortunately I have not been able to focus on meditation due to a recent illness, but that is a blog post for another time.

Be well… Be still.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Today's Lecture Link: Zohar and Kabbalah - Daniel Matt


Zohar and Kabbalah - Daniel Matt



Published on Dec 3, 2012
The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life present Daniel Matt speaking about The Zohar and Kabbalah.

For more information visit bildnercenter.rutgers.edu

Well worth watching if you can spare the time. Daniel Matt has written a number of books on Kabbalah and the few that I've read - I would heartily recommend!

EDIT: I need to move on from eating wheat kernels....