Sunday, February 13, 2011

Alan Moore's Course in Magick...

...appears in five volumes at $14.99 a piece. You didn't know Moore had a course on Magick? Yep, it's a series of graphic novels entitled Promethea and it is wonderful.

Basically Moore disguises his teachings/theories as a slightly futurist superhero comic following protagonist Sophie Bangs as she comes to grips with being chosen to be the new incarnation of ancient god/force Promethea, essentially The Scarlet Women. The entire series is packed with Magick, however the real gem is from issue 12 to about 20 where Moore walks Sophie through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the ancient map of the Universe that the Tarot of the Egyptians is based on. It is brilliantly rendered in word and in art, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray really pulling out all the stops and bringing each Sephira to life with the different colors, images and other associations.

In keeping with this, more for my own benefit really, because writing stuff like this helps me consolidate and streamline my own understanding, I'm going to write out the Major Arcana and brief definitions according to Moore.


0 The Fool - Nothing. The Void. Ain Soph.
1 The Magus - The Father, the initial spark of creation.
2 The High Priestess - The womb in which that spark gestates.
3 The Empress - The Motherly crafting/nurturing of life.
4 The Emperor - The governing body of rules for that life = DNA.
5 The Hierophant - Something... more that guides that life. Birth of the idea of God or Higher Consciousness.
6 The Lovers - Life splits, Adam and Eve, the Protozic Amoebas. The Brothers, Cane and Abel. This Life thing gets complicated as life proliferates and takes on many new forms. Survival becomes you either kill or get killed.
7 The Chariot - The Holy Graal the dawn of man's exploration of imagination and enlightenment
8 Adjustment (formerly Justice) - Ying and Yang; Laws, compromise & cooperation. The first faint lines of civilization
9 The Hermit - A dark period of withdrawal and gestation. Re-grouping.
10 Fortune (formerly The Wheel) - Civilization: Empires come and go.
11 Lust - an undying drive that propels life further in spite of itself
12 The Hanged Man - Four points over one*: the triumph of reason and matter over the Spiritual
13 Death - A change of states.
14 Art (formerly Temperance) - The flip of card 6; alchemical mixing of Will and Imagination (Silver and Gold).
15 The Devil - Materialization over Spirit
16 The Tower - What goes up must come down (the Industrial Revolution).
17 The Star - The Path to enlightenment. The dawn of Spiritualism in the late 19th century.
18 The Moon - Hidden meanings. The Unconscious Mind.
19 The Sun - True Enlightenment.; revelation.
20 The Aeon - N.O.W. - Information age; Aeons turnover quicker and quicker. Eschaton.
21 The Universe - The Dance of Life. The mirror of card 0 - Everything.

Further Down the Corridors of Dream Part 1

When he awoke there was a momentary sensation, as if he'd come to just as someone had thrown a glass of water on his face. Sudden, sharp, and cold he sat up quickly as the final moments of the dream discorporated throughout his mind, breaking into a million salient pieces and running off back into the nooks and crevices that, if he could follow them, would lead directly into his subconscious.

"Ah, what?" Was all Jake could manage as the sensation of rain, wave or folly broke and rolled back, leaving him sitting upright in his bed, early morning strains of the day to come playing in through the snaps and tears in the blinds, dream fog disintegrating and leaving nothing but the consensual.

"The mundane." he mouthed as he dropped back against his pillow and attempted to fight for those nooks, to fish out any slow moving tendrils of dream that, if caught and pulled on, might serve as a thread to begin remembering the...


Yes! He'd gotten one. Here it was now... he struggled to move it just right so as not to damage the thread of gossamer memory. Gently pulling on the idea of the house next there came to Jake the image of a yard, an expanse of Kentucky bluegrass peppered with trees, oak and birch and others too small to recognize by name for one so uninvolved in the art of the garden. But it was enough. Jake knew where the dream had taken place.


It's been a while since he'd been there, but now... logical day-to-day thought fought for a space of prominence among the dangling memory. Best to pursue the slipperier one of the bunch before it was gone.

Jake rolled forlornly from the bed and took a place on the floor. Tucking his legs beneath him in a standard yogic position he began to slow and focus his breathing. There wouldn't be any of that om shit, but–

"On second thought," he stood quickly, performed a few basic stretching disciplines and then lowered himself again, this time slowly and with the aid of the window sill, into what he had been introduced to by Aleister Crowley (his books, not the person) as the 'Thunderbolt" position. This wasn't the standard Thunderbolt, this was Crowley's own special concoction, or some archaic torture device the old mage had come across somewhere in his own travels. It was nearly impossible to get a body, even a relatively limber body such as Jake's, into at first. Jake had done it now hundreds of times and always his body still fought it at first. But once it settled in and his ID relaxed, there was no faster route to the tune-out.

And minutes drift by and we go...

...through a narrow trail in the woods. Old woods, familiar woods. Jake can sense himself but only in that half-removed dream fashion. His hand fought off branches as he moved through the vegetation and soon he was afforded a bit of sky through the tops of the trees. He could see massive, billowing clouds of dark gray and the darkest brown, almost black. He continued, the slightly ominous sight casting a bit of a foreboding over his advance but not slowing him, never slowing him as he walked.
Shortly he arrived at a small clearing in the wood. Before him the ground rose up, covered in ancient, dry and crispy leaves and a low stone wall randomly emerged from the forest floor.
Seeing this he realized that he knew the place. It was a dream amalgam of places near where he'd grown up. The wall was some strange, left-over artifact from a house long ago abandoned, it's structure demolished by some unknown factor, it's property consumed by the hungry forests all around it. Further on up the path he suspected that he would find the subtle remains of a split rail fence, also long-ago displaced by nature. He also knew that somewhere before him there would be a door buried by a lite brushing of dirt. He'd get to that in a moment.
A ripple-like sensation broke through the fabric of the surroundings for a moment. Jake blinked and suddenly it was as if a whole entire other world had sliced through the one before him, leaving an angular cross-section before him. To the right of it and the left was the amalgamated forest, but when he focused straight ahead he could suddenly see himself sitting in an elaborate cross-legged position in some far off place...
The ripple returned and the cross section disappeared. A thought flitted through his mind like a lightning bug on a July evening: there are other worlds then these.
These? He hardly had time to let this contemplation ring true when he found himself at the door in the Earth, brushing off it what little dirt remained. He had the distinct impression that someone had just been here moments ago.
Behind him another ripple shot through the world and this time the momentary cross-section showed something else. Or rather, someone else. Two eyes, great big and greenish in hue, watching him from... elsewhen.
Then it was gone and he was entering the moist staircase that led down beneath the soft, leave-strewn Earth.

And he was awake again. Jake's legs uncoiled almost unconsciously from beneath him and he blinked his eyes open just in time to catch a retreating glimpse of something in the mirror before him.


Friday, February 11, 2011


Just discovered this awesome band from Perth, Australia.

Some Thoughts on Remembering Dreams

Another completely insane dream this morning - its vivid, ethereal strands clung to me as Thompson woke me up with soft purrs for a second feeding this morning. Now, one thing I've learned is that even though they say we dream every night I myself only remember them in chunks. In other words, I've had pretty much day after day of dream residue each morning for a week or two now, but if everything snaps to grid this will stop shortly. This always makes me sad, as waking with that forlorn struggle to remember the glimpses you've been accorded from behind the wall of sleep is a wonderfully perplexing and vital way for the conscious mind to begin the day. Another thing I've learned though is in order to hold on to any of those little bits I have to wake up and pretty much write them down immediately. And this morning I did not.

So I lost it.

Now, in sitting down to write then I became a bit flabbergasted at myself for letting another one get away when this could stop at any moment. Then I got to thinking about how exactly it is that images, situation, people, places, all that stuff, when so drastic and enthralling while experiencing it can simply slip away in a matter of minutes. Obviously the unconscious and the conscious don't mingle very well. Or do they?

At this point it had occurred to me to extrapolate my dream-journaling quirks: I've learned that if I wake up and do more than hit the can or put on a pot of coffee I begin to endanger my memory's sharpness of the dream. I can't read anything and I certainly cannot talk to anyone. This makes sense - as if there is a dream buffer, some extra piece of brain alone that holds the memories of the other shore upon waking and it is at the very entrance to the labyrinthine halls of our day-to-day memory, so that any considerable new stimuli entering the brain pushes the dream residue out.

What does that tell us?

Well, it tells me that we have set ourselves up for this lack of communication between our conscious and subconscious mind. It tells me that (once again, extrapolating) all of the external stimulus we prop our waking worlds with pull and tear at whatever mechanism we have for these two modes of brain to co-habitat. Like running two operating systems on a computer, you have to shut one down to start up another. That may be a necessity for a computer, but for a brain? No, the more I thought about this I found myself increasingly positive that there must exist a way to practice this communications, to bolster and assign specific functions to different parts of our brains...

and then I realized there is. "Of Course!!!" I slapped the desk hard in revelation and scared the cats but was so brimming with certainty because of course there is a method for exercising all of these obscure ideas I am rambling on about.

It's called meditation.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More on Douglas Copeland's Ideas for the Future

A couple of months ago I posted a link here to author Douglas Copeland's wonderful article, A Radical Pessimist's Guide to the Next Ten Years. For refreshment's sake, here it is again:

Okay, so this has been a pretty important document to me. Maybe part of that is because I myself am somewhat of a Pessimist. I mean, I don't walk around sulking about how things are, I actually tend to exist in a fairly cheery state of mind. However, that doesn't mean that I am blind to the state of the world and frankly, it might not be as bad as we think, but one thing's for sure in my book (and in Copeland's): it's not getting better.

Anyway, in reading through Mr. Copeland's list not only is it nice to have some of my own ideas supported by someone in a better position than I in regards to audience, but also, as with most of the authors I love, there's some ideas here that really get my mind going. And today I wanted to talk about one of those, specifically.

Respectfully quoted from Mr. Copeland's article:

"16) “You” will be turning into a cloud of data that circles the planet like a thin gauze
While it’s already hard enough to tell how others perceive us physically, your global, phantom, information-self will prove equally vexing to you: your shopping trends, blog residues, CCTV appearances – it all works in tandem to create a virtual being that you may neither like nor recognize."

I like this idea. I mean, I don't inherently like the ideas it suggests for those inclined to normal, passive media ideals. What I like is the way this suggests a new... avenue for the Will of the person in question.

Think about it.

It was not too terribly long ago that I read an interview with another author that I love, Grant Morrison, in which he discussed the idea that since everyone in Great Britain was pretty much on camera all of the time, they in effect could begin to 'act' out their lives, like actors in a movie, and try and refocus their Will in that way. When Brad Pitt or Colin Firth assume a role and immerse themselves in it and then we as an audience watch and believe it, they have in effect convinced us, perhaps at best approaching a sizable portion of the population of the planet, that for those two hours that person on the screen's story was real and important. The best films have impact on our lives. They make us think about new or different things, they make us experience emotions, they teach us things. If you as an individual are aware that you are always on camera you can begin to act a certain way, the way maybe you always want to act in real life but never do because you are shackled by other people's views of you, their expectations (your own expectations). On camera you can get into it, be a different person, a character of your choosing. Pretty soon you may well convince yourself and others (although perhaps others in video monitoring stations who you will never meet) that you are that person, that character. Fake it til you make it? Maybe, but the technology is there...

And that brings us back to Mr. Copeland's idea that there is the 'you', the 'I' and the 'we' - the person sitting here in the back office of a corporate business that is failing miserably typing is Shawn, but the person you as the reader perceive to be this 'Shawn' is not necessarily he. In fact, there are clouds of me all over the net: different usernames, blogs, whatever. They are all manifestations of me and yet also not me at all. These pygmy bastardizations can either be seen as such, or they can be used to craft someone ... else.