Wednesday, 27 June 2012

No Pain, no Power?

There have been a few posts recently about whether the path to power requires losing things in our lives, friends, wealth, freedom, etc. and if so how much? Loss in terms of stripping away the things that we think we want and being left with only the things that we need. Jow is relatively unconvinced, RO is all for it, one of his students has experienced it in some way, and Lion’s Den lost almost everything.

EDIT: Frater Acher has a very interesting post to add to the discussion.

My view is that it’s a continuous process of building up things that we really don’t need but think that we want. Then when the Universe strips them away to help us grow, we feel the pain of that loss and don’t always learn the lessons that can be gained from such experiences.

One route of contemplating this cycle of loss followed by growth is daily prayer. For me it’s an opportunity to align myself with the Universe and reflect on what I actually need or think I need. Prayer to me is not a list of “gimme, gimme” supplications; it’s much more self-reflective and transformative than that.

Another way to prevent a large build-up of world-view “crud” to be burned away is to continuously challenge and try to break my worldview. I do this via reading blogs, books and attending lectures that challenge my ideas & beliefs in a fundamental way. From there those changes radiate outwards in terms of behaviour, relationships and interaction with the world at large.

Recently several things have happened in my life that indicates I need to get over my aversion of making contact with spirit entities. To be specific, several very strong hints have been dropped that I should pursue contacting a maggid.

A maggid is either an angelic messenger or a soul that has remained on a lower rung of ascension to Atzilut (close spiritual realm to the source of Divine emanation). Maggids can appear in person, but it’s more common for them to speak through someone. A maggid can also be the higher self, the greater “I” that is part of the self beyond the small ego-defined “I”. Is that the same as the HGA? I’m not sure.

There’s pretty much no reference to HGA in the very few Kabbalistic works that I’ve studied. It seems to be an entirely Western Mystery Tradition obsession. I’m of the opinion that Abramelin book is not written by a Jew - not that this makes any difference to how useful the working is. My views are based on one simple idea. The author refers to his son Lamech, which is not a Jewish name. Unless it’s some kind of code word... I think that it’s written by someone who is knowledgeable of Hebrew, Kabbalah and in particular the practical aspects of Merkavah mysticism and Greek Magical Papyri.

Anyway, that slight diversion aside… I will be over the next few months/years trying to contact a maggid. Wish me luck!

Friday, 22 June 2012

SYRC SY 1:8 update

 It’s been a little while since I posted about the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) Readers Club (SYRC). The main reason is that my study partner and I have by mutual agreement taken a break from working through it together. I’m still planning to carry on with my experiential learning via meditation but I must admit that some of my momentum has gone.

The main lesson in verse 8, chapter 1 of Sefer Yetzirah (SY) is to “silence your mouth form speaking and your heart from running”. In other words, during the process of oscillating consciousness from the rational side of the mind to the psychic intuitive side of the mind and back, the rational side is at risk of being overcome by symbolism and get lost.

Gematria (word association via numerical values of the letters) is a classic example, in my opinion, where there is a risk that the rational mind latches on to symbols and concepts for meaning and connect things that are not that related - thereby missing the overall message.

The point of Gematria to my limited understanding is not to display mental acrobatics of the highest order. Rather it is to get the mind to ponder meanings of words and phrases in order to extract a deeper (and possibly mystical) understanding. This to and fro of grasping at meaning from a rational point of view and then from an (psychic) intuitive point of view is “oscillating consciousness” in action.

The only problem for me is that I do not understand the laws of Gematria (indeed there are some), hence I do not use this technique. Instead I use the verses of Sefer Yetzirah and the Torah as jumping off points to gain a deeper understanding.

If you’re familiar with the Torah, you’ll have noticed that there are some places with lots of names and genealogies. My experience has been that you can get some very interesting thoughts arising by meditating on these names. Perhaps it’s an awakening of ancestral memories coded by these names, or perhaps it’s something else.

In any case, the trick is to stop short and not delve so deeply that your rational mind rebels and screams “STOP!”

Symbologist to the rescue, companion-style side-kick optional

To misuse the analogy of diving…. the more you practice, the deeper you can go. But each time you do a deeper dive the risks increase significantly. SY1:8 comes to teach us “don’t dive much further than your comfort zone”. Getting the “bends” from psychic / spiritual experiences can leave you messed up for years to come. This, to my understanding, is why people say “Kabbalah will make you go crazy”.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Field Report: Prayer for Financial Prosperity

Unfortunately I've lost my notes on the exact sequence of events that took place during this working. However, having written it up and slept on it, this is what I remember took place.

Awhile back I was stuck in a job that was going nowhere fast. People were leaving either voluntarily or non-voluntarily and I got talked in to staying longer than I should have. When the thought “cheque please!” crosses your mind, it's worth taking a few moments to consider whether that though should be seriously considered or not.

Anyway, the opportunity came for me to leave voluntarily and I took it. Things worked out in such a way that my departure was going to take 3 months. At first this was not too bad but when a new job opportunity came up and after two interviews in quick succession I got a job offer - things got complicated.

My old place would not let me go and the new place wanted me to start right away. At first I said a couple of Psalms as prayers for aid and had a chat with my old boss. To say that it was a disastrous conversation would be an understatement. He was very unreceptive, told me that I was blackmailing him and I found it all rather confusing given that he was about to be made compulsory redundant.

Anyway, since the Psalms route had not worked so well I decided to say a prayer for financial prosperity that is similar to the one that can be found in some Hebrew prayer books. Having done this a couple of times, come up with a plan that I could present on how my leaving was not going to destroy the department – the response from my old boss was a lot more sympathetic.

However, that was when things started getting even more complicated. My old boss had included a number of other managers in the decision making process and it went from a “OK, you can leave early and still get a pay-out if you finish project X” to three weeks of email exchanges, calls and bugging people on a daily basis.

The interesting thing to me was that I became aware of how my day to day actions affected the success of the working. My religious practice puts certain limitations on what I am supposed to do and not do. Some of these things I struggle with from time to time. Every time I went off the path, so to speak, things started going badly in terms of trying to leave early without lawyers getting involved. Every time I made an effort to return (teshuvah) things started to go well.

It reminded me of the story of Moses who has to hold his hands up so that the Israelites are victorious in their battle against the Amalekites. Every time his arms dipped the Israelites would shift towards losing and when he raised them again they started winning. In some tiny way, my situation was playing out in a similar fashion.

Anyway, the outcome of all of this was that the prayer for financial prosperity from “Walking in the Fire” had a positive effect. I was able to leave my old job early in order to start the new job and went on to have further successes in my career to date. Sometimes it takes a little time to get sufficient perspective to understand what went on, what the patterns of behaviour were that worked and did not work.

In project management, that type of reflection is called Lessons Learned. It was a painful but valuable lessons. The actions that I've taken away are to further study the law and customs of my religion to get a better understanding of the interplay between how those laws in practice affect the individual and the community.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Reclaiming Our Sunshine

“It’s the sunshine!” my eldest child exclaims every morning, waking the other members of the household.

“It’s the sunshine!” the child’s voice rings out with exuberance and jubilation.

Rise up! Rise up! Fellow practitioners of this fair triple isle and reclaim the sunshine. It’s mid-June and the oracles of BBC weather services are predicting yet more rain. I don’t care what the weather man says may just be a song, but I’ve adopted it as a call to arms.

To my limited knowledge, the Battle of Britain was not won by shooting down more enemy fighter planes and bombers. Dog fights between fighters often led to pilots fighting for Britain (which included a significant number of Polish-born pilots) being shot down over the English Channel.

Instead the main focus was to disrupt bombing raids by the Germans. If the bomber wings could be disrupted, then the air campaign would eventually be lost and that is (to my limited knowledge) what happened.

So how is this information of use for increasing the amount of sunshine in the UK? My proposed answer is, let’s model the fight for sunshine on the tactics used in the Battle of Britain. If we can disrupt the rain clouds as they reach these isles then the rain can be reduced or even stopped.

But how do you fight clouds you may ask?

Here are my proposed strategies:

  • Summon sylphs and spirits of the air to divert the clouds
  • Call to the East wind to send hot winds across the isles and force the clouds to retreat
  • Perform a sun dance. Meditate on the sensation of sunshine warming your skin. Then do a vigorous dance or exercise and hold on to that feeling/vision for all you’re worth.* 
  • Use telekinesis to push the clouds away or break them in to smaller pieces until they lose their cohesion
  • Ask a friend in a water poor country to do a rain dance, and then when the clouds appear in the UK challenge them and say “surely you would provide more blessing in the lands of my friends?”**
  • Shield your cities and residences with winds in the higher atmosphere to carry the rain away as it’s falling
  • Sit outside on a cloudless day and wait for a cloud to appear, it works almost as well as waiting for a kettle to boil
* - Please bear in mind that there is a fine but very important line between worshipping the sun and simply acknowledging where it fits in to the hierarchy of creation. The sun like all things has a time, place and purpose.
** - I’ll be using this approach to encourage the clouds to visit the people of Canada and bless them with their rainfall.

And now in closing I will utterly butcher a famous quote from Shakespeare's "Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1-4":

Now is the summer to be content
Make glorious summer by Arte and lore;
And all the clouds that would low'r upon our houses
In the deep bosom of the ocean let their rain be buried. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

New Project: Spotless Sunshine of the Eternal Mind

It’s raining and it's cold outside. This is mid-June in London 2012.

The past couple of years have had such little rainfall that a drought order was imposed in many counties in England. Now it seems that there is no end in sight to the continuing rainfall.

Personally I blame Gordon for this as he wanted to break a drought. I take no responsibility for any action that I might have taken with regards to Drought Mitigation Strategies. No sirree, nothing to do with me, move along please. This Trainee Golem Builder is almost exclusively an armchair occultist.

In fact, I don’t believe that I have any influence on the weather what-so-ever. On the other hand, I do engage in meditation and practices to try to influence the weather. If that seems like a contradiction then you would be 100% correct in coming to that conclusion. The thing is, it’s my view that any would-be Golem Builder should take a leaf out of The White Queen’s book and try to believe in 6 impossible things before breakfast.

There’s impossible and then there’s really impossible. I’m not quite sure what that means, but it makes for a nice catch-phraee. Anyway, back to the topic of the post...

It’s cold and wet and I want to have some sunshine before the summer is over. Hence I will be engaging in a sun-dance and meditating on verses in the Tanach relating to sunshine.

Previous experience has shown that trying to influence the weather can have quite dramatic results. For example, asking for rain could result in a month’s worth of rain in a single day. But as I said before, I take no responsibility or credit for any such occurrences. It’s impossible after all to influence the weather, isn’t it?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

It's the Queen's diamond Jubilee celebration today. She is, in my opinion, an incredible person. As I write this post I look back at some of the highlights and lowlights of the royal family over the past few decades. The thing that strikes me most is how much of a constant the Queen has been in a changing world.

Royal Fates

I'm reminded of part of Rabbi Hersh's lecture on the Omer and the explanation of the Sefirot. Here is how I would combine that lecture with some key attributes of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

  • Chesed – This means kindness and love of someone else is only possible when they are a part of you. Every soul in Britain and the Commonwealth is connected to the Queen. Like it or not, we all form part of her.
  • Gevurah – Meaning withholding, self-discipline - not giving, i.e. Chesed's opposite. Living a life under royal protocols, there are few people that I can think of who voluntarily live within such limitations and constraints. 
  • Tiferet - Harmony, balance between giving and not-giving, greater than the two parts. Whilst it may outwardly appear as if Her Majesty is more on the side of Gevurah than Chesed, you can see some of her expression of Chesed (and Gevurah) in how she has handles her family. 
  • Netzach – Meaning victory, eternity- not just a one off but doing it all the time constantly. The conductor in an orchestra is the constant in a performance. All the instruments will play their parts but rarely all the way through. It's the conductor who is constant and gets applauded for that at the end. The Queen to me is a person who really embodies attributes of Netzach. 
  • Hod – Often translated as splendour. It's how a person manifests to the world at large. The Queen has a presence that you can feel even if she passes by briefly at a racecourse. 
  • Yesod - What you pass on to others having achieved balance yourself. This is the point of transmission. It will be interesting to see how the lives of the Queen's grandchildren unfold. There was a time when the Queen's children's marriages were coming apart, but despite that she kept her family from splintering. 
  • Malchut – Kingship. Rulership. How a person affects the wider world. 

Growing up, this is the prayer that I heard recited every week on Shabbat. The prayer below is copied from the Hertz prayer book, (with reference to deceased Royal Family member removed):
He Who giveth salvation unto kings and dominion unto princes, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, - may He bless
Our Sovereign Lady,Queen Elizabeth,
Philip Duke of Edinburgh,
Charles Prince of Wales
and all the Royal Family
May the Supreme King of kings in His mercy preserve the Queen in life, guard her and deliver her from all trouble and sorrow. May He put the spirit of wisdom and understanding in her heart and in the hearts of all her counsellors, that they may uphold the peace of the realm, advance the welfare of the nation, and deal kindly and truly with all Israel. In her days and in ours, may our Heavenly Father spread the protection of peace over all the dwellers on Earth; and may the Redeemer come unto Zion; and let us say, Amen. 
It is, in my opinion, fitting that the River Thames be the focus of the diamond jubilee celebration. The British ancient and modern have a grasp of the power of their waterways both physical and spiritual.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Make Yourself a Teacher

In Pirkey Avot (Ethics of the Fathers, part of the Mishnah/Oral law) it says in chapter 1, verse 6:
Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya says, "Make for yourself a teacher and acquire for yourself a friend, and judge each person favourably."
Recently I’ve been feeling that I should get a teacher. Several books I’m reading and “coincidences” that I’ve encountered have all pointed to the simple message: to progress to the next level of experience and knowledge - get a teacher. It’s been on my TODO list for a while.

“Acquire yourself a friend” is checked off on my TODO list. I have a friend with whom I study Sefer Yetzirah chapter 1 regularly; we study the text, practice meditations and share our experiences.

“Judge each person favourably” is something that I failed at quite spectacularly in my last post. I read “Magical Knowledge: Book 1 Foundations”, went to a talk by the author, was upset by some things that were said and promptly made a fool of myself online.

To fulfil “Make yourself a teacher”, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and try the practices described on pages 52-53 in “Magical Knowledge: Book 1 Foundations”.
  • Daily stillness meditation
  • Twice weekly working with element in specific direction
  • Twice weekly visit to inner library
  • Regular physical exercise
On pages 102-103 steps for working with Visionary Magic are spelled out.

Since I find that my ideas rarely progress unless I put them within a project framework, here is the project summary:
Scope: Make Yourself a Teacher 
Time: 1 year plus… 
Cost: Just time.
Quality: Success is measured by whether an inner teacher is willing to teach me and whether I am willing to learn.
Communication: Irregular blog updates, sorry I can’t promise weekly updates :-)
1. My free time is limited due to work and family commitments 
2. My prejudices, fears and preconceptions may hinder or block the work