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THE MEANING OF LIFE
To gather experience over countless lifetimes.

We Realize who and what we really are, and come to behave like That.

Ignorance of That and associated bad habits result in mistakes and consequential suffering.

The accumulation of experience eventually brings us to realize that we are not separate from others, which forms habitual devotion to the ultimate welfare of all.
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” ‘The Dark Lord has forbidden me to speak of it,’ Narcissa continued, her eyes still closed. ‘He wishes none to know of the plan. It is… very secret. But —‘ ”

In an animated voice, Suri’s mother, Aggie, read again from Harry Potter. The hot summer air hung like steamy wet towels in the night and mixed with the smell of the evening’s fried fish sticks to thicken the mustiness of their home. Suri was annoyed by the dilapidated condition of the furniture, shifting his weight on the open gash in their sofa. The one light in the room, by which Aggie read, cast strange shadows, even stranger with the eerie stillness of the companions seated on each person’s lap, their oppressiveness seeming to loom over them all.

Suri’s older sister, Ophie, and his twin, Ellie, seemed to be listening intently but his own thoughts were consumed with the application he’d sent that morning to Queen’s University, trying to think of some way to pay for it, if he got accepted. Aggie had forbidden them all with threats of violence and abandonment, should they ever leave home, so no one knew he’d applied. Even if it didn’t show, his companion, Sarah, seemed angry at him today. In his mind, he could hear her mumbling and hissing at him, and her flawless face seemed to frown, even sneer. But if Sarah was angry, how much more so would Aggie be? Would Aggie take Sarah away and lock her in the basement again? He couldn’t stand the idea of having Sarah taken away again.

Like the other companions were to their owners, Sarah was a part of himself, a voice of reason, of beauty, hope and guidance, besides a constant demand on his attention. Sarah’s round face with incredibly life-like color and deep-blue crystal eyes were a bigger part of his life than his sisters, even his mother. Sometimes he just gazed into those eyes for hours, trading ideas and secrets, bathing her, brushing her long blue hair, conversing with her in his head. But whenever he left the house, Sarah’s demands for constant attention always tugged at the back of his mind. She was his personal secret intimacy in an unfriendly and impersonal world.

Aggie read from the book and the companions listened every bit as intently as their owners did. Aggie’s own two companions leaned back against the wide armchair in which her great bulk reclined. Their faces, like those of the other companions, were unmoved and inhumanly placid, staring into the distance as usual, so unlike his sisters who leaned in and listened with obvious wonder at the adventures of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Ellie snuggled closer to him, seeming close as twins will be, giving no other hint to their incest, but Suri already felt an uneasy distance from her and the others. These women were everything to him; how would he live without them? Suri had no father to look to for an example of how to act. The male companions were no help because he couldn’t talk to them about school, or college, or girls. In fact, he couldn’t talk to them at all, being able to hear only Sarah’s voice in his head. But when he left for college, he wouldn’t be alone. He would take Sarah with him. When anyone at college noticed Sarah, he’d explain her as a “collector’s item,” which indeed she was: three feet tall, fully articulated, super-realistic porcelain face, flawless blue plastic hair, and an impeccably tailored wedding gown. No one would guess she was actually alive.

Aggie finished the chapter and said, looking up at her children and the companions, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens next month, did you know?” Everyone nodded. Of course they knew. Patting her companions lightly on their backs she added, “Elizabeth and David here tell me they love the Harry Potter books so much they want to see the movie this time.”

Suri glanced at his mother’s companions, Elizabeth and David, with their ultra-realistic faces and eyes, she with her immaculate straight platinum hair, and David with his equally perfect black plastic hair, she in the small black evening gown, breasts swelling at the top, and David in his tuxedo and shiny shoes.

As real as all of the companions looked, none matched the face of Elizabeth. If Suri looked into Elizabeth’s eyes, he felt they were staring not back at him, not through him, but deep into his most secret self. While all of the companions spoke only to their owners, none of the other companions gave the incredibly creepy feeling he got when looking into Elizabeth’s eyes. But with Aggie’s announcement, Elizabeth and David just sat there, perfectly still and indifferent, as though they hadn’t heard Aggie at all. Their indifference was intimidating in the face of the emotional havoc Aggie was creating. “I think we should take them and the other companions to the movie with us,” Aggie insisted.

Suri looked at his sisters, both visibly troubled, fretfully rubbing their companion’s backs, and glancing nervously again and again into their companion’s eyes, clearly trying to deal with their companion’s chatter in their heads. Sarah’s head actually seemed to turn to face him, and exclaimed in his own head, “What the hell do you think she’s up to? She’s going to get us all beat up! Or ruined!”

For all the companion chatter in everyone’s heads, the room crackled with electric silence. His sisters looked every bit as frightened as Suri felt. The companions had always been a strict family secret. Every time any of them had described the secret to a friend or outsider, or shown one of them to a visitor, they had been severely chided and bullied for being so weird. Everyone had learned to fear discovery of their secret. This outing was a terrible idea, yet the notion of contradicting Aggie was even more terrible. Aggie could send any of them to the hospital, bleeding or burned without warning. Suri looked again at Elizabeth and David, freakishly unmoved and aloof, yet for some reason, Suri suspected that Elizabeth was behind this, but for what reason he could not guess.

Aggie leaned forward toward them all in her an enormous brown dress that outlined her huge, sagging, bra-less breasts. Her 49-year-old face was almost transparent for lack of sun. It had a drooping mongoloid look, and a scary angry frown had become a permanent expression above her sagging chin. “I’ve thought about it a lot,” Aggie continued. “I’ve been wanting to show more of the outside world to the companions for a while. They never go out. David has always been my guide and guardian, but David never wants to do anything outside the house. Now he wants to see a movie, so this is our chance. We’ll bring them into the world, yet keep them hidden in plain sight. We’ll take the subway to a theatre far away, where nobody will recognize us. We’ll carry the companions in shopping bags, as if they were just dolls.” She hugged David and Elizabeth with excitement. They shook stiffly. “Won’t that be wonderful?” she asked, looking from one to the other, giving them another squeeze. “Eh?”

Only Suri’s twin, Ellie, timidly spoke up. “What about the secret? You said we have to keep the companions secret because other people will bully us again about them. We’d be breaking the secret. People will be angry.”

Aggie dismissed her daughter’s concern with a backhanded flick of her bloated white wrist, at which Suri and the others flinched reflexively, from painful experience. “We’ll just be careful about it so no one notices we’ve taken them out of the shopping bags.” Suri and his sisters didn’t respond. Nobody wanted to argue with Aggie. Everyone feared her when she was angry. Even in their teens, beatings with a wooden kitchen spoon, or a leather belt were common. Once, when making french-fries, Aggie had threatened to throw the boiling oil on them, and had threatened them all with a butcher knife on several other occasions. Nobody knew what to expect of Aggie at any given moment; she might blow up without cause or warning, so they all avoided her anger at any cost.

***

Suri watched the other patrons with popcorn, drinks and candy in their hands, file through the entrance and scatter throughout the huge quickly filling theatre. As planned, they’d arrived a full hour before an evening show, after shopping hours in the mall had just ended, so their huge paper bags wouldn’t be out of place. Aggie chose seats in the front row of the theatre, just above the access aisle so the companions would get a full close-up view of the enormous screen. When the house lights came down for the seemingly endless train of commercials, still following the plan, they swiftly removed the companions from the shopping bags, hoping to attract as little attention as possible.

Suri had been dreading this day. In all his life, they had never gone out of the house with their companions. Sarah was eerily silent about it; normally Sarah had something to say about everything he thought. Suri had considered finding some excuse to avoid the trip, but as always, heeded Sarah’s warnings about his mother’s fury. Sarah was just as afraid of Aggie as he was. So he went with them as expected, with Sarah tucked in her shopping bag. But through the whole trip he was constantly, nervously looking around with wide frightened eyes, to the point where, on the subway and in the queue at the theatre, people stared at him for this reason alone. Of course, their staring made Suri even more nervous, which attracted even more attention. He was relieved when they finally found their seats, but he couldn’t help sitting up sideways on the edge of his seat, looking back and forth and around at everyone taking their places. This behavior continued to attract attention to him and to Sarah, who was very conspicuous, sitting on his lap.

Aggie’s huge bulk took up most of a theatre seat so David had to stay in the shopping bag on the sticky floor at her feet. She held Elizabeth on her lap, stroking her hair and back in an attempt to calm her. Aggie was stroking Elizabeth and hugging her because she was, like all the companions, anxious in this first foray into a public place. The companions were all stiffer than usual, anxiously complaining and chattering into their owner’s heads, as if mirroring each owner’s worries.

Ellie seemed less worried than the others. She leaned carelessly against Suri, stroking her own companion, Christopher. Christopher matched Sarah in so many ways that they might be twins, like their owners. Christopher’s face seemed to be made of the same porcelain mold as Sarah’s, but of course didn’t have the long dark eyelashes that Sarah had, nor the red lipstick and rouge; but the eyes and cheeks and jaw had the same rounded perfection. And of course, while Sarah was dressed in a wedding gown, Christopher was in a tuxedo. It seemed to Suri that Ellie’s Christopher was always staring at his own Sarah, staring at her in a disturbing way. Suri wondered what kinds of things Christopher told his sister, in her head. Maybe he was telling her to do things, things that were wrong, forbidden things, like fuck her brother, and keep him right there beside them while she did so.

As the sixth Harry Potter movie began to play, and the spooky Warner Brothers logo formed out of the angry storm clouds on the screen before them, Aggie began periodically leaning down to whisper to David what was happening on-screen. Suri couldn’t help noticing with alarm that this attracted the attention of nearby patrons who whispered and pointed. Others farther away noticed this disturbance and did the same. Suri watched in mute horror as wave upon wave, the entire theatre, it seemed, took notice of them and whispered and pointed at them and laughed amongst themselves. Why, oh why hadn’t Aggie chosen the back row?

Oblivious to all of this and excited with the start of the movie, Ellie snuggled closer to Suri. She kissed his cheek and softly cupped his balls with her left hand as she stroked her companion’s back with the other. Suri quickly shifted Sarah’s position on his lap to hide Ellie’s hand, the companion swaying rigidly back and forth in the act. But Suri feared only to have attracted more attention by trying to hide Ellie’s hand; he heard whispers behind them. He wanted to push Ellie’s hand away, but it felt too good. How could he go away to university and leave the serene oblivion he always felt when Ellie squeezed his balls while he was inside her? With Ellie’s hand resting absent-minded on his balls, he hardly noticed what was happening on the screen. At 18 she had such a beautiful slim body, (particularly beautiful sans clothing, Suri thought) in spite of her small boyish breasts, the family’s drooping eyes, flat nose, thin lips and unattended hair. To Suri, she had such an enchanting name: Euryale [you-RYE-ellie], the gorgon sister of Medusa. So much more beautiful than the name their mother had given him. In his mind flashed a scene where Aggie watched Star-Trek with awe and wonder at the resurrection of Surak, the ancient philosopher who established the anti-emotion movement among the Vulcans. Why had she named him after such a cold emotionless person? He felt anything but cold and emotionless. He was hot and tormented.

The companions all screamed into their owner’s heads as the Weasley home came under attack by Bellatrix. Everyone covered their companion’s eyes with their left hand so they wouldn’t see the fury of the attack and the burning house on the screen. Suri noticed Aggie furiously stroking Elizabeth’s hair and whispering reassurances, shielding her eyes with her other hand and again bending down to tell David what was going on in the movie. He was acutely aware that people around them watched her do these things, whispering and laughing. Looking at the shopping bag at Aggie’s feet, Suri remembered her telling, time and again, the story of how she had found David.

Aggie had told them that she’d run away from her drunken abusive mother with a visiting plumber when she was sixteen. He’d gotten her pregnant and disappeared, leaving her without a home or support. She said she’d heard a beautiful doll speak to her from a store window one night, telling her in her head that he promised to make everything OK for her if she did his bidding. Following the doll’s orders, she had broken the window with a brick and stolen him. The doll told her to call him David, and she did. He had calmed her down and offered her friendship, sympathy and understanding, the likes of which she had never known before. In return David demanded, just as all the companions demanded, that she keep him close to her always, offer him food and wine at the dinner table, and take David into her bed to lie next to her warmth. That was how the first companion had been found.

David convinced Aggie to go to the Children’s Aid Society for help. They had taken her in, given her a home, and helped her through her pregnancy. After Ophie was born Aggie had become so depressed, she thought about killing the baby and herself but David talked her out of it and again helped her survive. With David’s urging, she contacted a social worker from the state welfare system who rented her an apartment. That was how David found a home, and how Aggie and Ophie became his support and his family. That was how David had become the head of their household.

Suri looked over at Ophie, now a grown woman of 32 years with a short dumpy figure that was not flattered by the Salvation Army clothes she wore. She had her mother’s slightly mongoloid drooping eyes, flat nose, and razor thin lips that looked like a crooked slash in her pasty white face. Ophie had managed to find a job at a checkout counter at the grocery store without leaving the family, and working long hours, got the family off welfare support. She was stroking the hair of her own companion on her lap, as they watched the movie together.

He remembered Ophie proudly telling of how, when she was first struck by the monthly curse, Aggie had presented her with a companion of her own and named him Michael. Michael was like a three-foot Ken doll wearing only knee-length white shorts, ripped and tan, with brown hair, square jaw and deep brown glass eyes. Ophie had looked frightened when she recounted how Aggie had told her firmly that Michael was everything a boyfriend could never be. Aggie’s threatening assertion must have worked very well because Suri was sure Ophie had never had a boyfriend. In fact, like everyone else in the family, she never had any friends. Like everyone in the family, she spent all her free time at home, tending to her companion. Ophie usually spent long hours alone in her room with Michael, rarely, if ever, coming out of her room except to work or eat or use the bathroom.

Though he didn’t know much about his older sister by 14 years, Suri worried that he might end up like her, a squat plain homebody with nothing in life but work and these people, living under the command of the companions and Aggie’s unpredictable rages. But then he came to the same terrible realization as always, a realization he always made himself forget: pudgy figure aside, he was already like her, right now. He needed to make more of himself. He needed to get away, like Ophie never did.

Ellie lightly squeezed his balls again and still gazing at Ophie in the theatre, he realized that Ophie caressed and sometimes kissed her companion in ways very much like a boyfriend. His own growing erection brought to mind a flash image of Ophie in the cowgirl position on top of Michael, who’d been fitted with a strap-on.

Shaken and confused by Ellie’s dangerous attention, he looked away from Ophie, trying to focus on the movie. Again he shifted Sarah to see the whole screen better, trying to make sure Ellie’s hand was hidden beneath.

But Suri’s mind returned to sex as soon as Ellie’s hand moved again. He wondered whether Ophie was really having sex with Michael, and if so, what would Aggie do if she found out about it. He remembered Aggie’s often repeated proclamation: “They don’t eat, they don’t shit, and they don’t fuck. They don’t get drunk, they don’t call people names or leave young girls to starve with a baby on the way. They’re perfect and beautiful like we can never be. They’re like the Vulcans, Suri.”

But that was the whole issue, wasn’t it? Aggie wasn’t right about the companions at all. She made them out to be perfect and emotionless, but they were anxious, demanding, devious and clever. They told their owners to do things, sometimes bad things, but always things that made themselves safer and got themselves more attention. Attention was like nourishment to them. They fed on it. They needed it. They constantly demanded more. And while no one in the family had enemies, thanks to the guidance of the companions, none of them had friends either, partly because none of them had time or attention for anything but their companions. But, Suri thought, they offered so much in return — a kind of deep companionship that no friend could ever offer or even understand.

And it wasn’t true they didn’t fuck. Suri knew David had sex. He remembered Ophie telling them a secret story once, of how Aggie had disappeared for a few days, returning with a companion for David, whom she called Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the most beautiful of all the companions in the family, with long perfect platinum hair, pouting red lips, large breasts, wide blue eyes and long dark lashes. Ophie had said she’d seen Aggie playing with them, Elizabeth and David, making them lie together in different positions, David always between Elizabeth’s spread legs. Ophie said that ever since her arrival, Elizabeth had become the new head of the household. Elizabeth could make any of them do anything she wanted, simply by making Aggie say so.

Ophie also said that Aggie was pregnant with him and Ellie shortly after she had disappeared. Oh god! What if he got Ellie pregnant? What if Aggie found out he and Ellie had been screwing? Again Suri became acutely aware of the people around him in the theatre. He thought everybody must be staring and pointing at them because of Ellie’s hand on his crotch. He shifted away from Ellie so she had to remove her hand. He pretended to be tending to Sarah, but he was really freaking out about all the people who seemed to be watching him, and Ellie’s hand, instead of the movie.

Still freaking out, he broke into a sweat, and Sarah began yelling at him, in his head, “Calm down you idiot! Get a hold of yourself before you get us in trouble!” But every movement around him heightened his sense of panic and his mind became a blur of images: Aggie with the boiling oil, David staring through him, Ophie on top of Michael, Elizabeth’s strange eyes, Ellie’s naked body, the people all around him, laughing at him. He needed to escape from the staring eyes around him and from his family’s secrets.

Suri shoved Sarah into the shopping bag, whispered to Ellie that he needed to take a piss and rushed out of the theatre clutching the bag. Sarah seemed to struggle against the paper bag, screaming in his head, “What are you doing? The movie isn’t over! Sit down right now!” He was confused and frightened, yet excited. For him and Sarah, this would be their escape from everything, he thought, as he rushed out into the street.

He turned to run away to, to… he didn’t know which way to go. With a shock he realized that, of course, he had nowhere to go and didn’t know how to live without his family. He looked down at the shopping bag where Sarah screamed, “Go back, you fool! Go back right now before anyone realizes you’ve left!” He stood there on the sidewalk, afraid and disoriented. He felt like an idiot for acting so rashly without plans. At that Sarah laughed at him, “You’re a joke! You’re a stupid joke!” He stumbled a few feet into a glass bus shelter and collapsed onto the bench. Visibly shaking, he took Sarah out of the bag, sat her on his lap, and hugged her tightly. A long moan welled up from deep within his chest. As they passed, people walking on the sidewalk stared at the bizarre spectacle that he and Sarah made. Sobbing aloud, he shut his eyes against them all and waited there for his life to make sense.

The End

Mer-Amun MerAmun

The street on the Innsmouth waterfront was dark, and the door unlit. There was no music or other sound from within. Arman Carter looked at the address number on the door, then down at the invitation, printed like a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can label. Glancing at his watch, he understood that he was in the right place at the right time, but it didn’t look like a party.

Earlier, as he’d looked at the invitation, he’d considered whether he wanted to mingle with a bunch of people he didn’t know or just go to sleep. He’d been sleeping a lot, immediately on returning from work and all through the weekends. He loved his dreams. They were beautiful, adventurous, carefree and fulfilling, with wonderful experiences that seemed more meaningful than his life. “But how often do you get invited to an Andy Warhol party?” he’d asked himself.

About to leave, he tried rattling the door handle. It was locked, but the sound drew attention from within. A strange looking man with an elongated head, drooping shoulders and bulging fish-like eyes peered out at him. The man asked with a gurgling accent, “Invitation?”

Arman nervously handed him the Campbell’s Soup label. Moving awkwardly, the man ushered him in, down a hall toward the sound of music, and into a small warehouse full of people with drinks in their hands.

Some of the people were in costume, some in black tie. Most, like Arman, wore jeans and tee shirts. The invitation hadn’t said how to dress. It assumed everyone knew what to wear to an Andy Warhol party.

Arman could see a crowd around a couch in one corner. That must be Andy over there, he thought. It looked impossible to get through all the people to say hi, so he looked for the bar instead.

As he sipped his drink, he heard someone saying, “It’s all mind, you know. Everything is mind. This is a dream, man.”

Arman looked behind and down to see who was talking. There was a couch below the loading platform that supported the bar. On the couch were two odd looking people dressed in black robes. They had the same odd look and fishy smell as the doorman. A bunch of curious partiers were gathered around them.

“I don’t need to prove it to you,” the strange speaker continued. “Anyone who dares can prove it for themselves with a simple but ancient method. All you need to do is build the habit of looking at your hands as you’re falling asleep. Intend to remember to look at them again in your dream. Eventually, you’ll remember, and wake up in your dream.”

Arman was fascinated. It would be wonderful to live in his dreams, with conscious deliberation all the while! Could he learn to be a dreamer, like his great uncle, Randolph Carter? Arman inched closer to the edge of the platform to hear better what the fish man said.

“Then, when you get used to waking in your dream, go ahead and change something in it. After all, it’s only a dream. If you keep doing that, one day you’ll look at your hands while you’re awake, and you’ll be able to change this dream too, proving for yourself this is a dream.”

Arman was thrilled. Was this possible? Could he love his life as he loved his dreams?

That night, Arman couldn’t stop thinking about what the fish-man had said. Excitedly he looked at his hands as though he’d never seen them before, and then he slept.

The boat creaked against its moorings as the moon shone down on the Innsmouth harbor. In the center of the ballroom at the stern was the beautiful machine he’d been working on. It was time to try it, to switch the machine on.

Mesmerizing lights emanated from its workings, and a hum like a choir of angels filled the room. My own hands, he thought. I built this with my own hands.

Just then, looking at his hands, Arman realized he was supposed to remember to look.  And as he looked, he woke up with amazement, still in the dream, still watching the machine.

My god, Arman thought. It worked! He was awake in his dream! He could still smell the salty fishiness of the sea, and the mustiness of the old boat. He could feel the boat heaving on the waves. He was still watching his machine, so beautiful, so graceful. He reached out and touched its glassy surface. It seemed so real to his touch, solid, heavy and unyielding.

The next night, Arman looked again at his hands as he fell asleep, but this time with expectation. It didn’t work that night, however. Or the next, or any night for weeks after that. He rarely even remembered his dreams anymore. He gave up hope that he’d ever wake in his dreams again, but he habitually still looked at his hands as he dozed off.

The barn smelled of old wood, hay dust and horses long gone. He strode toward the door where the brilliant sun cast a wide ray of light, sparkling with dust.

Out into the fields of grain he happily marched, the tall stalks brushing him sensually as he moved. The gilded fields stretched as far as he could see in every direction, over gentle rolling hills. He stretched out his arms to brush the tops of the grain stalks, and felt them lightly tickle his palms.

He looked at his palms, where the grain had been brushing, and with shock Arman remembered. My hands! I’m dreaming!

He relaxed into the sensuality of it all, remaining as happy and carefree as before he had awakened in it. He kept walking, smelling the earth, feeling the warmth of the sun caress his arms and face, and the coolness of the breeze that drove beautiful waves in the boundless ocean of golden grain.

He spied a ridge of low hills not far away, and thought that the ridge could have a fence along it. A ranch-style fence would be beautiful. As he pictured it, the ridge became exactly that fence, painted black, in stunning contrast to the brilliance everywhere.

When a gust ruffled his hair, he mused, “That breeze could be blowing up the manes of galloping wild horses.” And as he thought of how that would look, the fence became the pictured herd of galloping coal black stallions happily following the ridge, manes wafting in the wind as they disappeared behind a hill.

Arman leaped from his bed in excitement, shouting aloud to his empty apartment, “Holy shit! I did it! I changed the dream!”

The following night, again to his amazement, Arman woke in his dream. He was standing in the street before his house at night and realized that his cast off body was asleep right now in that house. At this thought, he was instantly inside, looking down at his sleeping body. He panicked at the sight, and immediately woke from the dream, shaken. He hadn’t thought that dreams might involve the real world.

In the exciting weeks that followed, Arman nearly always woke in his dreams. With his newfound awareness, he lived for his dreams, barely getting through each day until he could go back to sleep. The waking dreams took on a reality he had never noticed before. He also noticed eerie correspondences between what he dreamed and what happened in life. But whenever he made an effort to change the dream again, the effort woke him back in his bed. This disappointed and frustrated him each time it happened, so he decided to stop trying. He’d rather stay in the dreams.

One night Arman found himself standing beside the Manuxet River. He could smell the muddiness of the banks and the strong fishiness that pervaded the city of Innsmouth. As he watched the sun glint off the oily surface ripples were kicked up by unseen creatures below. He was awake in his dream again and thought: That grass by the shore reminds me of a beach in New Jersey. Instantly Arman was standing on the shore at Cape May, watching dolphins in the distance.

He was astonished.  He could change the dream if he didn’t try, but merely felt it to be so. He deliberately but effortlessly felt he was on a mountain top, and there he was, chilled by the icy wind. He changed a cloud into the shape of a car, by seeing it so.

In the following weeks Arman changed his dreams at every whim, but the easier it became the more uneasy he felt about it. He liked things as they were.

One hot evening, working late, he was annoyed by the sound of a radio in the next room. He had so much work to do he didn’t know how he’d catch up. His hands ached from scratching with the pencil all day.

Stretching his hands to ease their cramps, Arman found himself looking at them as he did in his dreams. Immediately, he realized he was awake. But of course he was awake, he thought, bewildered. This was not a dream. Yet something had just happened. Confused, and frightened, he realized with horror that try as he might, he couldn’t tell whether he was dreaming or not.

He tried to calm down. Wait, he thought. If he could change it, then it was a dream. He felt the annoying music stop. Someone in the next room began to curse and bang on the radio, trying to make it work again.

So it was a dream then, Arman thought anxiously, because you couldn’t change reality by just feeling it. He decided he’d only dreamed getting out of bed this morning, and everything all day since.

Feeling stifled by the heat of the evening, he happened to crave ice cream, thought of an ice-cream bar, and suddenly the familiar music of a distant ice-cream truck came faintly through the open window, getting louder as it approached. Wow, he thought, nervously. This dream was so much more sluggish and solid than usual. But it must be a dream, because he could change it.

Alarmed, he realized that he had never dreamed about a whole boring day before. Then he remembered the words at the party so long ago: “One day you’ll look at your hands while you’re awake, and you’ll be able to change this dream too, proving for yourself this is a dream.” With mounting horror, he realized this was the only explanation.

This terrified him. He realized that everything he knew, everything he was, and everything he depended on, all of it was an arbitrary dream. His mother was only a dream. His sixth birthday was a dream, and everything since. “No, no, no!” Arman shrieked inside, shaking, sinking to his knees, then to the floor. “It can’t be! It mustn’t be!” he cried silently, freaking out.

“I need my life! I need it to be real! I need my family, my home and my friends.” His mind raced with fear. He needed to believe that he was who he thought he was. Otherwise he would be lost in a senseless sequence of unpredictable dreams with no mother or father or childhood, without any idea of whom or what he really was. Then with a jolt he realized the truth.

“I’d be no one at all!”

Still sitting on the floor, he stretched out his right hand uneasily, reaching down toward the bland grey carpet. He needed to touch the floor with his own finger to be sure it was really there. He pictured its solidity, its unyielding reality, praying that it was so.

And as his finger met the floor, it was just as he felt it must be: solid, firm and harshly real against his finger. Laughing, he made a fist, and struck the unyielding floor. Ha! It’s real after all, he said aloud. He laughed a little too loud and was a little too relieved.

Frightened and thankful, Arman promised himself never to look at his hands in his dreams again, and to forget about the whole thing.

But when he dreamed, he always dreamed awake. And he was deeply troubled for the rest of his life by a chilling doubt: he knew that he was Arman Carter, but only because he felt that it was so.
Mer-Amun MerAmun

I spoke the words, waving a finger before her eyes, just as she’d instructed. “At the count of three you will fall into a trance. One… two… three.” Her head fell upon her chest. At the age of ten, I didn’t really know what to expect.

She was a ten-year-old friend who had been hypnotized for entertainment by a counselor at summer camp. She’d been sitting around a campfire with fellow members of the International Order of Job’s Daughters – a Masonic sponsored ritualistic organization for girls. The counselor gave her a permanent hypnotic command: that these words would immediately duplicate the trance. She had told my brother and me about it, and invited us to try. I was skeptical.

“What is your brother doing in the next room?” I asked the entranced girl.

“He’s writing a letter,” she replied slowly.

“What is he writing?”

“I can’t see the paper.”

“Look over his shoulder, and tell me what he’s writing.”

“He’s writing to Santa. He wants a new bike.”

Afterward, my brother asked him if he’d been writing, asking for a new bike. He looked shocked, and then furious. “You’ve been spying on me somehow! Get out! Get out of my house right now!” he screamed, chasing us to the door.

I was stunned. How could this have been possible? I was compelled to find an explanation, or at least a theory.  I will tell you what I came up with.

In following years I borrowed library books on hypnosis, including one by The Impossiblist Reveen, and practiced on people at parties, promising entertainment. Following instructions in the books, I would say “You’re sinking deeper and deeper into an ocean of sleep.” Then I would test the subject, hoping they’d reached the hypnotic state known as somnambulism. They must be able to open their eyes without waking from the trance.

“Ok, that’s very good, Rebecca. Now sit down and close your eyes again.” It was the first time someone passed the test. “Now as I count to three, I want you to gently, easily and naturally fall deeper and deeper until you have left your own mind behind. One… two… three. Now, as I count to three, I want you to focus on James, and float back from the depths into James’s mind instead of your own. Be in James’s mind, see what James sees, hear what James hears, and know what James knows. One… two… three.”

She sat quietly, giving no sign that she’d heard me. I was breathless with anticipation. “Now I want you to nod if you can see through James’s eyes.” She nodded lightly. Amazing! “Very good. Nod if you know James’s thoughts.” Again she nodded. “Now I want you to tell me what James is thinking of.”

Speaking softly Rebecca said, “He thinks I’m faking. He’s remembering a beach. He’s looking at waves, and trying not to stare at girls in bikinis.” James’s face turned beet red. About an hour after the session was over, Rebecca was petting the imaginary dog I had hypnotically told her she would see whenever I spoke the word “scarlet.” Again red-faced, James chuckled, “It’s true. I was trying not to be obvious about staring at the girls.” While everyone was laughing, I was thinking about what this meant.

The hypnosis books directed me to say, “…deeper into an ocean of sleep.” An ocean? Are individuals like tiny wavelets on the surface of a vast ocean of mind? Could it be that we all share the same depths, the same unconscious mind, like conjoined twins joined at the unconscious? I realized that everything we experience, we experience in or through our mind. Everything we understand or recognize would be through association to experiences stored in that shared mind. This would explain our ability to empathize with, imagine and dream what we have not personally experienced.

At a later party, I tried another experiment with someone else. “Now, as I count to three, I want you to focus on the armchair behind you, and float back from the depths into the armchair instead of your own mind. You will be that armchair instead. Do you understand?” Kim nodded. “Ok then, one… two… three. What do you feel right now?”

“I am a chair,” Kim murmured.

On that cue, a skeptic partier slightly lifted one side of the armchair behind her. “I’m tipping!” she screamed, her eyes still closed. “It’s ok, don’t worry. You’re perfectly safe.” I said. The armchair was soundlessly lowered, and Kim visibly relaxed.

What if every object we see, like the armchair, is also part of that same collective ocean of Mind? What if we’re actually looking at and touching people and things that are the surface of our own mind, which we can find ourselves actually being, somewhere in the back of our mind?

This idea, that everything we experience is recognized by reference to experiences stored in a common mind, offers a way to understand shared experiences like ESP, community spirit, racial memory and evolved instinct.

Recognizing that there are larger waves upon which we see many wavelets, and even bigger surges composed of these larger waves, we can understand group-minds such as ant colonies, bee hives, bird flocks, communities and nations.

Noticing those wavelets naturally bob up and down, into and out of being, yet virtually identical each time, we can comprehend sleep and waking besides death and reincarnation. Dreams would be our forays into the depths, when our wavelet dips, unconscious.

Ghosts and spirits would be imperceptible undercurrents that invisibly affect the surface. Insight and wisdom would come from knowing the undercurrents. Prophecy would be recognizing an undercurrent that will soon break the surface in our visible lives. Magic would be the deliberate triggering of an unconscious impulse or undercurrent, through simple but powerful mental associations.

But what kind of things are we, able to turn the mind’s eye on being anything in the Universe, whether living or inanimate? Are we not the eyes – or I’s – of the Universe?
Mer-Amun MerAmun

Why didn’t I think of this before? I love this private space of my own. Even if it is a chilly basement corner, it’s away from my brother, my mean dad, mean kids, and my mean life. If I were older than ten, I’d run away from home entirely. Though my bed is only a sleeping bag on top of collapsed boxes, it’s so peaceful waiting to fall asleep here in my own personal place.

The Face in the GrainThat bare wood of the floor joists above looks so dry and rough. Cool. One of those knots in the wood looks just like an eye. That curve in the grain could be a thick dark eyebrow, and that other curve a huge bulbous nose. Wow, there’s a whole face in that wood grain, in profile, staring straight at me.

Oh great, now I’ve given it so much attention that I can’t look over there without seeing it scrutinize me, giving me the creeps. It’s so realistic, with the strong sharp jawline, the dimples in its ancient cheeks, the bushy moustache and scruffy beard. Ah well, I’m too sleepy to keep looking. Good night creepy, staring, face-in-the-grain.

***

That staring wooden face was weird last night. I feel like I’m still being watched.

Sitting on this school bus, I notice lots of faces in random cracks and textures. The cracks in the red leatherette of my seat look like a baby gazing out the window, and there’s a dog-like face in the floor dust.

God, as if I don’t feel bad enough already about my hateful dad, I have to face another day with this bullying teacher. I want to punch him in the nose next time he picks on me.

***

Ah, the comfort and security of my private corner again, but the wooden face seems to have changed over these past weeks. It’s frowning with eyebrows bent in anger. It seems to glare at me nastier every night. I cringe at the sound of my dad upstairs, yelling. Geeze, now I’m afraid to fall asleep.

Hmm, I used to leave milk and cookies for Santa before I found out he doesn’t exist. Maybe if I give this face milk and cookies, it won’t exist either, and the butterflies in my stomach will calm down. I’ll just put some milk and cookies right here on the window sill under the face. Ok face? This is for you. Now please don’t scare me anymore. I’m trying not to look.

***

I hate this boring school. Everything here is so old and dirty looking, like those stains on the wall. Woah! They look exactly like the face in my basement! Not sort of like it, exactly like it. I’m so shocked I can hardly breathe. Last night I made an offering, asked it not to scare me, and now it’s following me! What if it gets me? I’m so scared I think I’m going to throw up. Maybe I can make it my friend by giving it something every night.

***

It’s always around me these days. I notice it watching me in the patterns of tree bark, cracks in pavement and sidewalks, clouds, and swimming pool waves. Even so, it’s not scary anymore. Somehow, I feel comfortable and peaceful, like my private corner is with me wherever I go. Making nightly offerings must be working.

***

I’ve been reading about offering rituals at the Miskatonic Library. Now I’m sitting on this Arkham city bus feeling so lonely. I wish I had some friends. I don’t see my face anywhere. Where the hell is it?

Oh no, those bad teenagers in leather and chains are getting on this bus. I’ve seen them before breaking into cars and beating people up. I hope they leave me alone. Oh, where is that face now? There! It’s in the shapes of that advertisement. It’s staring straight at me as usual, but it’s terrifying, like it’s going to attack me. Its mouth is stretched in a long, hideously silent scream. I’m so afraid. I can’t look away. What did I do wrong? I feed it every night, and last night I even sacrificed most of my dinner, while I remained hungry.

Those teenagers are drunk or something, yelling angrily and jumping on the seats. Please don’t let them hurt me. Oh god, that horrible screaming face is still glowering at me. I can’t take it. I’ve got to get the hell off this bus and walk. Tonight I’m going to try doing a ritual and give it the first and best part of my dinner. Maybe it won’t be mad at me anymore.

***

Hah! My old man face must have loved that offering ritual because this morning he’s just beaming with joy. It’s like he’s laughing with me from everywhere.

Yikes. I just heard those kids talking about a mugging and murder by some teenagers on a bus last night. They actually killed someone. Was I ever lucky, to get off that bus when I did. Oh yeah! He scared me away! Did he scare me to protect me? Oh my god, there he is in that classroom ceiling stain, still laughing, but his eye is closed in a long knowing wink. I feel awe-struck, like I’m floating. This awe-full being is following me everywhere, watching me. Am I crazy?

***

I was freaked out in my offering ritual last night because I was sure the wooden face was grinning at me. I keep telling myself it must have been imagination. This morning I woke with the troubled feeling that he’s invaded my dreams, telling me something terrible, but I don’t remember what. This much is certain though: I’m not afraid of my mean dad anymore, because he’s always with me, somewhere, my face in the grain.

The End

I’m shocked; reading this after a year has passed. How completely my life has transformed! My basement corner is now a sacred home to my Woden face. I’ve paid Him so much in faith, attention, time and tithe, that now I’m completely under His spell and he is my constant guide and guardian. He invades my dreams, and tells me things.

Being shown that life’s a dream, I don’t care anymore if people are mean to me, so my dad is no longer an issue. Inexplicably, I have dreadful knowledge of my new friends’ futures and unspoken thoughts. Things just mysteriously work out for me.

I’m terrified though, because He’s starting to show me ancient things, secret things, frightening things. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!

The End

Mer-Amun MerAmun

Hi. I rarely write about my personal life (the magical journeys I don’t take ownership for) but it’s been so long since I wrote, I thought I’d drop a note.

I’ve been on quite a personal journey since I last wrote. An inner journey of personal inventory and self-assessment, of self-criticism and self-recognition for my faults and talents.

I’ve been trying to learn to write fiction rather than the non-fiction you see on this site (which I’m quite discouraged from at the moment, though I do I have an idea and short story finished as the basis for an instructional novel).

I’ve been trying to define myself in terms of practice (I have so many traditions to choose from) and I’ve decided, in light of my son’s coming-of-age (spiritually and legally) to be non-traditional. So you won’t see any more from me on Wicca here, but you will see notes from a perspective that applies equally to all traditions, and to no traditional at all (street-language instead of occult technical terms, which, reading my work over, I realize has been my intent all along!).

Anyway, the next installment on the commentary to the Pentagram Ritual, “The Habit of Behaving Like Who We Really Are,” bridges that gap between the most intimate experience, as described and embodied in the Names of God, into the Living Reflection of yourSelf everywhere about you, in the Archangels, Winds, and Protectors. It’s about how it’s possible that everyone you see in a dream is an aspect of yourSelf. It’s about exactly how those four aspects of your own Consciousness, when examined closely, reveals itself to be all the life and beings you ever encounter, and exactly how you relate to them all. It’s been the most difficult aspect of “The Habit of Behaving Like Who We Really Are” that I’ve had to try to put into words, from my direct intimate experience of meditation, investigation and reflection. I hope to have it out in the next six months. The problem has been, and remains to be, that expressing such things in ordinary everyday language is a very personal, groundbreaking thing for anyone, because we all experience this so intimately, so automatically, that we all have different perspectives and words for it, as will be explained in the fact that Consciousness is reflected upon itself as the multitude of beings and things that make up the entire universe.

I also thought nobody was reading this. But I found since my last posting that even if one person, or even I myself am finding words for what’s so difficult to describe, writing is worth the effort. So, having found that, expect more, just not so frequently as before.

Love,

MerAmun

Being in Love

Preface

Many years ago, my Teacher realized that in school and college we are of course taught many things, but that many fundamentals of life are not taught at all. He recognized that one of the greatest causes of suffering is simply ignorance of what it means to be “in love” with someone, and noted the total lack of training offered to people on this subject. He said that life skills like what it means to be in love should be taught throughout one’s education. In response to this oversight in our education in life (about being in love), he wrote the following guidelines, in the hope of saving people the suffering that comes from ignorance in this subject.  What follows this paragraph was written by my Teacher, then organized, and formatted for you to read here.  These are ideas intended to be meditated on. Please print and pass it to anyone you care about.

Introduction

If you feel that you’re in love, then you are. But it can go from near perfect one day to near disaster the next. Awareness is important.

There are two kinds of love:

  • mutual caring, driven, giving, positive love, and
  • one-sided, need-driven, selfish, negative

A. What Love Isn’t

  • Hormones are not love.
  • Depression or anxiety are indications that it is not love.
  • A long obsession.
  • Exhausting.
  • Self in mind. eg: First person: “Do you want to have sex?” Other person, “No, I have a problem.” First person: “Shit!”
  • Convenience (getting something out of the relationship).
  • Games of competition.
  • If someone hits you, it means they don’t like you.
  • A hostile dependant relationship – can’t live with them, can’t live without them – this is pathological obsession, not love.
  • Vampirism in any of its forms, including attention-mongering, and energy draining, and other types of vampirism.
  • When one or both people care more about themselves than they care about each other.
  • Demands for proof of love.
  • Jealousy.
  • Lethargy.
  • Not being nice to those who care about you, including those other than your lover.
  • You shouldn’t feel bad about yourself as a result of spending time with them.
  • Pressures of any kind from the person or the relationship.
  • The person doesn’t like anything about the way you are. It may be good to change, but if change is a requirement, it’s not love. The person should want to help you change, and be able to love you just as much if you don’t.

B. What Love Is

  • Energizing, you have energy.
  • You have optimism.
  • You don’t fight most of the time.
  • A little jealousy is good. (Too much jealousy is bad. See the last point in the next section.)
  • You feel good when you’re with them, not anxious, but good.
  • You overflow with goodness and happiness and you have time and energy for the others feelings.
  • You feel fulfilled.
  • One of the most difficult things about loving someone is accepting them just the way they are.
  • Caring and being cared for in balance between two people – of course it tips one way or the other from time to time, but it’s give and take over-all.  Eg: First person: “Do you want to have sex?” Other person: “No, I have a problem.” First person: “Oh, can I help with the problem?”
  • Friendship.
  • A person could look great, or look like shit, but you still love them.
  • You have energy and time to do the things that are most important to you.
  • Mostly unselfish. You want to please the other person, and that’s more important to you than your partner pleasing you.

C. How You Can Tell if You’re In Love

  • There is no connection between sex and love. Our language and music and movies are unclear, bombarding us with this misconception: that lovers = love.  The truth is that lovers = sex, not love.
  • You must be able to tell the difference between hormones and love.
  • Any kind of pressure to have sex, either from the other, or from you, is not love. It’s hormones. Love does not involve any kind of pressure.
  • If you feel you have to do something to prove your love, it isn’t.
  • Best test: lack of energy or tiredness or depression.  If you generally experience any of these in the relationship, it’s not love.
  • Sex is never a test of love.
  • No light goes on, telling you that you’re in love. Just be honest with yourself.
  • As said, a little jealousy is good.  But on-going significant jealousy is an expression of doubts. If jealousy is a significant, on-going issue, then mutual trust is not there for some reason.  Maybe there is a real basis for the jealousy…

D. Danger Signs – Things Not To Do

  • Even committed relationships are spoiled by premature sex.
  • Instead of having intercourse, show affection in other ways: kissing, hugging, holding hands, just being together.
  • Don’t sleep together, and then see how long the relationship lasts. Of the 10 most important things in love, sex is number 9.
    First is trust, and a caring relationship.
    Second is a sense of humor.
    Third is communication.
    Ninth is sex.
    Tenth is sharing responsibilities.
  • Interest leads to intrique, leads to infatuation, which leads to love. Infatuation is not love, but can lead to love.

E. Requirements – Things To Do

  • You must be trusting friends without being lovers.
  • Fall in love with a friend.

F. How Does Love Feel

  • You feel basically OK as a whole.
  • In the face of your mistakes or shortcomings, there’s tremendous hope because someone loves you. There’s got to be something good about you because someone makes you feel basically OK under it all.
  • There’s a deep trusting friendship in which you can be yourself without embarrassment or fear of rejection.
  • “I have been in love.  The kind of love that I was in… in fact I still am in love… will never die, it will always be there because I care for this person very much. I’m just a friend with that person now, but I’m still very deeply in love with him, and I always will be. It was sort of a ‘first love’ kind of thing. It will never die.”
  • Does the person turn on something in you, making you like yourself better?

Part VI: The Names of God and the Four Directions

(Due to the size of this posting, I have relegated an analysis of the points and lines on the pentagram to a future article on its own, choosing to focus here on the Names of God instead.)

Ineffable

In this article, I have used the word Ineffable in this sense: defying expression or description, incapable of being expressed, indefinable or indescribable, too great or intense to be expressed in words, untellable or unutterable.  I use this word to describe both the Here and Now, and Awareness Itself, instead of using the word “unknowable” for either.  I do this because both the eternal Here and Now and Awareness Itself are definitely knowable through certain techniques, but not as things or anything objective because they are absolutely ineffable.

Occult

Occult:  from the latin occultus (clandestine, hidden, secret), referring to “knowledge of the hidden;” Secret; Hidden from general knowledge; Undetected; Popularly meaning “knowledge of the paranormal.”  For most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical senses.

I hinted at what I am about to try to explain here in the previous part called “The Sacred Pentagram.”  What I am about to try to explain is occult in the true sense of the word.  It is secret and hidden, not because of oath or tradition.  It is secret and hidden not because we are not allowed to say but because words cannot express it.  What I am about to try to explain is secret and hidden because we can only believe and truly understand it by experiencing it directly, firsthand.  The implications and uses, the meanings and applications of what I am about to try to explain, we can only grasp by personal experience and firsthand exploration of the principles.

In my writing, I am usually trying to explain the unexplainable, not in the hope of doing the impossible, but instead to say, “Hey!  Look here!  There’s something amazing and wonderful here!  It’s hidden, so you might not have guessed even to look for it, but here it is!  Right here!  See for yourself!”  I write in the hope that a reader might say, “Hey, I had no idea this even existed!  Let me investigate for myself and see.”  My hope is that readers might uncover the occult for themselves, and find there the wonder of whom and what they really are, and learning to behave like That, free themselves from behaving like what they thought they were.

Today I am writing about Names of God.  To the Ancients, “God” is that One Pure Consciousness, infinite, ageless, all pervasive, and shared among all beings and things as that core of what it feels like to exist, which is to be Aware.  There are many names for that One Pure Consciousness, each describing a different quality of That.  So, writing about Names of God, I am today writing about qualities of Awareness Itself.  This is something we can all relate to in the most intimate way.  In this part of the Pentagram Ritual, where we charge each pentagram (reminder) with a Name of God (quality of Awareness), we are charging the pentagrams to be great and powerful reminders of the qualities of Awareness.  We are charging reminders of the qualities of whom and what we really are.

Why is the nature of Awareness important to experience for oneself and remember?  Because this is what defines reality and how we create the universe.  It reveals who and what we really are.  It reveals how we are constantly creating reality.  This experience, this recognition of whom and what we really are is what we are here for.  It is the reason for existence.  Life is a rare and precious gift from great beings and a host of spirits like elementals, angels and archangels.  They offer us this gift to provide us with a stable, predictable state of being, so we might have a chance to slow down and see for ourselves who and what we really are.  Our persistent behavior of reality creation is the source and mechanism of all magic.

One might argue the mechanisms of reality creation I’m describing are personal, defining only a subjective reality.  One might argue that I’m describing the creation of a personal universe and that it doesn’t apply to the external objective world we share with others.  This argument is only possible if you have only thought about the principles I’m describing, and haven’t actually examined them with firsthand experience of your own.  Your consciousness that creates this personal reality is neither separate nor different from the One Pure Consciousness that everyone shares, and that One Pure Consciousness does indeed create the external, so-called objective universe that everyone shares.  It does so in exactly the same way as you create your own internal, so-called subjective universe.  Exactly the same way.  I invite you to see for yourself.  The techniques I am describing here can lead you to that firsthand experience of your own.

The Great Reminder

We have been following a practice, a ritual, designed to help us explore for ourselves whom and what we really are, and in making this practice a habit, learn to act like That, habitually.  The Ancients have taught that we are really the Authors of the Universe and that we can learn to act like That, instead of acting like human beings who struggle for sustenance, comfort and amusement.  My hope is that through this practice, this ritual, and through investigatory meditation (introduced later in this article) you will see for yourself whether what the Ancients taught is true.

At this point in the ritual, we have cast four living symbols, four Sacred Pentagrams around us, joined at their hearts by a circle.  There they shimmer around us in ghostly blue fire, tall, mighty and beautiful, at the edges of the Universe, in the infinite distance of the four directions.

The Sacred Pentagram is a reminder that we are Pure Awareness, confronted or surrounded by experience, all of which is a mirror of that same Pure Awareness.

The pentagram with its five points illustrates the relationship between us as Pure Awareness and experience itself, through the relationships drawn between the five points.  We have seen in the previous part of this article the top point, representing Pure Awareness, has direct lines to:

  • On the right hand, an experience of Awareness Itself as the center of everything, as the recipient of all experience, as a consciousness in the middle of it all.  This is the “spark of god” or even the Divine Fire in everything, as everything shares that same sense of being the One Pure Consciousness, as everything shares that exact same sense of being in the middle of it all.
  • On the left hand, an experience of a world that we are always touching in one way or other (all five senses are types of touch).  This Universe is at the same time what the One Pure Consciousness looks like and what it is always looking at.  Since all of it is equally aware, sharing that same One Pure Consciousness, the Universe is Consciousness Itself staring right back at you.  This is the living universe, the responsiveness or radiance of that One Pure Consciousness.

When we cast the banishing pentagram, we shift our attention away from that left hand point, away from what Pure Consciousness looks like, back on Pure Consciousness Itself.  And Pure Consciousness cannot ever be found because it is not a findable thing, but That which finds all things.  It is That which is aware of things and is itself no thing.  It is void of any referential existence.  Because objects of awareness cannot exist without this ultimately nonexistent (as an object) Awareness, everything you are aware of is itself an illusion produced by the act of being aware.

The living banishing pentagram is a reminder that wherever you look, you are That which is looking, and that you are looking at an illusory mirror of Awareness which itself is not a thing at all.  The pentagram does this reminding while you are still aware of things.  It engages your state of being aware of things into an act of Remembrance.  You need not be in some trance state to recognize who and what you really are, nor the fact that everything you see is an illusion and a reflection of Awareness Itself (which is Itself not a thing).  You need not be in a special magic circle to see this either.  You need not be in your practice room, casting pentagrams around you to see it.  The universe itself, with its permanent pentagrams in the infinite distance (whether you’re aware of them or not) is your magic circle.  Simply reach out and touch something or someone.  There, in the act of touching, the act of experiencing is the proof the pentagram is reminding you about.

What I have described is occult.  I can say it and write it over and over again until I die.  If you only go by what I say or write, you will never get it.  You can only grasp what I’m saying by seeing these things and testing them and contemplating them for yourself.  These pages are only a hint to say that these things can be seen for yourself.  They are only a hint to say that you can find for yourself in every sensory act, whether internal or external, proof and remembrance of whom and what you really are.  How are you to see for yourself?  By practicing the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram as described here, and through meditation techniques introduced here.

Charging Pentagrams

We used a form of attention (the nourishment of all things) called life energy, to create a body for the living pentagram, giving it the ability to take part in our world and in our lives.  Now we are going to use that same life energy to charge the lives of these pentagrams with a task.  Think of it as inspiring them with a wonderful idea, something to live for, something to say, something extremely fulfilling.  This task has to do with reminding us of different qualities of Awareness, qualities of whom we are, and as Authors of the universe, how we constantly create the universe.

So I would like to spend some words describing how to do this “charging,” from the perspective of using witch-fire, prana, chi, life-energy, or etheric energy (whichever you want to call it).

As with casting a line of a pentagram, again we breathe in and soak up life energy from the ocean of it in which we live: the aura of the sun.  Performing this “pore breathing,” we allow the energy to soak into our bodies, and gather at the solar plexus.  Again, we are going to cast this energy out through our arms and Athamé (or hand, held with only index and middle finger extended).  But this time we are going to start with our hand held up at shoulder level. Then with an aggressive step forward of our right foot and an out-breath, we thrust our hand and head forward at the heart of the pentagram before us.  As we do this, we feel that we are throwing a flaming ball of energy, with flame trailing behind it, at the center of the pentagram.  (We are casting a ball of focus or attention at the heart of the pentagram.)

For a visual reference, think of the Hand of God writing with blasts of flame on the stone tablets, in the movie “The Ten Commandments” (directed by Cecil B. DeMille, 1956).  Of course, you’ll want to make your visualization more realistic, but this gets the idea across of the splash of flame you’re throwing, and how we form magical flaming lettering.  (In our case, the letters remain flaming and glowing, while in the movie they turn to stone.)  Unlike the movie, however, this time it really is the hand of God that does the writing with fire, since you have earlier in the ritual already established your perspective as That of the One Pure Consciousness, Author of the Universe.  Remember, it is not a human being that is performing this act.  It is the One Pure Consciousness working through the form of a human being.  That One Pure Consciousness is casting its attention forth in a concentrated form, as life-energy, to give inspiration and purpose in life to a living pentagram.

Now, the ritual script calls for different colors of fire for each ball of fire.  It calls to have etched in the hearts of these pentagrams, magic words of specific colors.  It is helpful to examine the magic words that we are etching, because they give us an understanding of the qualities of Awareness.  Doing so helps us to understand better whom and what we really are, because these magic words describe innate qualities of our true Selves.  They give an understanding of how experience arises before Awareness, and therefore of exactly how it is that we are the Authors of the Universe, constantly creating the universe around us.  Remember, without even knowing it, in a sense we are constantly, and have always been casting pentagrams around us, and charging them with the qualities described by these magic words.  We are doing it deliberately here, so that we have a conscious recognition of what we are really always doing, so that we can build the habit of consciously behaving like whom and what we really are.

Experience Arising in the East

Since we understand all things by reference or association to other things, we must first establish a context for the meanings of these names of God.  I mentioned that they are descriptive names for Consciousness we are about to examine.  I mentioned that Names of God are names for that One Pure Consciousness.  They are names that describe who and what we really are.

So, why are there different names?  The names describe ways to understand Consciousness, its nature, and its function.  At one time, we can say the One Pure Consciousness has three qualities:

  • It is Aware,
  • It is Empty of referential existence, not being knowable as a thing,
  • It is Responsive, radiating attention and in the act of being aware, radiating the illusion of objects of awareness, all really mirrors of Itself, which is not a thing at all.

We could bring these qualities or aspects of God, of our true selves, to mind with different Names for the same One Pure Consciousness.

With the four Names of God, we are going to bring to mind (consciously or unconsciously) four specific aspects of the One Pure Consciousness.  These relate to the nature of experience itself, and how Consciousness decides what it will experience.  These describe how Consciousness experiences Itself by creating a universe.

Two of these four aspects we have already explored, in the two lower points on the pentagram:

  • We (Consciousness) all feel like we are the center of all experience.  Every one of us feels like experience plays out for us, like there is an arrangement of experience around us, for our amusement, as though we are the king or Lord of all that we perceive.  The keyword or reminder of this aspect of experience is “Lord”.  Remember this, because this is the meaning of one of the Names of God we charge pentagrams with.  I will say more about this later.
  • Consciousness revealed as an universe of experience cast before it, in every direction.  The universe, all of it sharing in the same One Pure Consciousness, is exactly what that One Pure Consciousness looks like: an illusion of infinite variety.  It is infinite in variety because the One Pure Consciousness is not a thing, so it could and does look like absolutely anything.  It is the bounty of the Earth and the universe itself, looking right back at you.  This is the sum total of experience itself, the total illusion itself as an experience.  This sum total experience, arranged at the Feet of Consciousness like the globe of the Earth, is the key to this aspect of experience.  This image of the universe where all of time and space spread before our feet, should be familiar.  It is similar to what we experienced in the Ankh of Light that is part of this ritual.  The keyword or reminder of this aspect of experience is in words similar to those we vibrated when we performed the Ankh of Light: “Ateh…  Gebor, LeOlam, Amen.”  Remember these words, because they are the meaning of one of the Names of God we charge pentagrams with.  More about this later too.

So, what about those other two points on the pentagram that we haven’t explored yet?  Again, we are exploring here aspects of the experience of the One Pure Consciousness.  And we are beginning in the East, where the light rises at the beginning of each day.  We are beginning with the arising of experience itself, out of infinite possibilities.

The aspect of Consciousness I am about to describe is so occult, I need you to follow what I’m saying with your own experience.  I need you to sit quietly, close your eyes for a bit, withdraw your attention upon Itself, and just be Awareness, not paying attention to anything you’re aware of.  Don’t try to stop being aware of things, just be Awareness, pure and simple.

Now, if you don’t pay attention to things even if they’re still there, if you just be still in your mind, aware but not of any specific thing, notice that pure unfocused awareness is omnidirectional.  There’s a sense of immersion in Nothing In Particular.

Now, deliberately pay attention to something.  Deliberately cast forth the beam of your attention.  When you do this, like the lamp on a miner’s hat, there is suddenly an illusion of direction: the sense of experience before one’s awareness.  The act of focus, the act of paying attention draws that omnidirectional awareness to a specific direction.  The direction in which you cast your attention always feels like it’s “before Thee.”  From the perspective of Names of God, from the perspective of Awareness in the act of experiencing something, this direction, this “before Thee” is what we mean by East.  The morning sunrise (the Golden Dawn) is symbolic of experience arising before Awareness.  It happens by simply casting forth your attention.  If you stand on a hill on a calm day watching the sun rise, you might notice something very interesting.  Just as the first tip of the sun appears on the horizon, a peculiar gust of wind rushes lightly past, from the East.  This is a very sacred wind for a lot of reasons.  One of those reasons has to do with experience arising “before Thee,” blowing lightly in the face of Consciousness.  It has to do with a breeze of thought that blows through your mind when you are paying attention to anything (including the stream of thoughts themselves).

So the East is the first pentagram that we charge with a Name of God.  Now let’s start to examine that Name of God.

Always remember that all of this is truly occult and can only be understood by your own direct experience of what I’m saying.  But consider for a moment, one of the things the pentagram before you is showing you.  You are Awareness.  Looking a the pentagram, you are aware of the act of sensing, the act of experiencing.  You are not the senses, because you are aware of them.  It’s you standing there (Awareness), with the pentagram (all experiences, the senses) before you.

Now consider this proof that everything you ever experienced, are experiencing, and ever will experience is absolutely illusory.  Since we experience everything through the senses or some internal version of them, it takes time for an event to travel through the senses to reach our awareness.  I will explain further:

Consider our ability to look at the universe.  Standing on a hilltop at night far from city lights on a clear night, looking up at the universe, we see billions of stars surrounding our planet on all sides.  This is our view of the universe itself.  Ignoring our sun for the moment, if you could pick out the closest star, you would be looking at Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years from us.  This means that light from the closest start travels for 4.2 years before it reaches us.  The North Star, Polaris, at the end of the tail of the Little Dipper is approximately 430 light years distant.  When we look in the sky, we are seeing the past, not the present moment.  We are seeing Proxima Centauri as it appeared 4.2 years ago, and Polaris as it appeared 430 years ago.  When we look at our own Sun, we are seeing it as it appeared 8.5 minutes ago.  We see most of the stars only as they appeared millions or even billions of years ago.  Because it takes time for light to reach your eyes, nothing you see as you look at the universe around you is as it truly looks at in this present moment.  It is impossible to look directly at the stars in the present moment.

When you see something right in front of you, even this computer or paper you’re reading from, photons are bouncing off something in front of you.  Traveling at the speed of light to change direction by the lens in your eye, they eventually strike the back of your eye.  Slowly, this meat at the back of your eye called a retina, reacts to the photons with a chemical reaction.  This chemical reaction causes an electronic spark to fire in the optic nerve.  That one causes a whole chain of sparks to fire in various areas of the brain.  When the pattern of sparks roughly matches a pattern that has happened in the past, we have re-cognition (cognizing again) of what the photons bounced off.  And finally you realize that you are looking at… whatever it is that you recognize.  When the pattern in the brain doesn’t approximate a pattern that happened before, you don’t recognize what you’re seeing, and probably just ignore it.  That’s a lot of things to happen between the time the photons bounced off the thing, when what you’re looking at actually looked like that, and the time you recognized it.  Just like looking at the stars in the sky, seeing them as they looked millions of years ago, what you are looking at right now, right in front of you, is also an image from the past.  Maybe it’s not far in the past, but it is impossible to see anything in the absolute here and now.  The same applies to all the senses, even direct experience without senses, because it always takes time to recognize anything.  This is why we take time to think about something.  Otherwise, pondering a subject would be instantaneous, but it takes time.

It is impossible to experience anything as it is right here, right now.  We experience everything we’ve ever experienced, are experiencing, and ever will experience after it actually happened.  Like looking at the ancient stars, you have never experienced anything through the senses, or through internal versions of them, that wasn’t already different, if ever so slightly, by the time you actually recognized it.  Your experience is always that of a ghostly image of the way things were, and never exactly the way they actually are, here and now.  When it comes to experiences, any experiences, it’s as though you are living in the past.  The universe of experience might as well be the ashes of a burned rope: still looks almost exactly like it did, but in reality you are experiencing just fragile ashes of a form from the past.  Thinking like this, you have just now burned the illusion of reality from your experience, leaving only the ashes of the past.  (Image: A holy man smears ashes on himself.)

But look at something, anything.  There is a constant stream of photons bouncing and hitting your eye.  There is a constant stream of electrical patterns in your brain.  There is the sense of an on-going, never-ending arising of experience before thee (the “East”) like a steady breeze of conscious awareness or a steady breeze of thoughts.  Yet, because we experience everything after the fact, the actual events themselves, as they truly are here and now, we will only experience in the future.  And we experience everything that way.  The true here and now, while it is absolutely right here, right now, we can never recognize because recognition is not instantaneous.

Now think of this.  As an experience, we can never know what is happening exactly now.  It’s the same as an eyeball trying to look directly at itself, or like trying to look at one’s own awareness.  It can never be done, because any thing you find is something you’re aware of and is therefore not whatever is doing the awareness.  You’re aware of it, so there’s you doing the awareness, and then there’s the thing you’re aware of: two different things.  In exactly the same manner that you can never know awareness as a thing, you can never recognize anything that is exactly here and now either.  In this sense, you as Awareness, and whatever it is that’s happening here and now are both perfectly unknowable as things.  Think of an empty room.  It’s here right now, and you’re (Awareness is) here right now, but there’s Nothing in this room that we can perceive.  Nothing we can know. Because we can ultimately know nothing, Nothing is something we can know, but not as a thing.  See for yourself.  I’ll explore this train of thought more in a later part of this article series, because this is the ultimate meaning of banishing in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

But because you cannot perceive anything right here, right now, we are always experiencing things after they happened.  Yet, you are here and now, even if you cannot directly perceive yourself, or know exactly what is here and now, you have proof that you exist here and now in the fact that you are aware.  But here and now, you perceive something that already happened in the here and now.  Perception happens in the here and now, but what you perceive is something from the past.  Awareness is real in the here and now, but objects of awareness are all illusions from the past.  You (Awareness) live in the here and now and its existence is as obvious as the fact that you are aware.  But you cannot recognize exactly what is in the here and now, because what is in the here and now is Awareness Itself: something you cannot recognize as a thing.  See for yourself.  Try to find Awareness Itself.  Anything you perceive is a thing that you perceive; there’s the you and the thing, the thing cannot be the you that’s perceiving.  Anything you feel like is a thing that you feel like.  There the you that’s doing the feeling, and then there’s the feeling itself: two separate things.  You’ll never find anything that is Awareness.  Nothing you can feel is Awareness Itself.  Yet there it is: you are aware.

Now think of this: because everything you experienced has happened in the past, the actual here and now, where the real you actually lives, is an experience you have not yet had.  The photons bouncing right here and right now have not yet even reached your eye.  As experiences go, the here and now is something you have not yet experienced, and cannot yet experience, except as the presence of Pure Awareness, and the knowledge that something is here and now to experience eventually.  What that is, that we have not yet experienced, we can never know as a direct experience, but it’s here and now, whatever it is.  This ineffable “here and now” is a function of Awareness itself.  It is part of the Holy Presence that is aware, that is the here and how, from which all experiences arise, and that you will experience in the future.  The unknowable future arises from the ineffable here and now, not from some distant ocean of possibilities somewhere in front of you, wherever that is supposed to be.

So the here and now is something we have not yet experienced.  Whatever it is that is here and now, where Awareness lives, can only be experienced in the future.  As far as experience goes, the here and now is in your future: currently ineffable and undefined, with infinite possibilities inherent that could be happening.  For all you know, the Earth might have winked out and ceased to exist, and the experience has not yet reached and registered in your brain.  Maybe you’re dead, and you haven’t accepted the idea.  But how likely is that future, where the Earth winks out and ceases to exist?  We will get into what decides the likely future (or more correctly, defines the here and now out of infinite possibilities) further on in this article, once we have examined the past because the past has a huge influence on the future.

But what this means is that, while in the realm of experiences, you as Pure Awareness are living an event you cannot experience yet… you are yourself a living, future experience.  What is actually happening around you right now is something you will experience in the near future.  So, if you focus on experiences themselves, you are focusing on the past (like looking at the stars).  If you focus on the true here and now, which is ineffable and unrecognizable as a thing or experience, you are focusing on the future as far as the experience of it goes.

These two aspects of awareness are very important:

  1. focusing on the here and now, where Awareness Itself is, there are events that you will only experience in the future – keyword: future experience.  As this Conscious Presence in the Here and Now, you are yourself a future experience.  This is explained in YHVH, below.
  2. focusing on experiences, you are focusing on the past – keyword: past. Somehow, this past defines what is Here and Now, shaping our future experience.  This is explained in AHYH, below.

These two aspects of awareness are the key to understanding the meanings of two of the Names of God.

This might sound like mincing words, and stretching a point beyond its applicability.  That is because I’m trying to describe the ineffable.  I’m hoping that these strange explanations will prompt you to investigate for yourself these qualities of whom and what you really are.

You might think I’m splitting hairs here to a ridiculous degree.  But think of it.  With this pentagram standing before us, this representation of the way we experience everything, shimmering in blue fire before us, we are seeing how it is that experience arises.  We are seeing how Awareness, that which you know when you say “I Am,” constantly creates the universe.  You are seeing in action whom and what you really are: the Author of the universe.  This splitting hairs is what it’s all about, if you want to know who and what you really are, and want to behave like That instead of behaving like a limited human.

YHVH

So of those two aspects of awareness have been described, let’s take the first one: “future experience.”  Here and now, there are only events that you will experience in the future.  Think of the stars burning in the sky right now.  You don’t see them in the now.  They have all moved by now.  God (Awareness) lives in a place, the here and now, that is yet to be experienced.  If we were to give a descriptive name to this aspect of God, this name would remind us of the fact that Pure Ineffable Awareness co-exists with a radiance of experiences that is, right now, absolutely indescribable with infinite possibilities.  The name would remind us that God lives in a time and place that is yet to be experienced (the promised land).  Such a name is YHVH.  This name is called unpronounceable, or unspeakable.  Some pronounce this as “Jehovah,” though very few Hebrews understand the word as a name for their own Awareness.  The fact that it is unpronounceable reminds us that both the here-and-now, and Awareness (God) are ineffable, indescribable, untellable, unutterable, and so unpronounceable.

The word YHVH comes from the root HVH which means “to be, to exist.”  This is the basic quality of both Pure Awareness, and of whatever it is that is actually here and happening, here and now.  To be, to exist, is the basic quality of that Ancient Presence, which is at the same time all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere.  All we can say is that it exists and nothing more definite than that: HVH, to exist.  When Y is placed at the beginning of a root word like this, the word becomes future tense.  So YHVH means “to exist in the future” with a sense of “becoming” or “about to happen.”  This descriptive name for consciousness is a perfect reminder of the unspeakable, ineffable nature of Consciousness, and its aspect as the equally unspeakable here and now.  It stresses that whatever it is in the here and now, is something we will experience in the future. It is also a reminder that in the same way as Awareness is ineffable, whatever is actually happening here and now (Awareness is what is happening here and now) is exactly as indescribable.  We cannot know Awareness as a thing, and the Here and Now cannot be directly perceived either for the same reason.  Both are inseparable aspects of the same ineffable Presence.  So, “to exist in the future” sums up all of these ideas into a single four stage word very nicely.  It is even possible to break down the sequence of four letters into a description of experience emanating from pure Awareness.  For the moment I can say that this word is a reminder of how experience is constantly arising before us, in the so-called East, as a constant stream of experience.  It is a reminder of experience constantly arising before the Eye that can never see itself, in the Eternal Here and Now that can never be perceived for the same reason.  Neither can be directly perceived because they are the same ineffable Presence.

Experience radiates from Awareness in the here and now, and we experience it in the future.   It is exactly this lag between the here and now, and our experience of it, that gives us an illusion of the passage of time.  In reality, there is no passage of time.  There is only the stream of input through our senses, which is actually a constant radiance of Awareness, a constant stream of attention, which is the nature of Awareness itself.  What if this constant preparation or flow of experience before us should ever end?  We would cease to experience anything new at all.  Somehow this stream of experience seems unending and limitless as a source.  Knowledge of this constant stream of experience is direct knowledge of the Unborn Radiance of ineffable Awareness, inseparable from the ineffable here and now.  It is this constant stream of acting aware, the casting attention that Awareness does, that gives an illusion of time, and the illusion of experience.  Apart from this illusion of time, there is only here and now, which is inseparable from Awareness, and equally unknowable as an experience or thing.  All experiences radiate from this Presence, in the ineffable Here and Now, which is also Awareness Itself.

This ineffable thing, this Awareness, this root of all experience, being without constraints of definition and therefore without bounds, is eventually (in the future) experienced in an infinite number of ways from an infinite number of points of view.   The boundlessness of it, the sheer wonder of it, the richness of the experience and the miracle that it happens at all is the true ecstasy of the Goddess (Experience – H), in her union with the God (Awareness – Y).  The multitude of different experiences and worlds and lives and beings that emanate from that union (YH being the union of the God and the Goddess, VH being the universe that emanates from that union) is what YHVH is all about.  But in that word is a reminder that the true here and now is yet to be experienced, ineffable for the same reason that Awareness Itself is ineffable, the two being inseparable aspects of the same Presence.

“Thou Whose Breath giveth forth and withdraweth the form of all things;
Thou, before Whom the life of every being is but a shadow which transforms and a vapor which passeth away;
Thou, Who mountest upon the clouds, and dost fly upon the Wings of the Wind;
Thou, Who breathest forth and endless Space is peopled.
Thou, Who drawest in Thy Breath, and all which came forth from Thee unto Thee returneth!
Ceaseless Motion, in Eternal Stability, be Thou eternally blessed!
We praise Thee and we bless Thee in this fleeting empire of Created Light, of Shadows, reflections and images, and we aspire without ceasing towards Thine Immutable and Imperishable Splendor.”

Excerpt from the Prayer of the Sylphs, addressing God, that (stable) Ancient Presence, in the Eternal Here and Now, as the source of all arising experience as it flits past like thoughts, as a constant stream of momentary experience.

Investigatory Meditation

This whole description being on an occult topic, barely touches on the profundity, the extent of the implications, and the unspeakable meaning of the Self-examination to which I refer here.  The only way to breach the occult nature of the topic is to explore it for yourself, to test, investigate and bask in the experience of whom you really are, firsthand.  Even then, the extent of the meaning of this experience is infinite and unknowable in its entirety.  Yet it is this ineffable quality that is the most precious aspect of the experience.  What experience am I talking about?  The experience pointed to by the banishing pentagram:  find out whom and what you really are by shifting your attention away from experiences, back on the very source of attention.  The experience pointed to by shifting attention to your own Awareness, naked, pure, and unknowable as a thing and inseparable from the ineffable Here and Now.  Do this often.  Do it slowly, and watch carefully for the subtleties of what it is you are doing when you shift attention like this.  Now shift your attention back upon experiences again, but do it slowly, and watch carefully for the subtleties of what it is you are doing when you shift like this.   You will see firsthand, all the secrets of the universe unfold before your Awareness.

Stabilizing Meditation

To have this experience for yourself, to not miss the subtleties, it helps to first train yourself to pay attention.  Most people, completely unaware of the real power of attention and the ability to focus it, are extremely weak at doing so.  After all, we’re normally not taught how to pay attention, and we might not have even thought about the idea of actually training in the skill of paying attention.  See for yourself:  Place a clock with a second hand on a table and sit down in front of it.  Relax, get comfortable, and when you feel ready to try, gaze at that second hand, and see how long you can pay attention to it without your attention wandering to something else.  Can you even make it to ten seconds?  Thirty?  Three minutes?  How about an hour or even 72 hours without a single distraction?

The ability to pay attention is essential to watching the minute subtleties of how your mind and the universe works, to having for yourself the firsthand experience I am hinting at in this article.  I said that you should watch what you are doing when you shift attention from an experience to none in particular.  The ability to “watch” this carefully and in minute detail requires a strong ability to focus your attention (pay attention) for long periods of time.  You need to be able to pay attention to what you want to, for as long as you want to, without breaks or distractions because otherwise you will miss the incredible subtleties of the machinery of the universe.

The secret to paying attention is learning to relax, not just relax your body but your mind as well.  Another secret is to find wonderment in the act of paying attention itself, without regard to what you are paying attention to.  Boredom is the first reaction of a restless mind.  That same boredom can be transformed into pure ecstasy by a simple shift of perspective.  Boredom is actually overwhelming ecstasy and bliss, but unrecognized and unfamiliar, so uncomfortable.  Are you easily bored?  Then you have a talent for trance-like immersion in the ecstasy of the Goddess, but it is unfamiliar, so uncomfortable, and you avoid it.

But this is not an article about meditation techniques, so I will get back to the topic at hand.

AHYH

So whenever we’re casting forth attention, focusing it on any particular experience as with a miner’s helmet, we are facing a metaphorical East.  And because of that casting forth of attention, we experience “before us” what seems to be a continuous stream or breeze of experience in the face of Awareness.  It is not really a stream of experience, but only seems so as a habit of what we pay attention to.  This condition of being aware, what it feels like to exist, to be Present, is itself the illusory arising of a stream of experience.  This is something that you can see for yourself, firsthand, by paying attention in the manner described by the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Now, again using the analogy of the miner’s helmet (or the lamp of The Hermit, tarot card number IX), if experience seems to arise before one’s awareness, a seeming stream upon you, think of where it seems to go.  Once it’s been experienced, even though the event is already in the past when it is experienced, it seems to drift away into an ocean of past experiences or memory.  I say “ocean” of memory because memory is fluid, growing and changing with our changing perspective on things.  As new experience is added, the ocean of collected experience, the ocean of memory grows and changes, like an infinitely expanding universe, or pool of experience.

The way we use the word “experience” is a very important indication of the qualities of this pool of experience.  As a verb, it is the act of undergoing an event or participating.  Awareness experiences things and events.  This happens in the Here and Now, but the event undergone or participated in, is something from the past.  As a noun it is used in three interesting ways.  1)  It is the thing that is had by undergoing or participating.  This thing is something that collects in a pool of experience.  2)  the pool itself, of knowledge or events undergone.  Now take these three meanings (one verb, two nouns) and put them all together as a description of the act of being aware, a description of you, the Experiencer: you are here and now the infinite pool of experience from which all future experience arises, and into which all experience collects.  That collected experience changes and grows with the addition of new experience.  That expanded and changed pool experience shapes the here and now from which all future experience arises.  I’ll write more on this shaping in a minute.

“O Vastness, wherein all beings seek to lose themselves, to be continually reborn in Thee!
{re-member, re-cognize, re-legion (religion), to Remember who they really are]
O Immensity into which flow all the Rivers of Life
[streams of experience], to renew themselves ever in Thee!”

“Thee we adore and Thee we invoke!
Speak Thou unto us, Thine inconstant and changeful creatures!”

Excerpts from the Prayer of the Undines, addressing God, the One Pure Consciousness
[my comments added in square brackets]

In this ocean of memory everything seems to collect, as a seeming store of experience, like some ultimate library recording every event, every experience that has ever occurred.  This is the Akashic Records: a universal version of the Great Library of Alexandria, an idea that was the basis for the historical one.

The past, this ocean of past experience, this ocean of reference, fluid and infinite, illusory and uncertain, is how we know anything, and especially who we think we are.

Everything we know, even the things that seem to be happening right now, are all things that have already happened in the past.  Experiences are known or recognized only by reference or association with past experiences.  You can only cognize by reference to memory, to the past.  That’s why we call knowing something in what seems to be the present, re-cognition.  It’s because you are cognizing it again based on reference to previous cognizing (as when the pattern of sparks in the brain is like a pattern that happened before).  The things we think we know are all experiences in the past.  Everything we know is a reference to things in the past, experienced and remembered differently by all of us according to our ever accumulating and changing pool of gathered experience.  That this pool of gathered experience is ever changing causes an ever-shifting perspective on things in the past.  This causes an ever shifting re-cognition, understanding, or perception of the so-called present experience as well.

Everything we know about who we think we are is defined by this shifting build-up of experience.  Our illusory uncertain past, our history, defines what we know about ourselves right now, and the way we think of ourselves right now.  As the ever-shifting, constant accumulation of experience defines ourselves more and more accurately as the accumulation reaches infinitude (though never reaching exactitude) we eventually become Self-aware.  Eventually what we know of ourselves includes much more than the collected experiences of a human.  Eventually it includes an understanding of the nature of Awareness itself.  We eventually recognize ourselves as the same Pure Consciousness that pervades all of existence that pervades all experience, the entire unstable illusion of space and time, shared by all the other illusory beings throughout the universe.  Eventually, by accident or by experience or by deliberate practice (of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, for example), our self-image includes the direct personal experience of ourselves as the One Pure Consciousness.

A human being is a collection of experiences.  A human being is like a collection of tendencies, habits and expectations.  A human being, like all other beings, is like a single ripple on the mere surface of this ocean of collective experience.  When you think of yourself as being a human being, you, the One Consciousness, are focusing your attention on but one ripple of an infinite ocean of gathered experiences, an infinite ocean of possibilities.  You are focusing on one character on the surface of an infinite ocean of gathered characteristics, tendencies, memories, and habits.  But this human is something you are aware of, and since there is a you and an it that you are aware of, this human is not you, the One Consciousness.  You are this ocean, not the ripple you are focusing on.  You cannot see the whole ocean, you cannot look at the whole ocean because, just as the eye cannot see itself directly, that ocean is the you that is looking.  Consciousness is eternally gazing at Its reflection (re-flection: to recall, remember) in the rippling surface of the ocean of accumulated experience.

In terms of the experience had by Pure Consciousness, be it all in an uncertain illusion from the past, this pool of experience is the most common reference against which we know we exist.  “I Think, therefore I Am,” or in other words, “I experience, therefore I Am.”  This unreliable illusion of what once was the present moment is where we can find referential proof that we are, and arrive at knowing what is meant by “I AM.”  It starts by saying, “I am this” or “I am that” referring to the illusory and uncertain history we have accumulated.  Eventually, it is with the realization that every experience is an illusion in the past that we arrive at the simple recognition that “I AM.”  What we experience when we say to ourselves “I AM” is the Presence of Pure Consciousness, the Presence of the Eternal Here and Now, in the face of illusory experience, all of which is in the past.  What we experience when we say “I AM” is itself unknowable as a thing.  By saying “I AM” we can know only that it is, like an Ancient Presence. The ineffable experience we have when we say “I AM” is the only absolute reality.  It exists, and yet we can know nothing else about It because it is That which does the knowing of all things, and is therefore no thing (Nothing) that we can know as a thing.  Through countless lifetimes, we think “I am this” or “I am that,” and because all experiences shift and change, but Presence does not change, we always realize “I am not this, or that after all.” This is how, with enough accumulation of experience, through countless lifetimes, we eventually arrive at a recognition of what it means to say “I AM,” without any qualifier or descriptor at all.

Eventually all experiences become permanent reminders of what we mean when we say “I AM”.  This is the meaning and purpose of life: to gather illusory experience in an uncertain and fluid store of memory.  Doing so, it is to realize, eventually, who and what we really are: that which we experience when we say “I AM,” and not “I am this” or “I am that.”  So we charge this pentagram in the West, with the purpose in life of reminding us of all these ideas, of this aspect of Consciousness, using a word that will remind us of what we mean when we say “I AM.”  That reminder is the word AHYH, which literally means “I AM.”

But this “past,” this illusory memory of what has happened that we immerse ourselves in, is full of re-cognition, with associations to the past, to memory.  Since everything is recognized by association to past experiences, these associations define what we are going to re-cognize as we are besieged with new experience.  When we see something that we cannot in some way associate to the past, we do not recognize it.  We can make no sense of it.  We often completely ignore things that don’t make sense, or don’t fit into our frame of reference.  This choosing of what we recognize and pay attention to, this choosing between the opportunities we seize upon and the ones we ignore all determine a definite course through the endless ocean of possible future experiences.  The brain is a solidification of this choosing, this accepting some experiences and rejecting other experiences.  The brain is a filter, a gate-keeper of seven gates (seven gates, seven veils: modes of consciousness, ways of experiencing things).  It only accepts experiences that we can re-cognize and filters out or ignores all the rest.  There could be a god or mischievous elemental or alien creature standing across the street or even right in front of you and you might never notice, having no reference by which to recognize it.  For example, right here in the depths of space, surrounded by billions of stars, we only notice or pay attention to the familiar Earth around us.  This is why the sky is so breathtaking when we make the exception of looking up.  All the unseen worlds are right here, right now.  We don’t see them, not because we can’t, but because we ignore them, having no way to relate to them.

In the Eternal Here and Now are infinite possibilities for our next experience.  We use our past to define our most likely future experience by using it to decide what experience we will ignore or reject and using it to decide what experiences we will accept or pay attention to.  This is the ultimate habit and the meaning of karma in the most immediate sense.  This defining habit and karma, that comes from choosing our next experience based on the past, actually controls our future to a huge degree.   But as with any boat, given enough energy to break the current trend, the course can be changed at any given moment.  Fate is only as strong as your habits, your karma.  You have as much free will as you have power over your deepest habits.  If you stopped using the uncertain, shifting, illusory past as a filter for what you will experience next, anything, absolutely anything is possible.  (Image: the Goddess in her dance of the seven veils, removing all of them one by one to reveal the naked splendor of her true nature.)

But there’s an important point to be made here.  The “past,” this “ocean of experience” doesn’t really exist.  I used the idea only as an analogy that helps explain an aspect of Consciousness in the Eternal Here and Now.  I mentioned that the ocean is Consciousness.  Instead of a past, a memory, or an ocean of collected experience, there is a current and present state of mind, or a current and present accumulated frame of mind.  There is actually a current and present frame of reference for experience, or a view, or a perspective.  Residing ever in the Eternal Here and Now, Awareness is always shining forth attention.  It does so with the precedence and expectations of this state of mind, this view or perspective, composed of accumulated experiences.

Your personal frame of mind is composed of a particular collection of chosen experiences, ignoring or forgetting all the rest, making up a personal history out of the infinite collective experience that makes up the ineffable present universe.  This trail of experiences, picked out of the metaphorical ocean of experience, is defined by your attention as it has wound through what was accepted and paid attention to, among all the rest that was rejected and ignored.  It is the path along which you have directed attention, your miner’s helmet amid the darkness of the rest of the ocean around.  This trail of experiences that defines your current and present frame of mind, right here, right now, is like a Great Serpent of Awareness amid the Infinite Ocean of Collective Experience.   This view or perspective is really a collection or chain of chosen experiences (memories) that together represent a current state of mind, frame of mind, or frame of reference, here and now, not in the past.  This Great Serpent, this view, normally determines what we continue to will pay attention to (where we will direct the miner’s lamp) out of the constant stream of experience which is really the constant stream of attention arising from the fact of being Aware, Here and Now. This view normally determines what our next experience will be, out of the unbound infinite possibilities of the ineffable here and now.  Just as the future doesn’t really exist, but is an aspect of the eternally ineffable here and now, so also is the past. The past is actually a current frame of mind, here and now, shifting and expanding with accumulated experience.

In the same way that concentrated attention can be seen as life energy, the current perspective or frame of mind could be imagined as a particular color, coloring the attention, coloring the life energy just as you do when you cast forth a ball of colored energy, colored attention.  That frame of mind in the Here and Now “colors” everything you cast your attention upon, actually colors the attention itself, deciding and filtering what you will experience next, as when seeing things through “rose colored glasses.”  Gathered experience is not gathered in some ocean, but is gathered as a present and current “color” of mind, a frame of mind, a state of mind, a view.  This “colors” everything we perceive, what we make of it, and what we will ignore.  (See “The Color Out of Space” by H.P Lovecraft for an allegory for a completely alien and unrecognizable collection of experiences, state of mind, view or perspective, drawing attention to the fact that we cling to a familiar and comfortable state of mind, view or perspective.)

There is only the eternally ineffable Here and Now.  No past, no future, only now, which is an aspect of that One Presence, that One Pure Consciousness.  This current frame of mind is a trend of experience that we have been applying, and are right now applying to shape the primordial potential of Here and Now, shaping the stuff of Consciousness.  By virtue of our state of mind, we are right here and now shaping the ineffable Here and Now into new experiences, a future that we will shortly experience as objective and seemingly real.  We are creating reality out of the ineffable or indefinable Here and Now, directed by our frame of reference, our frame of re-cognition which we can call expectation.

As an individual collection of experiences, like a single ripple on the infinite Ocean of Consciousness, we all build an individual view of the universe and focus on that, like a single world among the infinite ocean of stars that fill space.  From this individual experience, we have the sense of what is meant by “I AM,” which is what the word AHYH means.

Like the other Names of God, AHYH describes you, the One Pure Consciousness.  It is the history and the collected experience that makes you who and what you think you are and how you think of yourself.  When you have accumulated enough experience, you know yourself to be the infinitely ineffable and eternal Awareness, which is also the infinitely ineffable and eternal Here and Now.  You also know yourself to be everything and everyone you have known and will ever know.  You know their experience, their suffering and their joy, to be Your own.

My Joy is to see Your Joy.
My Ecstasy is in yours.

The Goddess, an example for us all

The present moment, and the two pentagrams right and left.

So before you, you have your experience arising from the illusion of future (really coming from the here and now), constantly coming at you because of the stream of attention radiating from Awareness, in the eternal ineffable Here and How.  Unable to know anything about the here and now except that you exist, in this ongoing breeze of experience, you trust that you will continue to be.  From that core certainty of existence in the Here and Now that will yet be experienced, you know that “I will be,” which is the meaning of the word YHVH.  Behind you, you have the experiences that have already happened (all external experiences are in the past, because when you are experiencing something, it has already happened) forming a state of mind right here, right now.  In this, you know by reference that you exist, and have the sense of “I AM” (I think, therefore I AM) which is the meaning of AHYH.

Now, let’s examine the present moment, with respect to experience.  I said that events that you experience, have all happened in the past, and are indefinable in the present moment.  But experiences aside, the present moment certainly does exist.  You may not be able to describe it as an experience (yet), but you can feel it, right here, right now.  In fact, it exists more truly than the future (which isn’t happening yet) or the past (which isn’t happening anymore).  Since all of our current experiences are actually in the past, all of our experiences are illusions.  The present moment is all there really is, even if there is no objective experience of it.  There are two pentagrams here at a position exactly between the future (before us, East) and the past (behind us, West), at this present moment.

Now think of it.  The state of mind accumulated by the past determines how we will re-cognize new events or what we will make of them, and therefore determines what we will experience.  We have the power to conjure in our memories just about anything that has happened.  With training, it is possible to, metaphorically speaking, stop focusing on an individual ripple on the surface of experience, and focus on any other, or dive deep into the depths of collective experience itself.  Because this focus, this frame of mind colors everything we experience, we therefore have the power to conjure how we will re-cognize new events, so we have the power to influence what we will experience in the future, as easily as shifting our attention to something in the past.  In this present moment, we have the power to choose what to focus our attention on (attention being the nourishment of all things), and thereby what to emphasize and empower and what to turn away from and ignore.  By merely shifting attention, right in this present moment is the power to change the course of the future, to choose what we will experience, and therefore the power to alter the on-going reformation of the past.

All magical power is derived from this shifting of attention.  All spells are elaborate methods of tricking yourself into making a simple moment to moment choice in the Here and Now.  They are methods of shifting attention in the Here and Now, to deliberately chosen states of mind that determine our future experience.  This mere shifting of attention is how the ultimate magician, perfectly aware of whom and what he or she really is, and having built the habit of acting like Awareness instead of acting like a human, is able to cast the ultimate spell by simply being aware of a need.  (But in such a non-human state of mind, exactly what constitutes “need?” In this state of mind there can be no jealousy, greed, “self” advancement, or anything to do with an illusory human self at all.  Even the sense of right and wrong, of relevant or not, are all placed in a non-human, beyond-human perspective.)  Incantations, incense, visualizations, potions, talismans, robes, timing… the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram… none of them are required for the ultimate spell-casting or attention shifting.  In terms of magical training, the use of all these props actually represents an immaturity, like the first steps of a baby who holds on to furniture.  Think of it.  Only a human uses props like these.  When using magical props, you are acting like a particular type of human (like a first or second degree witch).  You are not behaving like Awareness itself and you have not fully realized what traditional witches call the Third Degree.  When you use these things you are not behaving like whom and what you really are.  You cannot appreciate from firsthand experience the beauty and simplicity of all it means to simply be Aware, including that it means you are the Creator of all experience, of the Universe.

ADNY

Where you’re standing between “before Thee” (in the East, the future) and behind (in the West, the past), we have the sense of being at the present moment with pentagrams at our right and left.  On God’s right hand (to the right of the focus of attention), there is the One Pure Consciousness in the middle of everything, as though all experience is happening all around Her/Him as offerings for Her/His amusement.  As the One Pure Consciousness, you cannot experience anything without being Aware.  You are included in every experience blowing at you from the future, and you are present in every memory of any experience that you have ever had.  You (the One Divine Presence) are the essence of every experience.  No experience would be, could be without You.  Everything you are aware of shares the very same Awareness that is at the core of your experience.  Everything feels Presence exactly the same way as you do.

“Immortal, Eternal, Ineffable, and Uncreated Father-Mother of all things.
Thou who art borne upon the ever-rolling Chariot of worlds which revolve unceasingly;
Lord and Ruler of the Ethereal Immensities, where the Throne of Thy Power is exalted, from the summit of which Thy terrible and beautiful eyes behold all things and thy Pure and Holy Ears unto all things hearken;”

Excerpt from the Prayer of the Salamanders, addressing God, the One Pure Consciousness

Free will and the power over our own habits give us the sense that it is We that are in control of our actions.  In reality we do have control over our actions and our future, because we can with sufficient awareness and resolve, at any moment over-ride habit.  We can make a moment-to-moment choice of how we will see things and react to things, choosing what we will make of things, how we will experience things, and therefore what the future before us will be.  In doing so, we can shape new habits by changing the content of accumulated experience (our state of mind, our perspective, the expectations we impose on the future).  In the middle of all this, we are not only the focus and center of it all, but we are also in control of our own destiny, our own experience.  We are Lord and Master of all we survey.

“Thy Majesty, Golden, Vast and Eternal
Shineth above all the Worlds and the limitless Ocean of Stars!
Thou art exalted above them O glittering Fire!
O Flashing Flame, there dost Thou shine,
there dost Thou commune with Thyself in Thine Own Splendor,
and inexhaustible streams of Light and Life pour from Thine Essence for the nourishment of Thine Infinite Spirit, which Itself doth nourish all things,”

Excerpt from the Prayer of the Salamanders, addressing God, the One Pure Consciousness, shining forth attention, the nourishment of all things

We have the power of moment to moment choice.  The power to choose in the Here and Now guides the boat of Ra through the waters of the stream of life, choosing the course from among all possible future events.

“Thou hast specially created Powers which are marvelously like unto Thine Enternal Thought and like unto Thy Venerable Essence;
Thou hast established them above the Angels who proclaim Thy Will to the World;”

Excerpt from the Prayer of the Salamanders, addressing God, the One Pure Consciousness

Due to the strength of established habits rooted in the past (actually our present frame of mind), sometimes the boat will turn slowly in a long arch, but the change in course is always possible.  What we experience in the future is normally dependent on our state of mind, on precedence and expectation, on the past, but we can choose to do differently in every moment.  We can conjure in our present state of mind anything we wish by simply shifting attention.  We have a past precedence or habit of identifying with human, but in every moment we have the ability to choose to Remember who and what we really are instead, and to act like That instead of acting like a human.  By repeatedly performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, we can more easily shift our attention to whom and what we really are, and behave like That instead of behaving like a human.

We are charging the pentagram on the right with an ever present reminder that we are the Lord and Master, the Ruling Power in all experience.  We can do this because of the nature of the present moment, which has not yet been experienced, which is happening right now as an eternal function of being Aware.  So we charge the heart of the pentagram at our right hand with ADNI which means “Lord and Master,” or “Ruling Power.”  It is this Name of God, this descriptive name of Pure Consciousness, this power inherent in each of us as Pure Awareness, that the pentagram at our right hand will always help us to Remember.  It will help us remember the ever immediately present moment-to-moment choice we can make over what we experience, as the center from whom, about whom and for whom all experience arises.

AGLA:

The act of experiencing is an act of self-awareness, whether or not we recognize it as such.  Because the existence of Awareness includes something to be aware of (even if that “something” is absolutely ineffable in the Eternal Here and Now), the two are inseparable functions or attributes of each-other.  They arise together as aspects of the same ineffable Presence.  The One Pure Consciousness, which we cannot directly know as a thing, and the Eternal Here and Now, which we also cannot directly know as a thing are two inherent qualities of the same unspeakable Presence.  The Divine Presence, the real you, is present in every experience that you have, not only as That which experiences, but also as That which is experienced.  No matter where You look, there You are looking, and no matter what You look at, there You are looking back.

Yes, that’s the real You looking back.  This is why absolute compassion is inevitable: every act of suffering that exists is just as much Your experience as is every act of joy and ecstasy.  Remember though, when I say “You” I’m not referring to a limited human being, I’m referring to the One Pure Consciousness at your core.  I’m not referring to a human, but to that which calls Itself a human, that is aware of the experience of being human, and is therefore Itself not the human that it is aware of.  I’m also referring to that same One Pure Consciousness that all beings share.  It is because we all share that same One Pure Consciousness that I can say “You” and know that I’m referring to the same Consciousness in every single reader of these words.

So, your whole experience of anything in the past, present, and future are all pervaded by Your Presence, Your Awareness.  It’s all You, looking back at You, reflecting your own infinitely varying nature.

“O King invisible, [can never actually see Itself]
Who, taking the Earth for Foundation,
[for a stable state of being]
didst hollow its depths to fill them with Thy Mighty Power.
[Awareness]
Thou whose name shaketh the Arches of the World.”
[strikes at the very core of the everything]

“O Stability and Motion! [stability: always Present.  Motion: always gathering experience]
O Darkness veiled in Brilliance!
O Day clothed in Night!
O Master who never dost withhold the wages of thy workmen!
[constant stream of attention, the nourishment of all things]
O Silver Whiteness!
O Golden Splendor!
O Crown of Living (and) Harmonious Diamond!”

Excerpts from the Prayer of the Gnomes, addressing God, the One Pure Consciousness
[with my comments added in square brackets]

These ideas are a summing up of the total experience presented by the other three Names of God.  You are the source of the stream of experience arising from the future (East), the collective whole of the past (West), and Lord of the Here and Now (South).  One way to express this summing up of the other three perspectives on experience is with four words: “Ateh Gebor Leolam ADNI”.  As we learned in the Ankh of Light commentary (earlier in this series of articles), “Ateh” means at once, both: “Thou Art” and “I Am”, reminding us that God is the One Pure Awareness at our very core of being.  “Gebor” refers to ultimate power, as in the power of the present moment described above in the meaning of ADNY.  “Leolam” means “forever” or “throughout all ages” or “throughout the three times” referring to the combination of past, present and future (corresponding to all three of the other names of God).  And finally, “ADNY”, refers to or reminds us of the One Pure Consciousness, for whom all experience is offered as entertainment, as the “Lord and Master” of all of it.  This sentence could be translated as: “The Presence we know when we say ‘I AM’ is God, is everything experienced in the 3 times, and is lord and master of all experience.”  In short: everything is this Ancient Presence, this Ancient Presence is all there is.  It’s the Universe aware of Itself through us.  If you take the initials of these four words, “AGLA” you have the idea of what we charge the heart of the pentagram at our left with.  We make it a living ever present reminder that there is One Consciousness, One Ancient Presence, all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere.  We are reminded that the earth itself and everything we experience is what that Ancient Presence, our true selves, looks like.  We are reminded that it is whom and what we really are, looking right back at us.

The Circle of Pentagrams

So, before us: a pentagram charged with YHVH to be a living reminder of the pressure or radiance of Awareness, creating an on-going stream of experience, where in the future we will experience what we choose out of the infinite, ineffable and eternal Here and Now.

Behind us: a pentagram charged with AHYH, to be a living reminder that everything we actually experience and know, is all an illusion from the past, all of which is an accumulation of experience into a state of mind, habit, and expectation.

To our right hand: a pentagram charged with ADNY, to be a living reminder of our place at the center of  every experience, the power of choice in the eternal here and now of what to turn our attention upon, thereby define the course of our future and shape our experiences.

To our left hand: a pentagram charged with AGLA to be a living reminder of the fact that the sum total of all experience, is in its entirety us conscious of it, and also it conscious of us, because both it and us aspects of the same Ancient Presence we know as Awareness.

I described these four by following meridians: East and West, then South and North.  But the ritual calls for a clockwise motion.  As with everything in the ingenious design of this ritual, this sequence is significant.  By going clockwise from the East we have a step by step description of creation.  Here is exactly how we are constantly creating the Universe:

Center: Standing in the center, in the unknowable (as a thing) here and now as the ineffable Presence of Awareness,

East: by casting forth attention (as with the miner’s helmet) experience arises in front of us, seemingly appearing out of the future, but really originating in the stream of Awareness radiating from the indescribable here and now.

South: As the indescribable Awareness in the ineffable Here and Now from which everything emanates, we feel like the center of it, the center of all experiences, the recipient of it all, and the real power behind it.

West: As the origin of all experience, experience accumulates (as in accumulated experience) into a habitual state of mind.  This current and present state of mind, this frame of reference, this current and present frame of mind, this karma filters our experience by recognizing, interpreting, accepting and rejecting according to memory, familiarity, and expectation.

North: In this way Consciousness appears before itself in a particular way.  Being an objectification of Consciousness Itself it is all perfectly aware, responsive, and it all participates in reality creation.  Every creation is itself The Creator.   As more is created, the newly created all participate in Creation.  The whole of Creation is exploding at an infinite rate, so the infinite universe is always expanding.  Yet how does infinity get bigger?  It only seems to expand with the ongoing stream of Awareness, the on-going act of creation.  It’s all an illusion like God seeing his own infinite reflection in his infinite self.  Being All and Infinite, there is Nothing in particular to be seen or distinguished in essence from anything else.  This is about whom and what you really are.  This is what you look like: an entire universe of infinitely expanding variety.  This is the end result of Creation: how the Universe experiences itself through all of us.

East Again: What seems to be real is only the focus of Attention on a tiny part of infinity (miner’s helmet again).

By casting these pentagrams clockwise from the East, and charging them with a particular descriptive Name of Consciousness in this particular order, we recognize and celebrate the act of cosmic creation as Authors of the Universe we truly are.  The living Pentagrams become living reminders of all of this.  Through the archangels, winds, and protectors, these living Pentagrams take part in our daily lives to arrange for coincidence and feedback constantly demonstrating and reminding us of whom and what we really are.

By this ritual, by revealing the mechanism of reality creation and exposing it all as an illusion, by revealing ourselves as the Authors of the Universe in this act of self-awareness, we are withdrawing or contracting focus from illusion-creation or expansion back to That which creates.  In this ritual is the ultimate banishing: the dissolution of the Great Illusion into a state of Simply Being, without attributes, as the One Pure Presence, perfectly Aware in the ineffable and Eternal Here and Now.  In this ritual, the fires of Realization dissolve the illusion of the universe without changing anything at all.  As with the ashes of a burned rope, the illusion is dispelled while still participating in the illusion.  This fiery realization is the fiery dance of Shiva, the destroyer of the universe.  Shiva, whose devotees smear ashes on themselves.  Shiva, who’s symbol is the pentagram in a circle (the witch’s pentacle).  The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is a practice of a Western tantra.

Summary:

Here is a summary of the magical words of Power in the ritual, assembled into a descriptive English sentence:

Ateh (I Am/Thou Art) – Our own core being, our own core existence is an Ancient Presence, all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere

YHVH (to exist, future tense) – that exists in the Eternal Here and Now as a future experience, the ongoing breeze of experience, the origin of the future,

ADNI (Lord) – seemingly as the center of all experience, for whom and to whom all of it happens, with the ultimate power of the moment-to-moment choice,

AHYH (I AM) – is known both by reference to and as an ever shifting ocean of collected experience, memories, habits and expectations which define the experiences we pick out of the unknowably infinite ocean of endless possibilities present in the Here and Now,

AGLA (Ateh, Gebor, Le-olam, Amen) – and appears all around our own core being as its own reflection perfectly aware and radiating attention and experience: appearing as a Universe that is itself an Ancient Presence, all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere.

“Holy art Thou,
Lord of the Universe.
Holy art Thou,
Whom Nature has not formed,
Holy art Thou,
The Vast and Mighty One,
Lord of the Light,
and of the Dark.”

What’s Next

In the next part of this series, we will look at how these living beings, the pentagrams around us, charged as reminders of whom and what we really are express themselves as living, intelligent, and powerful influences in our daily lives.  We will look at the manifestation of these pentagrams as archangels, winds, and protectors making the pentagrams constant living companions, helping us to explore what it means to be whom and what we really are.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Ultimately, there is no difference between spells and prayers.  Here’s a way to understand what I mean by this:

Like everything else in a Wisdom Tradition like Traditional Wicca, it’s all about who and what we really are, and learning to act like That.  We are the authors of the Universe we experience, constantly and continuously creating our entire experience.  Some of that created experience is personal (subjective), and created personally, while some of it is collective (objective), created collectively.

As authors of the universe and of reality, we create everything we experience by directed attention.  We are constantly faced with an infinity of possibilities, an infinity of potential experiences (the Goddess).  By directing our attention (the God) at a selection from that infinity, picking out what is expected and familiar (the elemental children of the God and Goddess), by force of habit, we create our personal perspective on reality and our personal experience of it.  Some of that personal experience matches to some degree the experience of others (but never exactly) because we agree on the meanings of the words we use, and we agree on the construction of some of our environment.

But in an absolute sense, reality (the elemental children of the God and Goddess) is an arbitrary selection (the power of the God) from infinite potential (the Mother Goddess) we are always faced with.  Every time you direct your attention, by any kind of deliberate act you are molding your perception, your reality, and creating your experience of the universe out of the infinite potential that is always there.  This is partly because directing your attention has two effects: it selects from infinite potential a) what you will be aware of or pay attention to (this is the realm of Life, and Light, and Love, the realm of the ecstasy of the Goddess) and b) what you will ignore or exclude from your experience, which is the vast majority of the infinite potential (this is the realm of the God, of Wisdom and the Knowledge of the Secrets of Death).

This infinite potential, undefined and indescribable, is in its entirety unknowable and indescribable for the exact same reason that Awareness can never know itself, as the eye can never directly look upon itself.  It is unknowable and indescribable because it is infinitely greater than the scope of our limited mechanisms of perception.  (These mechanisms of perception are not designed to provide awareness of the true here-and-now, or of the true infinite potential with which we are faced.  They are instead designed to be mechanisms of focus, and by definition that, means exclusion of all that is outside our directed attention.)  This infinite potential is the infinite Presence of Awareness Itself.  This Presence can be experienced in any way desired by simply directing attention accordingly (applying the mechanisms of perception accordingly).

So, not only are spells and prayers exactly the same in that they are both ways of deliberately directing your attention (and creating reality), they are also exactly the same as any deliberate act, such as making a phone call, or deliberately triggering the engagement of your capacity for unconscious, self-fulfilling prophecy.  All deliberate acts, be they conscious actions, prayers or spells, by directing attention, create reality from infinite potential which is the “thing” aspect of that Ancient, infinitely unknowable Presence (which is also perfectly Aware).

So much for what is the same between prayers and spell-casting.  Their difference is very profound.  In prayer, you engage your ability to direct attention (create reality) by treating this creative power you have as an external thing that can be prayed to, and thereby engage the unconscious magic of self-fulfilling prophecy, which is ultimately simply directing your attention, just like casting a spell is.  In spell casting, you do not treat this creative power as an external thing to be supplicated, but rather take charge as the creator yourself, using reminders or mental triggers to get yourself to direct your attention in a particular way, which is exactly what you are doing when you pray.  The difference is only in the way you view yourself, the author of the universe: a) in prayer, as something external that you can supplicate or b) in spell-casting, taking charge and owning the power and responsibility of reality creation.  These two approaches: “other-power” and “own-power” are essential perspectives in the training of Traditional Wicca.

The training involved in the traditional Three Degrees of initiation are in turn based in these two perspectives, and finally on their union.  The traditional First Degree is all about “other-power” and emphasizes prayer and spell-casting from the perspective of asking the Great Mother Goddess to help you with your life and your magical work.  You spend at least a year systematically and step by step exploring all the aspects of this perspective on doing things, both mundane and magical.  The Second Degree is all about “own-power” when you, like the Horned God, realize that you are yourself the author of the universe, and your prayers and spell-casting shift in emphasis, to the 1st person perspective, where you are yourself the Goddess or the God, creating and altering reality through your prayers and spell-casting.  You spend at least a year systematically and step by step exploring all the aspects of this perspective on doing things, both mundane and magical.

Neither of these two perspectives of “other-power” or “own-power” is completely correct by itself.  The error in either of these perspectives alone (the error in emphasizing either the God or the Goddess alone), is the basis for the whole argument about prayer vs spell-casting: both are equally true and can be argued as true, yet neither is true by itself.

In the traditional Third Degree you have a perfect balance, a Perfect Harmony between: a) the “other-power” perspective embodied in the teachings of the Goddess and the traditional First Degree, and b) with the “own-power” perspective embodied in the teachings of the Horned God and the traditional Second Degree.  In the traditional Third Degree, both of these perspectives are realized as simultaneously present and correct in every thought, every action and every experience.  It is only through spending time exploring each of these perspectives in the First and Second Degree initiation and training, that one can truly appreciate the nature of the eternally present moment, which is at the same time both objective (other-power, prayer) and subjective (own-power, spell-casting), based on the two aspects of that Ancient Presence (Ancient Harmony) which has two simultaneous aspects, properties, or qualities: It is at the same time both perfectly Aware, though impossible to experience directly (the God), and it is also an infinite ocean of experience, though also impossible to know or describe in its entirety, being infinite (the Goddess).

In this manner, learning prayer and learning spell casting is learning about Who and What you really are, and learning to act like That.  You are this Ancient Presence, That’s who and what you really are.  You are both what is prayed to, and what does the praying.  You are the Creator, the ultimate spell-caster.  Learning to pray and learning to cast spells are learning to act like who and what you really are.

This describes the meaning of the top point of the Sacred Pentagram of the witches: the top point represents the Ancient Presence (the Ancient Harmony).  It both radiates, and is supported or described by two lines (the God and the Goddess, or own-power and other-power, or spell-casting and prayer).  The line on the right is the fact that this Ancient Presence is perfectly Aware (the God, own-power, spell casting).  The line on the left is the fact that the Ancient Presence is an infinite ocean of potential experience (the Goddess, other-power, prayer).  These two lines radiate from the Ancient Harmony, to define the four points which are the Elements, the Children of the God and Goddess.  The four points which are the Elements, the Children of the God and Goddess support these two lines, the God and Goddess, which together define the Ancient Harmony.

Hopefully this gives some insight into the exact nature of both prayer and spell-casting, to their similarities and differences, and to the fact that they are inseparable: when you pray, you are also casting a spell, and when you cast a spell, you are also praying.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Excerpt from:

Knights of the Black and White

by Jack Whyte
Published by the Penguin Group
Printed in this edition 2007
Copyright © Jack Whyte 2006.

ISBN-13: 978-0-14-301736-3
ISBN-10: 0-14-301736-5

Pages 85-92

At this point in Jack Whyte’s work of historical fiction, in the year 1093, Hugh de Paynes, founder of the Knights Templar, is a young knight newly inducted into a secret order, as are two of this closest childhood friends.  His friends, confused by the enormous contradictions between the teachings of their Order and those of the all-powerful Christian Church, turn to Hugh to make some sense of it all, as they have not studied the secret lore of the Order to the extent that Hugh has.  This secret Order practices an initiation rite, a “Raising Ceremony,” that involves a kind of rebirth – a death and resurrection from the grave.  Hence, in his book Jack Whyte calls the Order, “The Order of Rebirth in Sion.”  (That name, reminds one of the secret order called The Priory of Sion, which is a focus in Dan Brown’s famous book, The Davinci Code.)

“It has served us well, this myth of Christ.”  – Pope Leo X (1475-1521)

What follows is from that book:

He turned away from the water then, and looked at each of his friends in turn.  “So,” he continued, “I am going to tell you what I believe.  But I absolutely do not want either of you to think, under any circumstances, that I’m convinced that what I tell you is the truth.  Do you understand that?  I am not telling you the truth, because as God is my witness, I do not know what the truth is, or even where it resides.”

He waited until each of his friends had nodded in agreement, and then he walked  away from them without looking back, allowing his next words to trail back over his shoulder.

“I believe in Jesus,” he began.  “I believe he lived and was crucified.  But I do not believe he was the physical son of God, not now.  I believe he was crucified for his political activities against the Romans and their allies – Herod and his clan.  He was a fighter in the cause of a free and unified Jewish nation, free of foreign occupation, and free to worship their own God in their own way.  I also believe, because our Order has convinced me by showing me evidence – and not simply telling me about it and ordering me to believe – that Jesus was a member of a priestly sect known as the Essenes, whom some called Nazoreans, and that they formed a community that they called the Jerusalem Community, a brotherhood of what we would call monks today – a community of dedicated souls living in isolation and in voluntary poverty, practicing chastity and self-denial and striving to make themselves worthy in the eyes of their God, who was a stern and vengeful God with whom they held a covenant, an understanding that they would live their lives in strict commitment to His expectations… Do you want to ask me any questions about any of that?

He walked on in silence, waiting, and when nothing came from behind him, he began again.  “I believe that Jesus was crucified and died.  And after his death, his brother James, whom men called James the Just, continued to head their commune until his death.  James was murdered on the steps of the Temple, and his death – far more so than the death of his brother Jesus – caused insurrection and rebellion, leading directly to the last Jewish war against Rome, when Titus destroyed the Jewish nation and those few who survived the destruction were scattered to the ends of the earth.”

He stopped suddenly and turned on his heel to look back at them.  “That is what I believe, and no one of it should surprise you, for you have heard it all before, from your sponsors within our Order, for all of it, but it might not all be true.  Or it might be totally false, its interpretation lost over the centuries since our families first came here, after their flight from Jerusalem.   In my own heart and mind, however, I believe it.  But now comes the hard part.  And it’s the part, I know, that causes all the grief you feel over this.”

He started walking again, more slowly this time, and his companions walked on either side of him, their heads bent.

“All our families, all of them who do not belong to the Brotherhood of the Order, are Christians, and that is what makes this all so difficult, because I also believe that the Christian Church, as it exists today, is built upon a myth created by the man called Paul.  Paul was a gentile, we all know that, but nobody really knows today what a gentile was.  Do you know, Goff?”  Godfrey wrinkled his nose and shook his head, and Hugh smiled.  “Well, a gentile was anyone who was not a Jew, and to the Jews, that was all that mattered.  I believe that Paul was a friend of Rome, which is a spy, in the pay of the Empire, and I believe that he was an opportunist of the first magnitude.  He never knew Jesus – although he knew the brother, James, and James knew Paul, and disliked and distrusted him.

“I believe, absolutely, that Paul somehow heard mention of the Raising ceremony practiced by the Essenes of the Community.  He could never have witnessed it, for the Essenes’ rites were practiced in secret and Paul was twice an outsider – a gentile and uninitiated – but I believe most certainly he heard of it, and he misunderstood everything he heard, except the most important part – the outline of the premise involved.  He took the idea of resurrection that had been practiced in secret for centuries by learned men, and from it, and around his gross misunderstanding of it, he built an edifice that now rules the world in which we all live.  He even invented a name for it after a time.  He called it Christianity, based upon the Greek name he eventually dreamed up for the man Jesus – the Christus.

“Then, once he perceived the success of his message and could see where he might go with it, he stripped it, his fundamental idea, of everything Jewish that might be offensive to the Romans, and he constructed his new religion with great skill to appeal to Roman tastes, traditions, and superstitions, incorporating most of the favorite myths of Rome, and of Greece, and of Egypt, and all their gods.

“He took the story of the virgin rebirth, for one thing, from several sources.  Mithras, the Roman soldier’s god, for example was born in a stable, delivered of a virgin.  And Horus, the god-son of Isis and Osiris, was born of a virgin, too, and destined to die to expiate the sins of mankind.  Paul named Jesus the Son of God in that tradition, and cited his resurrection as a sign of his divinity.  Paul  the saint made Jesus the Christ an immortal.  But the most blatantly untrue thing he did was to deny James’s existence as Jesus’ brother by denying his existence and transferring the power of the founding bishop to Peter the Rock.”

“Tell us about this Mithras,” Godfrey said.  “I’ve never heard of him.”

Hugh smiled.  “Not surprising.  He was a very powerful god in his day, the Lord of Light, worshipped by most of the soldiery of the Empire as the Soldier’s God, but he was soon absorbed completely into Christianity and disappeared.  Even the Cross that Christians revere today was his – the white, four-armed cross of Mithras, and it was an ancient symbol even before Mithras.  It certainly was not the Cross that Jesus died on.”

“What are you saying?” Payn sounded scandalized.  “Are you telling us you don’t believe Jesus was crucified?”

“No, Crusty, I am not.  Jesus was crucified.  There is no doubt in my mind of that.  But he was crucified on the only kind of cross the Romans used, which was a simple T shape, with no upright above the crossbar.”

Once again he looked from Godfrey’s face to Payn’s.  “Now that – all of that I’ve said about Mithras – is true.  That evidence exists, and although it has been hidden from casual sight by the Church, they cannot destroy it, much as they might like to.  It is historical fact backed by incontrovertible and indestructible evidence.”

He looked squarely at each of his friends in turn, then twisted his lips into a grimace before continuing, his tone and demeanor more serious than at any time since this had begun.

“But that’s all ancient history and Mithras does not concern us here, so to answer your questions as fully as I may, I will way this:  I have become convinced, simply from reading what exists in our Order’s Lore, that there is not one of the godly or miraculous events attributed to Jesus that was not in existence, and being marveled at, centuries before he was born, from the curing of lepers to raising the dead.

“The Jesus who lived in Galilee and died on the Hill of Skulls was a man – a patriot and a rebel.  But he was not Jesus the Christ, because as I said, the ‘Christ’ part of that name – the Greek Christos, or Savior – did not exist until Paul invented the name long after the man Jesus was dead… That, too, I believe.

“Most of all, however – and I think this is what you were asking me – I believe that the world has been led astray by men – ordinary, venal, and self-centered men – claiming to represent God and growing rich in wealth and worldly power in doing so.  The evidence of that is everywhere, and a man does not have to be a saint to see it.  The Church that Paul founded contains nothing today – a millennium later – that has not been created and propounded and promulgated by men, all of them claiming to have access to the ear of God, and most of them having no slightest resemblance to anything that might in any way be thought of as godly, pious, or holy, let alone Christian.  They preach and pray about godly and Christian virtues, but few bishops or priests today even bother to conceal their venal worldliness.  I believe – and I know, as do you two – that most people are aware of that, even although they dare not – dare not – speak of it to anyone.  Despair walks the world today, my friends, and it wears clerical robes.  But I believe, too – and more than anything else I believe this – that our ancient Order, the Order of Rebirth in Sion, contains the seeds of salvation that will one day cleanse the world and bring God back truly into the lives of men.”

He saw the doubt and bafflement in his listeners’ eyes, and he smiled.  “Well, lads, you asked me, and I have told you, and now I can see you are obviously more confused than you were before, wondering about what you have learned that contains the seeds of salvation.  Well, believe me when I tell you that you have learned it.  You simply have not yet recognized what you have learned.  But listen to me now, both of you, and I’ll take you as far towards the light as I can go, because I myself can see it only hazily.

“Think of this.  The Church tells us Jesus spoke of himself as being ‘the Way,’ and that he told others ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.’  He asked them to follow him and that he would show them the Way, and he believed that, utterly and without doubt.  But we in our Order believe he did not say it as the Son of God.  He said it as an Essene, because it was part of his daily life, and other Essenes of his community spoke the same way, because they believed that man carries God within himself, and that the Way to find God is to search within yourself.

“Now, if you think long and hard upon what that means, you might realize it means you can talk to God in your own mind, and in your own prayers.  And if you can do that, what need have you of priests?  Think about that for a moment, and about what it means to our churchly fathers.  If a man can talk to God in his own mind, and pray in the security of his own bosom, what need has he of priests, or of a Church – any church?”

Please don’t think I’ve abandoned this site.  This Tide of Sowing brought great changes, which are sure to be the seeds of even greater ones to come. 

For one thing, I’ve moved to another country, and am still waiting for my belongings to catch up with me.  

More cataclysmic for us, our teacher, and my adopted father of these past 35 years passed away a few weeks ago.  (He is the teacher described in “The Butterflies“, the powerful magician described in “The Thunderstorm“, and the one who promised me the “Winning Ticket“).  In process of doing so, he demonstrated in person so much of what he taught and the profound nature of this event has left all of us reeling. 

However, I will continue writing for this site in the next week or two, picking up where I left, with the commentary on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Thanks for watching.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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[The following is an instruction from one of my teachers, not from me. I was asked by him to make this message available to as many people as possible. – Mer-Amun]

In Mid December, 1994, a fully Realized being had a very powerful experience while feeling One with the Totality of Being.

Out of this Ocean of Being came tremendous, overwhelming pure Love, and for the benefit of those who are and will suffer from the diseases and plagues of this Age, this Pure Love exploded into the words of a Mantra.

“There will be viruses going around like (the one in) that movie The Stand,’ like that infection that’s eating people’s flesh, cancer, and I felt specifically it was good for AIDS. So I give it (the Mantra) to everyone, and you please give it to everybody whom you know. The more you pass it around the better.”

“There are absolutely no conditions or requirements for the effective use of this Mantra. Just, once you hear it, it’s yours, and do it as much as you can, and give it to as many people as you can. A person of any religion, any caste, any sex, any color can do this. It doesn’t belong to any particular deity, religion, tradition, belief, or practice: only Pure Love. It belongs to everyone, it’s like: what conditions are there to take a breath? You know? You do it. It belongs to everyone. The moment you hear it, it’s yours, no conditions.”

“So it’s good for cancer, AIDS, and all the new plagues. And give it to everybody, especially people who have AIDS, and tell them to dictate it to other people too, so that it spreads.”

WHAT DOES THIS MANTRA MEAN? FROM WHAT DEITY IS IT?

“It (the Mantra) gave itself birth on Thursday, Dec. 22, 1994 at sunset (near Toronto, Canada). Appropriately enough, on the day of the festival of the return of the light, which is the Solstice, celebrated by all ancient traditions.”

“In one sense, it is Everything. In another it is Nothing. It is an expression of the longing for Realization, Wholesomeness, Completeness within all beings and things. In another, it is that very Realization, Wholesomeness, Completeness offering itself to you.”

“It belongs to everyone, it cannot be bought, traded, or bargained for. Nothing can be said about it, nothing should be said about it. Just do it, and let it do its work of healing and transformation. The best way to ‘do it’ is just to listen to it, while surrendering to the Source, or Ground of all Being which is not something primordial, transcendental, or far away, but rather the one who is listening.”

THE MANTRA:

OM SWAMI VIRAM BABABHASSA HUNG PHAT

PRONUNCIATION:

OM Swah-mee vee-ram bah-bah-bhah-sah hoong pay

The “bh” in “bababhassa” is pronounced bh as in Clubhouse.

The “ss” in “bababhassa” is pronounced like the s in snake.

INSTRUCTION:

Repeat aloud or silently in you mind, over and over, as many times as possible and as often as possible. Count repetitions as you do them on a rosary, string of 108 beads, or “mala,” if you wish to do so.

“May it benefit beings.”

As described in another article on this blog site, Janus-Mithras established the first Isis Urania coven from his Spanish family tradition of witchcraft, and expressed some of that family tradition in English through Gardnerian elements.

The Isis Urania covens are unusual among Wicca traditions in that they do not draw solely on a British heritage, but also on a much older European heritage.  While the language and many of the wordings are distinctly Gardnerian, there are slight differences in accord with an underlying meaning and core teaching.  This old underlying teaching stresses meditation and realizing one’s true nature.  It shows forth and celebrates its profound message through the Gardnerian rituals and prayers, as well as others translated from the Spanish, where nothing equivalent could be found in the Gardnerian.

This web site is all about that underlying teaching, the message that is the “traditional” part in traditional Wicca, as embodied in the Isis Urania system and other Mystery Traditions.  Many people will recognize that this underlying message is similar to that of other ancient wisdom traditions, including Qabalism as well as Hinduism and Buddhism.  This is because the Spanish roots of the tradition originate before the Inquisition, including a time when the city of Toledo (Spain) was a great center of magical and mystical training in the medieval world.  Here one could study from a great assortment of masters from Europe, the Near East, and from the Orient.  It could be said that Toledo was a university of philosophy, magic and spirituality, the likes of which Europe had never seen before or since.

Elements of that eclectic time are still present in the roots of the Spanish tradition that is the basis for the Isis Urania covens.  While Isis Urania is especially Wiccan, the study of Qabalah is a foundation for the student.  As in the glory times of Toledo, a formalized study curriculum in magic and spirituality is used in Isis Urania training (though the exact content of that curriculum varies from coven to coven).  There are elements of ancient European, Greco-Roman, Qabalistic, Egyptian, and Gypsy teachings found sprinkled throughout the system.  As Janus-Mithras once explained, “An approach was taken over the centuries of, ‘If it works, use it.’”  Of course, our ancestors worked these additions into what already was, and remains a distinct belief system that is today in English called “Wiccan.”  That distinct system includes a set of elements such as specific wording (with special meaning), specific style, practices and celebrations that are unmistakably Wiccan and are designed to produce illumination, often through theurgy. (These originate well before 1940, when Gerald Gardner is believed by many to have invented Wicca.  Perhaps he did invent the word “Wicca”, but not the tradition.  In Spanish, the much older word for a witch is “Bruja” for a female, or “Brujo” for a male, and the word for “Wicca” is Brujeria.  Gerald Gardner did not invent these words or what they mean.)

The name Isis Urania has several implications, and comes to us from a period in history just after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt.  His conquest triggered a spread of the Isis cult throughout the Greco-Roman world, eventually reaching to the farthest edges of the Roman Empire, before paganism was suppressed at the Christianization of the Roman Empire.  Each of the temples that sprang up throughout this ancient world combined the worship of Isis with the worship of a local goddess.  In this manner, goddess worship throughout all of Europe became imbued with the wisdom teachings, the magic and spirituality of the Isis cult.

And what was this teaching?  It is that of the journey of the goddess throughout the world (or underworld) to find the God of Death (Osiris in this case), for the answer to the suffering in the world.  She learned everything she could about magic and meditation to carry out this goal.  Upon meeting Death and thus Realizing who and what we really are, she returned to teach all her children that magic, and what she learned about each and every one of us from the god of Death.  (In another perspective, you and I, and every one of us, is a piece of Osiris that Isis is forever working to gather and bring home, to restore our rightful place in the Universe.)  This is the same theme as the story of Aradia, the goddess of the witches, as well as countless other ancient goddesses including Sumerian Inanna and Babylonian Ishtar, who were the predecessors for the Egyptian Isis.  It is through this link with ancient goddess worship that the Isis Urania covens follow an ancient tradition, even though the first Isis Urania coven of Wicca was founded in 1960.  It is through the partially traceable lineage of teachers, reaching back through medieval Toledo, that the Isis Urania covens define their heritage and tradition.

As is the practice with traditional Wiccan covens, students that reach or complete the second degree training may choose to “hive-off”, to form a new coven on their own.  Following the tradition of Isis cult in Greco-Roman times, each newly established temple or Isis Urania coven often takes the name of Isis and of another goddess who works with her.  (Urania was a Greek muse of magic and astrology among other things, and the Isis Urania temple was a stronghold and starting point for many other temples of the Isis cult in the Greco-Roman era.)

Here is a list of covens known by me to have hived-off from Isis Urania, or from its daughter covens by 1988, all of which carry the lineage of Isis Urania:

  • Isis Augusta – New Zealand
  • Three covens hived off from the first Toronto Isis Urania coven (names unknown – one in Willowdale, Canada)
  • Isis Invictus – Ottawa, Canada
  • Isis Sothis – Toronto, Canada
  • Isis Maut – Hamilton, Canada
  • Isis Faria – Toronto, Canada
  • Isis Artemis – Montreal, Canada
  • Isis Astarte – Montreal, Canada
  • Isis Hathor – Montreal, Canada
  • Isis Sophia – Montreal, Canada

While traditional Wicca covens share a lineage, teachings and style, and each honors their ancestors at the beginning of every ritual, they are autonomous and self-governing.  There is no over-arching formal association or formal “Wiccan Church” that organizes them in any way.  This is an essential quality of traditional Wicca.  Autonomy was not only necessary for reasons of security during times of persecution, it also divorced the religion from politics and allowed members to practice their religion in secrecy.  It allows each coven the freedom to govern themselves according to their particular “group personality,” building a group mind of their own and leveraging the benefits inherent in that.  Secrecy in traditional Wicca has many advantages besides safety in times of persecution.  It also allows members to focus on their practice and spiritual growth without pressure, interference or distraction by outside elements such as political organizations, family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  “Isis Urania” therefore does not refer to a governing body or uniting organization.  Besides being the name of a coven, Isis Urania is only a term of lineage, common ancestry and style.  With this ancient practice of secret autonomy, there is typically little communication between covens.  As a result, the above shown list of covens sharing the Isis Urania lineage is most certainly incomplete because there are probably other covens that have grown from these since the 1980s that I am naturally not aware of.  There are also countless traditional Wicca covens throughout the world that are not part of the Isis Urania lineage, some operating in complete secrecy, that have never heard of each-other.

While there are certainly other covens descendant from the list shown above, all but the last two on this particular list are probably not operating at the present.  The last two on the list, Isis Hathor and Isis Sophia, are the only Isis Urania covens that I know of that are currently operating.  They are teaching covens, accepting serious students, and involve a formalized training curriculum for those students.  The High Priest of the Isis Hathor coven is Apollonius-Mithras, who is a student of my own teacher, Janus-Mithras.  Apollonius-Mithras is one of the most intelligent, well-read and well-informed people I have ever met.  If you wish to read more about the Isis Hathor coven, you will find a link to their web site at the left of this page, in the box entitled “Covens.” The Isis Sophia coven has newly hived-off from the Isis Hathor coven, and is headed-up by two of Apollonius-Mithras’ students, both of whom I regard with the highest esteem as being so very kind, loving and wise at the same time.

An example of a traditional Wicca coven with no known connection to Isis Urania, is “The Wicca of the Ancient Harmony,” based in Oshawa, Canada.  This is both a “working coven” and also “teaching coven.”  They accept a few students each year for training in an extensive and very well organized curriculum of study, possibly leading to initiation and further training.  Training in this coven includes both written and oral instruction for up to 7 years, and similar to most traditional Wiccan covens, demands serious commitment, study, practice, meditation and research by the student.  The coven Elder there is Mr. Ron Weroski who has a very similar training background to myself.  He expresses, sometimes in the very same words, the same sentiments, emphasis, and values as we were taught in Isis Urania.  He has published on his web site a wonderful article about traditional Wicca and its philosophy.  The article is called “The Philosophy of Traditional Wicca” and can be seen by clicking on “Wicca of the Ancient Harmony” at the left of this web page, in the box entitled “Covens.”

Mer-Amun MerAmun

 

This is a pictorial.  Click here to see the images.

In most of these photos, the Empress is obvious.  If anyone has any ideas about who the others are in these photographs, I’d love to hear.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

Nearly all of the material on this site is about, or mentions “Who and What we Really Are,” and learning to behave like That.

But Who and What is referred to here?

A very important passage from the Book of Shadows begins to explain:

“In the beginning – which was not long ago but NOW and EVER, was and is Consciousness, the One Being.  Everyone knows this Consciousness, because everyone is it, but no one can truly describe it for the same reason that the eye sees but does not see itself.  Moreover, this Consciousness is what there is and all there is, so that no name can be really given to it.  It is neither shaped nor shapeless, but both.”

(Book of Shadows)

The chapter goes on to describe what the God and the Goddess really are, but what does this particular passage mean?  What are the implications of this definition of Who and What we really are?  How do we learn to behave like That?

The answer to these questions is what a Mystery Tradition is all about.  Discovering and exploring the implications is an infinite adventure of discovery.  Learning to behave like That is at the same time ridiculous, and of supreme importance because you cannot act any other way, and yet, your behavior may or may not be celebrating or demonstrating the fact that you are that One Being.

This web site is all about trying to bring Remembrance to what has (for many) been forgotten: what traditional Wicca and Western Mystery traditions are all about.  It is all about why we study and practice what we do.  It’s about why we learn to meditate, and why we learn to perform magic.  The idea is that if you know why you’re doing what you are doing, you can do it more effectively, and reap the benefits intended in the design of the traditional Wiccan and Western Mystery systems.  Future posts on this web site will examine specific meditations, magical practices and magical studies, from the perspective of Who and What you really are, and how they relate to That.

So, what does that mean, to be the shaped and shapeless, nameless Consciousness that is all there is?  There are three qualities that describe That:

  1. Empty or Void, Nothingness: That Consciousness, as a thing, is indescribable is mentioned in the Book of Shadows, including the passage quoted above.
  2. Aware: That Consciousness is Aware, is probably the most evident quality of all. How are you reading these words?
  3. Responsive: That Consciousness is Responsive is what makes up the illusion of a whole universe around you, and a whole life inside you. Whether or not it’s all an illusion, and whether or not you have an absolute name for it, you have to admit, that something is going on, that this One Being is appearing in a vast manner. That’s supreme responsiveness.

In Consciousness, you cannot have any of these three qualities without the others.  Any two of these qualities defines and describes the third.  If you take the perspective of any of these qualities, the other two qualities define and describe the God and the Goddess, and your chosen perspective is described and defined by their union. 

These are the secret keys to understanding the meaning and method behind all of the meditations and magical practices in traditional Wicca and other Western Mystery systems.  The better you understand, meditate on, and explore these three qualities, the better you will understand the hidden meaning in those systems.

It is the nature of a Western Mystery tradition, like traditional Wicca, to use cleverly designed mystery plays and initiations to help you experience for yourself these three qualities of who and what you really are.  If I were qualified and able to perform these for you, I could not do such things through a web site.  But I can help you to some degree through your reading.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to start your adventure of exploration (of who and what you really are) by reading two essays.  There are links to both of them at the left side of this web page, in the box entitled: “Books”.  The essays are called:

  • Nothingness by Alan Watts
  • Cosmic Drama by Alan Watts  (It helps you understand the Responsive quality of Consciousness, and how that’s You.)

If you haven’t read them yet, please do so, starting with Nothingness, and then moving on to Cosmic Drama.  They’re not long: only 4 and 5 pages respectively.

Always remember these three qualities of Consciousness, and that these describe who and what you really are.  Do all of the meditations and practices in traditional Wicca and other Western Mystery systems, do them all as acts of Remembrance and Celebration of Who and What you really are, of these three qualities.  If you haven’t already been doing this, you will be astounded by the profound meaning that suddenly “jumps out at you” from even the simplest of exercises. 

If your practice involves worship of a god or goddess, Remember that it is this real You that you are describing and talking to, with these three qualities, and that they (the gods) are divine examples of how you could behave like Who you really are.  If you do this, they will help you act like them, like who you really are, like an incarnation of these three qualities, of That One Being.  And how will you behave, knowing that all beings are One Being and that there is One Consciousness?  Like the Goddess herself, you cannot help but feel what others are feeling, and care for them as though they were aspects of your very self.  Because they are.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

Someone recently said and asked of me on Facebook, “He must not live in the real world or have a real job.  How do you cope? Do you walk the talk in your daily life?”

I do live in the real world, and I do have a wife and son and a career in Information Technologies.  As with all of my spiritual friends, there might be a constant balancing act between spending time on my ordinary everyday life and on my spiritual life.  Sometimes I am at work, and sometimes in my temple.  Sometimes I am meditating, and sometimes watching TV.  Sometimes I am deep in prayer, and sometimes I sit on the toilet.

But here’s the whole point to being a witch or occult practitioner.  The purpose of systematic occult training is to give you meditations, practices and perspectives to remember.  These create a network of reminders of whom and what we really are, with a repertoire of ways to express, celebrate, and act like That.  Use of these reminders in daily life is the purpose of their design.

Armed with this training, while in ordinary everyday life I always have the opportunity to use those reminders to explore more about whom and what we really are (the subject is infinitely deep).  Through these reminders, it is in my daily life that I always find new and different ways of expressing and celebrating That (the ways are infinite). 

In the beginning – which was not long ago, but NOW and EVER,
was and is Consciousness, the One Being.

Moreover, this Consciousness is what there is and all there is, so that no name can really be given to it.
                                                                – Book of Shadows

In my daily life, the important difference that training in these Reminders has given me is this: there is always in the background of my life the unwavering Presence of Awareness behind everything I do and everything I experience.  That statement is true of everyone, but the training has brought this fact into my understanding of whom and what we are.  It has given me an identity with that Presence of Awareness, that Consciousness, instead of identifying with this individual.  While I still often forget both who I really am, and forget to use my reminders, slowly I’m learning to do as the Goddess teaches, to make every experience a Reminder of That.  Constant awareness of That Presence is of course, the supreme practice and I endeavor to make sure that I never lose sight of it no matter what I’m doing.  The idea is to, in this ordinary everyday life, make that Remembrance and that self-identification such a habit that it will never leave my being.  The idea is to perfect a balancing act, to always Remember, whether I am at work or in meditation, eating or chanting, watching TV or astral traveling, awake or asleep, alive or dead.  Further, I hope that my magical practice will become just as much of a constant habit, so every thought, act or experience is part of a “ritual” or a sacrament to “Remembrance.”   

Of course, that’s the idea.  That’s the balancing act.  The reality is that my habits present constant challenges to that Remembrance.  I often forget, when there are extremes of experience that are engrossing.  There are times of anger or disappointment or fear, of bliss or amazement or hilarity when it’s easy to forget that Perspective.  At those times, the training comes in handy, because there’s always a reminder in the tradition that I can use to regain that Perspective when it’s lost.  But it’s a constant exercise in mindfulness that I sometimes lose.  The better I know the tradition, the more of a habit practicing it becomes, the more readily available those reminders are, in my ordinary everyday life. 

The tradition is intended to be used in daily life.  We practice in our Circle or Temple, but we use the system in ordinary everyday life.

Now it is my life I must shape, as a carpenter shapes wood,
and the thing to be formed is a union with the gods
and the Ecstasy of the Spirit,
as Nothing is to me this body,
as Nothing the parts thereof.

                                                – Book of Shadows

What using the system in ordinary everyday life comes down to, is the moment to moment choice that existence always presents us with.  It is possible to experience for yourself that the passage of time is an illusion and that there never has been, and never will be any other moment than Now.  The illusion of a “passing” of time is simply the string of choices we make: choices in what to pay attention to, how to interpret what we perceive, and how to act and react.  Certain moment-to-moment choices can take you to other universes of experience, other “times”, and other states of being.  A belief system that’s designed to bring you to that Ultimate Perspective of who and what you are, offers a system of carefully selected choices that you can make right now.  You can make them in this Eternal Moment, and they lead to a particular state of being.  But sometimes it’s hard, playing the balancing act, being skillful at applying those choices in the face of life’s challenges.  It comes down to a moment to moment choice of whom you’re going to think you are, and what you’re going to do about it.

Here ye O my People,
of the Power which is within you
and the Help the Gods may give you.

You are Immortal, without Birth and without Death,
for the Soul of the Universe is your Soul

                                                – Book of Shadows

Through the daily hard work of trying to make the right moment to moment choices, I’m slowly changing my Perspective.  Despite the constant mistakes I make, thanks to my training in a carefully designed system of reminders, I’m slowly building a habit in my ordinary everyday life.  I’m building a habit where it is not this individual thinking, acting or experiencing.  Slowly the habit is forming that it is That ever present Consciousness that is expressing itself in my every act, thought, and experience. 

A profound Wiccan spell:  “It is not my hand that does this deed, but the hand of Cernunnos, the Horned One.” – a female would end with “… the hand of Aradia, the Great Mother.

Single is the race, single of men and of Gods, from a Single Source we both draw breath, for the Universe is One Thing and that One Thing is Consciousness and Consciousness is the True and Only Deity, and that Ancient Holy One sleeps in the stones, dreams in the plants, wakes up in animals and becomes self-conscious in Man.  Learn, therefore, that everything is Holy and everything is Divine.  That all things are basically God and Beautiful and evil is only ignorance and the shadows of the One Light.
                                                – Book of Shadows

It is important to keep this in mind: Everyone is the god or goddess whether they know it or not.  All that’s new and different because of occult training is that one is now identifying with that Consciousness, in each moment to moment choice.  By ceasing to identify with an individual human being, and instead identify with that core Consciousness that is the inherent nature of Existence itself, I am learning to think and express myself as That.  Despite the persistent mistakes, I am slowly learning in my ordinary everyday life to stop thinking, acting, and interpreting experiences as a human being and instead do as the Goddess asks: be like the Gods.

Yet we can in greatness of mind and of Soul, be like the Gods.
                                                – Book of Shadows

When I first started my occult studies and practices so many years ago, the difference between my spiritual and ordinary everyday lives seemed vast.  Through my training, I realized that this has never been the case.  I have been shown and realized that it is exactly in our ordinary everyday life that we are most holy, that we are closest to the gods.  We just don’t know it.  We need to come to know it. 

We need to know that we have never been anything else but that core quality of Existence: Consciousness.   We will never be anything other than That.  We cannot, and have never acted in any other way. 

… and bless my feet,
that have always walked in Thy ways.

                                                – Book of Shadows,
                                                blessing of the Third Degree.

What does this mean, “we have never acted in any other way?”  It is simply this: as the Consciousness that constantly emanates the illusion of something to be aware of, we are all supreme magicians.  Our every conviction becomes tangible reality.  Reality is our own eternal invention.  When we “try” to do something contrary to the way everything already is, we fail only because deep down, we have a stronger habitual conviction that we are only human and cannot really change reality.  While being all-powerful, we are also our own worst all-powerful opponents, by habit.  If we have the deep-seated conviction, the habit of countless lifetimes, that we are insignificant humans in the larger scheme of the Universe, So Mote It Be – that will be our reality.  Like the witch on Sleeping Beauty, we have cast on ourselves an incredibly powerful, long-lasting spell of sleep and dream and illusion.  It is the kiss of Death and of suffering that slowly brings us to waken.  But Death and Suffering is only part of the dream.  Death and Suffering, as the Great Awakener, the bringer of Light (the meaning of the word “Lucifer”) and life and freedom, is actually the Prince of our hearts desire in disguise.

If we realize, explore, test, and see for ourselves that we are the authors of reality, so we will act.  Because we are the authors of reality, we experience what we believe deep down in the roots of our being, not merely what we might “wish” or say.  (The mere words of a spell will not work, unless we are deeply convinced that they will.  Magic is a deliberate, controlled, intentional “self-fulfilling prophecy.”)  So learning to act like who and what we really are means: learning to act like the authors of reality, like the gods, not mere human animals.

Imagine identifying with Consciousness itself, the Supreme Author of all there is to be aware of.  Imagine building the habit of acting like That, instead of acting like a limited human being.  In that state we cannot help realizing, as the Goddess did, that everything we experience is an illusion of our own device.  We cannot help “waking up” from our self-imposed sleep of ages (the word “Buddha” means “Awake”).

We are, underneath it all, Consciousness itself, the same One Consciousness that all creatures in the Universe share, and as That, we are the authors of our own illusory experience.  Think about the implications of this.  One could write volumes about these implications.  This gives an intimate understanding of, to name a tiny few: psychology, physiology, magic, psychism, physics, history and sociology.  But the most important implication is this: we need not take the illusion for being real.  We need not change anything.  We might appreciate the incredible drama of it all, just as it is, with all the seeming joy and all the seeming horror.  What book or movie could possibly compete with such widespread and varied drama?  What activity could compete with this incredibly convincing presentation?  In creating this continuing drama for ourselves, since the beginning of time, how could we possibly act more like whom and what we really are?

So, there would be no pressure, no urgency to act more like That or celebrate That more, because you know that you never could and never will do anything else.  There would be no pressure to do anything other than you already do.  That is, except for one overpowering observation: one becomes chronically aware of the suffering and the needs of others who are still caught up in the illusion.  One becomes aware of those who seem to experience their suffering and need as something painfully real.  You know how horrible the drama can be, and how totally convincing it can be, because you’ve been there yourself!  In fact, there you are there right now!  When, in your own personal experience you know yourself as the One Consciousness, you realize that it really is You over there, so terrified, and in so much pain. 

So, here again is a constant balancing act.  On one hand, everything is a self-created illusion: the emanated Responsiveness of Consciousness Itself.  On the other hand, so many beings of all kinds, all aspects of Yourself, do not know this, and they (you) experience suffering as something very real indeed. 

So, knowing the nature of reality and of the True Self is one thing.  Dealing with the ordinary everyday reality of it is a constant balancing act.  One must learn to understand, and act like the beneficent author of the cosmic drama.  One must find ways to, in daily life, contribute to the relief of those (yourselves) who suffer.

So in the face of the need of others, looking for the most effective way I can help, I examining my own characteristics and gifts. I know that I have an understanding of whom and what we really are.  I understand that we are the authors of our own realities.  I understand that we are the authors of a huge illusion that we constantly create for ourselves.  I understand that we convince ourselves the illusion is real.  I know that some Western mystery and mystical traditions are systems, cleverly designed, that can help us realize that we are the authors of this illusion.  I know that such systems offer tools to help with the hard work of remembering this fact, and of learning to act like it.  I realize that this understanding is something that I could pass on to others, in the hope that they stop taking their own suffering so seriously, and see the illusion for themselves.  I also find that my teacher blessed me with the gift of some articulateness. 

So I put these together and spend some of my time each day trying to explain what I have learned.  I try to explain who and what we really are, and try to explain what the design of some magical systems is for.  The hope is that at some point, someone, perhaps even one single person, will understand what I’m trying to pass on, and catch on to what’s really going on, which is ultimately Nothing at all.  My hope is that a practitioner of the occult will realize what that practice is for, and with this knowledge, become the quality of magician or witch the Goddess intended.  I hope that if I don’t have the right skills or am not the right person to explain these principles, perhaps I might at least make the job a little easier for someone else more skilled and qualified.

On this blog, in the coming weeks and months, I hope you will see more about the subject of whom and what we really are, and how Wicca and Western Mysticism are designed to help us to Remember.  But I have to be careful.  I must be careful because yes, it may be true to say “everything is perfect and OK just as it is,” and “you are the author of your own illusory life and everything in it.” Yes, it might be true but those are also heartless statements.  They are heartless to say to someone who has just lost their parent or a child, or who is themselves enduring slow years of a lingering and painful death.  It is heartless if they don’t see for themselves that it’s all a deeply engrossing movie that they have literally “dreamed up,” and convinced themselves to be so real.  Saying something like “it’s all a dream, an illusion, or a movie” can make other people heartless too.  Other people could take that statement to heart without understanding that they are One with those who experience the Dream as a terrible nightmare instead of the Supreme Adventure, and thinking “oh it doesn’t really matter,” abandon them.

So, for witches, I try to point out what the Goddess herself has tried to point out.  She teaches us the nature of the Dream, having learned from Death Himself (Cernunnos, Hades) that She is the master of The Illusion.  No one, including Death, is more of an expert of the dream than She.  She is our example of the perfect balancing act.  She is at the same time, the supreme sorceress, and the Supreme Mother, caring for all creatures as Her own children, as parts of her very Self.  In that perfect balancing act, no one knows more clearly than She, it’s all an illusion of our own device, yet no one knows more clearly than She, exactly how convincing that illusion can be. 

The gods are here to help man, but they need the help of man to do so.  One way they are here to help is to be an example to us, but we are the ones that must take on the hard work and the moment-to-moment choices involved in following their example.  It is we that must take responsibility for bringing ourselves back to their example each time we falter and forget.  It is we that must make that balancing act a deeply ingrained habit, our core character, our absolute conviction.  (And believe me, it is a constant practice, bringing my perspective back to The Perspective again and again whenever I forget, which is more often that I’d like to admit.)

The balancing act is finding the perfect union between these two perspectives:

  1. Everything is a self-created illusion. Nothing is really happening. All Experience is an incredible Adventure, the perfect movie, utterly convincing in seeming reality. This is both a snap of realization, and an eternal discovery.
  2.  There are so many (all aspects of Ourselves) who don’t know this, who are completely convinced, and cry in a dream that seems a horrible nightmare. There are so many that cannot find joy or ecstasy, who even wish they had never been born and curse the gods for creation and such heartless evil. But Remember. These wretched souls are part of your illusion. They are part of you and your experience. Like the Goddess, they are your children, parts of yourself. If you but cast your attention on them, how can you not feel their pain as though it were your own, since it is your own after all?

This is the nature of the Great Work: in every moment-to-moment choice, to keep the balancing act: never lose sight of suffering around you, and never lose sight that it’s all an illusion.  You are not facing reality if you forget those that suffer.  Yet, you cannot really help them, if you lose sight that it is all an illusion. 

In the myth of the witches, it was the Great Mother that felt such anguish for all Her children.  It was Death (Cernunnos, Hades) who taught that it’s all an illusion.  Too much of either perspective is horribly wrong.  The key is to always remember the Goddess and the God are One (what witches call “The Ancient Harmony”), and inseparable in Primordial Awareness.  They are one, just as the illusion and the Awareness from which it arises are one and the same.  Thus, to cease to behave like a human, and begin to behave like the gods, means never losing either of two automatic impulses.  It means never losing a helpless, permanent commitment to helping others, and never losing a perfectly comfortable awareness that the whole illusion doesn’t matter in the end.

It’s a balancing act.  Too much of either view will make you mad and destroy your life.   Too much sympathy for the pain of others will drown you in the infinite ocean of need and hopelessness.  Too much aloofness that it’s all an allusion will make one drift away from humanity, from the gods, from acting like who you really are, and away from everything that makes you wonderful.

It’s a balancing act.  Too little of either view will make you a monster.  Too little sympathy for the pain of others will make you cold and heartless and eventually numb to life and withdrawn, unable to enjoy life.  Too little awareness that it’s all an illusion will make the challenges in life insurmountable, and again, you will be unable to enjoy life.

It’s a balancing act.  While one can never balance perfectly, one has to make the effort of the Great Work, to help in any way one can with what seems to be terrible suffering, never losing sight that it only seems to be real.  I know it’s not easy.  I constantly falter in my balance, sometimes not caring, and other times in anguish.  But as in the practice of meditation, I always eventually remember to bring my mind and my perspective gently back to that balance again, each time I forget.  That’s life.  That’s the ordinary everyday life of a real magician or witch.

One of my favorite tools of Remembrance is the Goddess herself.  I use Her example as a Reminder of someone who embodies that balancing act.  After all, she is the expert of the self-created illusion, and she also feels the pain of every one of her children.  So, as our Supreme Example of who we really are, and of how to act like and celebrate That, the Goddess is constantly helping us Remember, and helping us wake up from our dream, by making statements like:

Existence is pure joy, all experiences are sacraments, all sorrows are but shadows, they pass and are done, but there is That which remains
                                                                – The Goddess

In this sentence, the Goddess reminds us there is joy, and there is sorrow, and she never forgets either.  However, remembering both, she points out that while joy, experiences and sorrows may seem real, they all pass and are done, so they are, in the end, not real at all.  Yet, after all is said and done, there is Something that does remain.  There is One Thing in all of it that is real.  What exactly is it that remains, beyond joy, experience, sorrows and shadows?  What?  You know the answer.  You are the answer.  It’s the real You, the Consciousness behind Existence itself, that watches the Dream, that experiences everything, that’s reading these very words.

Like the rest of traditional Wicca, this sentence is a gift from the Goddess to help us Remember, and help us to act like Her.  There is true genius in this sentence, that helps me when I’m forgetting.  The genius in this sentence helps me when I’m laughing so hard, or in a blissful state as if I were detached from the whole illusion of experience.  It helps me when I have forgotten how serious things can seem.  The genius in this sentence is in Her pointing out that “all experiences are sacraments.”  I had to look up sacrament in the dictionary.  Then I understood.  Here sacrament means: every experience is a concrete physical proof of the final nature of Reality, a stark Reminder of the way things are, which is: an utterly convincing illusion.  “All experiences are sacraments.”  Remembering this, all I need to do is pay attention to any experience at all, and Who it is that’s Experiencing it, and I have proof.  I have undeniable, immediate, nonconceptual (often physical) proof.  I have tangible proof on one hand: of the blatant presence of the illusion, and how incredibly real it can seem, and on the other hand: a firm Reminder of “That which remains.”

The balancing act.  Every experience is an opportunity for that moment to moment choice of the balancing act.

Mer-Amun MerAmun