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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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Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

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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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