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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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Part V: Casting Pentagrams

Giving Life Energy to a Symbol

We are about to pay attention to this ocean of attention (life energy) that we live in (the aura of the sun).  We are going to use organs and veins that are part of our make-up that are specifically designed to work with life energy.  We are going to use these to manipulate that life energy to feed a type of being that is alien to most people who have not done this before.

The type of being I’m talking about here is that of a living symbol.  There is a plane of existence (a classification of modes of existence) that pervades our present universe, all around us, right here and right now.  Symbols are living beings in this mode of existence.  They are aware, responsive living creatures of meaning or principle. The life and responsiveness of a symbol involves expressing that meaning.

We are going to give life energy (on our plane of existence) to one of these symbols so it can express itself in our lives, so it can join in our lives.  We are going to offer it a body created of pure life energy (concentrated attention).  With that life energy we are not going to create the being called pentagram, but we are going to create a form or body for it to take part in our ordinary every-day lives.  In creating a living body for the symbol, we are also going to give this new instance of life, an inspired purpose in this life.  We are going to give it a specific purpose or context for expressing its meaning in our lives.

In fact, we are going to create 4 different bodies for the same symbol.  Each will have a different purpose in life so the symbol may express four different Reminders, one in each of 4 different ways we have of experiencing things.  Remember, the pentagram with its 5 points is reminding us that we are Awareness experiencing things, and of how we experience everything.  So far, in this article, we have explored the meanings of three of the five points.  We have explored how two of the points represent ways we experience the tangible world.  One is as a “self” involved in the center of everything like a lord or king, as the cause or purpose of it all (Fire).  The other is as the entirety of Creation that emanates from and mirrors Awareness: the Earth on which we live.  We have not yet explored the other two points of the pentagram expressing the other two ways that we experience everything.   But these four pentagrams that we cast and give life to, will be living reminders of these four ways we have of experiencing, and that we are who or what it is that is doing the experiencing.  The pentagrams will be able to use their special skills and talents, expressed in our lives with the life energy we give them.  They will express themselves in our lives to help us build the habit of Remembering and behaving like who and what we really are, all through our daily lives.

Witch-Fire as Nourishment

As embodiments of the One Pure Consciousness, the Author and Creator of the Universe, beings have many abilities related to creation itself.  One of these abilities is to create life itself.  Since Awareness is the cause of all existence, and directed awareness (attention) nourishes all existence, directed attention is the key to creation, including creating life itself.  (There is more to creating life than directed attention, such as bestowing autonomy, but irrelevant to the current topic.)  Further, since attention nourishes all existence, attention has an expression as life-energy.  As a living being yourself, directing your attention in a certain way allows you to direct life-energy as part of creating and feeding life, and otherwise giving energy to living beings.  This is the case in healing, which is simply the renewal or balancing of life energy.

We call the expression of attention as life energy by different names in different cultures, among them being chi, witch-fire, etheric energy and prana.  Directing this life energy is a practice of directing attention to nourish existence.  Because life energy is the form of attention itself, directing life energy is as easy as directing your attention.

In this part of the Universe, we exist in a field of the attention, the awareness, and the Being of that which we call the Sun.  Another way of saying the same is that we exist within the aura of the Sun.  The Sun’s aura, its field of awareness, its field of attention, is for us an inexhaustible ocean of life-energy.  Our bodies are born in it and of it.  We are constantly breathing it in and out (besides the air we also breathe in and out).  All forms of nourishment that our bodies depend on ultimately come from the Sun, and get their energy from the Sun, as the Sun nourishes the entire food chain.  But the aura of the sun also nourishes us directly.  We have a network of veins and organs throughout our bodies that store, direct, transform and otherwise leverage this life energy to make up the body.  It gives mobility and expression to our bodies, which is Pure Consciousness in a human form.

We are going to use this network of organs and veins by which we direct, transform, and leverage the life energy of the Sun.  We are going to use them to give life energy to a living symbol, so it may also express itself and move among us in our daily lives as constant Reminders of whom and what we really are.

How to See and Work with Etheric Energy

Casting attention as nourishment (casting life energy, etheric energy, witch fire, chi, prana…) is important in all forms of magic, because any act of magic is an act of casting or shifting one’s attention.  But what if you don’t have clairvoyance (psychic sight) by which to see this etheric energy?  Actually, it is not important or necessary to see it to be able to work with it, as long as you have had guidance or training from someone who can see it.

Because casting attention as nourishment is so important, early in traditional training we spend time learning to see and cast this etheric energy.  One starts in a completely dark room, with hands held in front of one’s chest, with palms almost together (about ¼ inch apart).  One breathes slowly and regularly.  With each in breath, one feels that one is soaking in etheric energy from the ocean of that in which we live, feeling it soaking in through a network of “pores” that cover our bodies.  These pores are part of the network of veins and organs that our bodies have for storing, directing and transforming life energy.  We call this breathing technique, “pore breathing.”

So with each in breath, one is soaking up life energy, and one feels it gather in the solar plexus, within our chests, behind the sternum.  Then with each out breath one feels life energy coursing through one’s arms, out through the palms into the small space between them.  Since life energy is a form of attention, by casting our attention on a feeling that this energy is moving, we are directing it to do so.

Doing this for a few minutes, one starts to feel definite warmth between the palms.  As this happens, one slowly and very slightly moves the palms apart, moving the hands as though holding a ball of energy between.  Then, as this ball of energy collects and becomes denser, the warmth clear and definite, one opens the eyes in the complete darkness.  Slowly moving the hands apart about ½ inch, we watch the space between the palms and between the fingers of one hand and those of the other.  Then, one can slowly move the hands further apart, until they’re an inch or two apart, and see tendrils of this whitish etheric energy stretching and expanding as your hands move apart just a little bit.

What one sees here is the Witch Fire, the prana, the etheric energy that one is learning to cast and to nourish the beings and symbols with, when one performs any kind of magic.  Through an act of deliberate imagination, powered by focused attention, one can give it various colors as needed.  For the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, we cast this same energy, the form of attention, in a blue color like the color of burning alcohol.  This color transforms the raw energy to carry love and creativity, respect and compassion as nourishment that makes up a living body for a living symbol.

It is important to note here that we are breathing this life energy from the ocean around us, the aura of the Sun, and then casting that through our arms and out our hands like a flamethrower.  The point is that we’re using energy from the ocean around us, and not using the energy that we naturally store in our bodies.  Casting the life energy stored in our bodies reduces the amount stored in our bodies.  Of course, one’s body will slowly and naturally renew this, given time.  However, because one is forcibly casting life energy in a deliberate and direct manner, it can take a lot longer to refill naturally than it takes to cast it out in magical operations.  This can be dangerous, as this store of energy in our bodies is important for healing.  If one should have an accident or undergo surgery, this store of life energy is extremely important.  So always remember to use pore breathing to breath in life energy from around you, and to cast that out through your arms and hands.

Technique for Casting the Pentagrams

So, the script for this ritual has us start facing the East, to cast the first of four pentagrams there.

As described, with a slow and deep in breath, we draw from the ocean of life energy, filling ourselves with it, and concentrating that in our solar plexus.  We cast our right arm forth, holding a ritual daggar or as a traditional witch, an Athamé (a consecrated double-edged blade, purchased only for this purpose, and never cut anything).  Without a ritual dagger, one uses one’s hand, with only the index finger and middle finger extended together.  Then, pointing at the lower-left area of the wall or space before us, we slowly breathe out.  With the out breath, we will that Witch Fire or blue etheric energy to flow from the solar plexus, down our arm which we feel is like an accelerating tube.  It flames out the extended fingers or dagger like a flamethrower.  We cast the fire in a line on the wall or into the space before us, as we slowly move from the lower-left corner to the top-center.  We will this to happen by focusing our attention on the feeling that it is happening.  Imagination allows us to use our focused attention as a motivating force, nourishing an influence on reality, causing what we imagine to happen.

If you are not psychic (like me, I am not psychic) then don’t worry about not being able to see the blue colored flame before you as you draw this line of prana.  Simply know it is there, and picture what it would look like if you could see it: a line of flaming blue, like burning alcohol.

Many people who cannot psychically see etheric energy, or who do not understand the reason for casting this etheric energy, make this movement swift, so they easily see in their “minds eye” a line traced before them.  They see an optical-mental illusion created by the swiftness of their hand. But traditional training shows us how to be more careful, more deliberate, and more respectful in this important act.  The training directs us to move slowly and carefully, with mindfulness of what we are doing and why, as we cast the blue fire carefully in a line before us.

There are important reasons for doing this slowly and carefully.  First, etheric energy or Witch Fire itself moves slowly when cast out of the body like this.  Second, there is a huge difference between seeing the trace of your swiftly moving hand, and actually seeing a glowing line of etheric energy in front of you.  Third, the act should be a loving and respectful motion, rather than a mad dash, because you are creating a living, breathing body for an important being.  You want that body to last as long as possible, and with as much energy as possible, so it can get as actively involved in your life as possible.  A Pentagram has no organs by which to eat or gather energy by itself, on our plane of existence.  You want that body to last at least until your next performance of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, when you will restock that body with more energy.  You want to focus on casting as much raw etheric energy as you can into each line of the pentagram and making it stay as long as possible.  So, according to what our teacher has repeatedly taught us, each line of the pentagram should take at least 3 or 4 seconds.  There is a limit to how slow you should go, and you want to go as slow as possible, without being slower than this limit.  You do not want to run out of breath, going too slowly, or you will not be able to concentrate your attention on the act of casting this blue fire.  Each distraction or break in attention as you are casting a line before you creates a break in that line.  I cannot count the number of times our teacher made us start a line again.  He would do this because he could psychically see the energy lines that we would cast before us.  In these, he would see that we were either moving too fast, not focusing the flow of blue fire, spreading it too thinly, or that our attention wavered to something else while we cast the line.  Our teacher himself, as practiced, accomplished and powerful as he was, never cast a line in a pentagram that took less than 3 seconds.

Seeing this energy requires psychic sight and is not the same as seeing the optical illusion of trails we create by quickly whipping our hand along a path.  If what we’re seeing is truly etheric energy and not an optical illusion of trails, then we should be able to move as slowly as we wish, mindfully pouring a thick and steady flow of energy.  If one is seeing the real thing, one can move as slowly as the exercise just described, and still see that etheric energy all the more obviously, not less obviously.  If one sees it less obviously when moving slowly, then one has undisputable evidence that one was watching the optical illusion of trails.

The instruction of moving as slowly as you can without breaking attention was not instruction just for beginners.  This was emphasized by our teacher as late as 2005, when I and others had been studying for more than 30 years.  This was when our teacher was showing people who have all completed their traditional training, a variation of the Pentagram Ritual to celebrate what we had learned.  Our teacher was watching and correcting the careful, slow, loving, focused concentration of as much blue etheric energy as possible, even for people who have been doing the Pentagram Ritual all their adult lives.  That’s because whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, when casting a pentagram you’re still trying to build an etheric body with as much life-energy as you can, as a loving, careful, attentive offering.  This offering of blue etheric energy as I have said, is a concentrated offering of the nourishment of all things: attention.  By slowly, carefully offering as much attention as you can, you are providing more of that nourishment, in as attentive and loving a way as you can.

Always remember that attention is the spiritual nourishment of all beings, be they spirits, gods, symbols, or your own family.  This is why we should perform all ritual acts with as much and as long a focus of attention as we can afford.  This is why we should, with every interaction that we care about, pay as much attention or mindfulness as possible.  This is why we should spend as much attention as we can on those who are close to us, as we would with our children.  And as one learns to behave like the Author of the Universe that one is, one will want to spend as much attention as one can on any beings, needs or celebrations that cross one’s path in life.

So, let’s summarize and think about what we’re doing here, in this part of the ritual.  We take five deep breaths, each time soaking up energy by pore breathing.  We exhale five times, each time slowly and attentively casting a line of a body for the living pentagram before us.  We should see each line both before us on the wall or space immediately before us in one sense, and in another sense, in the infinite distance at the edge of the universe.

We are creating a living body for a living symbol.  Like gods, angels, and all kinds of spirits, symbols are already living things whether they have bodies or not.  When we worship gods, we offer them our concentrated attention (the nourishment of all things), and give them the means by which to take part in our experience.  What does this concentrated attention, this nourishment look like?  We could go into more detail on this subject than is fitting for this article, but attention in its most “bodily” form is this etheric energy that we see between our hands in the dark room.  This energy is the same as the aura of the Sun, the ocean of life energy in which we live and from which makes up our own bodies.  When we offer attention, we are making offerings of many types on many levels of interpretation, but in the most tangible way, concentrated attention has the form of blue etheric energy.  How much attention are we paying, how much of an offering we are making if we whip our arms around, so fast that we actually make traces in our minds eye?  Instead, a slow and careful, respectful, loving and mindful build-up of an etheric body, an almost physical body is what we’re trying to do here.  We do it so that, like gods we might pray to and make offerings to, the Pentagram might live in our daily experience.  We do it so the Pentagram can participate in our daily experience as a constant Reminder and Celebration of whom and what we really are.

With this offering of a living body, the Sacred Pentagram is going to be present around us, at the edge of the universe, throughout the day, with the power to share in our lives.  It is going to participate by revealing its incredibly profound message and presence through hints, coincidences and if given enough life energy (concentrated attention, mindfulness) even speaking to us right out of the mouths of people in our daily experience.  This activity of gods and spirits and symbols in our ordinary every-day life needs energy of a type that a god or spirit or symbol might not readily have.  So you want to provide this body with as much life energy as you can, though remember, not your own bodily energy.

But we are not creating the symbol itself.  That is timeless and infinite in its omnipresence.  For example, how could we say we invented the number five?  What we are doing is giving that principle a body by which it can move and express itself.  We have a body with hands, and because of that, we can express our will by directing our hands.  Our hands are not us, but we express ourselves through them.  If we lose a hand to disease or an accident, we are still ourselves, but we can no longer express ourselves through that lost hand.  Likewise, we are offering a Pentagram Being metaphorical hands by which it can express itself in our lives.

Ok, so we’re creating a body, which is a form of life.  And the life we’re creating is not a human, nor animal, nor spirit, but a living symbol.  Again, the details are beyond the scope of this article, but part of creating life involves charging it with an inspired purpose in life.  As human beings, our purpose in life is to realize that we are living embodiments of the One Pure Consciousness, and to learn to behave like That.  Once we have carried out this purpose, we will no longer be merely human, nor any longer embodied in human form unless we arrange to be.  What is the purpose in life of a living, breathing, intelligent and perfectly aware symbol?  Well, it depends on the context in which we find the symbol, as with the context of a word or letter of the alphabet.

In this act of life creation, having finished tracing the shape in a particular way, we are going to give that body an inspired purpose for this life.  We are going to define what it is that this symbol is going to express in our lives.  And, you guessed it, that purpose has to do with realizing who and what we really are and the nature of what our experience really is.  The Pentagram can do this because the Pentagram is a symbol or reminder that involves how we experience everything, and how the Awareness relates to objects of Awareness.  The Pentagram, being what it is and what it symbolizes, has special skills and talents to remind us of these things, and help us celebrate these things in every single experience we might have.

Charging with a Purpose in Life

Now, in this part of the ritual, we are actually casting four pentagrams around us, joined at their hearts by a circle that encloses us.  Remember these are actually in the infinite distance, so the circle includes the entire universe: all possible experience.  Immediately after casting each pentagram, we charge it with a magic word.  Here I’m using the word “charge” in the sense of “appoint: assign a duty, responsibility or obligation to,” and “fill or load to capacity.”   So in charging the living body we are providing for this pentagram, we are also defining its purpose in this life.  The magic words with which we charge the heart of each, are words that define a particular role that each pentagram will play in constantly reminding us.

What’s Next

In the next part of this article, “The Habit of Bahaving Like Who We Really Are,” I will explore the meanings of the four magic words or Names of God, that we charge the Living Pentagrams with.   I will explore how those particular charges help us to understand exactly how we are constantly creating all of our experiences.  I will explore how those Name of God reveal us all to be Supreme Magicians, even if we don’t know it.

With this understanding, we will be in a position to examine meanings of the final two points of the pentagram.  We will see how all four of those points describe the relationship of the topmost point, the One Pure Consciousness, to all experience.  We will then see how the pentagram can be such a skillful reminder of whom and what we really are, and how it so perfectly represents the manner in which Awareness has experience.  While it is beyond the scope of this article, with an understanding of how the pentagram reveals us to be such magicians, we can in turn see other ways the pentagram can help us.  We will see what a difference drawing them in a different direction can be, or charging them with other inspired purposes to provide other specific influences on experience and reality.

We have started casting these four pentagrams in the East.  This is the direction we normally face in all magical workings within the plane of the tangible universe.  This facing is significant, because it gives us a clue to the real meanings, powers and purposes defined by these four magic words or Names of God that we charge the pentagrams with.

Given energy by which to move and act, they can take part in our daily lives through hints, arranged coincidences, and even talking to us through the people around us.  They can express what we charged each one with doing in our lives (charged with the Names of God).

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Part IV: The Sacred Pentagram

Summary of What We Are Doing:

Let’s  summarize what it is we are doing, when performing this ritual:

  • Part of realizing who and what we really are involves learning to behave  like That.
  • We can use powerful techniques developed by those who already have the habit of Remembering and acting like That, to shift our attention away from identifying with being a limited human, toward identifying with who and what we really are.
  • We can use repetition (one meaning of “ritual”) of these techniques to build a habit (the most powerful force in the universe) of always Remembering and behaving like That.
  • This particular ritual, called the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, is one such ritual designed by those who already have the sacred habits.  These beings designed it to help us do the same.
  • While there are other interpretations and levels of meaning, we have been exploring the ritual from a perspective that you can relate to from your own personal experience.  Enough practice along these lines will give you the ability to assume that perspective on your own, without the use of ritual.  From there, with enough practice, other levels of meaning will become evident.

So far, we have seen the re-arising of the universe and your place in it as Pure Consciousness.  In the previous phase of this ritual (the Ankh of Light) we established (focused our attention on) the inseparability of Awareness from That which Awareness is aware of.  In this, we placed an emphasis on the Awareness side of that imaginary duality.  As part of that Ankh of Light, we have addressed the first glimmerings of differentiation or classification of Awareness as God in His Glory (Gedulah) and as God Almighty (Geburah).

We have seen in the Standard Preliminaries to ritual, as Pure Consciousness, you exercise your power to create and act as Author of the Universe through the casting forth of your Awareness as attention (the Divine Light).  Attention being the power of Pure Consciousness, and nourishing all existence, is what causes the entire Universe to arise before your Awareness.

How does this One Pure Consciousness emanate an entire universe?  It’s all about focus, or directing attention.  Think of that One Pure Consciousness as wearing a miner’s helmet with a lamp on it.  In the darkened depths of a coal mine, or the midst of the Primordial Void, the surroundings are not empty, something is there.  In the dark void, there is no telling exactly what is there, except to say the One Pure Consciousness is not in any particular place, so it pervades infinity.  At any point in space and time, an infinity of the One Pure Consciousness surrounds itself in all directions, in all possible universes.  But when Consciousness focuses on anything around it, shining forth the Divine Light of attention reveals things out of the darkness like the lamp on a miner’s hat.  Exactly what this reveals depends on re-cognition or association with things seen in the past.  This means that everything we might see is an illusion based on habit (karma).  In the space between thoughts, out of the infinite possible illusions we can call out of the emptiness, out of the infinite quantum possibilities available for our attention, we cast our attention (the nourishment of all existence) upon those possibilities that are familiar, that make sense based on our history, or conform to what we expect.  By focusing attention, and by expectation, something seems to arise out of the darkness.  But we all (every conscious point in space and time) see something different, based on our own past experience, so there is no empirical absolute experience.  What we experience is all an illusion based on past illusory experiences.  This relationship between the past and what arises is extremely important and we will explore this in more detail in the next part of this series.

The miner analogy is profound because, as points of that One Pure Consciousness in an infinite ocean of that same Pure Consciousness, we are the eyes of god: what we see is reality.  By seeing things out of the soup of infinite possibilities, the Author of the Universe creates or defines itself through our “eyes,” based on our experiences.

At this point in our ritual, we have accomplished half of our goal: experiencing who and what we really are.  We are Authors of the Universe, Gods in our own right, and the constant Creators of reality. 

Now we are going to watch exactly how we unconsciously create our realities out of an infinite universe of possibilities.  Then we can start to do so consciously, knowingly and deliberately, behaving like who and what we really are.

Normally, we behave as though we have little power over our environment, our lives, and our destiny, and little power to help ourselves and others who might need help.  Yet in reality we do have ultimate power over those things.  Humanity’s natural attitude to the Earth and the environment shows that we have a hint of this fact, but only a hint.  Our reckless assumption that the Earth and our environment are here for us take advantage of, to capitalize on, and change as we please demonstrates this hint.  But even as individuals, we are all omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent magicians, constantly creating our own limits.  The goal is to always Remember that we are Authors of the Universe and to start behaving like we have this power over our destiny, and power to help ourselves and others.  This change in behavior is a change some of us would like to make habitual, and even automatic.  Then, knowing that a Sacred Universe of our own device surrounds us, if even for an instant, we will be free to do, experience, or be anything we want.  The more times we practice this, becoming habitually aware of our role as Creator, that One Consciousness, the easier it will be for us to always be aware that we are behaving like That.  With this habit, we will be able to make our choices according to that Perspective, instead of making our choices as limited creatures absurdly struggling and fighting for survival, comfort, and amusement.

The Meaning of the Pentagram

At this point our ritual directs us to cast 4 pentagrams.  If you don’t have a copy of the script for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, you can download a PDF copy of the ritual here(TIP: this PDF was formatted to fit on half-sheets of standard paper, so you might want to do these two things when printing:  1) When the Adobe Reader Print dialog appears, turn off “Rotate and Center”, and 2) beside your printer choice on this dialog, click the “properties” button to set the printer on “landscape mode” and not “portrait mode”.  Doing these things will force the document to print on the left half of each sheet of paper.)

Let’s consider why we are going to cast 4 pentagrams. 

We have seen Pure Consciousness reflected throughout the universe as an infinite number of points of light.  Among the types of embodiments of these points, the types of creatures throughout the universe, human beings are members of a unique status.  There are two ways that could describe that unique status.  First, humans are those that, whether they are paying attention to the fact or not, live in, and have bodies on all planes of existence.  Each body is simultaneously present right here, right now.  You have bodies that are physical, astral, symbolic, and abstract.  Unlike other beings, as a human you can work in any worlds and with the beings that inhabit them using these bodies.  This gives you a tiny glimpse of your the potential of whom and what you really are, if you should only pay attention to your true self.  Second: humans have the ability to become self-aware, aware of whom and what they really are as Pure Consciousness, the Authors of the Universe, the “eyes of God” watching itself in every experience.  http://www.ted.com/talks/henry_markram_supercomputing_the_brain_s_secrets.html

Humans actually have the ability to begin in complete ignorance of all this, and through trial and error or through study and practice, transform their behavior before the eyes of all the Mighty Ones.  Humans can transform their behavior, from being members of a pitifully helpless, selfish, self-centered, angry, manipulative and destructive race, into beautiful, compassionate, creative, and loving gods in their own right.  It is for this reason that the host of spirits, angels, archangels, gods and enlightened masters are all in awe of the incredible potential in humanity.  It is why they eagerly await and aid the moment when any individual inches toward that transformation.  They celebrating with overwhelming joy each time someone achieves that incredibly rare transformation, which for us, is a mere shift of behavior born of a mere shift of attention.

What do these two unique qualities in humans have to do with casting 4 pentagrams?  We are going to categorize all the possible quantum universes in which we simultaneously exist for the sake of watching how it all happens.  We are going to surround ourselves with 4 pentagrams, surrounding ourselves with an awareness of all those planes and universes.  As unconscious Authors of the Universe, capable of a godlike transformation by paying attention to what we are always doing, we are going to pay attention to the act of Creation by making a habit of casting these 4 pentagrams. 

To have a look at how experience arises (we create the universe) we are going to classify the characteristics of experience into 4 categories.  We could easily classify them into any other number, but 4 happens to be convenient for our current purposes.  (Later in this article it will become clear why the Ancient Masters, in designing this ritual, chose 4 categories, by which to show us who and what we are, and how to behave like That.)  Just as we have seen in this ritual already, the arising of experience as a function of Consciousness Itself, we are now going see how that experience arises in its characteristics, step by step.

But, why pentagrams?  Why not other figures such as points, lines, triangles, rectangles or hexagrams?  Why did the Ancient Masters choose this particular shape of 5 points to show us who and what we are, and how to behave like That?

Remember, this whole ritual is an exercise in recognizing, exploring, and expressing who and what you really are, out of your personal experience, right here, right now.  So we should be able to look into our own immediate experience for an understanding of the Pentagram.

We have established that this next step in the ritual is an examination and celebration of how we create an illusion of Reality.  In consideration of the questions about why pentagrams, that symbol must have something integral to do with experience itself, so casting pentagrams before us is like casting experience before us.

Now, what is experience?  How do we experience?  Through what mechanism do we experience?  These questions must be related to the meaning of the pentagram itself.  There is a hint of the answer in the Sacred Pentagram’s five points.  What is it about the number five that brings to mind the mechanism of experience?  It is said that we have five senses.  Because we think of ourselves and normally identify with being human, as humans, we experience everything through the mechanism of five senses.  We experience all external phenomena through our senses and we experience all internal phenomena through internal versions of them.  Normally, we have no other way to experience things.  Everything that happens in our minds is experienced as either a sight in our mind’s eye or a sound in our thoughts etc.  We describe all feelings in terms of senses.

But wait.  Which exactly are the five senses?  Are taste and smell basically the same, since the total experience of tasting something inextricably also involves smelling it too (through the back of our nasal cavity)?  And since both tasting and smell are really an act of touching molecular structures, does that mean that taste and smell are all really actually the sense of touch?  Furthermore, when we hear things, we are actually touching disturbances in the air with our ear drums.  And when we see, we are actually touching photons or wavicles of electromagnetic energy. 

Since taste, sight, hearing and smell are all types of “touching,” then is it possible to see the structure of a piece of music, or smell a color?  There are people who are not bound to seeing things as limited humans who can do both of these things and more.  Some people also speak of an intangible (not involved in any form of touching) sixth sense, where information comes to them directly, without the use of any kind of touching whether specialized or not, internal or external.

So why do people generally say that we have five senses?  I believe it is a tradition that originates with an ancient association with the pentagram.

Regardless of how many senses there are, how can we classify them in order to understand what we mean by “senses,” sixth sense included?  Remember, this is crucial to our goal, because we are trying to understand the nature of all experience, to follow that back to constructing all experience.

As was the habit of the ancients with the tangible world, we can divide the tangible senses (whether internal or external) into four categories.  The ancients loosely labeled this categorization by four with the names of the elements (Earth, Air, Water and Fire).  We continue this same categorization by assigning the sixth intangible sense as belonging to a fifth category called Spirit.  We have five categories of ways we experience all experiences.  So from the perspective of this point in the ritual, with its five points the Pentagram represents the mechanisms by which Awareness can experience anything, tangible or not.  Since an universe of experience surrounds Awareness, with this meaning, we can say that pentagrams constantly surround Awareness.  This perspective is extremely important because with it, the ritual helps us understand how our minds and the universe around us actually works.

The next step in our ritual directs us (the One Pure Consciousness) to surround ourselves with pentagrams, connected by a circle that runs around us (meaning, a continuum of pentagrams totally surrounding us). 

Casting pentagrams is a ritualistic recognition, expression, or celebration of exactly how we create the illusion of reality.  In this ritual, we do now draw these pentagrams in just whatever random, hap-hazard motion that happens to pop into our minds.  We deliberately draw them in one specific way.  Examining a pentagram, we see that besides having five points, there are two lines intersecting or defining each of these five points.  This means that from any of the five points, you could start drawing in either of two directions, making ten possible directions to start your drawing. 

In the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, we always start from the lower-left point and move toward the top.  Pentagram Arrow2What does this tell us about creating experience and creating the universe?  What should this specific choice and act bring to mind?  Since all acts of ritual are acts of shifting attention, what should we be shifting attention away from, and what should we be shifting attention toward?  It would seem the first two points we use in drawing define a definite starting point that we shift away from, and a definite choice of what state of awareness we move toward.

So, what do the points mean then?  What does it mean to shift attention away from the lower-left point, and move our attention toward the uppermost point?  To understand this, we need to know the meanings and attributions of the points of the pentagram.

As mentioned, the Ancients had a habit of categorizing the tangible universe into four, with another category left to what we cannot describe by reference to the senses.

The key to understanding the meanings of the five points rests in this fifth category, with the nontangible experience.  That which is not part of the tangible universe, and cannot fit into categories for the experienced universe is of course That which itself experiences (Consciousness).  So if we have to pick one of the five points for this exception, that stands separate or outside, or beyond, or removed from and “above” all others, we would naturally pick the topmost point.  Looking at the pentagram, we see that some points are on the right, and some are on the left, while only one point is in the center, between the right or left extremes. Pyramid Pentagram Again, since experiences surround that which experiences, it makes sense to assign that which experiences to the center of the extremes, neither to the left, nor to the right.  So again the topmost point would be our natural choice.  Attributing this uppermost point is significant because in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, this is the point toward which we are shifting our attention.  This represents a shift of attention toward the One Pure Consciousness itself. 

Attributing Pure Consciousness to that top point in turn dictates the meanings and attributions of all the other points.  That top point radiates two lines downward toward the lowest two points on the pentagram.  One is on our left, and one is on our right.  It’s like these two lower points have a direct line with That which experiences.

On one hand (the right side), everything you experience is itself aware, and shares that same One Consciousness as you do.  That which experiences seems to be present in, and at the center of the experience itself, feeling like you do:  that you are a center around which everything is happening, because you truly are the eyes of the entire Universe.  Everything feels like that because everything you can experience is itself also Aware, and shares the very same Consciousness as you do.  We are all the “I”s of God.  This is the very presence of God in the entire tangible universe.  Everything feels like it’s at the center of it all, and that everything is happening to it, around it, and for it.  This is how God feels, through you and everything else, when She’s venturing out into the Universe that She has created.  This core experience that everything shares is the Divine Spark, the Divine Light and the Eternal Boundless Fire in everyone and everything that exists.

On the other hand (the left side), since everything is Aware and shares that same One Consciousness, when you see anything (and smell, hear, taste or touch anything) you are seeing what that One Consciousness actually looks like.  Your own Awareness (the One Awareness), seems reflected in the experience itself, mirrored in the experience itself, as though anything is what Awareness itself looks like (and smells, sounds, tastes, or feels like).  There can be no Awareness without something to be aware of.  The two arise simultaneously as functions of each other.  As a function of Consciousness itself, Awareness radiates something to be aware of and in doing so, creates an entire universe of experience as an expression of itself, of what Consciousness is.  Where the point on the right side emphasizes Awareness in the center of all Creation, this left point emphasizes all of Creation itself.  It represents what the eyes of the universe sees when it is looking at itself.  While the right point is the same everywhere in everything (that same One Pure Consciousness), the left point presents infinite variety, an entire universe of experiences.  This is the entirety of Creation that emanates from God, the very Earth on which we live, the bountiful infinity of creatures and lands and universes, the Splendor of God and Her Creation.  All of this emanates directly from the One Pure Consciousness as an inevitable expression of what That is, or as the expressions of Awareness Itself: the objects of awareness.

These two lower points on the pentagram, the lower right and the lower left, have direct lines to the topmost point because they are directly related to Awareness itself.  They are how It feels (on the right, Fire), and what It looks like or is looking at (on the left, Earth).  These two points are the lowest points on the pentagram because they are the basis and foundation of the entire tangible universe.  They are also the basis and foundation by which we have knowledge that we Exist, and can say “I Am,” so they are also the basis and foundation of the fact of Awareness Itself (the topmost point).

So casting pentagrams is casting experience itself.  We have seen what three of the five points of the pentagram mean.  We have seen how Awareness Itself (the topmost point) feels (the lower-right), and we have seen what It looks like (lower-left).

While casting a pentagram is the ritual of casting of a Reminder of experience before us, there are 10 ways to start drawing that pentagram.  So we need to understand why this ritual starts at the lower-left, and moves toward the top.  We need to recognize what kind of Reminder of experience it is we’re casting before us, and surrounding ourselves with, because this Reminder seems to be the whole point of the Pentagram Ritual.

So let’s cast our attention on the point of the pentagram from which we start, and what point of the pentagram we shift our attention to, when we cast this Living Reminder.

Awareness is inseparable from, and cannot exist without objects of awareness.  Now think of this for a long moment.  Objects of awareness (the lower two points – self as a thing among things on the right, and our universe of objects on the left) are a necessary aspect of awareness itself (the topmost point).  If the universe is an experience projected by Consciousness itself, an integral aspect of what Consciousness is, then there is no objective reality.  If the objects of experience do not exist outside a reference from Awareness, having no objective reality, then there is nothing that is truly objective, and everything is an illusion created by the act of being aware.  Since the existence of Awareness itself depends on the presence of objects of awareness, which are all illusions having no objective reality, then Awareness itself is also an illusion and has no objective or referential existence either.  This is why, even though its presence is indisputable you can never find a thing called awareness within yourself no matter how much you meditate, no matter how deeply you withdraw your attention to the source of experience, to Awareness Itself.  (There is no top to the pyramid with the all-seeing eye.)  The One Pure Consciousness isn’t really there at all as a thing.  Something is definitely there, and something is definitely happening, but we can never know it or describe it.  It is absolutely unknowable as an objective reality.  As far as objective reality goes, even the One Pure Consciousness, does not really exist.

By starting a pentagram from the lower-left point, shifting our awareness toward the topmost point, we are withdrawing our attention away from objects of awareness, away from our world of experience.  We are shifting toward That which Itself experiences, toward Awareness Itself.  Casting the pentagram (casting all the ways that we can experience) in this particular way is using the senses, all of them, and anything you might experience, as a powerful Reminder of Awareness itself.  This is a reminder of whom and what you really are.   By shifting away from anything that you experience, toward something you cannot experience, something that is unknowable and indescribable, this pentagram is a Reminder that everything you experience is an illusion, ultimately unknowable and indescribable.  In this way, we use the pentagram to perform the ultimate banishing.  We banish everything.  (Hence, the name of this ritual: the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.)  Everything is gone, even if it still appears before your very eyes.  In the presence of the pentagram drawn in this particular way, everything you experience becomes a Reminder of your own true nature as empty of objective reality, ultimately indescribable, illusory.

It’s like saying, “Wherever I may look, I may see only Thee.”  In the presence of this Reminder, this pentagram, you should experience everything as a living, aware, responsive mirror of whom and what you really are: Pure unknowable and indescribable Consciousness, the Author of the entire illusion we call the Universe.  Using the presence of this pentagram, using every experience to turn attention away from That which we experience back upon the Experiencer itself, we are banishing all phenomena by paying attention to its illusory nature.  We leave in our focused attention only Pure Consciousness Itself, without ever leaving phenomenal experience.  Because of the presence of the Sacred Pentagram every experience is our Reminder and our confirmation of whom and what we really are.  Go ahead.  Touch something or someone.  The Pentagram reminds you to ask, “Who’s feeling this?”  That’s proof of who you are.  That’s what the pentagrams are constantly saying to you.  Like the owl who constantly asks, “Who?” the Pentagram can make every experience a tangible Reminder and tangible proof of Awareness Itself.

Think of making this reminder an automatic habit.  Imagine as long as you are aware of anything, no matter what, you will always know you are the Author of it all.  No matter what happens.  No matter what.  No matter.  Naught.

This is one reason so many Wisdom Traditions throughout history have revered the Sacred Pentagram.

In the next article in this series, we will examine the technique of giving the Sacred Pentagram the power to take part in our daily lives.  Always present in our daily lives, it will even have the power to speak to us, helping us Remember and build the habit of behaving like who we really are.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Part III: Standard Preliminaries

As detailed in the previous part of this series of articles, for commentary I have divided the procedure for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram into three phases.  The first phase, I am describing as “Standard Preliminaries.”  I am describing the steps in this phase that way because they represent a condensation or simplification of a similar phase in almost every ritual in almost every wisdom tradition on the Earth, both Western and Eastern.  While the steps in this phase are probably not used in other rituals exactly as they are described here, some variation or equivalent steps are probably employed. 

Throughout the following commentary, remember that I am focusing here on how you can use this particular ritual for:

  •          Exploring and getting familiar with whom you really are
  •          Getting accustomed to identifying with That, instead of identifying with being human
  •          Behaving like who you really are, beyond behaving like a human
  •          Expressing your true self, and celebrating that

You should experience the whole ritual as a kind of play or dance, in which you play the part of the real you, the part of Pure Consciousness.  This is the author of all experience and of the illusion of the entire universe.  Even rituals that are different from this one, like spell casting for example, are exercising your status in the universe as author of reality.

Remember that for beginners, this ritual is designed to be practiced as often as possible, at least once each day if possible, to provide the opportunity to build the habit of identifying with Pure Consciousness.  It offers the opportunity to build the habit of expressing oneself as, behaving like, and celebrating the truth of whom you really are.

Always, before you begin your practice, start by quieting your mind.  If you know how to meditate for tranquility, do that.  If you know how to enter what is called an “alpha state,” do that.  If you know a relaxation breathing rhythm or visualization, do that.  Otherwise, simply sit quietly in the dark for a few minutes, and try to free yourself of worldly concerns, for the time you are doing this practice.  You should start in a peaceful, tranquil, relaxed state of mind and body.

Step 1 – Watchers Benediction

(The word Benediction is equivalent to “Blessing.”)

stars_smallThe first step in this progressive shift of consciousness involves becoming aware of and paying attention to two things.  (Recall, as explained before, paying attention is a form of offering, the purest offering, because attention itself is the food of all things.)  First, we pay attention to those beings that have brought the teachings to us, and whose example we endeavor to follow.  This is referring to the Goddess herself, the first and supreme teacher of magic and mystery.  This also refers to all the magi and witches who brought the teaching to you, handed down through the centuries.  More immediately, it refers to your own teacher. (If you do not have one, do not visualize me as I am not a teacher and am only repeating here what I have been taught – see About on this website.  If you do not have a teacher, then visualize a multitude of ancient wise ones, male and female).  Second, we pay attention to the final purpose in our magical operations, called “The Great Work” which involves benefit for oneself and for others through realizing whom we really are, learning to behave like That, and helping others to realize the same.

So we start our mini mystery play in a darkened room.  Turning our attention upwards toward the sky, we pay attention (pay homage) to the awareness of The Watchers who pour their love and help on us.  For an idea of who The Watchers are, see the article on this blog site entitled The Mighty Ones.  We are here focusing on certain beings who have long ago realized who and what we really are.  They have been behaving like That for so long, that they are barely recognizable as human in the ordinary sense of the word.  They do not incarnate out of habit as we do.  If they incarnate at all, they do so out of loving devotion to helping the rest of us understand the nature of Reality, so we don’t take the bad times so seriously.  They don’t necessarily incarnate as a single person like we normally do.  Depending on the needs of the times, and their urge to help, each might incarnate as several people at once, or as animals, shelters or bridges, or as beings that are ethereal, non-terrestrial, and supernatural.  One of the many meanings of their name, “The Watchers” comes from a practice they do each night.  Hovering over the earth, casting their attention (food) down on us with a shower of love and interest, they “watch” us.  They “see” the teeming masses of life gleaming with light.  Here and there, certain among us shine brighter than others, having the wish to help others too.  To these, The Watchers offer particular help and inspiration, to aid in their growth and performance of the Great Work.

(It is suggested that in reciting, a slight pause is made at the end of each line shown here, and a greater pause between paragraphs shown here.  Obviously, use singular or plural, depending on whether you are practicing alone or with someone else.)

The Watchers Benediction

May those
Who are the Great Guides and Guardians of Humanity
Bless every one of us.

(Contemplate a shower of light and love upon the Earth in response to your prayer.)

May they find in us (me)
a willing and pliable instrument
for their sacred purposes.

And may they grant us (me)
the Help and the Benediction
with which,
we (I) will be able to accomplish
All the things that need to be accomplished.

 

 

In our progressive shift of consciousness, we are now no longer thinking about work, or noises around us, or money or anything like that.  We are focused on becoming a Watcher ourselves, and all the fascinating and beautiful things that means.  We are focused on joining a team of powerful and transcendent beings who, by virtue of their identifying with all things, constantly work for the benefit of all creatures.  As one of them, imagine knowing without a shadow of doubt, with evidence in every act of awareness, that you are Pure Consciousness and that everything is an illusion caused by That.  Imagine becoming an invisible extraterrestrial helper of some civilization in a distant galaxy, or even this civilization right here!  Imagine gazing down on the ocean of life, finding not only those brightly shining seekers of Reality, but also those with the mistaken idea that their nightmare is real.  Imagine drifting among these people, unseen or even appearing as an angel, secretly arranging things to help them, heal them, and changing their luck.  (See Invisible Helpers, a link to which is shown at the left of this web page in the box entitled “Books.”)  This imagined life will become less and less your own imagination, and more and more your reality, as you practice identifying with Pure Consciousness, and learning how to act like That.  Because this whole ritual helps you do both of these things, the more you practice this ritual with the right intent, motivation and knowledge, the closer that will come to being your reality. 

(NOTE: the word “extraterrestrial” means “not of the earth” or “beyond the earth.”  It does not necessarily mean “alien.”  There are extraterrestrials all around us, some seen and some unseen, who are not aliens, but who are also not of the world as we normally think of it.  For example, a street bum might be a disguised wise man who has transcended this world, and simply refuses to take part in our society.  As someone who is beyond our world, this street bum might be extraterrestrial, but not an alien.  That being said, the word extraterrestrial of course also applies to aliens in the typical sense of the word.  Some Watchers are from here, and are not aliens, and others are not from here at all.  Still others were originally from other worlds but have chosen to be born here among us for several tens of thousands of years, like interstellar immigrants, working closely with us, as one of us.)

(Further NOTE: It has recently been asked: why are these Watchers not successful in preventing or eliminating wars, hunger, disease and acts of predatory inhumanity?  One answer is this: every one of us is an incredibly powerful magician, whether we know it or not.  We constantly create our reality, based on wisdom, compassion and selflessness, or based on ignorance, greed and anger.  We are, in fact, as powerful as the Mighty Ones themselves, including the Watchers.  While the Watchers may have skillful techniques for being able to reduce the suffering of thousands of people at a time, there are limits to how much more skillfull they can be against several hundred thousand “magicians” who are all involved in fighting a war for example, or supporting a policy in ignorance for another.  So the Watchers are always looking for help to perform the Great Work of enlightening people and reducing their suffering.  By performing this part of the ritual, and the final dedication described later, you are adding your efforts to this end.)

Step 2 – Light Candle

candle_of_art_smallThe next step in this progressive shift of consciousness involves lighting a single candle, called the Candle of Art (or a Kether Lamp if you have one).  Typically the Candle of Art is always a clean, new votive candle in a cleaned red votive glass, as may be bought at any church supply store.  (This should be lovingly cleaned before each practice as part of your deliberate preparation for the practice.  To clean a used candle out of a votive glass, simply put it in a sink under running hot water for a few minutes, allowing the hot water to overflow the sides of the glass.  After a few minutes the candle will pop out easily with a bit of pressure from a dull knife.  While the glass is still hot, a paper towel will easily rub away any remaining wax, leaving the glass as clean as new.)

Beginners of this type of prayer often think of it as a Remembrance of something like the “Big Bang.”  This is not untrue.  But what the practitioner should keep in mind is this: the “Big Bang” is a constant, ever present event that is happening in every quantum (instant or instance of existence).  It happens constantly on subatomic levels, and constantly on macroscopic levels that encompass the entire universe.  It happens constantly in your own awareness when you blink, sneeze, have an orgasm or wake up in the morning.  It happens between every two thoughts.  It happens between every two instances of cognition.   The entire illusion of existence constantly arises out of an ever-present Nothingness that is the Reality behind the illusion.  The illusion of existence is constantly being built and rebuilt with every “Big Bang” that we call a “moment” of experience.  So, with this prayer, we are taking a step further in our progressive shift of awareness, further than the wish to become a Watcher, drawing our attention back to the ever-present endless source of experience and existence itself.

You have to ask yourself: Who or What is it that can possibly be present for the “Big Bang,” since Nothing existed before that?  In fact, this is a question you should always be asking yourself, throughout every ritual, and throughout every moment of existence.  This is the question that we are always eerily reminded of by the owl:  “Who?”  The answer to that question is unspeakable.  Awareness is what That feels like.  It is not a person.  It is not a mind.  It is Nothing you can name, because it is That which names all things.  That is “Who.”  That is the real You.   (See the 4 page essay, Nothingness by Alan Watts, a link to which is offered on the left side of this web page.)

So, standing in the darkness (facing East), with match or lighter in hand, say softly aloud the following prayer,  paying attention to the Nothing before the Beginning, which was not long ago, but is Now and Ever. 

(Your instructions are on the left, and the commentary is on the right.  Words on the left should be softly spoken aloud by you.)

Lighting the Kether Lamp or Candle of Art:

[Contemplate primordial Emptiness]  
“In the beginning…”
“Before the Elohim created the heavens and the Earth”
Remember the “beginning” is the eternal NOW, the present moment that is always at hand.  Remember the word “Elohim” (pronounced el-oh-heem) breaks down into three syllables: El, oh, and him (pronounced heem).  “El” refers to Supreme Deity (the creator of the illusory Universe) and refers to the One Consciousness, with which you are intimately associated, as your own awareness. “Oh” is a singular female suffix.  “Heem” is a plural male suffix.  So “Elohim” includes innate divinity, which is at one time both the male and female, One and Many.  (There is one infinite environment [female], filled with an infinite number of points [male].  When the extents are infinite, each point is at the center [each of us equally aware as though we are the center of the universe]) 
.
“Everything was Formless,
And Darkness was upon the face of the Deep.”
.
This refers to the Nothingness out of which all experience is constantly appearing.  See “Nothingness” by Alan Watts, for an explanation of this.  Click on the link under “Books” on the left of this web page to read his 4-page essay.
.
“And the Ruach Elohim moved upon the face of the Waters and said:
Yehi Aur… let there be Light!”
[Light candle]
“And there was Light.”
.
Ruach Elohim (pronounced roo-agch eloheem) adds to the idea of Elohim already described, the notion of an identity, as in a soul or divine spirit.  (Ruach meaning “breath” and implying life, as in the breath of life, here the “breath” or live spirit of the Elohim.) You experience this as your own sense of being something, your own sense of existing.There is an inherent quality of Consciousness, and that is an urge, pressure, desire, or tendency to experience something, anything.  It’s like a primordial habit, energy or force behind the coming into being of experience itself.  This inherent drive is symbolized as a wind, or more intimately: a breath, the breath of life.You intimately experience these words, “Yehi Aur,” casting your attention forth, at every moment.  You gaze into the emptiness. Since attention is the Divine Light of Consciousness, the act of being aware is an act of casting Divine Light into the Emptiness.  This act of casting light into the emptiness is the “Big Bang” that is happening in every quantum or instance of existence.

This act of casting forth your attention is the original primordial experience that is ever happening on the crest of the wave of the eternally present moment.  Experience has spontaneously arisen out of the emptiness.

.
“And the Elohim saw the light,
That it was good,
And all the morning stars sang together,
And the Children of God shouted for Joy.”
.
“Saw the Light:” That candle, shining into the darkness, causing all visible experience in the previously darkened room to arise, is symbolic of your own awareness that likewise causes experience to arise out of Nothing.  Just looking at that particular candle is an incredibly profound act.  You are looking at your own awareness, shining forth.  You are aware of your own awareness.  This is “Ruach Elohim.””That it was good:” “Good” is a word for “God.”  (Good-Bye means “God Be With Ye.”)  In this special setting, in this ritual act, just as you see the candle, Consciousness becomes aware of its own nature.  Consciousness becomes aware of the fact that it is aware.  This simple state is a blissful experience.  A “good” and joyful experience indeed.”Morning stars sang together…:” With the casting forth of the light of awareness, a billion galaxies of stars (candles) shine forth out the emptiness, in that light.  Every single one of them is that same One Consciousness, each like your own candle, each perfectly aware, reveling in the Cosmic Drama that is Experience.  (Referring back to the Watchers, these are the points of light that they see, gazing down upon the Humanity.) [For more information on this Cosmic Drama, see the essay called Cosmic Drama by Alan Watts.  You can click on the link at the left of this web page under Books, to read this 5-page essay.]
.
[Raise hands with candle to the heavens]

“Holy art Thou, Lord of the Universe!
Holy art Thou, Whom Nature hast not formed!
Holy art Thou, the Vast and Mighty One!
Lord of the Light… and of the Dark.”
 
.
And as one of that infinite number of “Children of God”, you too shout for joy in this adoration.  And whom are you addressing here?  “Who?” That Pure Consciousness that creates Nature but is not created by Nature.  Note that “Dark” here refers to the Nothingness that is still ever present while the illusion of experience seems to play on.

 Having lit this special candle, you are now in a sacred space, devoted to recognizing and celebrating Pure Consciousness.  You are aware of everything around you through the light of this one candle, this One Consciousness.  In our progressive shift of consciousness (our ritual) we have reached a shift to where everything is for you brand-new, newly arisen from an ever present “Big Bang.”  Notice the power of habit, which remains past the end of illusion, and the resulting ever present rebirth.  Everything is still there as you last saw it.  This is the principle of reincarnation in your immediate experience.

Just as all of experience emanates from the one light of the One Consciousness (of which your awareness is an immediate instance), so are all the lights in your sacred space also lit from this one candle.  So if you have both a Kether Lamp, and a Candle of Art, you should now use a small taper to draw the light from the Kether Lamp to the Candle of Art.  When you have both candles, the Kether Lamp represents the One Consciousness and the Candle of Art represents the Ruach Elohim:  the One Consciousness’s sense of existing, of Being.

Step 3 – Light Incense

incense_smallSmell is an interesting sense.  It has the ability to call up long forgotten memories and associations with a vividness like none of the other senses.  Some say it is the last of the senses to fade at death (others say hearing is the last to go).  No one currently knows for sure how we smell, but it is known that through smell we are aware of not only the shapes of molecules, but also of the different atoms that make up those molecules.  Somehow, through smell, we are able to touch and feel atoms and groups of atoms.  Through smell we are touching the building blocks of the physical universe, and identify them and easily associate them with vivid memories and experiences.  The presence of a smell in an environment powerfully taints our experience, coloring it with a particular emphasis.

In the next step in our progressive shift of consciousness, we light a taper from the One Light (our Kether Lamp or Candle of Art lit in the previous step).  We use that to light either self-starting incense charcoal, or stick or cone incense.  If charcoal is lit, then we make an offering of resinous incense (like frankincense) to the fire of Awareness.  Either way, a beautiful smoke rises up, up, always upward, away from the mundane world of objects and concerns, upward toward space, toward the Nothingness that is Consciousness Itself.  As this offering is made your environment starts to smell special.  It is a special smell that is not of food, nor of fuel exhaust, nor of body odor, nor anything in your typical world.  This fills your environment with something special, something sacred. 

Depending on the incense ingredients, the specialness can be focused on different aspects of existence.  In this case, using frankincense, or incense of the four Elements, your environment becomes an overwhelming and enveloping experience that is dedicated to Pure Experience, Pure Consciousness. 

While this should not be an obsession, the practitioner should be ever mindful of the incense, being sure that it does not go out.  There should be some small wisp of smoke rising at all times, throughout the practice.  This mindfulness is one of the ways that one’s attention is kept on the point to the whole practice: to be mindful who and what you really are.  The mindfulness of keeping the incense going is mindfulness of your practice.  It is keeping from straying into other less profound thoughts.

NOTE: when using charcoal and resinous incense, if you are going to keep a wisp of smoke going at all times and there is not open window with a constant draft, it is easy to smoke out your room, to the point of coughing and stinging in the eyes and throat.  This is because a few grains of resin on the charcoal burn only a minute or two, and quickly fill the room.  Therefore, if there is no constant breeze of fresh air, the best idea is to abandon the thought of keeping a wisp of smoke rising, and instead pay attention to the presence of the scent in the room.  At first, put only a tiny amount of incense on the charcoal, enough to fill the room with scent.  Then pay mindfulness to that scent in the room.  During your practice, you will notice the scent beginning to fade.  Only then, put a grain or two more on the charcoal, noticing the smoke rise as a further offering.  In this case, it is the presence of the scent that you are being mindful of keeping up, and not the constant rising of a wisp of smoke.

Think about this current state for a minute.  You have taken the familiar room around you, and you are seeing it in a “different light.”  You are seeing it the Light of the Pure Consciousness, which is what you really are.  You have extended that One Light to a fire (incense or charcoal), and this fire has filled the world (that you are seeing in a different light) with a sacredness, focused on something special.  You have filled the world with a focus on Consciousness.  You did this by lighting a slow-burning fire.  So, when you see the charcoal light up, or the stick incense begin to glow, you should see and feel the whole familiar world is also lighting up, and being burned away and consumed.  But notice that if undisturbed, the burned stick incense is still there, as ashes, after it has burned.  The ash holds exactly the same shape as what was burned.  The charcoal, after the sparkles of fire have run through it is also still there, in the same shape as before.  So you should see the world around you, in this special light has also been burned away, yet appears in the same shape as before.  Though, like the ashes which are a fragile appearance of what was there before, so is the world around you also a fragile illusion.  By lighting the incense, seeing everything in this “special light,” you have burned away the normal world.  While it still appears exactly as before, the smell of the incense is a constant reminder that it is all like ashes, holding a shape, but void of any inherent reality.

The pervasive scent then, is your Consciousness basking in an infinite emptiness, which appears around you like the ashes of burned incense.

So, let’s recap the steps so far.  You have empowered the Watchers to help you, and dedicated your practice to the Great Work.  You have done this in darkness, before you did anything else.  Next, you paid attention to the on-going Moment of Creation, and seen your world arise anew, as it does in every moment.  While the world constantly arises out of habit nearly the same every time, you are aware of it now through the One Light of Consciousness, just as you always are.  But for this practice, you know about it and are thinking that way.  Next, in the step of lighting the incense, you have seen the world as ashes and filled this newly created and familiar world with a special Presence of Consciousness.  It’s like you are basking an infinite ocean of emptiness that seems to have form and is perfectly aware.

This is the state of mind that you are practicing in the hope of never leaving.  This “special light” by which you are seeing things, being aware of the fact that everything is an illusion that seems to have shape, like incense ashes, is a state that you never want to leave.  With enough practice, you will not need these steps to help you think and see this way.  These ritual steps will instead become celebrations or forms of self-expression, like a dance of joy for being who and what you really are.

Step 4 – Ankh of Light

An Egyptian Ankh

An Egyptian Ankh

At this stage, in our progressive shift of consciousness, we have seen the universe arise anew.  The universe has arisen out of Nothing, and being born of Nothing, is still ultimately Nothing.  For the next step: what about you?  What are you in all this?

Like some other rituals in traditional Western Mysticism, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram includes in its progression of shifting consciousness, the performance of another simple, yet profound practice.  It is called by traditional witches “The Ankh of Light”, also known in other Western Mystery traditions as “The Qabalistic Cross.”

With this step, we withdraw our attention from our sacred environment, and turn it on that which is most sacred: the Creator, the Author of the Universe.  We turn our attention on Pure Consciousness itself, and its place in all the illusory Creation.

So, let us go through this next step which is performing the Ankh of Light.  As I did with the lighting of the candle, I’m including here a commentary on the right, with the script on the left.

The Ankh of Light, or Qabalistic Cross:

 

[Contemplate primordial Emptiness]Your hands should be folded at your solar plexus (just below where your bottom ribs meet, on the front of your chest).  This position of the hands is called the “kavach mudra.” .
The hands of the traditional witch or practitioner of Western Mysteries become powerful conduits of life force, prana, witch-fire, or chi (all words for essentially the same thing).  Your solar plexus is a main center of this energy.  By folding your hands at this center, you are conserving and getting ready to direct that energy through your hands as a magical act.  During ritual practice, whenever you are not doing something specific with your hands, this is where they should be.
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Become aware of a globe of brilliance above your head, larger than your head, and resting on, or slightly into the crown of your head. 
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The globe of brilliance is one of 4 specific centers of energy, or psychic organs that you will activate, by paying attention to them (since attention is the food of all things, you will feed them and activate them).  This particular energy center (above the crown of your head) is a psychic organ by which your “individual” consciousness resonates most closely with that of the Universal Consciousness.  (The two are not separate or different, but only seem so.)
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Breathe deeply of pale blue prana (life energy – the aura of the Sun) from the ocean of it around you.  Leaving your left hand at your chest, bring your right hand from the kavach mudra down to your side briefly, then up to the top of your head as you take a deep breath and “vibrate”: “Ah-Teh”
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To “vibrate” a magical word means to intone it slowly, in a low key, drawing out the sound of the word.  It’s a low droning or chanting.  Words of power in any magical language such as Aramaic, Enochian, or Sanskrit, are formulae of vibrations, composed of a specific and powerful sequence of syllables. So as you intone the words of power, you pay attention to each individual syllable, and the vibrating sound of each.  You should hear and feel the vibrations coming not from your throat, but originating deep within your chest, and emanating from the energy center you’re focusing on (the one above your head in this case).  Further, you should feel those vibrations emanating out from the energy center, throughout the Universe, echoing in the depths of space.  Try to hear (in your imagination) the echoes of the sound of each syllable as though the universe were an infinite cave, echoing the sound back and forth throughout.The word “Ateh” has a dual meaning that creates a direct reminder of your relationship with the One Consciousness.  It means at the same time “Thou Art” and “I Am”. These words “I Am” are powerful triggers for the practitioner of high magic.  Just thinking “I Am” brings one’s attention straight back to the core of one’s being, to that core of Awareness that is Pure Consciousness.  Think of it.  The fact that you can say or think “I Am” proves that you are aware.  It proves that you exist right here, right now.   

Thinking “I Am” is a simple and direct expression of Awareness, and knowing that you are aware.  Knowing this is an act of recognition of your true being, of whom and what you really are.  After all, everything seems to exist, and everything shares that exact same quality of existence, not a different quality of existence.  Awareness is what it feels like to exist.  Since everything shares the same quality of existence, everything shares that same feeling, that same Awareness, that very same experience of “I Am.”  In thinking “I Am,” you are aware of being an instance of the Ultimate Deity.  You are aware of your personal relationship with That to whom you refer here with the words “Thou Art.”  (See Be Yourself on this website.)

So, as you vibrate this word, you should be aware at once of:

  •          who you are (as just described),
  •          who you are paying attention to,
  •          the globe of brilliance above your head, and
  •          the vibrations emanating from your diaphragm out through the globe above your head and throughout space. 

All the while, feel that you are a direct manifestation of that One Consciousness, that your awareness is a direct expression of that One Consciousness.  You are making this sound as a proclamation and celebration of Consciousness, filling the universe with this expression.

Practice drawing all of these ideas and experiences into one act of sacred self-recognition and self-expression.  You’ll get better at it each time you practice, until vibrating “Ateh” is all you have to remember, and it all happens together.

Paying attention to this globe of brilliance, and expressing yourself in this way is a direct practice of identifying with Pure Consciousness, with the origin and existence of all things.  You should be absorbed in the experience of Pure Consciousness.

This experience can be extremely blissful.  If you are practicing alone, do not hesitate to stop for a bit, and bask in this experience.  It is among the most Holy of experiences.

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Now move your hand down before your face and on down to your solar plexus as you visualize a pillar of white light, about the thickness of your neck, descending from the globe above your head down through the middle of your body to your feet where another globe, smaller than above your head, forms below your feet.  You are either standing on it or slightly into it, and it is either black with green swirls or a swirling mixture of the four elemental colors: citrine, olive, russet, and black – the colors of the four seasons.  As you bring your hand down to your solar plexus from above your head, visualizing thus, vibrate: “Mal-Kuth” 
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Now, extending the “point” of awareness into two dimensions (a line), you are recognizing that the existence of Awareness implies something to be aware of (even if it is an illusion that you are aware of).  And that objectification of Nothingness, of Pure Consciousness, appears as an infinite universe. The globe at your feet (the metaphorical feet of Pure Consciousness) is called here Malkuth, which means “kingdom” and refers to the entire expanse of the universe of all experience.  The globe above your head is faintly reflected at your feet and objectified as the entire universe itself, with all of its galaxies and worlds.  This universe too is you… it’s how Pure Consciousness expresses and celebrates itself.  It’s how Pure Consciousness hides from itself, to make the illusion seem real.In this exercise, you are focused on your place in the entirety of experience.  You are at one extreme (above your head) the primordial origin of everything, and the center from which everything emanates.  At the other extreme (at your feet) you are also shown forth as all existence and all the ways in which that manifests.  This is part of what it means to know who and what you really are.  (By “you” I am clearly not referring to a human being.  I am referring to the core of your being, that core of Awareness, which is Pure Consciousness.) 

As before, you should vibrate the word of power, feeling each syllable echo throughout the emptiness around you, now proclaiming and celebrating your issuing forth as the universe itself.

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Bring your hand now to your left shoulder, in which forms a blue globe of light (embedded in and around your shoulder), also smaller than the one above your head, the same size as the one under your feet, and vibrate:”Ve-Geh-Doo-Lah”
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“Ve Gedulah” means “And the Glory.”  So far you have said “Thou art (I Am) the Kingdom and the Glory.”Here you are beginning to recognize the patterns within the expanse of Mind that Pure Consciousness creates around itself by virtue of experience.I have said that attention is the Divine Light that causes all things to seem to emerge from the darkness of Emptiness.  Now we’re getting a bit more specific.  You can cast your attention in many different ways.  You can look at something with anger, or love, sadness, understanding, fascination, excitement, boredom… the list is endless. Among the endless “flavors” of attention (food) that we’re capable of, we’re focusing on that of Glory, which includes things such as the splendor and bliss of great beauty and magnificence, love, expansion, birth, growth and compassion.  Continuing the symbolism of attention being Divine Light, here we are seeing that Light as blue in color.  

As before, the word of power is vibrated, filling the universe with the bounding and rebounding sound and light of love and compassion, birth, expansion and growth.  All this (the sound, the light, and the experience) emanates and radiates from the globe of light at your left shoulder.

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Bring your hand to your right
shoulder, as a shaft of white light the same size as the one descending from above your head extends from the blue globe at your left shoulder to the red globe that forms in your right.  Vibrate:”Ve-Geh-Boo-Rah”
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“Ve Geburah” means “And the Power.” Here you recognize a polarity of types of attention (types or colors of Divine Light).  Where at your left shoulder there is blue light, here is red light by contrast.  It represents the type of attention that is complementary to the previous.  Where the blue was compassion, this is severity.  Where the blue was birth, this is the death that makes rebirth and renewal possible.  This is the clearing away of the old to make a place for renewal.  Where the blue might have been attraction, by comparison here we have rejection.Between the blue light at the left shoulder and the red at the right, you have the most fundamental polarity at the root of all classifications or specific ways that you can cast your attention.

So when vibrating this word of power you should feel the universe bounding and rebounding with the red light, the sound and the feelings of severity, contraction, power, and selective intelligence.

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Slowly clasp both hands together, with arms outstretched before you, slightly above shoulder height.  As your arms raise to meet each other, Vibrate:”Leh-Oh-Lam”
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Up to this point you’ve said: “Thou Art (I Am) the Kingdom, the Glory and the Power.”  Now, the words “Le Olam” mean “throughout the ages” suggesting all time, all worlds, all dimensions, and all experiences throughout existence.  While vibrating this word of power you should consider your form of a glowing cross, flaming up brilliantly, filling the universe with that light. So you should feel that you are a glowing cross of white light, with globes of light at all four ends, shining brilliantly.  With the uppermost globe of brilliance larger and brighter than the others, you are in the form an ankh of life.  Archetypal symbols are living entities, and here you are, recognizing yourself as just such a living symbol.   

Ankh sandal strap

Ankh sandal strap

The shape of the ankh is based on an ancient Egyptian sandal strap.  There’s a loop that goes around the ankle and the opposite end attaches to the sandal sole between the toes.  The other ends attach to the sides of the sole at either side of the foot.  Here the ankh, the sandal strap, means “going” or on-going-ness.  It is therefore a symbol of progressing events and experience that we call “life” so some people say the ankh means life.  It represents the continuing experience that creates the illusion of life.  The ankh is therefore a “Stream of Consciousness.” 

What you have paid attention to (fed with your attention) is the fact that you and your experience of life is an endless flow of experience.  You have recognized it extending from Pure Consciousness (I Am) and shown forth as the whole universe (the Kingdom).  You have recognized it as the source of ultimate Glory and Power (and all that those imply).  You have recognized that this applies throughout all time, all worlds and dimensions.  There are no exceptions, and there is Nothing outside this on-going-ness.

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And without breaking from the previous vibration, as you bring your clasped hands to your solar plexus again, vibrate:”Ah-Men”
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With the word “Amen” you draw this whole expression to your heart, drawing it to you as your personal experience, not some philosophical description.  It’s like saying “all this is me, this me right here, right now, right here.”  This is a magical “grounding” of the experience.  You are bringing it from an ideal fantasy, to an immediate reality, as real as everything you are aware of, proved by everything you are aware of, by your simply being aware at all.
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Contemplate your form as a brilliant ankh of light.
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So this is your place in all the illusion of existence.  You (referring to Pure Consciousness, not to you as a human) are this Ankh, this living being that is a cross of light that includes and originates all experiences.  This is one way to focus on, pay attention to, and bask in whom and what you really are.  This is one way to sing forth and celebrate whom and what you really are.

 

So far we have covered, in this Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, four progressive shifts of consciousness on our way to a state that is one of the most profound in Western Mysticism.  I have mentioned that these four progressive shifts of consciousness are found at the beginning of nearly every ritual in wisdom traditions, whether Eastern or Western.  These four progressive shifts of consciousness are:

1.       Paying homage to a traditional lineage (Watchers Benediction)

2.       Declaring and focusing on one’s intention (Watchers Benediction)

3.       Recreating the Universe and purifying that by recognition that it is illusory (Candle and incense.  In more elaborate rituals, this step will include an additional purification by water.)

4.       Establishing the significance of Consciousness in that (Ankh of Light)

Hopefully you can see how these steps, when done with the intention and attitude described here, can acquaint you with who and what you really are, and help you build the habit of thinking of yourself as That. 

Next, in Part IV of this series, we will continue this journey of consciousness, into recognizing a pervasive, more detailed magical universe that is perfectly aware of you, and responsive to your every thought.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Part II: Re-Introducing the Pentagram Ritual

For training in typical traditions of Western Mysticism, among the first daily rituals practiced is one called “The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.”

Because the trainee is often anxious to get into some “real magic” and views the first exercises as merely “preliminary,” this ritual is often misunderstood and its profundity overlooked.  That is, until the student reaches the end of the training.  At the end of training the often surprising discovery is made that, like the proverbial philosopher’s stone, the most profound ritual practice throughout training happened to be there from the start: that simple “Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.”  It is often the only ritual practice used by masters who have completed their training.  Tiny variations on this often overlooked ritual contain all the magical techniques one needs. For example, see the article on this blog site about The Thunderstorm.  The powerful magician conjured the thunderstorm before our very eyes, using nothing other than a small variation of that same Pentagram Ritual we had all learned in the beginning of our training.  For a more important example, consider the rituals designed to bring enlightenment, called “initiations,” which are themselves sometimes elaborations on this same “Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.”

I will not go into the variations of this incredibly profound ritual, but I will try to point out some of the inner-work and significance that is often unknown to, or overlooked by practitioners.  It is hoped that this explanation might bring new appreciation for what is often mistaken as merely preparatory, and brashly rushed through as being less important. 

The name of the ritual implies that it is about banishing or “clearing the air” in a sense.  But what does this really mean?  There is a banishing happening here, but banishing of what?  Why?  How?  By what power and authority is this done?  And what is left-over after this banishing is finished?  Rituals lead to new states of being, so what is the significance of the state reached, after this banishing is complete?  Hopefully, by the end of this series of articles, the answers to these questions will be clear.

When one realizes the true meaning and effect of this ritual, one realizes that it should never be rushed through as a “formality.”  It should always be performed slowly, like a meditation, with careful contemplation and respect.  This is because, as I will try to show, it carries, invokes, and asserts the core truth by which the practitioner has any magical power at all.

As explained in Part I of this series of articles, ritual can be a progressive and systematic redirection of one’s state of mind, self-definition and self-identification.  If the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is performed with the correct meaning and emphasis, with appreciation for its effect, no other ritual is necessary from the perspective of spiritual growth.  This particular ritual carries the secrets of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  At the completion of training, when rituals become unnecessary and even childish in a sense, this “Lesser” Banishing Ritual remains as a celebration and expression of whom and what we really are: the authors of reality.

As explained in Part One, ritual is a progressive shift of one’s state of mind.  We are here concerned with a progression to an extraordinary state of mind where we can become accustomed to, and explore who and what we really are.  We then almost return to the ordinary state again, though not quite the same, having gathered new experience and familiarity with each repetition.  With each repetition, we bring into the ordinary every-day state of mind a greater understanding of our true nature, and build the habit of behaving more like That all the time.

In this series of articles I would like to take you through the progressive shift of your state of mind as you would perform this Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.  So, before I move into a commentary on that ritual, let me first give you an account of the “script” for its performance.  It should be noted that this ritual exists in different forms in all wisdom traditions on the Earth.  These steps have been carefully chosen and handed down in some form or another through thousands of years and are by no means arbitrary in their order and composition.  The actual wording used in each step has also been carefully chosen by fully trained masters to match the effect and intent handed down through the millennia.  This is important because the procedure has undergone thousands of years of testing and adjustment, to ensure the greatest benefit and effectiveness.  You can partake of all that experience by adherence to tradition.

Script: The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

Setting:

A light snack has been prepared and set aside for consumption after the practice has been finished.

A darkened, if not completely dark room. 

There is a small table or altar in the center of the room.

There is a red class containing an unlit candle hanging overhead in the center of the room (called the Kether Lamp), or a red glass with an unlit candle in the center of the altar (called the Candle of Art). 

On the altar, there is unlit incense. 

The incense should represent the four Elements of alchemy (Fire, Water, Air, Earth), or could be pure frankincense to represent spirit itself.  (Refer to the Magical Alphabet for incense ingredients assigned to the elements.  A beautiful stick incense of this composition was at one time sold in Theosophical bookstores.  Among other ingredients, it had sandalwood for Earth, and camphor for Air.)

The operator is dressed only in a black hooded robe, representing the “conscious nothingness” out of which awareness arises. 

The operator begins Step 1 in darkness, standing before the altar, facing East.

 

Procedure:

Phase I: Standard Preliminaries

Step 1: Recite Watchers Benediction

Step 2: Light candle reciting the appropriate prayer

Step 3: Light incense from the candle, quietly but mindful of the meaning of incense.

Step 4: Perform Ankh of Light (also known as the Qabalistic Cross)

 

Phase II: The Pentagram Ritual Proper

Step 5: Use “witch fire” or “solar energy”  or “chi” to trace out the eternal presence of the four great pentagrams, charging each with an acknowledgment of the purpose and soul that makes them living beings.

Step 6: Recognize the eternal presence of the four Archangels

Step 7: Recognize the eternal presence of the four Elemental Winds

Step 8: Recognize the eternal presence of the four Elemental Guardians

Step 9: Recognize the entire scene

Step 10:  Ponder this completely “banished” state of being

 

Phase III: Magical Activity

Step 11: Perform some act, expressing yourself as the author of reality, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.  (for example: meditate, basking in the original state of Being, or perform the Middle Pillar Exercise – a comment on this exercise will follow this series of articles – or perform some act of magic.)

 

Phase IV: Standard Closing

Step 12: Licence to Depart (necessary only in variations where any intelligence is invoked, during the Magical Activity phase, that was not present before.)

Step 13: Begin the return to ordinary every-day life by performing the Ankh of Light again, with a small difference, recognizing the added experience you take back with you.

Step 14: Douse candle.

Step 15: Dedicate the results of this practice to the Great Work

Step 16: Restoring normal lighting, change into normal clothing.

Step 17: Immediately eat and drink a light snack

 

In the next part of this series of articles, I will begin to describe and explain each of these steps in detail.  I will try to do this with an emphasis on how these steps transform your state of mind, help you practice thinking of yourself as who and what you really are, and help you build the habit of always identifying with and behaving like That.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Part I – The Meaning of Ritual

Part of Realizing who and what we really are is learning to behave like That.  This is one of the meanings of “The Great Work.”  Realizing who and what we really are actually compels us to certain behavior.  For example, realizing that everything is an illusion, and that you share the same Consciousness with all other beings throughout space and time, compels you.  An extension of self-preservation compels you to try to relieve the illusion of suffering experienced by anyone or anything else.  This is why we often associate the “wise ones” throughout the ages with healing or heroism, whether medical or magical or mental.  This endless work of helping others is another meaning of “The Great Work.”

From the moment of birth some people are fully aware of whom and what they are, and naturally live and behave like That without giving it any thought.  They do so having Realized this in past lives because this Realization transcends life and death, birth and rebirth.  As the One Consciousness goes on after one’s death, by identifying with That instead of identifying with a dead or dying person, the Realized One does not die when the person dies.  They do not identify with a newborn baby as they reincarnate, but remain firm in their identity with the One Consciousness Itself.  The habit of identifying with that Eternal Consciousness, and not identifying with any one incarnation, past or present dictates their behavior.  We normally incarnate as humans again and again by habit of identifying with being “human.”  When we finally identify with the One Consciousness we break the habit of this mistaken identity and there is no habitual compulsion to rebirth, ever, as anything.  But this same adjustment of identity to the One Consciousness makes us acutely aware of the seeming suffering of others as though it were our own suffering, because we share the same Consciousness.  It is not through a habitual compulsion, but instead from deliberate choice that some Realized beings take rebirth among us.  They choose to do so to help relieve our apparent suffering, never losing sight that it is all an illusion that might seem painfully real to those who suffer.

While some people are born with Realization, most of us obviously are not.  Most of us typically take the illusion of our lives and deaths all too seriously.  Some of us would like to know what these Realized being know, and would like to experience existence the way they do.  Some of us wondering “who am I,” and “why am I here,” would like to experience who and what we really are.  For our benefit, throughout the ages some Realized beings have tried very hard to help us experience this for ourselves.  Some have taken rebirth each time they died, to continue a work of thousands of years, building collections or systems of techniques for realizing who and what we really are.  They have left their mark throughout history, teaching, refining, and evolving these systems.  Traditional Wicca refers to these beings as “The Mighty Dead.”  Another Western Mystery Tradition knows them as the “Ascended Masters.”

Mystical systems are examples of such collections of clever techniques for realizing who and what we really are, and for building the habit of behavior that expresses and celebrates That.  Such collections include deliberate experiences and practices such as initiation and meditation by which one can recognize for oneself this reality.  Besides oral explanations and profound alternate meanings of seemingly ordinary wording, the collections also include examples of Realization and the resulting behavior in the form of myths and legends. 

In addition, these collections include practices that, like mystery plays, allow one to follow a scripted procedure for enacting, exploring, and celebrating the truth about whom and what we really are.  These scripted procedures were designed to be performed again and again, to help create the habit of an attitude and outlook that carries over into our daily lives.  In this manner they can permanently transform our behavior and our perspective to be more than human, to be more like who and what we really are.  They are designed to help us create a permanent habit of identifying not with being “human,” but with the One Consciousness.  They are designed to help us develop the habit of seeing everything as an illusion produced by Consciousness itself.  These repeated scripted procedures are typically called “rituals.” While there are many rituals, designed and scripted for different purposes and reasons I am here referring to certain special rituals.  I am referring to those that have been deliberately crafted to bring us to a realization of who and what we really are, and to help us build the habit of acting like that.

Let’s consider exactly what a ritual is and how it works.  This should provide some insight into why rituals are composed as they are, and in turn how to perform a ritual as intended.  This way, when performing the special rituals, we will know how to use the ritual to practice shifting our identity to the One Consciousness, and make this our habitual perspective.

Consider that within the scope of the One Consciousness there is One Universal Mind.  Consider that, exactly like “your own” mind, this One Mind encompasses many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, habits, dreams, memories and feelings.  You have many thoughts, ideas, etc, and they all share your consciousness, being part of your own mind. The phenomena in your mind do not have separate awareness, they are all in your mind, and they all share your consciousness.  In exactly the same way, you and everything else in the Universe is a thought, idea, etc in this One Universal Mind.  Consider further that everyone and everything shares that same One Consciousness, being the activity and phenomina of the same Mind.  Finally, consider that in the same way that thoughts and ideas in your own mind have no tangible reality, neither does anything in the Universe either.  What goes on in your head is stuff that dreams are made of.   So is everything around you, including the person you think you are.  All of this is a dream or thought or fantasy of the One Consciousness that we share.  You are a dream in the One Mind.  Death is simply waking from that Dream.  Reincarnation is simply the habit of the One Mind thinking of itself, dreaming of itself in a particular way.  You are a recurring habitual dream that you and the One Mind keep having over and over, yet with more experience each time.  You will continue this habit until you gather enough experience to realize that you are the dreamer and not the dream, thus realizing who and what you really are.  Then you’ll start to act like the dreamer, instead of acting like something in the dream.

So, if everything is really a thought or idea, what’s the difference between me and you, and a table?  Everything is thought-stuff, or idea-stuff in the same Mind, with different emphasis, emphasizing different qualities and characteristics.  The incredible diversity in the universe comes from the incredible number of variations of emphasis that are possible. 

“Our own” minds are ideas or “trains of thought” in that same Mind, but with a particular emphasis that includes specific memories, activities and habits.  This particular emphasis produces what we normally think of as “ourselves,” and is no more than a short-lived idea in the grand scheme of the universal dream.

In the following question lies an incredibly powerful secret: If our own mind is no more than a train of thought in The Mind, and our individuality is only a particular emphasis in That Mind, then what else could we emphasize instead?  The answer is boundless.  By shifting to another emphasis, we could experience a different state of being, with different qualities, knowledge, thoughts, capabilities and events.  By shifting to another emphasis we could be anything, do anything, and experience anything we wish.

But here’s the catch and the reason most people don’t do it: if you want to experience anything outside the possibilities of this human that you identify with, you have to stop identifying with this limited human.  You have to be able to shift emphasis such that this limited human is not you, does not really exist.  For some people this is terrifying, like self-annihilation.  It might be terrifying unless, you Realize that you were never actually this limited human being after all, that you were never this dream at all, that you have all this time instead been the One Consciousness, the Dreamer.  If you identify with the Dreamer and not the dream, then you are free to dream anything you like without fear and without limits. 

But understand this incredibly important point: Realizing who and what you are does not make you who and what you are.  You are the Dreamer whether you realize it or not.  You are right now “dreaming-up” your experience, these very words you’re reading.  If you’re finding this personally interesting, you might be right now dreaming, through these dream words, that you could realize that you’re only dreaming.  You might be dreaming that you could wake up.  You might be interested in shifting your emphasis to Realize who and what you really are (the Dreamer).  You might be interested in dreaming a different dream, where you are the Dreamer.

So, how do we carry out this “shift in emphasis” that could give us infinite freedom to be anything, do anything, and experience anything we wish?  How do we learn to dream “awake” and alter what we experience at will?  The Mind changes emphasis simply by shifting attention.  The shift could be to something objective (as with something in your environment), or to something subjective (as with something imagined).  It is the emphasis that defines your experience.  It is the shift of attention that changes your experience.  It is the object of attention that defines exactly what the experience will be. 

Attention is like a flashlight in the dark.  Whatever you shine the flashlight on, out of the darkness, it comes into being in the sense of becoming part of your experience.  In the analogy of the dream and the Dreamer, attention is the Divine Light and the “food” of all things, by which all find seeming existence.    The more attention (food) given, the more “real” it seems.  By shifting our attention, we shape our experience.  When the Universe shifts attention, it also shapes our experience through the same mechanism because there is only One Dreamer: the One Consciousness.

Let me repeat and stress an important point: Attention is the “food” of all things.  This Divine Light (attention) makes the entire Universe and everything in it seem to exist.  It gives “presence” to all things.  It gives life to living things.  Like the lamp behind a movie projector, attention is the power of the Creator, the lifeblood of the dream itself and everything in it.

So, what has all this got to do with ritual?  Ritual is a deliberate scripted procedure for shifting attention.  It is a procedure for shifting attention to a specific experience.  It can be designed to shift our individual attention, and it can be designed to shift the attention of the Universe (actually, the difference is only an illusion that comes from emphasis).  Either way, ritual is a concerted act designed to focus attention to a specific emphasis.  As described before, this different emphasis, the effect of ritual, can produce a different state of being, with different qualities, knowledge, thoughts and events.   This ritualized state of being can be subjective and mind-altering, or it can be objective and reality-altering.

The most direct ritual is as simple as focusing one’s attention on the right object (Assiah), mood, atmosphere (Yetzirah), symbol, archetype (Briah), law, or principle (Atziluth).  If you want this shift of attention to seem as real as your every-day experience, your whole mind and whole of attention must be as focused (engrossed or convinced) as it usually is on the illusion of your every-day experience.  All you have to do is shift and focus your attention.  This is a direct mental ritual.  The key to this mental ritual (simply focusing one’s attention) is recognizing one’s true nature: we are not the mind, we are not attention, we are the Awareness behind all things, the Dreamer not the dream.  While habitually associating with That, and not with this individual, and habitually acting only from that Perspective, total immersion in any chosen state or experience is as easy as simply “looking.”  This is the “highest” form of magic, or in other words, the most subtle and easiest magic, but it is available to you only when you identify with the Dreamer and not the dream.  The Mighty Dead, or Ascended Masters never leave this state of mind unless they choose to.  Their every thought is a powerful direction of Divine Light, a powerful act of magic.  (In the final stages of traditional mystical training, one learns an advanced form of spell casting.  In this technique, the simple act of becoming aware of a need, is at the same time, a powerful act of spell casting to ease that same need.  Clearly this type of automatic spell casting requires a special mind.  It is the Mind of the One Consciousness.)

Most of us have not yet recognized our true nature, or have not developed completely absorbed and habitual identification with Consciousness itself.  For us, focusing attention in an engrossed way can be accomplished with more elaborate rituals than simply thinking of the desired experience.  We can make use of patterns and associations in the makeup of the Universal Mind which is reflected in our own minds.  This means we can make use of powerful “triggers” or “Reminders.”  Clever use of these triggers can create effective ways of focusing our attention on specific experiences.

The Magical Alphabet is a list of symbols, associations and patterns described by the Tree of Life.  It is one description or map of the triggers inherent in the Universe and the Mind it reflects.  In such a map of triggers are directions for guiding all the senses and imagination to specific experiences, objects, moods, atmospheres, symbols, archetypes, laws, and principles.  Where the senses and imagination go, the attention can easily follow.  By deliberately combining such triggers (like combining the letters of an alphabet), the Mind can be led to pay attention to any specific experience.  The more immersed the imagination and senses, the more easily engrossed the attention can be, and the more “real” the experience becomes.  When used skillfully, these triggers can alter our experience, our dream, and ultimately our experience of reality.

So with something like the Magical Alphabet, rituals can be composed that will again and again draw the attention to, and engross one in a specific experience.  Sometimes the target experience is extraordinary.  When the wanted focus of attention is especially unfamiliar, a ritual can be designed to lead from the “normal” state of mind to the desired one in steps or sequential mini-rituals.  First, a mini-ritual is performed that brings a mental state not far from “normal.”  Next another mini-ritual is performed that brings a state a little further away from “normal,” and so on.

As mentioned, this principle applies whether the focus is to be that of the individual mind (subjectively mind-altering) or of the Universal Mind (objective reality-altering).  In the former, it is possible to make something subjectively real, in order to provide direct experience of a state of being (such as being the Dreamer, or the One Consciousness).  Repeat performance, making this ritual a habit, by definition changes one’s “typical” state of being.  In the latter it is possible to make something objectively real, as in producing magical changes in one’s environment.  The comprehensive use of ritual is where both of these techniques are applied, in stages.  In this case, the operator is led to a personal experience, possibly of a state greater than, or other than normally human.  Then the Universal Mind is engaged to empower that state in an externally real sense.  Not only is the operator completely absorbed in the focus of attention, but the seemingly greater Universal Mind is too.  The experience becomes completely real both subjectively and objectively.

So ritual is the act of focusing attention (the “life-blood” of all things), typically through “triggers” that engage the imagination and the senses, according to associations and correspondences inherent in the mind.  For the nose:  there are specific choices of incense.  For the ears: specific words of power, music and prose.  For the eyes:  specific colored symbolic objects and visualizations.  Added sensations can be included for touch (eg. a kiss on the cheek), and for taste (eg. wine)  if wanted.  For the imagination, all of these are combined into a subjective experience that further directs one’s attention.  With the right combination of imaginary and sensual components, an atmosphere is built up.  This can be enhanced by a particular location, as in a cave or cliff-top for example.  The rational mind can be engaged through mechanical or mathematical components such as technical symbols like numeric squares and sigils.  The “habitual” mind can be engaged through long and exact preparation, timing and repetition or practice.  (Engaging the habitual mind is important, because habit is the strongest force in the universe, and the strongest force in our own minds.)  A progression of sensations can be assembled that play out archetypal themes or myths, engaging the mind in the experience of the associated archetype, deity or principle.

So, with the knowledge of certain “triggers,” it is possible to direct one’s attention, one’s experience to anything at all.  What would be the most important experience to have?  What would the most important ritual be for?  Of course, that would be a ritual that helps you and others to escape suffering.  In the jargon of Western Mystery traditions, that would be a ritual that helps you complete The Great Work. 

What is it that gives you the power to alter experience and reality?  Not ritual.  You have this power because you share the same One Consciousness that continually creates the illusion of an entire universe.  You are creating your own reality right now, you just might not notice that you’re doing it.  In fact, without realizing that you are the Dreamer and not the dream, as the perfect magician, you will continue to work your habitual magic of experiencing what you are accustomed to experiencing.  Out of pure habit, fear of change and fear of the unfamiliar, with absolute magical power you will go on as you are and unconsciously influence (or limit) the success of any ritual or magic you might attempt.  You will naturally impose a limitation to that which is familiar.  This habitual self-definition and self-limitation, as it powerfully interferes with any out-of-the-ordinary intentions you might have, is called “the Negative Will.” 

[Applying the Magical Alphabet to the Concept of “Habit”
 Habit is assigned to the sphere of the Moon, the sphere of cyclic rhythm.  This tells us that habit is built of repetition and that habit creates repetition.  This tells us that building and breaking repetition gives power over habits.  The cyclic sphere is Yesod, which means “Foundation.”  So habits are the foundation of the illusion we call reality.  The archetype that embodies this sphere is called Gabriel, which means “Divine Strength”.  So habit is the strongest force in the universe.  Repetition is the most powerful technique in the universe.  (One might think of love as stronger, being a direct expression of Consciousness itself, arising from the act of recognition.  But there is a mystery in the relationship between love and habit that is beyond the scope of this article.  For the moment, suffice it to say that love and habit are equivalent forces, habit arising from pure primordeal love.)  Yesod is called “The Storehouse of Images.”  So habit is memory, and memory is habit. Repetition creates memory, and memory creates repetition.  The magical vision of Yesod is “the Vision of the Machinery of the Universe”.  So when one understands habit, memory and cyclic rhythm as the Foundation for the illusion of the universe, one understands the machinery of the universe, or how the Great Illusionworks.
]

Negative Will is a manifestation of habit.  Being the strongest force in the Universe, habit is what keeps the whole illusion going, keeps it from changing too drastically and too quickly, and makes things seem real.  Habit is not an enemy therefore, but a part of the Dream that makes it convincing.  Without it you would stop your rhythmic breathing as you slept.  You wouldn’t seem to exist.  But if you want to perform the magic of transforming yourself into something other than human, you need to shake the habit of thinking of yourself as human.  For this reason, many rituals engage clever techniques to bypass personal habits, and bypass interference by the Negative Will.

One of the best ways to bypass the Negative Will is to turn your attention to who and what you really are.  Most of us who are not among the Mighty Dead, or Ascended Masters need help doing this.  We need triggers to help us turn our attention this way.  For this reason, the most effective rituals always emphasize the ultimate Perspective: that you are Consciousness manifesting itself by casting the Divine Light of attention, that you are expressing its Will through the act of directing Divine Light.  The ritual will not confuse you by making you think that it is a human being that is directing Divine Light.  The ritual will instead speak of some Ultimate Being doing so.  But the secret is: That Ultimate Being you are talking about when you perform the ritual, that Ultimate being is you.  It is who and what you really are.  All the prayers and salutations, descriptions and reminders about the Ultimate Being are about the real you, about the One Consciousness. The ritual is not talking about someone other than your true self.  So next time you pray to that Ultimate Being, know that you are reminding yourself with the words of that prayer, reminding yourself of things that describe the real you that is not human, but so much more.

So to bypass Negative Will, the first act in a well designed ritual is always a reminder of who and what you are, amid your ordinary every-day life.  An example of this first step is the mini-ritual called the Ankh of Light, often used as the first preparatory exercise in rituals of Western Mystery systems.  The first word in that ritual, “Ateh,” means at once both “I Am” and “Thou Art” (referring to the Ultimate Deity).  Saying this word aloud must be for you an immediate reminder that the sensation of “I Am” is the same as Ultimate Deity.  The rest of the Ankh of Light ritual extends that experience of Ultimate Deity through all experience.  This initial emphasis created by the Ankh of Light asserts that the Ultimate Deity is the real operator of the ritual, who utters the Word of God, not a limited human individual.  It is the Mind of the Ultimate Deity that focuses attention (directs Divine Light) on the desired end, not the limited human individual.  This is what you must have in mind as you perform the rituals, and this is the perspective from which you must act, at first in ritual practice, and then throughout your daily life.

Ritual therefore can be simultaneously both operative, and instructive.  It can be instructive in that it can point out the actual experience of being the One Consciousness, and not merely human.  It can be operative in that it can help you behave, even for a time, like you are not a human being, but behave with the knowledge that you are Consciousness itself. 

As we all know, repetition is the way to direct habit.  Repetitive ritual can direct even this most powerful force in the universe (habit).  It can change not only the environment (which seems solid and objective only because of habit), but also one’s character (another form of habit), and most importantly, who or what one habitually identifies with. 

There is only one difference between you and me, and the Mighty Dead or Ascended Masters: they have a powerful habit of identifying with the One Consciousness (and nothing less), which is also a powerful habit of behaving like That.  All you need to do, to escape suffering and relieve others from suffering, in other words, to complete the Great Work, to join the Mighty Dead, is to build the same habit.  Repeatedly performing the right ritual can help you do this.  Luckily, the Mighty Dead or Ascended Masters have crafted for us many such rituals over thousands of years.

One such ritual is modestly entitled “The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.”  In following parts of this article, we will closely examine in this ritual, its performance, meaning and significance, and the way to perform it to make the most of its clever and beautiful design.

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Mer-Amun MerAmun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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

Here is a description of a system for associative thinking used in Western mysticism, based on the Tree of Life of the ancient Qabalah or Kabbalah. It is essential in occult training.

Click “The Magical Alphabet” under “Western Mysticism” on the menu above.

I think we can all agree that before 1940, nearly all occult activities, save very few, were performed in complete secrecy, so little of what is published today was available then.

Now, there is a word for “witch” in nearly every language on the planet.  While “Wicca”, as we know it today, did not exist until after 1940, there were certainly “witches” of some sort practicing throughout history, all over the planet, as evidenced in many more sources than the contents of a mysterious room in the Forbidden City, certain initiatory secrets in the ancient Bön religion of Tibet, digs in the Indus valley, and refrences in ancient Egyptian papyri. In Europe, this practice has been heavily affected by a “Burning Time” that no-one can deny occurred during the time of the Inquisition.  This event drove such practitioners into secrecy, and only survived in a significant way in remote mountain regions of Germany, Eastern Europe, Italy, France and Spain. The secretive witchcraft practiced in these remote locations became culturally isolated versions of what we call “Wicca” today.  In these parts of the world, what we today call “Wicca” became a very secret family or community tradition.  Due to the violent forces that created this state of affairs, the tradition that survived in these fragmented and isolated conditions itself became fragmented and differentiated over time.  In most cases, very little of what was a genuine and complete mystery tradition before the Burning Time survived complete and intact.

As a result of all this, a “witch” before 1940 would have been more likely a follower of a “family tradition.”  Such a person would have snatched up whatever occult literature could be found at the time, while hand-copying whatever notes that could be had through family friends and associations. People involved in such family and cultural traditions tended to be attracted to other occult activities that slowly re-emerged over the centuries.  These people were naturally attracted to, and heavily influenced such occult orders as “The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, the Fraternity of the Inner Light and the Ordo Templi Orientis , besides other separate and more secret orders.  It is known that such magical orders influenced Gerald Gardner, and through him, the influence came round full circle into the English version of “witchcraft” that we know today as “Wicca.”

This paints a picture of a pre-1940 European occult practitioner, who may or may not have called himself or herself a “witch”, and probably never heard the word “Wicca”.  After 1940, while Gerald Gardner affected English Wicca, the other “witches” hiding throughout Europe had not been so affected. In many cases these people still do practice in absolute family or community secrecy.

In American History, an interesting example of secret European family traditions surviving through an immigration to the New World, is the story of the “Pennsylvania Dutch”, or rather, “Pennsylvania Deitsch” (“Pennsylvania Germans”). From the Black Forest hexenmeisters (folk magicians, or spell-casters) of Germany, a group of families emigrated to the lands which are now called Romania, near Transylvania. Kaiser Wilhelm promised them land, in return for settling there. These farming families continued their secret traditions, with an outward appearance of Christianity. They might hang a rosary on the wall, for the neighbors to see, but they continued to practice their own faith in secret. As time went on, they mingled their faith with the practices of Romanian healers. In the early 1800s, they came to America, where they settled in Pennsylvania, and became part of the community which came to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Among these Pennsylvania Dutch, to this day there remain extremely secretive practitioners of very old family traditions (not to mention cooks of great food!)

In the “New World”, Janus-Mithras was trained in a different family tradition by his own mother, who was a Spanish “bruja” pronounced “bruha” , male form is “brujo” – the Spanish words for “witch”).  Not surprisingly, due to the cross-influence between family traditions and secret occult orders already described, Janus Mithras also received training in various secret German occult orders through his own father’s papers.  The “traditional” Wicca described on this web site, that of the Isis Urania covens, is a direct confluence of these sources – the family tradition, and the secret European occult orders.  

Living in Vancouver in 1960, Janus-Mithras was called upon to teach what he had learned from his parents.  As the raw European material Janus-Mithras grew up with wasn’t very useful to English speaking Canadians, he received help from a Gardnerian witch in Vancouver that year, and together they adapted the Gardnerian language to the European family tradition.  Thus, in Vancouver, 1960, Janus-Mithras formed the first of the Isis Urania covens.

Of the “traditional” Wicca described here, while the language is new (post-1940), the teaching behind the language is from a far older family tradition.  It is this older tradition of explanation, Initiation and Realization that is referred to with the word “traditional”.

So, while “Wicca” was invented by Gerald Gardner in a sense, at the same time in another sense, it existed long before Gerald Gardner was ever born, and in many more cultures than the English.  The language of “Wicca” has changed around the world for thousands of years.  Gerald Gardner’s writings simply present yet another new cultural expression of the very old tradition.  The essential teachings, the mysteries, the meaning and significance of those, and the central myth behind it are all much older, and more pervasive than what we today call “Wicca”.  Wicca, the Ancient Way, is a very old system of Initiation and Realization, older than the word “Wicca” itself, and far older than the actual prayers and rituals we use in English today.  It is this Ancient Way that we refer to with the word “traditional” as in “traditional Wicca”.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

There are three motivating paths in Occult Arts:  Power, Knowledge, and Love.

Those motivated by power cannot realize their own true nature beyond their individual ability.

Those motivated by knowledge cannot realize their own true nature beyond an idea.

Those motivated by love realize their own true nature in every way, because their motivation includes both knowledge and power, and more besides.  It also includes the power to identify with (sympathize with) anything and everything, including Ultimate Deity, because that’s what we are (with all the power and knowledge implied).  It’s one thing to engage the elementals with stern authoritarian commands, and another to feel as the Ultimate Deity does, and entreat those elementals to help, with tears in your eyes, and sympathy in our heart.  (As an elemental yourself, which would you be more likely to do everything in your power to help?)

Often, the motivation of love is an underestimated principle in Wicca (and I do not refer to love spells here, but to caring and compassion for others).  We have the wiccan rede: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt”, and we have the Law of Threefold Return.  Both of these hint at the importance of caring for others, but don’t quite emphasize the importance and significance of compassion in Wicca.

But it is essential, this emphasis on compassion and love for others.

The most obvious place we find this is in the motivation that Aradia herself had, for studying the occult arts, and for venturing into the Underworld, to find and confront Death himself.  Being immortal, she was tormented by the continual loss of those she loved, all of whom died, every one, every time.  She was tormented by the suffering all of her children endured, helpless to make a lasting difference, all of them dying eventually.  It was caring for others that drove her to study the occult arts.  This caring being foremost, demanded that she gain power and knowledge, but those only in service of her prime motivation: to end the suffering of others.  Wicca itself exists only because of this motivation in Her: she came back from the Underworld with the Secret to the meaning of life, and devoted herself through eternity to easing suffering in others by teaching what she learned.

Suffering.  The great motivator.  People eat, ultimately because they are suffering from hunger.  They work, ultimately because they are suffering from lack.  Suffering of one’s own, or of others is the most common motivation for studying the occult arts (more often, one’s own).

We find hidden on the Wiccan altar a great reminder of the all-important motivation of love.  It is the Scourge.

Attributed to Aradia, it is a whip with 7 knots, symbolic of suffering, ritually administered lightly as possible to prostate participants.

Aradia, motivated by death and suffering, studied the occult and confronted Death, necessarily removing seven prized obscuring veils.

Etymology:  “Sourge” comes form Latin “ex – corrigia” meaning “break attachments”.

The scourge is Aradia breaking attachments, reminding of four things:

  • Alleviation of suffering is the necessary motivation for studying the occult.
  • Attachment to loved ones, health or possessions causes the motivational suffering.
  • Breaking attachment to prized ignorant habits and self-opinions brings necessary suffering.
  • Occult training eases suffering, through emulating Her.

“Art thou willing to suffer in order to learn?”
(Book of Shadows)

Readers primarily motivated by power might ask, how does power arise from love?  The answer is simple.  The Law of Three Fold Return holds the secret.  There is such a principle as cause and effect in this universe.  One only amasses anything by first giving that same thing to others.  Only by doing things for others, and enabling others will things happen for us, and will we be enabled ourselves.  (Obviously, motivation counts.  If you give something solely to get something, you are demonstrating greed, and greed will be demonstrated right back at you, threefold.  You have to really care, to be shown care in return.)

Readers mainly motivated by knowledge might ask: how does knowledge arise from love?  Again, the answer is simple.  Direct personal experience is the quickest and deepest way to learn or know anything.  Love includes sympathy.  If you have considerable love and  sympathy for others (things as well as people), by simply casting your attention on something, to the degree that you really care, you will know what it’s like to actually “be” it or them.  You will learn from personal experience, not books, everything you care to know about anything you turn your attention to.  Sympathy is possible because you are a direct expression of the entire universe.  By turning your attention to anything, you are simply becoming aware, subjectively, of being that thing (to the degree by which you are capable of perfect sympathy).

“I wish to know, in order to Serve”
(Book of Shadows)
 

Love and compassion are the automatic inherent qualities of realizing that you are a direct expression of the entire universe.  If you’re everyone and everything at heart, how can you not feel for every single suffering experienced wherever you turn your attention, feeling for it as though it were you suffering?  After all, it is you that’s suffering.  So, if you’re wondering why it’s important to be a witch, look to Aradia: it’s to help others from their suffering.  If you’re wondering what is the secret to making your spells work, look to Aradia: it’s the Law of Threefold Return.  If you’re wondering how to learn anything, look to Aradia: care enough, and you’ll automatically know what matters.

So, if you want to be a witch, if you want to know the secrets of the universe, and be able to do powerful magic, look to Aradia.  Be like Her, and devote yourself to easing the suffering around you.  The more you do this, the more you’ll be a powerful, wise, and loving witch like Her.

Mer-Amun MerAmun
Mer-Amun MerAmun (October 21, 2007)

 

 

This is a pictorial.  Click here to view. 

(Don’t forget to read the captions under the photographs, as they are not obvious, and they tell the story.)

Mer-Amun MerAmun (January, 1985)

 

 

I was so tired that I felt dizzy, but I couldn’t sleep for excitement.  The 747 was circling Cairo waiting for landing clearance.  I could smell the ancient city.   I could see the haze in the air which was aglow from the city street lights.  That haze was the reason we weren’t landing immediately.  It was a type of sand storm that had engulfed the whole of Northern Egypt, and threatened to shut down the airport.

Hurray!  Ours was the last plane to land before the airport was shut down.  My business partner and his wife, due to land in another hour and a half, was re-directed to Mecca, the closest airport with a strip big enough for a 747, that was also not affected by the storm.  So, I was alone for 4 days, on my first trip outside of North America.

As we drove through the city, I thought everyone must be mad for the disregard of lanes, speed limits, and road courtesy, and the incessant honking of horns that would have been thought maniacal at home.  The Taxi driver and his brother joked about the “City of the Dead” as we passed by the necropolis – a huge graveyard of tombs – alight with the lanterns of homeless people who spent their nights in there.  They joked that the homeless were actually “the Dead” more than the bones that those people sat upon.

I stumbled into my room at the Holiday Inn Pyramids, in the suburb of Cairo called Giza.  I barely had time to glance out the window into the night, and see looming over the horizon, the night-lit pyramids I had always dreamed of visiting.  I fell into what seemed a long deep sleep, filled with fantastic dreams.

Hungry, and needing to pee, I slowly woke, groggily looking around me, and out the window at the same night scene.  I thought I’d slept more than a few hours, but evidently not, as it was still night, and the pyramids were still right there lit up as when I fell asleep.  Then I realized: I had slept a full 24 hours!  Wasted one of my precious days on this fabulous trip!

I rushed down to the lobby, hastily throwing on my 1980’s black leather jacket, grabbed a candy bar for breakfast, and rushed out into the night, determined not to waste another minute.  I could see the giant pyramids right there, seemingly only a few blocks away, and naively assuming that the city streets would be arranged in an orderly grid, set out in the general direction of them, thinking that sooner or later I’d find my way there.  As you can imagine, I quickly got lost, and unfortunately, in a dangerous part of town at that.  Eventually I found my way at a barbed wire fence that bordered the ancient necropolis  that is beside the pyramids themselves.  There was a small tent with a small fire, around which huddled two or three Egyptian soldiers who were part of the guarding of the site from plunder.  They waved their guns at me menacingly, yelling at me in Arabic, gesturing for me to leave the area at once.  Before I could leave, one of them, speaking clear enough English that I could understand, asked what I was doing there.  I asked for directions to the pyramids.  He kept saying that I should simply follow the “street that leads to the pyramids”, and I kept saying “which street is that?”  After we repeated this to each other a few times, we gave up, and I said I’d go back to my hotel.  Why would he tell me to go to the “pyramid street?”  How was I supposed to know which street that is?  Geeze.

Still suffering from jet-lag, I decided to have some food in the hotel.  From years of accompanying my ex-wife to her belly-dance gigs, I was accustomed to good Arabic food.  There was none of that to be found here.  Terrible falafel, and something horrible that was supposed to pass for tabouli.  Oh well, I thought, I’ll hunt for some good food tomorrow.

Again I slept through the entire following day, so that again it was night when I woke.  I had yet to see Cairo in daylight!  Again I set out into the night, determined to see the pyramids, this time taking my camera strapped around my neck, and hidden under my leather jacket.  This time, I followed the main street in a tangent to where I could see the pyramids, and eventually came to: “Pyramid Street”!!  So this is what the soldier was trying to tell me!  The street itself is named “Pyramid Street”.  I felt like a dummy, but excited, followed it up onto the famous plateau, and straight to the foot of the Greet Pyramid!

I was awestruck by the sheer size of it, looming up into the dark sky above me.  The alien landscape with the other pyramids looming in the distance, and the strange noises that filled the night air felt really eerie, and yet extremely exciting.  I started toward walking around the pyramid, when the night lights suddenly switched off.  I guessed they don’t keep the lights burning all night.  Looking at my watch, it was 10:20pm.

An Egyptian wearing a caftan approached.  In broken English he said I wasn’t to be there and asked me to leave.  I looked at him, dressed like a beggar, and figured he was one of the homeless people the taxi driver was joking about.  I ignored the man and pushed past him, determined to be alone.  He followed quite insistently, and when he saw that I wasn’t going to listen to him no matter what he said, he held out his hand and said “Baksheesh!”  Well, the word I didn’t understand, but the outstretched hand was obvious.  I gave him $20 U.S. hoping he’d be satisfied and leave me alone.  Instead, he immediately started offering me a tour, offering to show me the “quick way” to the top, pointing to take me around to a dark place behind the smaller pyramids, where none of the other figures shuffling around the area could see.  Yeah, right.  The “quick way”!  Figuring I was about to get mugged for whatever other $20 bills I might have in my wallet, I started trying to get away from the man again.

I decided to circumambulate the pyramid three times saying prayers before ascending, and began to do so quickly enough that I would stay ahead of this nagging individual.  Eventually, I came upon a construction wall, with a watchman’s cabin.  This watchman wouldn’t let me pass, but mysteriously, the beggar who was still following me, said something to the watchman, and I was allowed to continue.

Now I was between the Great Pyramid, and the seemingly larger (though actually slightly smaller) pyramid of Kephren.  The strange noises in the dark night air echoed really strangely between these pyramids.  I asked the beggar what that noise was.  He explained that college kids from the University of Cairo come there each night to sing and dance in small groups as teen-agers have done for thousands of years.  Then I realized that was what I was hearing: the chanting and very Egyptian clapping, from at least three groups somewhere out in the dark.  I started walking and praying again.  I came across the construction site, that the guard had let me near.  The beggar explained that this was the newly excavated site of the Boat of Ra, and while the boat had been discovered a long time ago, a building to house it was being created, and new discoveries were being made while digging in the area.  I was grateful for the company of the beggar after all, as he had defended me against the construction site watchman, and he was explaining very interesting stuff to me.  When the beggar saw my attitude change, he again began to offer to show me the top of the pyramid, but this time, he said, he wanted to show me the right way to climb the pyramid.  Not wanting this, I ignored him again, and told him I was going to climb by myself.  He said ok, but just stay with the corners, and not to try to get near the middle of a side.  Soon after this, I guess he gave up, because he disappeared into the night, and I finished my subsequent two turns around the pyramid.

Now I was standing at the North-East corner, and began to climb.  At first, I didn’t know how I was going to manage it, the blocks being too large to scale very easily.  Then, squinting in the dark, I saw that the blocks were actually of irregular size and placement, and if I was careful, I could pick out a route that wasn’t so bad.  Soon, I fell into a rhythm, scaling block after block after block, always looking at my next foot-hold, and deliberately not looking up or down.  I didn’t want to know how hopelessly far from the top I was, and I didn’t want to get dizzy from the height.

After a while, I realized that the rhythm had become so engrossing, it took me a while to notice that I had been quite out of breath for some time, and was about to faint, possibly falling all the way down!  Alarmed, I immediately stopped and sat down, struggling to regain my breath, as I surveyed the view.  The night sky

Looking up into the darkness at the climb ahead, from my resting place about two thirds of the way up.

Looking up into the darkness at the climb ahead, from my resting place about two thirds of the way up.

wasn’t completely dark, as the sand-storm was still around the city, and the orange glow of the street lights lent a faint glow to the haze all around.  The storm just have been subsiding, because I could see stars above.  I looked across the Northern slope at the edge to the West.  That edge, while ragged, looked so stark against the night sky, stars and space immediately upon it.  It looked like the very edge of the Earth. In fact, I became alarmed that I was slowly leaning, leaning toward falling, because of an illusion created by the immense size of the rocky side of the pyramid, which seemed more and more like the ground, and “up” seemed more and more like a vertical from that plane… a false illusion of “up” that would have caused me to tumble to my death.  Quickly I became aware of how vulnerable I was on the steep side of this alien plane, and that the wind was so strong, I had to hold on to keep my balance, my leather jacket flapping in the wind.

Quickly, I looked away from that unearthly horizon, and down at the true ground from which had I started my climb.  And as I looked, creeping out of the dark and gloomy necropolis in the near distance, two packs of wild dogs emerged, slowly advancing on the pyramid, at my feet.  The leaders of each pack advanced upon each other, growling and barking menacingly at each other.  When they met, they were right at the very stone I had first set my foot upon, and as they began a ferocious tearing fight right there, all of the other dogs in the packs began a senseless melee all around.  The terrible sound of this war of dog-fights rose and engulfed me, echoing off the pyramids in the distance, and mixing eerily with the sound of the college kids still partying in the distance.  I wondered, what are the chances that these two packs of dogs should meet to war, exactly at the very spot I had set foot on the pyramid.  Surely, this was some kind of very bad omen for my journey.

I watched the dogs fight below my gaze for a few minutes, and then resolved to turn and resume my climb.  I noticed I had already gone two thirds of the way, and if I got back into that rhythm, I would be at the top before I again lost my breath.  I went only about 10 blocks up, and noticed that the dogs had disappeared, dispersed into the darkness from which they crept.

Block after block, level after level, they all passed in the rhythm of my climb. Again, I neither looked up, nor down, always focusing only on the next block , and the next… and then, to my surprise, there was no next block.  In surprise, I stood, gazing at the plateau at the very top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.  All I have to do, I thought, was  to climb one more block, and I’d be on top… but then, what would I hold on to, to keep my balance against the wind?

And then, what the hell is that?!!!  I suddenly noticed the sound of something else flapping wildly in the wind, besides my jacket.  It was coming from the center of the plateau… a plastic bag of some sort.  Who would litter on the top of the… wait, it’s not a plastic bag.  It’s something wrapped in plastic, something heavy enough to keep the plastic from completely blowing away… judging by the length and width of it, as the plastic flapped around it, the thing looked to be about the same shape and size of a person, lying on the top of the pyramid, wrapped in plastic that flapped wildly in the wind!  What the… ?!!  And is that chanting I hear coming from it, or is that the sound of the wind whistling around the rocks?

My mind raced with possibilities, trying to grasp the situation, and determine what my reaction should be.  On one hand, it could be someone dead.  But who could labor to carry a dead person up here, without being noticed?  Maybe they were noticed, and were somehow allowed!  What would that mean?!  Maybe it isn’t a dead person, but someone who climbed up here just like me.  But then, how could they breath from inside that plastic, and why on earth would they be doing that?  Maybe it’s someone who’s meditating, maybe meditating on death and imagining what it would be like to be dead.  I’ve seen stranger things, and I’ve gone to graveyards myself with that same intention.  But the top of the Great Pyramid?!  I thought of the beggar down below, who might have mugged me earlier.  Maybe this is someone who is lying in waiting for me, to mug me and throw me down to my death!  Oh come on!  How likely is that?  Ok, but how likely is what I see right before my eyes!  How can I explain that?!  Whatever it is, I reasoned, there’s something very wrong here.  That thing is actually lined up exactly North-South, with the “head” to the North, and in the exact center of the plateau!  Something’s not right, whatever it is.  The sense of danger won over me, and I turned, scurrying down the side as quickly as I could, assuming a “crab-walk” to keep all my limbs in contact with the pyramid, while moving as quickly down as I could.

Quickly snapped a picture of the downward journey into the darkness, from near the top.  Note the sand on each level, from which a foothold might easily slip, start a surely fatal tumble.

Quickly snapped a picture of the downward journey into the darkness, from near the top. Note the sand on each level, from which a foothold might easily slip, and start a surely fatal tumble. (click for full size image - note the haze in the air from the sand storm.)

I glanced up at the edge of the plateau above me every few seconds, in case someone were to suddenly appear, and come after me.  My heart was pounding so hard, my croutched body jerked each time with its force. Then, seeing nothing move at all, I stopped, and realized, “wait a minute.”  Just wait a minute.  Think.  Certainly there’s no need to actually endanger myself against the wind by standing up there with nothing to hold on to, and certainly there’s something weird up there… but who on earth would believe this story?  I’m right here, and I’m already starting to doubt what I thought I saw, and what I thought I heard.  I thought, I’ll never forgive myself, if I don’t get my camera ready, and go back up there (gulp), and take a picture of whatever it is.  Then I’ll know that I really did see something up there, and I can show it to others, who might not believe the whole weird story.

So I steeled myself, climbed back up, heart still pounding in my chest, watching my way through the camera view-finder in case something should peer down at me from the edge of the plateau, in which case, I’d quickly go “click!” and run like hell.  But nothing did peer down at me.  So when I got to the top, I carefully aimed, and was about to click, when I realized that the flash in the night was certainly going to draw attention to me where I might have gone luckily unnoticed before!  I decided I had to take my chances… the idea of getting a picture was just too great, so I looked down at my escape route, focused, and snapped the picture.  I scurried down the side of that pyramid like nobody’s business, and upon reaching the bottom, ran all the way down into Pyramid Street, and all the way back to the hotel. 

The next day, I woke in early morning this time.  I befriended a taxi driver who showed me the sights  around Cairo, took me to the perfume shop my Teacher told me to visit, and took me into his home where his wife sheepishly made us a delicious lunch of tomatoes, cheese, and couscous with tea.

I asked the taxi driver, various guards, guides, and officials about my adventure throughout my journey through Egypt in the following weeks.  With one exception, I invariably got one of two responses: a) you’re lying, you didn’t and couldn’t climb the pyramid, especially at night, b) you might have climbed, but you certainly didn’t see that!  (In asking, I discovered that there are signs near the pyramid, warning of the illegality of climbing, and of the certainty of prosecution and probably jail term.  I further found out that the “beggar” was actually a paid guard, whose job it was to keep people like me from going there at night.  I had unwittingly bribed this guard when I gave him the $20 “baksheesh”.)

The exception was on my last day in Egypt.  The Cairo-based travel agent who was in charge of my stay throughout Egypt.  When I told him, his eyes went wide, and he was obviously trying to calm himself for some reason, and he said in a shaky voice at first, “That’s not supposed to be happening anymore.”  When I said “What?” he acted like he never said anything, and simply told me that the “Tourist Police” must be told of my experience, and that they must have a copy of my photograph, as soon as I get it developed.  He wouldn’t say why, and he couldn’t explain what I’d heard him say.  He simply repeated over and over again that I should tell the Tourist Police immediately, and that I should promise to send them a copy of the photograph.

It’s weird that, while I’d been there for more than 56 hours, more than two full days and nights, I never saw daylight in Egypt until after I saw, whatever-that-was, on top of the Great Pyramid.  No matter that I wasn’t believed, those first two days (or rather, nights), in Egypt set a tone or a mood for my entire visit, that lent magic and mystery to everything I did and saw.  

When I returned to Toronto, I had the photo developed, and sure enough, there it is: something roughly man-sized and shaped, inside plastic, that is distorted by its flapping in the wind, lying on the ancient stone blocks that show graffiti from centuries of visits including ancient Romans, Napoleon’s soldiers, etc.  I showed it to a Vietnam veteran, who said it looked exactly like the hundreds of body bags he’d seen.

I showed it to my Teacher.  He said nothing at first.  Then he simply said that it was a warning from the spirit of the Pyramid, and would speak no more about it.

I never did even try to send the photo to the Tourist Police.  I just didn’t want any part of whatever trouble I might be stirring up by doing so.

That’s all I know.  Here’s the picture.  See for yourself.  See what you think.  Maybe it’s nothing and I conjured for myself an adventure out of the sheer excitement of being there, alone, at night, at the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.  Still, what on earth is that in the photograph…?  

As you examine the picture, remember, there’s a strong wind blowing up against it from the direction of view, up against the side in view.  Notice the creases in the plastic… it’s a kind of rigid thicker plastic than garbage bags are.  It made a “crackling” sound as it was flapping in the wind.  It’s about 6 feet long, from the “head” (at the right) to the “feet” (at the left).  If you click to look at the larger image, and look closely at the right end, you can’t help wondering what’s inside that the plastic is being blown so strongly against.  Is that really a head inside there?  The “hump” in the middle was only there as the plastic was flapping in the wind, against the weight of whatever is inside.  That “hump” is part of the “flapping”, and between flapps actually lays down flat, even with the top of the left end.  Maybe it’s just a chello, or harp in a plastic bag from the music store.  At almost midnight.  In Giza.  On top of the Great Pyramid.

Top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops near midnight, Jan.11, 1985  (click for larger image)

Top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops near midnight, Sun.Jan.13, 1985 (click for full size image)

(If you’d like to see more pictures from that trip to Egypt, click here.)

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Mer-Amun MerAmun (Summer 1984)

 

 

I had been married to a world-famous belly dancer and because of that I had become a great fan of belly dancing with knowledge of and respect for the best known dancers in Egypt.

Nagua Fouad

Nagua Fouad

One day it was announced that one of the most famous Egyptian belly dancers, Nagua Fouad, would be dancing in Toronto at Seneca College, partly sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. My ex-wife got tickets for me, and our Teacher, and a couple of other mutual friends. We were all excited to see such a famous woman dance, especially since she was still so highly respected, even in her 50’s.

 

 

When the day of the performance arrived, and we were ushered to our seats, we found that the tickets were not in the same row, but that one of us had to sit in a row behind the others. I took that seat, so that I could be closer to our Teacher in case he had anything to say that I wouldn’t want to miss. I sat next to an elderly Canadian couple who had obviously been to Egypt themselves, and who had great respect for the dancer too. I believe my seat was K73 and they were sitting in seats K71 and 72.

Well, the show was billed to start at 8:30, but 8:30 came and went and everyone was wondering: “what was the hold-up?” The audience was getting loud and restless. Our Teacher was studying the Egyptian hieroglyphs that decorated the program card that everyone was handed at the door. He remarked that these hieroglyphs were not randomly chosen simply for decoration, but that someone who understands hieroglyphs had chosen and arranged those particular ones for a specific effect. I was, as always, amazed by the breadth of our Teacher’s knowledge.

When the show still hadn’t started by 9:30, an announcer came on stage to explain that the dancer wouldn’t be ready for another hour, possibly two. This raised uproar from the audience. The announcer went on to say that a tourism office was offering in consolation, as prize for a draw of ticket stubs, a free trip to Egypt. The condition was that we had to be in our seats to qualify for the draw, and that the draw would be held at the end of the show.

We waited another 20 minutes or so for the show to start. During that 20 minutes it was explained by my ex-wife that famous dancers in Egypt don’t normally go on stage until about 3:00am and that the night-clubs where they perform don’t normally even open until 1:00am. This, apparently, was why the dancer was not prepared for an 8:30 show, as no-one had explained to her the different expectations here in the West. While we waited, I saw our Teacher scan the crowd, and at the far section of the audience he pointed out a group of people who knew my ex-wife very well, who were acting quite hostile toward the group of us sitting together where we were. Our Teacher looked at me and motioned for me to come closer. He said, “If anyone in this room deserves that prize, it’s you. I’ll see what I can do,” and he winked at me with a nod as if to say “it’s a sure thing.” I was flattered and deeply touched that he felt so much for me, regarding all the pain I’d been through as a result of my divorce.

Nagua Fouad

Nagua Fouad

The show came on and I completely forgot the incident. The music, the dancers, and Nagua Fouad were all spectacular. Our Teacher mentioned that he was especially impressed with the subtlety of muscular control that Nagua Fouad had, especially considering her age, and I had to agree entirely. None of us could see how she could possibly have been older than 30 or 40.

 

 

I was so involved in the show and the excitement of it that I didn’t notice the elderly couple sitting beside me get up and leave, it evidently getting too late in the evening for them to remain. It was a long show after all, and it ended very late, especially for a show that was billed to have started at 8:30.

After the last encore by Nagua Fouad was finished, and our cheers and applause would not coax her to the stage again, the announcer came on stage and said that it was time for the ticket-stub draw for the free trip to Egypt. I had completely forgotten about it. I remembered what our Teacher had said, and felt deeply warm that he thought of me again, but put that out of my mind, not really expecting anything to come of his promise, feeling unworthy of such attention from him.

The announcer asked a little girl to come on stage to pull a ticket stub out of a hat he had in hand. The little girl must have been 4 years old. She was shy and reluctant, but eventually the announcer got her to reach in and pull out a ticket…… K72! “Would the person in seat K72 please come to the stage to accept your prize! Your free trip to Egypt!”

My mind was reeling. I couldn’t believe how close to me the winner actually was! It was the seat right beside me! It was one of that elderly couple right beside me! “What are the odds?” I thought in excited amazement. I bent down to say to our Teacher: “WOW that was amazing! Right beside me!” But he was already stretching around to speak to me. He was apologizing profusely, saying again and again, “I’m so sorry. I thought for sure it was yours. I thought for sure you were the winner. I’m sorry. I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. I was shocked. I didn’t realize he was so very serious about making sure that I got that prize. I’d never heard our Teacher apologize like that before. I felt so very badly that he was upset about something to do with me. All I could do was to express my amazement that whatever he had done, had landed the prize RIGHT NEXT TO ME!

Then, as people started yelling that the winner wasn’t in his seat, that they had gone home, I realized that there was no-one sitting in that seat anymore. It was only then that I realized that the elderly couple must have gone home. So now what? The announcer confirmed with everyone in the audience that yes, that draw was disqualified because the winner wasn’t in his seat any longer, so another draw must be made.

I thought “Wow, how lucky I was to have been so close to winning, and how lucky I was to have been so close due to the efforts of my teacher!” “What a magician!” I thought. I realized that my chance at winning was granted but that for some reason or other I didn’t get it, and that was that. I thought “I’ll never forget how close my teacher brought the draw to making me the winner!”

So the announcer asked a little boy to come on stage this time. I thought of the impossibility that out of two draws, that they should be adjoining seats, and that the adjoining seat should be mine after my teacher said “I’ll do what I can” with a wink. The impossibility of it made me give up completely the notion that I could possibly be the winner.

The little boy reached into the hat, pulled out a ticket….. K73! My seat! My ticket! Right after the seat just next to me had been pulled! Impossible!

But everyone around me was yelling “congratulations” and “good for you” and our Teacher had turned around to face me and was laughing, and everyone seemed to be laughing, and I realized, Oh my God! I better get down to the stage to get….. I WON! I thanked our Teacher as best as I could amid everyone’s yelling and presented my ticket stub on stage. I actually received a voucher for what turned out to be one of the most spectacular trips of my life, second only to traveling through Katmandu and part of India with our Teacher and friends many years later.

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Mer-Amun MerAmun (Summer 1974)

 

 

It was late one evening in our Teacher’s apartment in Toronto. He had just finished teaching some of his students (including me) a class about Wisdom and Skillful Means. We were all a bit tired from the intense interest peaked throughout his discourse, and as always were closing the day with fascinating discussions generated by his teaching, while sipping tea and munching snacks (which he always provided).

I remarked that I was having trouble with the notion that the study of Skillful Means was merely an intellectual exercise. One of the students asked our Teacher for some tangible proof that Skillful Means really exists and that what we’re studying has a basis in physical reality besides the reality of the imagination. Our Teacher asked what would constitute “proof” of such reality. All at once, students began calling out different effects he could perform in front of us, any of which would be “impossible” without Skillful Means. One called for him to levitate something. Another called for him to make a spirit to appear in physical form before us. Another person mentioned that our Teacher had once (jokingly) promised to create a rainstorm inside the apartment.

To my surprise (and that of others I’m sure) our Teacher agreed to create a rainstorm! But not inside the apartment, though only due to the calamity of getting everything wet. He said the rainstorm would happen outside instead.

I remembered that in another meeting, out Teacher had mentioned that weather magic had always come very easily to him, describing an incident where in his early childhood (6 years old or so), his mother (who was also one his first teachers) had taken him to the top of a hill, overlooking the ocean, and asked him to perform a simple technique for creation of a storm. When he did so, there had immediately appeared in the distance a black rolling cloud moving very quickly, boiling and thundering straight toward them, throwing lightning bolts all along the way. There immediately followed one of those tropical “flash storms” the residents are so accustomed to. Our Teacher mentioned that his mother was very impressed, even shocked at the immediacy and intensity of the reaction to what she thought was her son’s first attempt at creating tangible phenomena. Our Teacher remembered that she tried to hide her amazement, in hopes that our Teacher wouldn’t get a “big head” over it.

As I was thinking of this, I was sitting in a chair right next to the open Western window, laying my arm on its sill. Watching our Teacher get up from his chair, moving to the “meditation” area of the room in front of us, I also looked out the open window. I could easily see the completely clear sky, and the few stars that shone through the city glow of downtown Toronto. I remember thinking that this would be a spectacular trick indeed, as not only was there not even a single cloud in sight, but there wasn’t even a haze in the air, normally so common in the inner city of Toronto.

I watched our Teacher with utter interest and fascination as he began with preparatory prayers of “Remembrance” (which we now call “Recollecting The View”) when lighting a high candle in the nearly complete darkness of the room. I keenly witnessed him perform the same preparatory ritual and mantra that we were all practicing on a daily basis at the time… but he made small adjustments, each accentuating some presence from each of the four Buddha Families, one in each quarter. I savored the sound of his magical sword being dragged on the floor to form a circle around the practice room, which had its Southern wall completely open to us as we sat transfixed in our chairs and couches, our eyes following our Teacher’s every move.

Every few seconds, I would tear my eyes away from the “master at work” before me, whose every movement and utterance was firm, direct, and carefully controlled. I would tear my eyes away to glance out the open window beside me to see if anything was happening outside. To my amazement, as he drew the circle around his place of “working” with the sword, I could see the air thickening before my very eyes into a haze that had not been there before, obscuring the few stars that I had seen only seconds before. The hot night air that was the reason for having the window open in the first place, quickly cooled and a chill ran through me as I thought the window aught now be closed.

Then, our Teacher took a position in the West, facing whatever imagined forces he had summoned there, facing them with a head held high and a look of power and authority that sent shivers up my spine and made the hair on my forearms stand on end. He powerfully thumped his sword into the floor before the West as he mentally addressed those Western entities he faced, making us all jump in our seats with the suddenness and the power in that “Thump!” Quietly then, he stood there, obviously exercising some part of the “operation” inwardly with his irresistible imagination, and I glanced again out the window. To my amazement I saw far off in the Western distance the haze giving way to clouds visible in the partial moonlight, gathering there out of nowhere in the now cool night air.

Suddenly, but smoothly and carefully our Teacher raised his sword, pointing it high toward the top of the Western wall, and he began to trace in the air with the sword a clockwise circle toward the West three times. As he did this, the clouds gathered up and began to move at an incredible speed, directly toward us, forming a dark and undulating ball. By the time he finished tracing the third circle in the air, I could see the clouds were immediately overhead. The timing struck me with awe, and I realized this was no foolish matter I was witnessing. The atmosphere of playfulness we had all been in when chiding our Teacher to perform some visible Skillful Means was wiped completely from my mind.

Immediately upon finishing his tracing the three circles in the air, he powerfully thrust his sword at the top of the Western wall, suddenly and loudly blurting out a word of prayer in a low and resonant voice. I was shocked and frightened for a second, because at the same instant he thrust his sword, and the same instant that he blurted out that word of prayer, a brilliant and deafening thunderbolt of lightning crashed from the sky directly over our heads. I saw the brilliance of the lightening light up the entire sky and the entire Toronto skyline visible from that open window.

His mantra chanting continued slow and low, resonating with authority, and I realized that his sword had been at the top point of an imagined symbol as he moved it in strong lines past all of its parts. Then he once again thrust he sword to trace in the air part of a different symbol chanting a different mantra in a similar low and powerful voice. As he moved his sword around that figure in the air, I was startled again when my arm became immediately soaked before I could pull it away from the open window, for huge raindrops, the largest I have ever seen, began to pour down from the sky, instantly drenching anything caught in the open. I could barely see across to the next house, only 20 feet away, for the thickness of this torrent of rain.

Our Teacher began some closing prayers and mantras, and the rain began to lighten in its downpour. He came back to the part of the room where we were all sitting, and laughing, took his seat again amongst us. All of us were very impressed and a chatter of amazement erupted in the room. “How did you do that?” “Is that difficult to learn?” “Did you do that yourself, or ask a deity to do it for you?” “What were those differences in prayers and mantras from what we practice every day?” “Is it raining everywhere, or in a specific area?” “Were you just helping something along that would have happened anyway?” “Did your work cause the rain, or did the coming rain cause you to do the work?”

Our Teacher explained that the circle he had drawn with his sword on the floor had actually described a specific area in Toronto where it would rain, and there would still be clear skies outside that area. He explained that what we were practicing every day was not an empty intellectual exercise, but that it formed the foundation for all of the practitioner’s powers through minor variations like those we had seen that night. He explained that there was really nothing special about him in his ability to do what he did, but that all of us were capable of such things and much greater things if we simply stuck to our daily meditation and ritual practices. He expressed his worry about having done this for us. He was worried that maybe we’d now be practicing only to impress other people in the way he’d impressed us, instead of practicing in order to help others in need of help. He explained that he thought we needed something to show how serious and truly “real” our practice was, so having weighed the benefits and consequences had decided to do something tangible in front of us.

It continued to rain for only about 15 minutes, after which, through the open window, I saw the clouds dissipate into a haze, and then the haze disappear, leaving only the perfectly clear night sky again.

I feel luckier than the others in the room that night, because I was the only one able to see out the open window into the night sky. I was the only one who saw the instant effect that our Teacher’s every gesture and prayer were having on the real world outside. I’ll never forget the exact timing of the thrust of his sword and the crash of that bolt of lightening. I was the only one to get part of myself soaked because of the suddenness of the torrential downpour of huge raindrops that immediately answered his prayers. For me, since that day, his teachings have never again been “an intellectual exercise.” I know that I was not tempted to continue the study in order to do things that impress others, (I have only once been tempted create the same effect – all alone – and to my amazement, was actually successful to a degree!), but that the effect of this night on me was to “ground” in my being in an irrefutable way the “truth” and “reality” of what our Teacher was offering to teach us. This effect has never left me, and never will.

The next day I was further shocked at the depth of the “reality” of what I had seen when my best friend remarked on the “freak” rainstorm that had soaked him and his girlfriend the night before. I laughed with excitement when I heard that. Again I laughed when I saw a small clip in the Toronto Star newspaper that day in the weather section, describing a “freak” rainstorm that had occurred the night before in only part of Toronto, during what had until then been a completely clear sky, raining for only 15 or 20 minutes, and then abruptly stopping when all the clouds suddenly disappeared.

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Nestled in the valley between two huge mountain ranges just inside the British Columbia border is the town of Golden, where the mighty Columbia River and the wild and rocky Kicking Horse river meet. 

In June 1967, where the Kicking Horse river enters the edge of town along the steep wall of a rocky cliff there was a public campground, and close to that campground were the houses of my friend and I. 

I was 11 years old that year and it was the year of the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, or Expo 67 as we called it.  The fair was held in Montreal, Canada, in honor of that being Canada’s centennial year.  It was considered to be the most successful World’s Fare of the 20th Century with over 50 million visitors and 62 nations participating, and nearly everyone in the country wished to go. 

Every year, the moon’s most powerful solar day of the year is the day that the sun enters the moon’s own sign, the sign of Cancer.  That day, the summer solstice, is the longest day of the year and has been considered for millennia a day of union between the God and Goddess (sun and moon, as the former enters  the latter’s own sign). In 1967, the evening of June 21 was a particularly powerful day for the moon, as it was not only the evening of the summer solstice, but it was also the evening of the Full Moon.

That night, the moon was particularly bright, so much so, that it actually woke up my riend, shining through the window onto his face as he slept.  Creeping out of bed in the silvery moon light, he went to his window to marvel at its brilliance.  He was accustomed to seeing the river just outside his back yard, and the rocky cliff off to his right, but this evening, everything looked anew in the wash of the moonlight. As he gazed at the fantastic light shining off the cliff, something moving caught his eye.  What would someone be doing, climbing that dangerous cliff so late at night?  His interest was peaked.

At first, catching sight of long flowing golden hair, he thought this might be a woman, but in astonishment, he realized that the person climbing was a totally naked man!  Fascinated, he watched the man reach a small outcrop part way up the cliff, stand straight up, face the moon, and lift his arms toward it as if in prayer.  Not 10 minutes passed, when to the further amazement of my friend, from all directions there emerged a cloud of what seemed in the moonlight, and from the distance, what he thought to be silver butterflies, surrounding the man as he stood there with his arms outstretched.  As if that scene weren’t strange enough, lit up so brightly by the powerful light of the moon that night, the silvery creatures actually gathered around close to the man, and all landed upon him, completely covering his body in one shimmering silvery mass.  It was as if the man with the golden hair had turned to silver before my friend’s very eyes. 

A few minutes passed and the man let his arms down.  The silvery creatures dispersed, and the naked man climbed back down the cliff, disappearing into the campground.  My friend didn’t sleep at all that night, with the wonderment of what he’d seen.  What kind of man was this?  What on earth was he doing there on that cliff!  Why had the silver butterflies covered him like that? 

As soon as his parents woke, which was about 7 am that Thursday morning, my friend rushed his breakfast and bolted out the door.  Racing to the campground on his bicycle to see if he could find this amazing man, he spotted the man, who had his hair tied in a pony-tail.  He was with a couple of older women, beside a Volkswagen van. He noticed that they were breaking camp, and would be leaving any minute.  Immediately he turned and rode as fast as he could back to my house, where he began pounding on the door, punching the door-bell, and yelling out my name in frantic desperation.

Groggily I came to the door to see what the fuss was all about.  He was talking so fast I couldn’t understand at first, and didn’t understand why I should change out of my pajamas and go bicycle riding with him so very early in the morning.  In what must have seemed like forever to him, the story of what he had seen came out, and after asking him to repeat that several times, I finally understood the urgency.  There was some kind of “super-human” man in the campground, and I should come and watch immediately because he was about to leave at any second.

Rushing into my clothes and onto my bicycle, we sped to the campground, looking for the Volkswagen van.  To our terrible disappointment, it was gone.  I didn’t know why, but the disappointment was all-consuming.  Over the following weeks I fell into a deep depression, spending much of my time huddled inside a cardboard box in the basement.  My mother and a doctor tried to snap me out of it, but all I could think of was: I had my chance to meet an angel in the flesh, someone like no other being on the planet, and I was unworthy, so I missed my chance.  The sense of loss and unworthiness was overwhelming, far more than I could take.  All I could do was sit in that cardboard box and cry for days and days.

 

Five years passed.

Now I was 16 years old and my younger brother and I had moved to Toronto to stay with our Mother after the divorce, and after our abusive father had once again brutally beaten me, and finally threatened to kill me.  We were listening to our mother in her drunken stupor, explaining that she was moving to Yellowknife with her 17 year-old boyfriend where he would make a lot of money working in mines there, and she would work as a bar maid.  “The rent’s paid to the end of the month, boys.  Have a nice life,” she said.  I had been living in parking garages before our mother had eventually sent for us to join her.  Now, it seemed, it was back to the streets for me, and this time also for my bother.

I burst from the apartment crying, the sense of abandonment cutting so deep into me that I couldn’t think.  I wandered the unfamiliar streets of downtown Toronto tortured with thoughts of uncertainty and fear, of hostility and helplessness.  What was I going to do?  How would I find food?  Where would I live?

I was standing on Bloor Street, under the shelter of a construction walk-way, where the Manu-Life Center was under construction at the time, sheltered from the soft rain that fell that evening.  I stopped, bewildered and lost, as the feelings of betrayal, exposure, and terrible uncertainty washed over my head, far deeper than I could handle.  Tears streaming down my face, I closed my eyes, and shouted in my mind as loud as I could, “If there’s any kind of god or goddess or super-human or alien or anything out there listening, please, please, I need help.  I don’t know what to do.”  I tried desperately to imagine any kind of superior being that might exist, concentrating and focusing my mind as strongly as I could.   I thought of that angel-like “super-human” I had only just missed the chance to meet, five years ago, in Golden B.C.

Immediately, I was bathed from nowhere, within an infinite ocean of rose-pink colored light.  With the pervading light, came an absolute certainty that I was not alone, and that I would be taken care of, that everything was going to be OK.  This particular color of light, I would learn in years to come, was none other than the signature of a particular being, who would be as close to me as my own mind for the rest of my life.

Suddenly calmed and comforted, and even excited with the secret knowledge that everything was going to be taken care of, I opened my eyes, wiped away my tears, and sought our mother’s apartment where I had 2 weeks to live.

 

A year passed.

My brother and I were living on Yonge Street, sometimes sleeping in the storage room of a “head shop” (a shop that sold drug paraphernalia), sometimes sleeping in parks, or parking garages.  We had become accustomed to stealing food, visiting parties where we might find something to eat, and some way to get stoned for free, and sometimes skipping out on restaurants (where the waiters knew us, pitied us, and served us knowing that we had no money). 

We badly needed and wanted jobs, but couldn’t find anything.  It takes money to make money: the only clothes I had were the ones I wore and those wouldn’t get washed for months on end, and we couldn’t pay for transportation to possible job prospects.  My brother was too young to work yet anyway. 

To pass the time, I sometimes spent the day at the University of Toronto, downtown campus, where there was a computer terminal room that was open to the public.  I had been hanging out there after school before our mother left, and had school friends who did the same.  We were trying to learn to be main-frame hackers.  I was trying to learn what I could about computers from my friends, and the older “hackers” that hung around that place.  Eventually I managed to get a part time job there changing the type-writer ribbons in card punch machines.

One day my brother was on his way from hanging out with other street kids, to the Sanford Fleming building at the University, where he was to meet me on pay day.  We were going to celebrate payday by doing to McDonald’s for dinner.  He took the same short-cut he usually did, through a long alley way just off Yonge Street.  He passed the same garages, the same garbage cans, the same fences as he always did, but for some reason, today, he had an impulse to climb into the narrow space between a telephone pole and a fence, and then look up along the height of the telephone pole.  To his surprise, tacked there on the telephone pole, far above the height of his reach, was a bright blue flyer.   “Why on earth would someone deliberately tack a flyer where it could not normally be seen?”   The only way it could possibly be seen would be to wedge oneself between the pole and the fence and look up, exactly as my brother had inexplicably done.  The poster was too high for him to read or reach, so he left, wondering about it, and then forgot about it.

A few weeks later my brother was taking that same route again, when he remembered the curious flyer.  Again he wedged himself between that telephone pole and the fence, and looked.  Still there.  Of course, why would it not, since it was too high to reach, and completely out of sight anyway.

This time, on meeting me, my brother pleaded with me to come with him, because he wanted to show me something strange, though he wouldn’t tell me what.  He thought I wouldn’t come if I knew it was just to look at some dumb flyer tacked to a telephone pole.  He told me to wedge myself against the fence as he had done, and then he said “Ok, now look up.”  At first I was looking at the sky, not knowing what he meant, and then I too noticed the weird bright blue poster deliberately tacked out of sight, and out of reach.  “Why would someone do that?” I asked my brother.  “How would I know?  I was wondering the same thing,” he replied.

I asked my brother to crouch and provide a foot-hold, so that I could climb on top of the fence.  Doing so, I was now within reach of the poster, which I tore off the pole.  Jumping down, we stared at it with excited curiosity at first, and then with a sense of weird apprehension.  The poster said that it was from a group of people that meet each full moon specifically to help people in need.  It said that those in need could receive this help either by writing to a post office box, or by concentrating on the image of the full moon, any month on the night of the full moon.  We both wondered why an advertisement like this would be deliberately placed where it couldn’t be seen.  But then, we had seen it, hadn’t we?  On the night of the next full moon, my brother and I sat quietly, focusing on the image of the full moon, praying in our minds that he might find a job.

The next afternoon, my brother was rushing up Yonge street, just about past Charles Ave., on his way for a meeting with friends, for which he was already late.  As he passed what was then the flagship Coles bookstore, a man with a European accent ran out the front door of the bookstore and literally grabbed my brother by the arm.  The man apologized, and begged my brother for a few moments of his time.  He explained to my brother that they’d just gotten a huge shipment of books and were opening the next day, and needed help stocking the shelves.  The man said he would pay handsomely for my brother’s time, if he would only please help.

Ok., just hours ago, we were doing as this weird poster said: praying to the full moon, asking that my brother find a job. Now someone had literally grabbed him by the arm, and begged him to take a job.  Wow. 

That couple of hours helping out turned into a steady part-time job for my brother.  One of his co-workers at that store was Geoffrey, a young man from New York City.  My brother used to see Geoffrey taking his lunch hour and coffee breaks by sitting alone in a small room in the basement, “meditating” as he put it (though my brother often saw him nod off into a snore).  One day Geoffrey was talking to an older man about an occult subject that my brother and I happened to be reading about the very night before.  My brother surprised them both by chiming in on the conversation, holding his own with knowledge of the particular topic.  More conversations like this eventually led to Geoffrey’s explaining that he belonged to a meditation group, and that my brother and I would be welcome to try to meet his teacher, if we would write a statement about why we wanted to join such a group and learn meditation.  After so writing, our applications would be reviewed by existing members, and a decision would be made as to whether or not we would be invited.  That night we wrote, and my brother gave our letters to Geoffrey and a week later we were invited to meet his teacher.  It was explained to us that while the group normally did not accept members of such a young age, we were accepted because we had specifically mentioned in our desire to learn meditation, the desire to help others in need.

It was Monday (moon-day) October 29, 1973 when we were to meet the “Teacher” and other members of the meditation group.  My brother and I walked fast through the brisk Autumn evening in a state of high excitement.  Wow.  We were actually going to meet Geoffrey’s teacher, and these other people who were into mysticism and meditation.  Then I realized we were a couple of kids, completely alone in the dark, going where no-one else knew, to a meeting that no-one else knew about, to meet a bunch of complete strangers who were bound together by some kind of mystical practice.  I realized that we could completely disappear that night, and no-one would know what happened.  Fear mixed with excitement in the quick pace through the night, but the fear and the doubt were not strong enough to deter me.  I mentioned my doubts to my brother, but he said, “Nooo… Geoffrey would never hurt anybody, nor have anything to do with anyone who would hurt anybody!” I decided to take his word for it and forget about my doubts.

Arriving at the address written on the scrap of paper that we had, we found ourselves standing in front of a two-story apartment building in Cabbage-town (a trendy part of downtown Toronto), just a few doors from the dilapidated Winchester Hotel on Parliament street, and nearly across from an old church that had been converted into a community center.  The building was recessed farther from the street than other buildings, probably because it was older than the rest.  It was dark back there, and we could see no lights in any of the windows.  Cautiously, we approached the huge front door.  The wooden stairs creaked loudly as we climbed to the second floor where we stood at the door to apartment number 3.  We could hear voices inside.  We waited a couple of minutes, shyness and worry overtaking us.  I really didn’t feel confident in meeting a bunch of strangers, but reached out and knocked anyway.  A few seconds later, we could hear the floor creaking as someone approached the door, and then took what seemed forever unlocking what seemed like ten different locks, latches, and chains before opening the door.  To our relief, there stood Geoffrey, his frizzy hair tied back, wearing a meditation robe, and grinning at us with outstretched hand.   He motioned us in, and introduced us to his Teacher, who was now right in front of us.

I looked at him with shocked wonder, noting his side-burns and long golden hair, tied in a neat pony-tail.  He was smiling at us with such warmth, I thought I saw a radiant aura of gold emanating from him that enveloped and pervaded the whole room.  Looking around the room, I saw a group of people I didn’t know, but my brother recognized one of them to be the older man who often visited the book store to talk to Geoffrey and my brother about mysticism.  (His name is Richard.)  That night Geoffrey’s teacher offered to become our Teacher too, on condition that we never partake of street drugs again.  (I immediately agreed, but my brother would not.  My brother and I parted ways not long after.) 

That was the first night of the happiest, most wondrous and magical part of my life.  Sometimes I’d visit our Teacher when he was helping Richard in his bookstore, and often he would say, “Have you eaten today? Because we were just about to get some dinner and would like you to join us.”  (Years later I learned that they had actually usually just finished eating, and said this to me so that they could buy me some food, without embarrassing me about the charity.)   I met with our Teacher, Geoffrey, Richard and others, learning to meditate, and taking long walks in the night discussing and learning philosophy and mysticism from our Teacher.  We learned to meet as a group on the nights of the full moon, to direct prayers to anyone in need who might also be concentrating on the image of the full moon. 

Yes.  This was the very same meditation group mentioned in the weird poster!  It was Geoffrey himself who had deliberately tacked that poster out of reach and out of sight, so that only the person with the right “karma” might see it.  Years later I learned later that my Teacher performs a special practice by himself, where he tries to find people in distress, and bathes them in an ocean of rose-pink light as part of beginning to take care of them, and assure them that everything will be OK.

So here’s how it all fell into place: 

  • I had been in terrible distress, praying for help from anyone or anything that might be listening.
  • I was answered and comforted with an ocean of rose-pink light
  • We took down a poster that had been deliberately hidden for the right person
  • We did as it said, to focus on the full moon when a group would be offering help, praying for a job for my brother
  • The next day my brother was literally grabbed by the arm with offer of a job, and ended up meeting the very same guy who hid the poster, a member of the group that had been offering help through the full moon, the night before (though we didn’t know this at the time)
  • That eventually led to our meeting and joining that very same group
  • The teacher of this group happened to be the same being who helped with the rose-pink light in the first place (though I didn’t know this until several years later)

Twelve years passed.

One evening in 1985, upon learning that I’d lived in Golden B.C. as a child, our Teacher was prompted to telling us a story about a really strange thing that happened to him in that very town.  He said that he was travelling with two older women in a Volkswagen van, headed across the country to attend Expo 67.  They had stopped for the night at this campground in Golden, by a river, near a rocky cliff.  He explained that he had waited until the women were asleep, swam in the river climbed onto the shore (not the cliff as my friend thought he saw) to do some prayers, when suddenly, out of nowhere, these gold and pink moths (not silver butterflies as my friend thought he saw) appeared and covered his whole body!  Very weird experience, he said.

Socked, I said, Oh my gosh!  That was you?!!!!  18 years ago?  You were naked when you did that!  He asked how I knew that, blushing quite red.  I explained what my friend had seen.  He said he really didn’t think anyone would have been watching, so late at night, and so far out in what he thought was wilderness.

So, to add to the chain of events above, is the fact that the very same “super-human” being I had been so close to meeting as a child, actually came to my aid when I was in such desperate need, and even became my life-long Teacher, and guided me through life from then as a new father might.

While I will never shake the terrible feeling of unworthiness I have always felt, even when crying in that cardboard box as a child, to him I owe all of the best parts of my life:

  • Most importantly, whatever training in Life, meditation and mysticism that I’ve been able to take to heart, being such a poor and unworthy recipient of such.
  • The “luck” and encouragement and direction that helped me climb from the streets into a successful life-long career, without formal education.
  • The “chance” meeting of my beautiful and loving wife (who is also one of his students).  Together with our son, of whom I’m so proud, I have a family more wonderful than I ever dreamed I would.
  • The most spectacular adventures of my life, in Egypt and traveling with him through Nepal and India

I wish I could someday make him proud to be my Teacher, as I am proud to be his student.  Some day.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

 

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