Magic and the metaphor of Creation

The Prince of Darkness is not a creator god in the sense of creating the physical world, or – using the terminology of the Temple of Set – the objective universe. The creation of the Prince of Darkness is the individual subjective universe.

The Gift of the Prince of Darkness to the humanity is the possibility to become aware of this. Once you awaken to the creation of the inner universe, and once you have worked through the initial confusion that arises from the awakening, putting forth a considerable amount of work, you see that this creation of the Prince of Darkness was not complete. Rather it was an opening, and once it had been done, the space thus created has been filling up with other influences: external influences from other subjective universes or from the material objective universe, and inner influences of the mechanical nature of your human self.

This is where you are at a crossroads. For another possibility arises: that you can have the same creative power over your inner universe – that in this you are kin to the Prince of Darkness.

Working through the material that has been amassed in your self, exerting the power of creation and destruction according to your needs, desires and curiosity, you will become de facto creator of your universe.

What changes you bring to your inner universe will begin to take form also in the outside objective universe and in the subjective universes of other beings. Part of this process is very natural: as you change and interact with the world around you, those changes will be reflected. But there is a more subtle part, that of your inner core sending out influences that have a more indirect effect. In this you participate in the greater magical current of the world, the real Work of the Prince of Darkness.

The essence of any magical action is to create your own universe, and in so doing you will also help the creation of that which is beyond you.

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Notes on the Heart, pt. 2

 

In one’s current state of Work one experiences the Need to Work in some direction. The reason for that Need and direction can be experienced more or less rationally, but the deepest reason for it often stays in Rûna, in the realm of Mystery. Only later when some realizations of one’s Work become crystallized one finds more deeply why one was Working in that direction. The impulse that keep Initiation going forward comes from the Darkness of one’s Being, from ab, one’s Heart. It is suprarational (and “religious” or “spiritual”) in its nature. Once the Need of that impulse is taken under Work one then directs oneself towards it rationally and with magic. In the process also more unconscious layers of one’s mind get involved in it and eventually there may come crystallizations that involve different levels of one’s Being. Then one Knows more deeply what it was that was calling one in the Darkness. At that point the Heart is, of course, already some steps “ahead”, calling deeper into the Darkness of one’s Being.

– Tapio Kotkavuori. Aletheia vol. 1, p. 107.

Notes on the Heart

 

The human experience of the heart as a life supporting organ which marks the boundary between life and death has given the heart a special status as the center for power and emotion, through which humans have defined the communicative relationship between the self and the outside world. The special meaning that the heart has can especially seen in sacrificial rituals.

Asko Vilkuna discusses the ‘sacred meat’ of the Saami and the Ob Ugrian Khanty and Mansi, which stands for the bear heart. The heart was regarded as containing the ‘soul’ and power of the bear, which then hunters were able to insert into themselves. (…) To eat the heart and the liver of the killed enemy – cooked or raw – has been an ancient method for gaining power for both the body of the person who eats the meat and his community.

Thus, the idea of a burning heart (and a worshipped heart) did not arise within the Western philosophy of love; humans have burned or fried hearts in very concrete ways and marked them off as sacred, as markers of transformation, through the act of ritual eating. It is the later ideological currents that have given a more sublime meaning to the idea of the sanctity of the heart. Instead of concrete behaviour, humans have now chosen to define their relation to the burning heart on the level of an image.

– Veikko Anttonen. The concept of ‘pyhä’ (sacred) in pre-Christian Finnish religion. In: Northern religions and shamanism, 1992, p. 33.

A remark on Sekhem

 

See how few are the things which a person must gain control of in order to live a peaceful and godlike existence, for the gods will ask nothing more from the person who does so.

– Marcus Aurelius. Meditations, 2.5

On magical teaching

 

Much of the real Teaching seems simple. This is because magic is simple when you are able to see it. The real mystery is connected to the difficulty of attaining and maintaining the needed perception, and to the amount of Work it takes to Become efficient in this.

The basic recipe for Becoming

 

In order to realize (as in make it a reality) an ongoing process of Xeper and Remanifest, you need a few ingredients:

  1. You need to begin to understand your current state of being honestly and completely. Who are you now, where are you now, and what exactly has contributed to you being what and where you are here and now?
  2. You need to begin to differentiate between your needs, desires and interests.
  3. You need to combine the two above into a feedback loop that helps you refine what you can find with what you can do.

Add the pressure of tangible Work on these areas and you are well on your way.

Three Principles of Making Sushi, or Mastery and the Heart

A Dissonant Resonance Compass is the title to a curious little figure in the second public book by Tapio Kotkavuori. It’s a scruffy drawing and the idea is not expanded much further in the accompanying text, and yet there’s something quite deep in this rather simple concept pertaining to the Left Hand Path.

One could define the LHP as putting first the aim of resonance with your Being, and therefore opting for possible dissonance with the rest of the world. Here, the Being refers to (the experience of) the more stable and coherent parts of the self; and the self should be understood as virtually everything that can be attributed to the individual (whether she wants or not). The latter term adheres to ‘identity’ and ‘identification’, both by the subject and the onlookers, while the former is the real manifestation of the individual Black Flame.

Of the extremes of resonance and dissonance, only resonance is truly important for the LHP. A wilfully dissonant stance may be a worthwhile tool at times, but more often it simply is the natural outcome of the Work that is needed to be done in order to tune the self to the inner resonance. This puts the priorities right: for striving to be dissident is to seek to oppose something defined from without, instead of looking within to find an individual if not outright isolate meaning to one’s Work.

One key to understanding resonance is the idea of rhythm. The Setian context for this was also provided by Tapio Kotkavuori through his Work in the Heart Element. The ebb and the flow of the pulse of the Heart puts Initiation onto cyclic, or periodic tracks – Remanifest being one of the greater Workings of this nature.

The pulse consists of the Beat and the Pause. During the Beat, the possibility to a sacred experience opens to the Initiate, and Work may Become real. The Pause echoes the Beat, giving the background time for transmission and reception. It is the spread of the pulse and the silence of the deeper potential arising for the next Beat.

This is the basic setting for the internal cycles. Since the Heart is an utterly holistic concept – as in being the central organ that communicates the Needs on all levels of the self – these cycles take all kinds of forms from the tangibly mundane to the most abstract and ethereal.

The external cycles work in much the same way. But again, our power over the external cycles is very limited. The world will make a sucker out of everyone, eventually. To stress therefore is nonproductive, and the Stoic stance preferable. The only real matter to be heeded is this: one’s Work in the objective universe, ie. the strength of the magical link, is measured in terms of seizing the most opportune chances to transmit or mix the internal rhythm among the network of the external rhythms. However, it is more important to simply act on the internal need rather than to desperately try to time it on the external. Do the Work and take what comes.

The internal cycles, too, are chaotic, but the more strongly one is aligned with the Being, as in resonance, the more one actually benefits from those oncoming cycles. Make no mistake: the cycles are and will be oncoming no matter what. They will beat upon you whether you wanted that or not. The question is, how are you going to deal with it; and this is one of the keys to understanding the LHP on a deeper level. Where lies your devotion?

The Initiate makes the cycles work for the Rhythm of Becoming: the stronger the Resonance, the more one gets out of the ride. In that potentia lies the real, tangible Pulse of the Heart and the dynamic Source-Aim of our Work.

For the Initiate, the tangibility of such cycles comes in the form of refining the Work of the Adept. This can be summarized by the three principles of the renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono:

  1. Fall in love with your work.
  2. Do not complain about your work.
  3. Seek to constantly improve your technique in work.

The first principle implies the imperative to fall in love with Work as a key to Xeper, as opposed to external stratification which anyway is fleeting and illusory. Such rewards do serve certain purpose and are important for the balance in the long run, but ultimately they do not serve your Aim.

The above may be a source of strong dissonance; hence the second principle. The path of the Adept is the path of a Hero Becoming God. On that road, obstacles are building material, anguish reveals you a great deal of your inner workings, and the defeats are moments for Remembering your Aim (Aletheia).

Any attempt towards perfect contentment is eventually thwarted by the necessity of Runa. We do not know and cannot know what is ahead. That leaves us uncertainty and fear: but these are only emotional indicators that you are going into the unknown. One does not become a Hero if the path is easy.

As for the third principle, there is a highly relevant passage in Hagakure:

A certain swordsman in his declining years said the following: In one’s life, there are levels in the pursuit of study. In the lowest level, a person studies but nothing comes of it, and he feels that both he and others are unskillful. At this point he is worthless. In the middle level he is still useless but is aware of his own insufficiencies and can also see the insufficiencies of others. In a higher level he has pride concerning his own ability, rejoices in praise from others, and laments the lack of ability in his fellows. This man has worth. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.

These are the levels in general. But there is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way and never thinks of himself as having finished. He truly knows his own insufficiencies and never in his whole life thinks that he has succeeded. He has no thoughts of pride but with self-abasement knows the Way to the end. It is said that Master Yagyu once remarked, ‘I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.’

Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillful than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.