Magic – Mysticism


Several months ago I posted about pyramids discovered in Bosnia. Well, some believe the hills are natural, not man made. Issue 6 of of Sub Rosa magazine features a descriptive article on the proclaimed pyramid.

“To cut to the chase: Between the two of us we could find no human-constructed pyramids in or around Visoko”
-Sphinx geologist Robert Schoch and anomalies researcher Colette Dowell report from Bosnia

There is much controversy surrounding the dig. Several archeologists have claimed that Osmanagić, who spread the idea of the hills being pyramids, is leading a smear campaign. He may be “planting evidence” and lying about those who are participating in the project. More information can be found on the Bosnian pyramids wiki.

Why do Santa’s reindeer fly? The role of ancient mushroom-using shamans
by Mark Adams

These red and white mushrooms, Amanita muscaria, were found in an alpine forest around Creede, Colorado. A. muscaria was the “sacred mushroom” used by the ancient tribal peoples of pre-Christian northern Europe. Its bright coloring suggests the colors of Santa’s garments and of holiday lights.

Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian northern Europe.

The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white Amanita muscaria, also known as “fly agaric.” This mushroom commonly is seen in books of fairy tales and usually is associated with magic and fairies. It contains potent hallucinogenic compounds once used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences. Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of this most sacred mushroom.

The World Tree

Ancient peoples, including the Lapps of modern-day Finland, and the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes, believed in the idea of a World Tree. The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis onto which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the “middle earth” of everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly realm.

Amanita muscaria grows only under certain types of trees, mostly firs and evergreens. The cap of the mushroom is the fruit of the larger mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, this mushroom was literally “the fruit of the tree.”

The North Star was also considered sacred, since all other stars in the sky revolved around its fixed point. They associated this “Pole Star” with the World Tree and the central axis of the universe. The top of the World Tree touched the North Star, and the spirit of the shaman would climb the metaphorical tree, thereby passing into the realm of the gods. This is the true meaning of the star on top of the modern Christmas tree, and also the reason that the super-shaman Santa makes his home at the North Pole.

Ancient peoples were amazed at how this magical mushroom sprang from the earth without any visible seed. They considered this “virgin birth” to have been the result of the morning dew, which was seen as the “semen of the deity.” The silver tinsel we drape onto our modern Christmas tree represents this divine fluid.

Origin of phrase, “to get pissed”

The active ingredients of A. muscaria are not metabolized by the body, and so they remain active in the urine. In fact, it is safer to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushroom than to eat the mushroom directly, as many of the toxic compounds are processed and eliminated on the first pass through the body.

It was common practice among ancient people to recycle the potent effects of the mushroom by drinking each other’s urine. The mushroom’s ingredients can remain potent even after six passes through the human body. Some scholars argue that this is the origin of the phrase “to get pissed,” as this urine-drinking activity preceded alcohol by thousands of years.

Reindeer were the sacred animals of these semi-nomadic people, as the reindeer provided food, shelter, clothing and other necessities. Reindeer are also fond of eating the mushroom; they will seek it out, then prance about while under its influence. Often the urine of tripped-out reindeer would be consumed for its psychedelic effects.

This effect goes the other way too, as reindeer also enjoy the urine of a human, especially one who has consumed the mushroom. In fact, reindeer will seek out human urine to drink, and some tribesmen carry sealskin containers of their own collected piss, which they use to attract stray reindeer back into the herd.

Legend of the flying reindeer and modern image of Santa

The effects of the A. muscaria usually include sensations of size distortion and flying. The feeling of flying could account for the legends of flying reindeer and legends of shamanic journeys included stories of winged reindeer, transporting their riders up to the highest branches of the World Tree.

Although the modern image of Santa Claus was created at least in part by the advertising department of Coca-Cola, in truth his appearance, clothing, mannerisms and companions all mark him as the reincarnation of these ancient mushroom-gathering shamans.

One of the side effects of eating A. muscaria is that one’s skin and facial features take on a flushed, ruddy glow. This is why Santa is always shown with glowing red cheeks and nose. Even Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho!” is the euphoric laugh of one who has indulged in the magic fungus.

Santa also dresses like a mushroom gatherer. When it was time to go out and harvest the magical mushroom, the ancient shamans would dress much like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots. These peoples lived in dwellings made of birch and reindeer hide, called “yurts.” Somewhat similar to a tee-pee, the yurt’s central smoke-hole is often also used as an entrance. After gathering the mushroom from under the sacred trees where they appeared, the shamans would fill their sacks and return home. Climbing down the chimney-entrances, they would share out the mushroom’s gifts with those within.

The mushroom needs to be dried before being consumed; the drying process reduces the mushroom’s toxicity while increasing its potency. The shaman would guide the group in stringing the mushrooms they gathered and hanging them around the hearth-fire to dry. This tradition is echoed in the modern stringing of popcorn and other items.

The psychedelic journeys taken under the influence of the amanita were also symbolized by a stick reaching up through the smoke-hole in the top of the yurt. The smoke-hole was the portal where the spirit of the shaman exited the physical plane.

Santa’s famous magical journey, where his sleigh takes him around the whole planet in a single night, is developed from the “heavenly chariot,” used by the gods from whom Santa and other shamanic figures are descended. The chariot of Odin, Thor and even the Egyptian god Osiris is now known as the Big Dipper, which circles around the North Star in a 24-hour period.

In different versions of the ancient story, the chariot was pulled by reindeer or horses. As the animals grew exhausted, their mingled spit and blood falls to the ground, forming the mushrooms.

St Nicholas and Old Nick

Saint Nicholas is a legendary figure who supposedly lived during the fourth century. His cult spread quickly and Nicholas became the patron saint of many varied groups, including judges, pawnbrokers, criminals, merchants, sailors, bakers, travelers, the poor, and children.

Most religious historians agree that St Nicholas did not actually exist as a real person but was instead a Christianized version of earlier Pagan gods. Nicholas’ legends were mainly created out of stories about the Teutonic god called Hold Nickar, known as Poseidon to the Greeks. This powerful sea god was known to gallop through the sky during the winter solstice, granting boons to his worshippers below.

When the Catholic Church created the character of St Nicholas, they took his name from “Nickar” and gave him Poseidon’s title of “the Sailor.” There are thousands of churches named in St Nicholas’ honor, most of which were converted from temples to Poseidon and Hold Nickar. (As the ancient pagan deities were demonized by the Christian church, Hold Nickar’s name also became associated with Satan, known as “Old Nick!”)

Local traditions were incorporated into the new Christian holidays to make them more acceptable to the new converts. To these early Christians, Saint Nicholas became a sort of “super-shaman” who was overlaid upon their own shamanic cultural practices. Many images of Saint Nicholas from these early times show him wearing red and white, or standing in front of a red background with white spots, the design of the mushroom.

St Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of the legendary “Grandmother Befana” from Italy, who filled children’s stockings with gifts. Her shrine at Bari, Italy, became a shrine to St Nicholas.

True spirit of Christmas

By better understanding the truths within these popular celebrations, we can better understand the modern world, and our place in it.

Many people in the modern world have rejected Christmas as being too commercial, claiming that this ritual of giving is actually a celebration of materialism and greed. Yet the true spirit of this winter festival lies not in the exchange of plastic toys, but in celebrating a gift from the earth: the fruiting top of a magical mushroom, and the revelatory experiences it can provide.

Instead of perpetuating outdated and confusing holiday myths, it might be more fulfilling to return to the original source of these seasonal celebrations. How about getting back to basics and enjoying some magical mushrooms with your loved ones this holiday season? What better gift can a family share than a little piece of love and enlightenment?

Below are references providing more in depth background on the role of mushrooms in the beginnings of some of our holiday traditions.

- The Hidden Meanings of Christmas, Mushrooms and Mankind, by James Arthur
- Santa Claus & the Amanita Muscaria, by Jimmy Bursenos
- “Who put the Fly Agaric into Christmas?,” Seventh International Mycological Congress, December 1999, Fungus of the Month
- “The Real Story of Santa, The Spore Print,” Los Angeles Mycological Society, December 1998
- Santa and those Reindeer: The Hallucinogenic Connection, The Physics of Christmas, by Roger Highfield
- “Fungi, Fairy Rings and Father Christmas,” North West Fungus Group, 1998 Presidential Address, by Dr Sean Edwards
- “Fly Agaric,” Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for December 1999
- “Father Christmas Flies on Toadstools,” New Scientist, December 1986
- “Psycho-mycological studies of amanita: From ancient sacrament to modern phobia,” by Jonathan Ott, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs; 1976
- “Santa is a Wildman,” LA Times, Jeffrey Vallance

I just read a wonderful story of synchronicity. It’s not very long and includes some beautiful pictures to document the experience. If you’re wondering what Jung was talking about, or the underlying idea of the upcoming movie Number 23, check out ‘My Crawlspace‘.

Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians. — John Maynard Keynes

A quick visit to wikipedia reveals the following little-known speculations about Isaac Newton’s beliefs:

  • Newton believed that Pythagoras (582BC – 507 BC) must have known about Gravity, and even toyed with the idea of including margin notes attesting it.
  • Newton, for that reason, did not use his “fluxions,” but rather geometric proofs which he thought would have been more accessible to geometers of Pythagoras’s era.
  • Newton also believed that the Hebrews before the Great Flood knew of the atomic structure of matter.

Clearly Newton must have been insane to believe that a man living 2,000 years before the time of Newton himself was capable of finding gravity, a concept unheard of before Newton. He must have been insane to believe that even before that a group of people had information on the atomic structure of matter.

Or was he? The ‘wisdom from the past’ cliche firmly believed by mystics, occultists and alternative thinkers alike is not a new phenomenon. Many people today believe that the ground-breaking news that science throws our way in the fields of quantum physics, microbiology, cosmology and consciousness studies have been long accounted for and fully explained by some mystical and philosophical systems that have been with us for more than just mere centuries. People point at inexplicable behaviour of quantum particles and their inaccountability by current scientific beliefs. Those who readily (but nevertheless informedly) jump to conclusions talk of the interconnectedness of all things, about meta-universes, or multi-dimensional realities. Maybe reality really is a dream as some mystics believe.

It is always shocking when scientists find out that the ground-breaking research being done today only reveals information that has been available to some other, ‘less-developed’ cultures. The astronomical knowledge of the Mayans, the engineering expertise of numerous cultures – native Americans, Egyptians and those preceding them, the knowledge that many indigenous people have of human consciousness – whether we look at shamanism, inexplicable knowledge of natural remedies that is almost as complex as modern pharmacology – the list goes on forever, my knowledge doesn’t – and I was starting to feel smug. Sorry. It is no surprise that we have a lot to learn from other cultures. It is a surprise when it takes centuries of meticulous research and numerous changes in the scientific paradigm to come to a conclusion that is so close to the views that were only reserved for religion and mysticism. Well, we aren’t there yet – and quite probably never will be. But the possibility is there and there is no harm in being intrigued and amused by it.

The most interesting resource that I have been presented with as regards to modern science pointing in the direction of old mystical knowledge is Ervin Laszlo’s (nomination for Nobel prize) Science and the Akashic Field: An integral theory of everything. Do not be discouraged by the title – this book has been very interesting even in the face of the long-term growth of my scepticism and my inability to deal with most literature requiring an ‘open-mind’ (ie. literature lacking any logic, common sense, or good writing and requiring a humongous amount of gullibility). This book does not suffer from any deficiencies: it is logical, smart (almost too smart for me), interesting beyond belief and entertaining as it is written to be understood.

So, they’re turning it into a movie starring Jim Carry: The Number 23

The “23 Enigma” refers to the belief that all incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some permutation of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter.Unusual circumstances being linked to 23 are mentioned by William S. Burroughs. He tells the story of meeting a ferry captain named Clark who claimed to have sailed the same route without an accident for 23 years. That very day, however, the ferry sank, killing all aboard. Later that day, Burroughs writes, he was thinking about Clark’s ferry accident when he heard that a Flight 23 on a New York-Miami route had crashed. According to Burroughs, the pilot’s name for the flight had also been Clark. Burroughs began collecting incidences of the number 23 in a scrapbook and referred to them in his writings.

For more info on the 23 enigma check out the following wiki.

Douglas Rushkoff debated in NYC with 2012 and Breaking Open the Head author Daniel Pinchbeck. DJ Lanphier of Spiral NYC was nice enough to record this debate and has upload three of the four files to Google Video. You would be a fool to miss this!

Part I Part II Part III Part IV

Via Key23

Mesmerism, named after Franz Mesmer is the 18th century term for the therapeutic process which helps the free flow of an invisible “magnetic fluid” throughout the body. Proper flow is indicative of a healthy individual. If you are experiencing physical or even mental distress you do not have the proper flow within. Franz Mesmer used several different techniques including electrocution to facilitate healing. Now, I’m not really interested in advocating mesmerism since it’s mostly nonsense but it did have a very curious affect on society leading up to the French Revolution.

The discovery of gravity and electricity among other scientific theories in this era convinced many that there are invisible energies at work everywhere. For people in this time it wasn’t too preposterous to think an analogous human variant of this energy could exist. At first, the French academic institutions were not convinced and dismissed mesmerism from any serious study. Eventually, the French royal commission conducted a number of experiments in 1784 and concluded there was no evidence of its existence or efficacy of the animal magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or charlatanry.

Mesmer claimed the academe and by extension the government did not want what was best for its people. But the popularity of mesmerism did penetrate the parliament, over half of which supported Mesmerists. They saw the ‘suppression’ of this panacea by the French establishment, as a clear example of the government acting against the common interest of its people. Mesmerism was perceived as the most humanitarian movement of their age, who could oppose it?

This antiestablishment undercurrent of mesmerism began to attract the radical philosophers, scientists, and pseudo scientists of French society. A snowball effect began to occur and more radicals were joining the cause. People of lower social standing believed they were suppressed, even being conspired against, by the government because their views were not taken seriously. To ignore mesmerism was to deny a cure to all the ills of society. The popularity of science at the time gave validity to mesmerism because it was considered to be a scientific political theory. If politicians and society underwent mesmerism, their bodies would be healed therefore, their morality would be improved and by extension politics would be perfected. It is safe to say one reason why mesmerism did not lead to the revolution directly but began several years later was because many revolutionaries considered undergoing mesmerism as an ineffective process for change.

I find it interesting that a popular yet inaccurate belief played a role in the revolution which is seen as a major turning point in the history of Western democracy. Bear with me but what if we replaced mesmerism with the 9/11 conspiracy movement? Even if we assume it is entirely wrong, its increasing popularity may be a factor in uniting those who would normally disagree. In the end it wasn’t mesmerism which played a role in the French revolution as much as it was the idea of the French establishment acting against the interest of its people. According to a recent poll, over a third of US citizens believe the government was involved with the attacks on 9/11. Just a thought…

“Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted”

To learn more about mesmerism check out: Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France

What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose. – Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice

Aleister Crowley defined magic as the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. He called this magic magick (mainly because it sounded cooler), a word that was to become famous and internationally used by occultists and magicians alike. In this short essay I will seek to explain my very own and personal definition of magic, with the aim of proving why it is logical and preferable to believe in magic. A cause of epic proportions indeed.

Our views and the way that we view our environment and internal proceses is shaped by our beliefs – and in turn these mold the way we view reality. Everyone has a slightly different view of any one thing – an identical occurence experienced by any two individuals will create two different ways in which those individuals perceive what’s happening. Both individuals will therefore experience something different even though the outside influences acting upon them are identical. Their different ways of looking at the occurence will create two different realities in which they live. In other words there is only subjectivity in an individual’s existence (and even though we all breathe air and gravity has the same effect on all of us, we perceive this and use this in different ways) – objectivity is the attempt of philosophy and science – an attempt doomed to failure since objectivity based on subjectivity is imperfect and therefore inobjective.

Having understood that we all shape our differing realities using our beliefs (or our beliefs shape our realities) we can move on to explain why this should concern us at all.

Let us take an example – we have man a, a scientist, a materialist and an avid enemy of all things mystical, spiritual, religious or magic. He lives his rather normal life working a rather normal job, building a rather common career for himself. He does not experience coincidences and a warm summer day brings little happiness to his heart. He is cautious and quickly forgets anything that happens to him that would cause him to question his scientific/materialistic beliefs. We could almost say that his life is lacking in wonder, childish amazement, and pure happiness without a cause.

Then we have man b who is a rather open-minded (apologies for using this word – in this case it is not an excuse for gullibility), enjoys everything that comes his way and while he does not frown upon science (he may indeed be a scientist himself), his view of the world gives ample opportunity for amazement and wonder. His life is full of inexplicable coincidences, every event in his life has a sense of purpose behind it, and every bad event is simply an obstacle that is supposed to act as a source of learning and growing. You could almost say that man b enjoys his life to the fullest and loves the fact that in his reality there is no need to hide things behind the need to explain them. He is a very flexible man.

Which one of the two men/women are you? Which one is enjoying life more? Which one will break down under stress and pressure or death of a loved one, while the other finds ways to change his situation to serve a better purpose? Which one is happier? Which one is knowingly lacking, without being able to define what exactly it is that he is lacking?

I do not wish to say that man a or man b will have different lives or that their environment will react differently to them – they may even go through identical lives. They will take away different lessons though and be differently inclined to change. Actually, they will lead different lives because they will make different choices based on their differing beliefs, identical occurences will therefore create differing effects. Personally I have made the conscious choice to be man b, who I shall finally label a magician.

Magic to me can be defined by a single word – change. Anyone who is willing to undergo change for whatever reason and with whatever result is a magician. The benefits of accepting change – or even seeking it – are simple to explain. Positive change is preferable to the less positive state preceding the change. Negative change is reversible due to the understanding of the magician that he has been the cause of the change in the first place – on one level or another. Consequently the magician can turn a negative event into a positive one, sometimes it simply takes a different view or outlook. Changing the way we perceive an event results in different emotions being produced – so it is possible to change fear to happiness or hate to love (or vice versa).  Not to mention that the only way to find what it is worse and what is better is through experiencing both.

Magicians believe that change can also be created outside of the things over which they have measurable control – in other words they can create change in things or events that the scientist would not believe are changeable. Keeping in ming that both the scientific and the magical belief-systems mold the reality in which the two live, it is not too far-fetched to say that the magician can affect more of his reality than the scientist. Where the scientist can only change what he believes is changeable, the magician can change anything.

I will end by giving you two examples of change in my past week that prove my theory. Last week I was caught on a bus without a ticket – just two days before I was showing off to my parents by telling them that I have found a way to travel in London for free. I usually get punished for arrogance. And at first, after being caught without a ticket, I felt rather shit because my capture cost me 20 pounds and social ostricization from my fellow travelers. As soon as I understood that not only was I loosing money but also my good mood, I accepted what happened to me and seeked a way to improve my situation. Instead of sulking or being aggressive (and creating negativity in me and in the people who caught me) I became rather friendly and had a half an hour conversation with the ticket inspectors. They took me to a cash point so that I could pay them (which they wouldn’t have allowed if I was a dick about it) and they told me a lot about a career about which I previously knew very little. They were very nice and when I left them we were all in good spirits, laughing and cheerful. Not what you would expect from a criminal and his capturers. In this instance I created change through acceptance of the things over which I had no control and through changing my view of the situation.

The second instance happened this weekend when I accompanied my girl-friend to a goth wedding of her friend in Birmingham. Instead of being scared or negative about having to spend money and meet new people with a negative outlook on life I intensely wished for certain things to happen during the weekend. I wished to meet a diverse group of people, to meet people who shared my interests, to meet a magician, to discuss my views on spirituality with a Christian and some other things – they all came to happen. Now I do not care whether I caused these things to happen through wishing them to happen, or whether I was simply looking for them and therefore found them among the numerous other things present at the wedding. All that matters is that they happened. I somehow suspect that in a different state of mind I would have fared much less successfully in an initially hostile environment.

And this finishes my essay. I hope that some readers will be as excited as I was when it finally dawns upon them that they indeed are magicians.

For a more thorough de-personalised definition of magic look here.

I recently met an interesting person and we got into a rather lengthy conversation. I learned that he has been studying Hinduism for many years and spent long lengths of time in ashrams. His preferred method of enlightenment is through independent study combined with the occasional stay with a guru in order to sift through and organize the knowledge he gained on his own. The longest of his visits was around a year in duration. He travels the US and considers himself to be a wanderer.

While speaking with him, I got to the topic of divinity within man. My new friend told me several stories and then mentioned one of his favorite techniques in Hinduism. One can invoke certain Gods when in need of help, usually invoking the God whose particular attribute would be most helpful to you. I’ve never considered the psychological significance of this before. Putting aside whether these Gods ‘physically’ exist or not, this is a very interesting practice of self-empowerment.

That night I randomly flip open Peter J. Carroll’s ‘Liber Null‘ to find the following:

Metamorphosis may be pursued by seeking that which one is not, and transcending both in mutual annihilation. Alternatively, the process of invocation may be seen as adding to the magician’s psyche any elements which are missing. It is true that the mind must be finally surrendered as one enters fully into Chaos, but a complete and balanced psychocosm is more easily surrendered.

The Magical process of shuffling beliefs and desires attendant upon the process of invocation also demonstrates that one’s dominant obsessions or personality are quite arbitrary, and hence more easily banished.

There are many maps of the mind (psychocosms), most of which are inconsistent, contradictory, and based on highly fanciful theories. Many use the symbology of god forms, for all mythology embodies a psychology. A complete mythic pantheon resumes all of man’s mental characteristics. Magicians will often use a pagan pantheon of gods as the basis for invoking some particular insight or ability, as these myths provide the most explicit and developed formation of the particular idea’s extant. However, it is possible to use almost anything from the archetypes of the collective unconscious to the elemental qualities of alchemy.

…the aim of invocation is temporary procession by the god, communication from the god, and manifestation of the god’s magical powers, rather than the formation of religious cults.

I enjoy reading several books at once so after I got my dose of Chaos Magic I flipped open ‘Cosmic Trigger‘ by Robert Anton Wilson, which I’ve been re-reading. It’s definitely worth reading books over in order to understand its subjects in a new light. Now, there isn’t much significance that this book has similar ideas to Liber Null because they share the same origins. Nonetheless:

The Shaman also experimented extensively with Crowley’s method of achieving and transcending religious visions. This is based on Hindu Bhakti yoga and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, with a typically Crowleyan difference. In bhakti yoga, you form a love-bond with a particular divinity, dedicate every waking moment to Him (or Her) and invoke that Divine Being by every method possible, especially vivid visual imagination. Loyola’s method is similar, except that you have no choice about which divinity to invoke. Crowley’s twist is to carry this through until you experience a real manifestation of the God, and then immediately stop, and start over with a different god. After you have run through three or four divinities in this manner, you will understand Nasrudin’s Donkey (the neuro-programmer) and you will be increasingly skeptical about everybody’s reality-maps, including your own.

You might remember my post 2012 by Daniel Pinchbeck from a few months ago. Well, this month’s Rolling Stone features an article titled ‘Daniel Pinchbeck and the New Psychedelic Elite‘ but it seems the media has sensationalized and taken things out of context once again.

Here is one of Daniel’s responses to the Rolling Stone article.

The following is a letter to the editors:

I was delighted that Rolling Stone found my work significant enough to deserve feature coverage. Unfortunately, the piece [RS 1008] was full of inaccuracies and outright abrications on a factual level, as well as sensationalist distortions of my ideas. To take a few examples, the first and last scenes never actually happened. We did not visit “a bunch of people on dimethyltryptamine,” I had not seen a “downtown rock show with Moby” the night before, and there was no woman groaning on a futon. I do not have “buck teeth.” Similarly, the scene described at the end never occurred-I don’t even own a copy of The Lion King.

I found the writer’ loose relationship to truth particularly depressing when she attempted to define my ideas. I am not “actively bidding to become [my] generation’s Timothy Leary”-in fact I critique Leary quite harshly in my first book. In my work, I don’t advocate mass use of psychedelics as Leary did, and certainly do not consider them to be “the answer.”

In 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, I do not argue that “the world as we know it is about to end-on December 21, 2012.” My hypothesis is that we are already in an accelerated process of consciousness evolution, and I explore the possibility that the Mayan Calendar is, as Carl Johan Calleman describes in The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, a “timetable” for understanding this process.

I most emphatically do not argue or think that “only the psychedelic elite and those who have reached a kind of supramental consciousness” will “be saved in 2012.” I do think that a deep transformation in the mindset of those who hold power in the modern West is necessary if we are going to avert disaster in the next few years, as we approach resource depletion and biospheric collapse.

In the future, it would be wonderful to see a magazine with the rich legacy of Rolling Stone approach the living currents of the intellectual counterculture of the 1950s and 60s with far more grace, integrity, and sophistication.

Hitler and Hanussen have one thing in common: they base their careers on the suggestion of great promises. Hitler brought ‘clairvoyance’ into politics. Hanussen introduced politics into clairvoyance. — Pem

My area of study changes every month, a fact of which I am very much aware, and a condition that I try to use to its absolute potential. This month I have been researching the darker side of magic and my mad search has led me to a very interesting figure of the first half of the 20th century. Erik Jan Hanussen, a Czech Jew, clairvoyant, mentalist and hypnotist was by far one of the most controversial figures of the German occult scene.

He escaped home at the age of 14 with the aim of joining the circus. There he went from being a knife-thrower and fire-eater to becoming one of the most proficient magical entertainers in Europe. Most of his feats were done with the help of careful planning, cheatery and trickery but he also possessed great skills at hypnosis and was believed to be able to read people’s muscle movements to find where they have hidden particular items.

His clairvoyant skills caused the most controversy. Among other things he predicted the Reichstag fire – some people believe that he caused it himself through post-hypnotic suggestion on Maurinus van der Lubbe, the arsonist behind the fall of Reichstag. At one point in his life he stood before Court in Czechoslovakia, where he was accused of tricking people to believe that he possessed psychic skills. He defended himself successfully on the fourth day of the trial by informing the court of a robbery that happened several miles away, giving information on where to find the robber. It was the first time that a Court of law accepted psychic powers as a valid reason for the removal of charges brought against an individual. It was a witch hunt gone awry. Similar feats of clairvoyance followed Hanussen throughout his career.

Hanussen has certainly met with Hitler on several occassions, and even though he was of Jewish descent, he strongly supported the Nazi doctrine. Some believe that he taught Hitler the art of public speaking, whereby he could influence his listeners through correct voice modulation and hand gestures. Taking into account that Hitler only became a great orator after his meeting with Hanussen gives some validity to this claim.

Even though Hanussen predicted Hitler’s rise to power, he did not stop himself from also predicting his painful end. That, mixed with the fact that he was continuously lending money to high-ranking SA officers in order to gain favours and influence, led to his bloody end. He was repeatedly shot and left half-buried, not unlike the story of Rasputin. His funeral was simple, quick, and secret. His massive wealth, fame and repute did not buy him any favours at the end.

All his writings, charts, and possessions were taken by the Nazis never to be revealed to the public. This shows just how much the Nazis thought of Erik Jan Hanussen – here was a Jewish man who was closely associated with the Nazis, yet strongly feared at the same time. His death remains as much a mystery as his life. The occult knowledge of Erik Jan Hanussen still remains to be revealed.

 

Erik Jan Hanussen’s grave

Ramsey Dukes is a pseudonym of Lionel Snell, a 20th century magician and philosopher. He is most renowned for his philosophical adventures in the literary realms, where he acquired enough knowledge to publish a number of books dealing with the occult. Among these are: SSOTMBE – An essay on Magic, Thundersqueak, Words Made Flesh and What I Did in My Holidays: Essays on Black Magic, Satanism, Devil Worship and Other Niceties.

 

1) Why have you felt the need for a pseudonym – Is Ramsey Dukes a different man to Lionel Snell?

Yes, but they are getting closer.

There are many reasons why I chose a pseudonym – the first editions of SSOTBME were anonymous. One quite important reason was that I was educated as a pure mathematician, a discipline that teaches you only to write well-defined and logically complete statements – so it was hard for ”Lionel Snell” to begin writing anything unless it was presented as fiction. I did try to write a 3-D idea structure to be read through 3-D spex (nowadays it would be done using hypertext) until I realised that fiction was a 3-D experience in the reader’s head, so my next attempt was a story in which different characters freely debated their ideas, and those characters began to write their own books for me, as it were.

Some years later Mogg Morgan or someone pointed out that I really needed to brand under a single name for the readers’ sake – and Ramsey Dukes won!

2) You have gone through a fair amount of jobs in you life – civil servant, technical author, teacher,… – is this a reflection of your constant need for change, or is there some other, less obvious reason?

A lack of a clear sense of life direction! In New Age workshop terminology: my father died suddenly just at the point where I could have done with a little guidance on the significance of career choices, so I lacked a mentor and my nearest role models were adventurers without regular jobs.

3) What is your view on education in Britain? You have studied at Cambridge, taught at Eton and had an experience with Waldorf teaching. Which system offers the biggest possiblities and carries the biggest potential? Do you prefer the Waldorf model?

I soon became aware of the unpredictability of education – you can send a child to the best, or the worst, school in the world and in the end what matters most might be one individual teacher that inspires a life path. I was plucked by a scholarship from a village school into a traditional British Public School – but it just happened to be one whose science library included an important collection of magic and alchemy books and manuscripts.

I was impressed by the education at Eton, because it had so much to offer. It was a good time to be teaching there in the turn of the 70s because the whole public school thing was so unfashionable in those days that it helped the pupils to be less stuck-up. The result was more of what one might term ”real gentlemen” than you would expect. I cringe to think what the place might have been like in the hooray-henry loadsamoney 80s!

Waldorf education is very interesting – there is more to it than I was able to absorb in my 2 years experience. But it suffered the problem of many radical groups that spend their early years fighting orthodoxy, in that orthodoxy evolves (several of the Waldorf ideas became mainstream) leaving the radical old-guard rigidly fighting their old battles. The younger Waldorf teachers were some of the most inspiring teachers I’ve met, and yet the influence of the ”old guard” meant that in many ways Eton allowed one to be more open and radical than the Waldorf School did.

4) What is the purpose and goal of your magical writing?

Beginning in close-up: before i write I can feel pent up, after i feel relieved – something is ”off my chest”.

Zooming out a little: I can get pent up when I hear people discussing spiritual, occult or simply alternative ideas with a limited and dogmatic perspective. For example ”divination makes NO SENSE, because there is NO WAY that the positions of the planets, or the shuffling of a tarot pack can have any connection with events in my life” – I cannot hear things like that without immediately thinking up models of reality (eg virtual reality) that would make divination possible, or even highly probable.

Zooming out further: I accept science and the materialist worldview for its predictive and explanatory power, but I feel restrained by the negative implications of too much explanation, insofar as it creates boundaries, and ”what is possible” becomes too small a world for my claustrophobic soul. So I look for new ways of thinking that allow more to happen, to allow more mystery to exist, and I feel happier. I then wish to share that happy space with others. Going back to last example: the person who ”proves” to themselves and others that divination (or homeopathy or whatever) is rubbish doesn’t always sound like a happy person to me. If they are happy, it is sometimes only the vandal’s joy of destroying another’s dream in argument. So I present a new worldview to them as if opening up a new window of possibility and I naively expect them to rejoice in the new freedoms offered by that worldview. What i have learned, however, is that many people feel safer in a closed, explained world (whether explained by religion or by science) and so my gift to them is received more as a threat, or simply ignored.

Zooming further I see a lot of big problems in the world – hunger, poverty, war despair, boredom etc – and I see many people working hard to solve those problems using skills and talents I wish I had. So I wonder what I can contribute and realise that my magical explorations have created a sense of potential and meaning in my life that would be medicine for the whole world if it was widely accepted. So I write and publish my explorations.

5) What are your views on religion – both Eastern and Western. Do you think that magicians and people of a religious persuasion seek the same answers but use different means?

To the outsider magic and religion can seem very similar – two rival groups of idiots wearing funny robes, lighting candles and chanting – because the outsider tends to look at the practices, ie what both groups do. But I look more at the mind-set, and maintain that the direction of religion and magic is quite opposite. Magic is about bringing spirit down into matter, giving our lives meaning and producing concrete results, while religion is more about raising us up towards spirit, explaining why things happen and giving us a sense of purpose.

In practice there is plenty of overlap. The person who goes to church and prays for wordly success is going against religious traditions of poverty and simplicity, but few people mind — especially if it is put unselfishly as ”money to support my family” or ”enough power and influence to help me spread the gospel”. But if it reaches the point where people are joining the church just to get rich, then the ”truly religious” wake up and condemn it big-time (as in the various Protestant revolutions). Again, the Host is consecrated (an act of magic) in order to bring the communicant closer to God (a religious context). But those who used to sneak it out of church to use it in a healing ritual got burned for their efforts. And the contrary is also true – many magical groups end up doing little more than religiously worshipping the seasons, until a new generation of ”real magicians” comes along to jeer at them.

So I see a lot of today’s popular interest in New Age spirituality as more religious than magical in intent. People today don’t feel they can change the world as much as we did in the 1960s, they rather see the world as changing without their efforts and seek to be aligned with something ”bigger than themselves” — and that can take the form of religion, or nationalism, or supporting a team… or doing New Age spells to contact Spirit. My own guess is that it will be another 15 years or so before we are in for another 1960s-style magical revival, as when people surrounded the Pentagon to make it levitate (they assure me that it did so…).

6) What is your view on the current surge of interest in spirituality, mysticism and magic?

I’m inclined to break the surge down into two parts – the one is short-term, as sort of wave of fashion, the other is long-term like the ocean swell. As I’ve just said, in the short term I see the current spiritual interest as more religious than magical, but something more profound is happening at the mental or cultural level. Around five centuries ago, after five centuries of religious dominance, leading edge thought shifted to the scientific approach with the Enlightenment, and scientific thought (in broad terms, embracing humanism and rationalism) has lead the way since.

But now the leading edge is moving towards magical thinking, even though – for reasons I will suggest later – we continue to use scientific or pseudo scientific terminology. So I believe that we are witnessing a major shift towards magical thought for the next few centuries, but people are confused by it because they do not recognise what magical thinking is like. Just as scientific thinking was misunderstood five centuries ago, and seen as the devil’s work or whatever, so today’s magical thinking either presents itself as pseudo science or is ostracised as pure barminess.

7) What is the relevance of magic in a modern man’s life?

As I have just suggested, magic is relevant as it is the way forward at the cultural level. I won’t ”explain” this – that is for science – but I’ll illustrate with two examples from my book SSOTBME.

EXAMPLE 1. Centuries of scientific thinking inspired technology, and technology has made our world very complicated. Scientific thinking is not good at handling complexity – the usual scientific approach is to begin by paring down the field of enquiry by eliminating or ignoring extraneous factors – and so now we tend towards magical thinking.

In the 70s I recall how we dealt with a software bug: we ran a few test cases then studied the programme or flow diagram to locate where the fault lay and then re-wrote that bit of the programme. Today’s software is too complicated for that. When my iMac refused to back-up I spent a while Googling ”error code –36” and eventually found a discussion of the same problem. one of the suggestions was ”try unplugging all other firewire devices”. I tried it and it worked. But is this so very different from saying ”for a happy marriage, don’t wear green on your wedding day”? Whereas scientific thinking studies causes, magical thinking studies correlations – as in sympathetic magic. That makes magic much quicker in these complex situations.

So, for example, if tomorrow’s news announces a dramatic statistical correlation between cancer and instant coffee, there would be a big public demand for restrictions on the sale of instant coffee, and many people would defend that in the name of science (”it’s been proven”). ”Do we or don’t we?” the argument rages in the name of science. My solution would be to immediately restrict coffee sales but make it clear that this is a magical act in order to give time for the scientists to work out the cause and effect – eg whether intant coffee causes cancer or whether incipient cancer causes people to want instant coffee.

EXAMPLE 2. Magic does to science what science did to religion – it makes it seem unnecessary or irrelevant. At the mental or cultural level, I see the general evolution of religion leading towards monotheism, and that prepares the way for science – because the problem of strict monotheism is that it actually leaves us with two things: an absolute God and this transient yet lived-in world. Science provides an answer by saying that this world is the ultimate reality. To put it in religious terms, science says that Matter alone is the First Cause or ”God” and there is only One Law and that is Physics – ie that science becomes the real monotheism, and we no longer need religion.

So science advances to explore our very souls and reveals the gulf that exists between subjective and objective reality. This explains away so much of our ideas about spirit – they are subjective delusions whereas science tells us about the objective reality that lies behind them. By doing this, science has now recreated that duality – the world we live in as actually a subjective illusion of the brain, just a reflection of the real material world that lies beyond the gateway of our senses. That prepares the way for magic, because magic says that the actual world we live in, the subjective reality, is what matters and that the objective world it is supposed to reflect is merely a useful hypothesis.

That is putting it rather abstractly – so how does this work in practice? Here is an example. Go back a few centuries and I am a man suffering a bad disease so I ask the experts – the priests – and they say God is punishing me for my sins and I must pray. There is, however, this new-fangled ”natural philosopher” who says I should just swallow 3 of his tablets a day and only drink water that’s been boiled and I’ll soon feel better. I decide to go with this guy because I like what he delivers — even though what the priest says makes clear sense, while this scientist speaks a lot of apparent mumbo jumbo about ”invisible bacteria” or whatever. So religion gets sidelined by science in this case. Fast forward to now and I am suffering aches and pains and I choose to go to a local aromatherapist who makes me feel good, even though it sounds like mumbo jumbo, and even though I read in the papers a few years ago that the real experts have done a big double blind test that concluded there was ”nothing in” aromatherapy. So science gets sidelined by magic, just as it once sidelined religion.

It’s the return of the Platonic idea: that the world we live in is but the shadow of a ”higher” reality. The spiritual folk interpret this as the world of matter is just a shadow of a world of spirit which is the true reality. The scientist interprets it as our subjective reality is just a shadow of an objective world of matter which is the true reality. In both cases the ”man in the street” is expected to consult the experts for the truth, while magic says ”just work on the subjective, that’s what really matters”.

8) Is there a clash between Crowleyan magic and Chaos magic? Is it hard to follow both disciplines and integrate them as you have done by joining both the IOT and OTO?

The clash exists insofar as some Chaotes are in dispute with some Thelemites, but I do not myself think it to be fundamental. I would see Chaos magic as a branch from Crowleyan magic (”from” in the sense that it is not contained within the latter). It is a practice of ”Do what thou wilt” that has lead some folks beyond the ground so well covered by Crowley. The clash could arise because some might see Crowley’s work as definitive – a final statement – so anyone who uses it as a launch pad to other places is seen as having ”left” Thelema, rather than having ”launched from” Thelema.

9) What is your favourite Crowley quote?

I’m not very inclined to nominate ”number one” in anything, so here are example (inexact) quotes I like.

For its humour I like the anecdote about the trial where Crowley was defending himself against accusations of evil. The opposing barrister tied to corner him by first getting him to admit that he designated himself with the number 666, and then going on to ask ”is this, or is this not also the number of the Beast of Revelations, Mr Crowley?”. Whereupon AC replied ”Indeed, and it is also the number of the Sun. You may call me Sunshine should you wish…”

For its encouragement to a magical explorer with a scientific education, I liked that sentence somewhere in Magick in Theory and Practice where he talks about the usual need for careful banishment etc but adds something like ”on the other hand, there’s nothing quite like being knocked down by a demon that you didn’t really believe existed”.

No… I’ve remembered a real quote this time. I am haunted by the line from the Book of Lies ”Receive a thousand lovers, thou shall bear but one child. [And that child shall be the heir to Fate the father]”

10) Do you think that the internet is a force of science or a force of magic?

A force of? A hard phrase for a mathematician (however old and rusty) to use in this context. So I apologise for sidestepping and instead saying ”The Internet is a result of science and a force for magic”. The Internet is part of the complexity created via technology and needing magic to cope with it. It is a high speed medium for linking those subjective realities – even if only one in a thousand people sees life the way I do, that is still 6 million people worldwide and the Internet will find a lot of them and the thought-form might EXPLODE!

Incidentally, Pete Carroll invited me to partake in his Arcanorium College project being launched in September this year (www.arcanoriumcollege.com) and it could provide an intriguing answer to your question!

11) If you could meet any 3 people who lived at any time in history, who would they be?

My father. He died when I was 17 and so I missed out on the ”man-to-man” talk and would live to know more about his thoughts and feelings. I think I am just about old enough now to meet the young Brigitte Bardot without being totally struck dumb (to ask what it is like to carry the Child-Anima projections of a whole global generation of men).

Gosh, how can I answer this? Of course I’d love to meet the Usual Suspects – Hitler, Jesus, Shakespeare, Plato etc – and hope I could understand what they were saying. After such an interview I’d even have material for a best selling book at last! I know… I’d love to meet Crowley and there would not be such a language problem.

12) You said you would suggest why – even as we move to magical thinking – we will continue to opt for pseudo scientific terminology.

Yes, I am sorry, for I find myself re-hashing a lot of ideas from my early writing. It feels very arrogant and yet it is almost the opposite, for it reflects a realisation that, as an obscure writer, I cannot expect your readers to already know my ideas and I am therefore driven to repeat them.

When i was young it was said that magic, insofar as it ever existed, was just a primitive fore-runner of science. That conflicted with my own observation that many people interested in magic began with a scientific education, and that magic more often comes after science than before it (for example the 60s magical revival following the technological fifties, the 1900s magical revival following the Victorian science craze). What I saw superimposed on linear progress were repeated cycles of: magic, art, religion, science, magic, art…

I described earlier the current interest in spirituality as being like a wave of religion, whereas the slower ocean swell was moving from scientific thinking into magical thinking – to the alarm of some rationalists. But I also see an even slower cycle, more like a tide, in which the last two thousand years – the Age of Pisces, if you like – has been ruled by religion and we are entering the Age of Aquarious which will be ruled by science.

What does ’ruled by’ mean? Well, nearly all the great art of the last two thousand years has been religious, all the magical texts have been heavily religious in language and even the scientists have tended to measure themselves in religious terms – as recently as Einstein saying ”God does not play dice”, although only a metaphor, he still chose a religious metaphor. Ask yourself also, was there any war in those times that was not at some level a religious war? (I am not alone in counting Communism and Fascism as religions). Whereas in the previous age wars seem to have been more about plundering culture for precious artifacts – the most famous war of the time, the Trojan war, was about a beautiful woman. And in classical times even scientific speculation was dominated by ideas of beauty and harmony.

In those terms I see us entering an age where – however magical our thinking for the next few centuries – the language will be more like New Age pseudo science in tone than the old grimoires with their prayers to Adonai. Art will be hi-tech, religion will pay lip-service to its effectiveness and ethical value-add and so on.

In particular wars will be neither for art, nor for religion so much as for science. This was illustrated by Hitler’s involvemnenbt in the Spanish Civil war – it was used as an experiment to test the new aerial weapons and tactics.

I see religion going down (in this sense) with all guns blazing. People don’t pay enough attention to the sense in which the 3 Bs (Bush, Blair and Bin Laden) are all on the same side – or at least working for the same boss, who happens to be God. It is actually a war between spirit and matter, in that their common enemy is the liberal humanist tradition arising from the Enlightenment and at the core of the American tradition. They are all three, in the name of God, attacking liberalism, and so resisting the onset of the Age of Aquarius, if you like. God told Bush and Blair to go to war – they claim – and the military were not that keen because they saw it as a bit of a farce. And yet we did go to war – why? Because the spirit of science held the trump card, as it were: the armaments industry wanted to know how well its weapons would work in the field, and military psychologists wanted to test their new training strategies. Iraq and such ventures form a ”real world” experiment, and there will plenty more such experiments as long as new weapons are being invented.

A Sufi Story

Once upon a time, there was a young boy who liked nothing better than to bang on a drum. He would joyfully bang it all day long, no matter how much the noise irritated those around him. No matter what his parents tried, he would not stop, and in desperation they turned to learned men who called themselves Sufis.

The First alleged Sufi tried reasoning with the boy, arguing that so much drumming would damage his eardrums. The second professed that drums were sacred instruments and should only be beaten on special occassions. The third distributed earplugs. The fourth tried to distract the boy with books. The fifth offered to teach the boy’s parents and neighbors how to live with the noise. The sixth introduced the boy to meditation and claimed that the drum was merely a figment of his imagination. But none of these men were true Sufis and none of the remedies worked.

Finally, a real Sufi arrived. He took stock of the situation, sat next to the boy and handed him a hammer and chisel. i wonder what is inside the drum, the Sufi said. – Nick Sagan, Edenborn

The principle of humorous play

‘There is no joy in my life,’ said the pilgrim. ‘Show me how I may find happiness.’ The master smiled, and laughed and laughed and laughed, and then he laughed some more. — Zen Therapy

Onion-Peelings

The Universe is the Practical Joke of the General at the Expense of the Particular, quoth FRATER PERDURABO, and laughed.
But those disciples nearest to him wept, seeing the Universal Sorrow.
Those next to them laughed, seeing the Universal Joke.
Below these certain laughed.
Others next wept.
Others next laughed.
Next others wept.
Next others laughed.
Last came those that wept because they could not see the Joke, and those that laughed lest they should be thought not to see the Joke, and thought it safe to act like FRATER PERDURABO.
But though FRATER PERDURABO laughed openly, He also at the same time wept secretly; and in Himself He neither laughed nor wept.
Nor did He mean what He said. — Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies

I have been watching the fluctuations in world religions with quite some interest for the past eight years or so. I have amused myself with watching the trends in mass religious beliefs and in the change in strength of certain leading religions. Of these Christianity is the most interesting and the most flexible – it is fairly easy to understand why Christianity had to clear its positions in Europe and America and moved to Africa and Asia to spread the word of the one and only God. For one Christianity has been too closely linked to politics, power, money, and death, frankly – for hundreds of years. Africa and Asia do not have this history of religious persecution. Christianity also made the mistake of leaving the experience of the divine to the religious elite (priests), who would then tell the word of God to the every-day Christians. This elitism is not present in all religions and could be one of the major reasons why the public would prefer to follow a religion where they can find God on their own and in themselves – whether through prayer, meditation, practice or experiment.

If we take the fall of Christianity in Europe, and to a lesser extent in America, as granted – then the reason for the spread of other religions and the rise in interest in spirituality, magic and mysticism becomes crystal-clear. Christianity has left a vacuum in people’s minds and hearts, which needs to be filled. The basic questions that science, logic and materialism have no answers for are still in need of an answer, an answer that other religions and belief-systems are willing to offer. As I mentioned in a different article, after-life – which was guaranteed and accounted for by the Christian faith, and lost in atheism, may be the reason for the renewed fear of death in the West and subsequent mass hysteria and over-excitement with terrorism. Security has been given more weight than it deserves, thus creating an unhealthy imbalance. Materialistic society in total fear of its end, or of the end of its individual members, is the scariest of societies, because it is prepared to do anything for its survival. America, anyone?

It comes to me as no surprise that now, when Christianity is at its lowest in Europe, the mainstream culture gets bombarded by magazines, tv shows and books that seek to raise the interest in spirituality and mysticism. The succes of the Da Vinci Code may also be traced to this development. This is no rise of a newer age movement, this seems to go deeper and touch on nerves that were left alone by new age, or even the 60s.

And which of these new religions that take over the bastions that were previously controlled by Christianity is the fastest growing? The picture may give some clues – yes, it is Buddhism. Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe and has been so for a couple of years. It has numerous temptations for the Western mind – it is immaterial, it explains a functional model of stoicism, and it preaches for individual experience of the divine. The three aims of Zen are:

  • Developing concentration of the mind
  • Satori-awakening, enlightenment
  • Personalization of satori

In other words this particular path teaches one how to use his mind more effectively, it will show him a way to enlightenment – satori, and it will show him how to incorporate that feeling into his personality and everyday life. Could Christianity ever claim to offer the same?

And yet Zen is not a religion as such – it is a Way. It is the role of a religion to explain anything and everything – including the meaning and relevance of mystical experiences, but a Way simply shows you where to step and how to do it without hurting yourself. That is one of the reasons why Zen may be relevant to people who are otherwise of a different religious doctrine.

Even though I wrote this article with Christianity and Buddhism in mind, I do not wish to influence anyone to think that those two religions are the only ones worth looking at. For one I wish that my knowledge of Sufism was more thorough, this short quote may explain why:

We Sufis recognize the essential unity of all world religions. We are Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Zoroastrians and Baha’is. Every path leads to the center. — Nick Sagan, Edenborn

I return from my hiatus to find a nice jump in our traffic and a good number of posts by the Sheik of Blueberry Goodness. From Friday to Saturday I was accompanying my two friends through what one of them described as a ‘multi-leveled gateway towards death’. But more about CzechTek next time…

As usual I’m moving to two different places at once so what chaos I picked up at this weekend’s festival has accompanied me home. My final destination will be the ‘land of the free’, which will most likely result in many posts on the topic of how frustrated I am. You have been forewarned! While I’m on the subject of products of the USA, Comic-Con 2006 was the venue where Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison explored the ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes’. My enjoyment of comics originated from their relevance to a broad range of social phenomenon with an injection of acheiving what we perceive to be impossible. The Sheik explored an example of this in his previous post ‘X-men 3, Insanity, Mental Disorders and other such niceties’.

An extract from the discussion:

Myth is related to the word mother. As Chopra called it, “the womb of creation.” Myth is not just hokey stories that explain why the sun rises and falls. That’s a very simplistic view. To put it poetically, myths are where “we express our deepest longing and aspirations of collective being.” Myth is a social experience beyond genetic codes or organized religions.

“The human story is about a quest, falling down, but getting up again,” Chopra said. “Death and rebirth. It’s about redeeming yourself and then redeeming others.”

Our existence is still young in the eyes of the universe. “In many ways,” Chopra said, “we are reaching puberty. There’s a lot of curiosity, mistakes, risk-taking. But it is an exciting time.” One full of possibilities, though there are certain to be some growing pains.

I encourage you to check out the rest of the discussion via Future Hi. Or see the 1.5 hour google video!

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