Monday, May 31, 2010

God, Gods, Spirits, and Cosmos Part 2.

COSMIC SET UP: If all explanations in the last post seem to be less neatly set in place than RO's explanation, than good. That is how I meant it. I do not view the cosmos in the same way as he does. His models work for him, but for me most hermetic scenarios are just a little to neat and tidy and, well, small.

To quote a respected scientist, "There is not only more out there than we know, there is more out there than we can know."

I mention this because systems of magic with various models of other planes such as the 7 planets or 30 athyrs can make the world seem rather small. Just pop out of your body and zip through these seven layers making sure to say hi to the guardians along the way, and you get to the top. Then you are a master magus and can just go about being all enlightened and crap. With all due respect to these models and other systems that are built on this kind of thing, it is my experience that they mistake the boundaries of their own explorations for the entirety of existence.

This is a terrible mistake. You should assume that no matter what your level of realization, or how far you have traveled, there is always more.

Think about our own planet using just the normal senses that everyone has. You can travel your whole life and not see it all. Even if you do manage somehow to see it all, you will not get to know it well. Now think about the entire physical universe. The whole world that you could never visit in one lifetime is just the smallest speck of dust amidst just the bit of physical universe that we are able to see with modern equipment. If you add to this multiple overlapping layers at different vibration levels as well as possible alternate probable universes, it just awes the mind when you try to imagine it all.

While many religions and magical systems claim to be showing that there is more to the universe than people suspect, in most cases the cosmologies and mapping that they do make the universe smaller, not larger. This happens because they attempt to claim that they have a complete picture.

Am I saying throw out the maps? No. The maps are all good. They are just incomplete. Even systems like the seven planetary layers of the ladder of lights have lots and lots of variations. If you approach them using the system laid out in the Necronomcion, you will have a very different experience than if you travel them using the Archangels as your guide. Magicians that try to take the particulars of their system and pretend that those spirits are universal and those realms represent a complete picture of reality are fooling themselves. Their small glimpse beyond what most people are able to see has fooled them into thinking that their vision is ultimate.

For instance, in my experience all the 7 planetary layers mentioned above, are part of what I would consider the mid astral. Hermes Trismegistus's 8th and 9th would touch upon the higher astral. You could use different systems for viewing the divisions of these spaces such as the Sephira, the 30 airs, or others. Even more subtle than this however are many many layers of mental planes that do not manifest in terms of 3-d space. Beyond this are realms of pure experience which do not manifest in terms of linear time either. Beyond this are Causal levels which do not manifest in terms of subject and object.

In just the astral levels alone are infinite variety of places and zones that can be experienced laterally. If you shift yourself from being geocentric in your wanderings you can come accross sets of the lower astral that exist around other planets are stars, each containing Gods, Avatars, Ascended Masters, etc of their own.

Again, there is not only more than we know, but more than we can know.

THE PLANETS: Gordon posted that one of the reasons that he like Chaos Magic is that it can conform with modern science better than most ancient systems that are married now to mystical interpretations of what was once thought of as hard science. I know exactly what he means. When I considered myself a Chaos magician, it was one of the things that I liked as well, and is one of the things that I make sure to integrate into Sorcery.

 For instance, unless specifically dealing with a view of the mid astral as 7 layers (as in hermetic magic) that adopt the planetary names for convenience (or some cases relate to the starts of the big dipper) I tend to view the planets as actual planetary bodies in the sky, which is what they are. Each of them exerts an influence on all other bodies around it. This influence can be tuned in, tuned out, or tweaked as necessary. The best times for working with them are when they are right overhead or at least above the horizon. This is much more in keeping with how Asians tend to work with the planets and stars than the Hermeticists, which is WAY to geocentric for my liking.

THE ELEMENTS: I do utilize the four elements, because with all due respect to Gordon, he is wrong about them ever being viewed as literally the four elements in a way that we view elements on the periodic table. The tradition came to Greece  and to China through India where they are seen as forces. It is based on the very real experience of seeing reality break up into four or five colored light when you meditate enough or cleanse the prana in the body. This will happen whether you expect it to or not.

Unlike RO I do not see the four elements as being lower than the planetary spheres or something earthbound. If anything I see them as being more important than the planets as they are the basic building blocks of manifest reality, including every astral plane that manifests with dimensions of space.

I should also note that while I try not to blend or even go out of my way to make connections between magic and physics, the four elements do match up reasonably well to the four forces:

1. Gravity of course relates to the element earth. It is the weakest of all the forces. Its weakness is easily demonstrated. Rub a comb over your shirt and give it just a bit of static electricity, than hold the comb over a piece of paper, which should lift off the desk from the static. The entire planet is using gravity to keep the paper on your desk, but the comb only needs a bit of electromagnetism to break its hold. Though weakest of the forces gravity has the largest range as everything in the universe is exercising gravitational pull on everything else.
2. Electromagetism equates to air. Electromagnetism comes in positive and negative charge which allows for the attraction of opposites and the replusion of same charged particles. It is the binding force that holds an atom together.
3. Weak Force equates to water and is responsible for radioactive decay and operates on the scale of the atomic nucleus.
4. Strong force relates to fire and is the strongest force with the shortest range. Its duties are keeping quarks together and keeping protons and neutrons inside atomic nuclei.

I try not to let this color how I work with the elements in magic, but it is worth noting when considering whether magic matches up with modern science.

1 comment:

faoladh said...

One of the things that I like about Ben Rowe's extensions of the Enochian system is the implication that the system we've received is by no means complete, and perhaps cannot be so. His "Lotus of the Temple" essays envision a vastly wider universe than anything contained within the 30 Aires, perhaps something like Bruno's infinities.

I find your equation of the four fundamental forces to the four elements to be intriguing. I'd previously (like many others) considered the elements to be representative of states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma), but that model was becoming unsatisfying to me as other states of matter were described (such as Bose-Einstein condensates and the like). I do wonder if the elemental system originated in India, or if both the Indian and Greek systems derived from a single antecedent system, but that may not be a useful question from a purely practical standpoint. Certainly, there are some variations of the system in northern Europe which may indicate a lineage that is separate from, though mostly compatible with, the Greek, or may simply be indications of diverging thought from a Greek original.