Of late, I keep coming back to Althusser’s conception of interpellation. The basic idea is simple enough—namely, that your subjectivity becomes constituted on the receiving end of an ideological system that expresses itself through and in the apparatus of political power. When you are called a criminal, you are made a criminal, subjected to practices that compel you to accept that assignment, not just performatively, but in your own self-conception.
This post over on Hermetic Lessons hit close to home. The frank discussion of how slippery depression can be, how it can take hold and manifest in beliefs that impair us, is important. We need to talk about that, need to be aware that we, magical and creative people, are often especially prone to it. So much magical work deploys symbolic and imaginal forms as an essential feature that we can pick up forms alien to our practice and weave them into our lives as nasty little depressive cages. Worse yet, because we produce symbolic and imaginal forms, we are an especially good vector for toxic ones to proliferate along.
I have seen people trap themselves like this, and have hobbled myself for years with these sorts of mistakes. The ones that can mask themselves in respectability are definitely some of the most insidious. Learning to read these cages as symbolic forms we are using to talk to ourselves helps (it makes clear their externality, breaking some of their spell), and reorienting toward ourselves, cleaning ourselves of other people’s business is a big part of getting on the right track again.
His follow-up post is also good, putting on the table a good strategy for breaking out of those habits. As the I Ching has put it to me before, put your ideas to the test. Let the work of moving toward a goal clean and clarify you.
Also, you know, be kind to folks who are trying to do this. If they are doing it right, they will tear through their own illusions. You don’t need to walk up and kick them around for having to stumble through some foolishness en route.
I have wanted to pick up a few threads from earlier pieces and weave them together. The discussion of aesthetics and occultism at the end of Phase I and my concern with the disruptive role of capital in spiritual practice come together in this piece focusing on Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” It also has some connection to the hesitation I have around relying on narrative discourse for a deeper understanding of spiritual experience, too.
I almost deleted this one, but the question of metaphor and metonymy is going to come into play in the summation phase, so I decided to post it anyway. For the heck of it, I have left in some of my revision notes (the bracketed text at the end). I was writing this one mid-December, 2016, so not so long ago.
. . .
I have been reflecting about how to talk about the nature of the work undertaken and on how often I write/talk about it through a mitten, and how to find my way to a glove. I don’t think I’m always working the mitten, that I have been closer to glove at some points rather than others, and to that end I want to list some of the writings that helped me shift how I work in the hopes of working back toward changing how I talk and write.
A recent post on the Blogos posed an alternative answer to what I was thinking about and it’s good, so I want to address how I diverge from it.
To come full circle one reading of the King sections of the SY, in response and addition to Io, is that it is directly referring to this ”cellular consciousness”esque approach to the SY, the Teli (Bola/Dragon) in the Universe are the genes in the nucleus (the king on his throne), the cycle of the year refers to the cell-cycle and therefore events in the cytoplasm (the king in his province) and finally the heart in the soul refers to how the cells interact/differentiate to form a realised body, the culmination of the genotype as the phenotype. The letters are quite literally a force of anti-time since everyone of us can trace them within us to the dawn of life itself.
I would talk about the genetic model a little differently. I would argue that the genes are the teli in the soul, the cell-cycle the year in the soul, and the phenotype the soul realizing itself as the soul. It is an important distinction, because the teli in the soul is still the teli of a king in the battlefield, which is why it is more susceptible to mutation and damage. The unfurling of evolution is the story of souls on the battlefield, but it is also the memory of those souls, the trace of their time, and their rebirth through new souls.
And I would probably suggest that the genetic material isn’t quite the soul itself, but the structure upon which the soul depends to articulate and develop itself in time, the king on his horse, if you will. I suspect part of what is going on in the golem working is the realization of that structure artificially, the construction of a temporary soul vessel for the continued to development of a soul, very possibly with the hope of retransmitting that soul back across the boundary of life and death where it will create subtle, rippling, effects in the soul of the teli.
(Which isn’t me disagreeing with Blogos about the golem; it’s more of a “and this too.”)
Meanwhile, the teli in the heavens proceeds more slowly its own year, develops its soul more slowly, but drawing up the souls fashioned in the battlefield to enrich and complicate itself. Which is why there are difficulties crossing certain astral boundaries, why there are guardians in play, because the soul of the teli seals itself off from the rapid time of the soul of the battlefield as much as possible.
So, we have three time scales (soul time, time-time, teli-time), joined and navigable by the letters which adjoin what I tend to think of as eternity, but anti-time is definitely a good word for it.
I’ve been going through the thirty-one drafts that I had accumulated for this blog. I went through them ruthlessly and was left with nine posts that I can’t quite let go. They were composed at various points over the last few years, some reference discussions on blogs that don’t exist, and they are united in not quite fitting in with whatever I was working on at the time, oftentimes picking up a thread from an earlier post that I had left behind.
I want to shut this blog down cleanly, so before I get to the summation I am going to clear them out. That means some rewriting and, so far, that process has already resulted in one of those posts being binned, happily. Others of the nine will surely follow it into the bin, but I will probably end up posting at least a few of them. Those that do will be posted because (1) I like them, flaws and all, (2) they might be useful to someone else thinking about these things, even if only to disagree with, and (3) they are linked to some discussion that has gone on here, even if it is a very old discussion.
Taking a tally of how I have changed since I began this blog is interesting, almost as interesting as how much the internet itself has changed around it. When I first started this blog, I had an honest-to-goodness blogroll. I let that drop by the wayside as I realized, looking at stats, no one really made use of it. But thinking back to some of the links I can recall being there? Change, change, change.
I have enjoyed watching folks talk about the latest season of Twin Peaks and around the home we have been talking about it quite a bit. I appreciate this post over on the Nightshirt, not least of which for reminding me that this isn’t just a David Lynch joint, that Frost’s influence is key, too. Pointing out the series’s connection to Kubrick’s The Shining also clarifies and I find it exciting to consider how this connects the series to Stephen King and his particular Americana.
Ancestry and lineage are hot topics in magical circles these days, but in talking about these things we often fall into vague and romantic notions about how kinship is constituted and defined. Having talked about the very concrete connections between kinship and kalunga recently, Lucien Scubla’s Giving Life, Giving Death: Psychoanalysis, Anthropology, Philosophy has been a timely read. The way in which Scubla repositions kinship studies to emphasize the central fact of maternity (and highlight how it is often overlooked) resonates with much of my own thinking.
Yuval Harari’s Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah includes material that clarifies the relationship between magical skulls and incantation bowls, the tight linkage between witchcraft and harlotry, the invocation of angelic spirits (‘princes’) to acquire knowledge of both a practical and theoretical sort (most especially knowledge and understanding of the Torah), and so on. As the title suggests, it focuses on the pre-medieval dimensions of the Jewish magical tradition, looking quite a bit at the rabbinic material, but it does dip into the debates that are taking place on the eve of the medieval era (most prominently those defined by Maimonides).