[NB] Evidentiary Ghosts

So, now for something entirely different.

Stacey and I have been talking about ghosts a bit lately, particularly the parasitic sort, and I realize that there is probably something to be said about ghosts that I haven’t said before. The family of pretenders that often first appear to us as we set out on a magical path (which we hopefully learn to distinguish from the higher powers with which our destiny entwines) do provide a useful service; they educate us about ourselves and our spiritual make-up.

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[NB] Lovecraftian aside to Yeats

One of the ends of the Yeatsian work is the end of idolatry, but it is does not seek the end of idols. In that lies part of its distinctive character. This is where the Yeatsian material may find a proper complement in the Lovecraftian, because there, too, we find the image raised up even as idolatry is made into a figure of utter monstrosity. They are thinking through a similar thought, albeit from rather different ends.

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Yeatsian Arconology, pt. 5

[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

At this point, it should be clear that in the Yeatsian material a person is a composite being and a variety of spiritual issues develop when that composite breaks down. A person is both a daimon and a ‘human’ soul (hereafter just called ‘human’) engaged in an often awkward dialogue with each other through the medium of a person’s life. Besides the fact that these two spiritual beings co-exist in a person, what do we know about them?

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Yeatsian Arconology, pt. 4

[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]

Okay, here is where things will start getting weirder and potential incoherencies become more pronounced. So, the Yeatsian materials distinguishes two broad types of arcons, arcons of form and arcons of wisdom. To further understand them, it is necessary to touch a little more on the lunar system that William especially uses to organize his understanding of the spirit messages.

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Yeatsian arconology, pt. 3

[As the title indicates, this is the third in a series. Here are links to Post 1 and Post 2.]

Now that I have a rough map of the terrain, I want to fill in some of the details. I’ll recap just a little and go from there. The summary repeats, yes, but hopefully also adds by concatenation.

From the perspective of the Yeatsian system, the daimonic world conspires to educate us to distinguish desire and understanding. This is a two-pronged education that allows us to appreciate that there is a fundamental gap between what exists and the desires we have. Once we become aware of this gap, we can set about working with what exists and what we desire together. This learning leads us to both modulate our own desires and character in dialogue with our situation in the world and understanding of it.

There are other forces in the world that can interfere with this process, manipulating the daimonic reality for their own ends. This includes the frustrated dead and a range of arcons born out of the frustrated dead’s interaction with the living.

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Yeatsian Arconology

So, it’s been a little but since I talked about the Yeatses’ spiritualist material. A large part of that has to do with how clearly it fits into the hungry ghost model. There isn’t a single trait of the hungry ghost experience that you can’t find in the Vision materials: hypnotism, talkative spirits, pseudo-historical identities, warnings about rival spirits looking to interfere with them, cosmological speculation, striking physical manifestations, draining the medium. That’s a lot of red flags.

There are some redeeming qualities, though. The spirits seem less interested in the cosmological speculation than William. While they deign to talk about such things, they often seem to do so with a certain sense of resignation (“oh for the love of…William wants to hear about the afterlife again”). While they do engage in some striking physical manifestations, they are less concerned with dramatic proofs of there power (like healing).

They show concern for their medium’s fatigue and advise the Yeatses to take it easy on channeling. Finally, they show a great deal of interest in family and children, stating one of their key works to be be securing the birth of the children and their well-being in life, and they do seem to manage that quite tidily. If the volume of material is any indication, their direct interaction with the Yeatses declines sharply after the family is established.

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The Big Spirits

One of the advantages of my quirky monotheism is that I don’t tend to be bothered over-much by the tendency of spirits to blend into each other. To my way of thinking, the blurring that occurs between spirits is a necessary aspect of creation itself, of existing in dispersal but having an indelible root in God as an aboslute source of unity. Since we aren’t God, we only ever appreciate that unity in a limited fashion.

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Spiritualism and the African Diaspora

As I started writing out the spiritualist timeline, I was aware that there was no easy way to do justice to the immense African contribution to spiritualism in an abbreviated format. Spiritualism has a deep sympathy with the African Diaspora faiths. Almost as soon as it was a thing (ca. 1850s), spiritualism becomes a big thing in Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, and…okay, you get the idea: everywhere. Bam, in no time, hybrid Afro-Spiritualist techniques are everywhere. I want to talk about that a little at length.

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Obsession, Art, and Arcons

[This is one of those speculative posts, so bear with me. I am not necessarily saying that I buy everything said here, but I do think it is is worth putting the model out there.]

It’s not too surprising that the Yeatses’ spirits address the source of artistic inspiration. Not only is it of personal relevance to W. B. Yeats, but the system they describe gives the aesthetic a key place. A Vision divides souls into two sorts, primary and antithetical. The primary souls are souls of action, the McBrides of the world in their various forms, but the antithetical souls are thoughtful souls, inclined to subjective, aesthetic, and intellectual pursuits.

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