So then—what happens if you make a distinction between what you tell your friends and what you tell your Muse? The problem is to break down that distinction: When you approach the Muse to talk as frankly as you would talk with yourself or with your friends.

That’s from Ginsberg, again. Ginsberg is an artist and when artists talk about the spirit who surrounds and stimulates them, they talk about their muse. But the muse isn’t just an artistic concern; it’s a spiritual one. What Ginsberg calls his muse, I suspect the Yeatses would call his daemon (but do remember that not all inspiration is personal). That is a spirit that is personal to you, that is literally a part of your spiritual person.

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The Spirit that is Us

I keep thinking about whether or not to dig up the later edition of A Vision. From all accounts it is a very different book, with little to none of the fictional apparatus and a fair bit more straightforward elaboration. Because I like to be thorough, I probably will, but presently am enjoying the earlier text and the supporting material. Reading across the Yeatses’ sessions and W. B. Yeats’s first book makes clear the interpretive effort required to give the system philosophical form and I worry that by the time we get to the later text it will be, well, a little canned. At the very least, that later text will be even more the work of W. B. and even less that of George, and the spirits themselves make clear that the heart of the work lies in their conjoined effort.

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Useful Spiritualist Concepts: A Vision Materials

The various materials surrounding A Vision are thick with theoretical and practical advice regarding spiritualist working. I can’t think of any set of materials I have ever come across that are so densely layered and useful. I thought it might be really useful to provide a list of concepts and methods for other spiritualists out there who might be interested. I might make this something of a running series, expanding to include material from well beyond the Yeatses’ little circle; we’ll see.

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Per Amica Silentia Lunae

That quotation from Yeats hasn’t ceased to needle at me;, it mirrors ideas that I keep revisiting in my notebooks. I followed the link back to the original source and tore through the text over a quiet evening (downloadable versions here). It’s…well, intriguing but also a bit infuriating. Yeats struggles mightily in the text to come to theoretical terms with his personal spiritual experiences: he’s thoughtful and sincere but the text lingers in the murky and indeterminate.

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The Cave

I can assume we are all familiar with the allegory of the cave, right? If not, well, follow that link for the crash course. I have generally thought about it only in passing because of its account of the blindness and clumsiness that follows illumination. A dream put me in mind of it, so I took a look at it again. It’s a funny allegory. Plato spends so much effort describing the shadows on the wall, but when he moves to describe the intelligible realm, what does he do? He uses the same visual register that defines the shadow realm. Which is sort of weird, right?

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