[NB] And Who Shall Wear the Starry Crown?

The more I look into the Christian syncretisms that developed in Mesoamerica with American thought, the more comfortable I am in asserting that the syncretisms were rooted in the deep and understanding appreciation of the Mesoamericans for the Christian mysteries. This wasn’t naive or protective (hiding ‘real’ Mesoamerican deities behind Catholic facade), but a visceral awareness that the celestial mysteries animating their religious understanding also animated the Christian mysteries.

In short: it wasn’t a Mesoamerican syncretism so much as a Mesoamerican synthesis, one mutilated by the inability of Europeans to appreciate and reciprocate the Mesoamericans’ insights. It seems, too, like this insight is portable, to other instances of ‘syncretism.’ So that what we are seeing is not ‘cultural’ in the sense we use the term, but ‘scientific’ (as a 19th century German might have used the term)—rational, comparative, synthetic.

Continue reading “[NB] And Who Shall Wear the Starry Crown?”

[NB] Work as Primary, Results as Secondary

Gordon’s latest post has me thinking about what it means to have goals in magical work. I often feel like a bit of an outsider to the ‘do magic for x, get x’ school of magical work. In most cases, it feels like if I really want x, there are usually more direct routes toward x than magic. I know, the get it camp tends to favor doing magic as a way of securing the route, but it’s never been a major part of my work.

Continue reading “[NB] Work as Primary, Results as Secondary”

Working a Dream

Way, way back in the early days of my time on the internet (ca. 1994-95), I had the good luck to stumble into a dream interpretation community. It was a simple affair. Every cycle (I can’t recall how long that was, maybe a month or so?), everyone in the group would send in a dream they wanted to work on. The organizer would choose one or two (at random or by design, I can’t recall), and then the whole group would go at the dreams.

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Full of …

Okay, so the last post is very “My God … It’s full of stars.” Most of us have had some sense of that in our lives and it doesn’t seem to change much for most, right? If anything, it can be a little bit of a paralytic. If it is all full of stars and wonder, then so is all that we would judge horrible, right? Gilles de Rais is as good as Joan of Arc, Stalin is as good as the Dalai Lama, right?

Well, slow down there, partner. When it all dissolves, there isn’t you or me, Stalin or Joan. Those distinctions are gone for a moment and between all those points, there are only surging spiritual potentialities, not yet falling back into patterns and shapes that can be assigned to individuals of any sort, much less to ethical agents. Good and bad aren’t yet questions we can ask when we properly realize the dissolution into points.

Wave or a particle? Yes, but not at the same time.

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Continuing the trend of writing about a book I haven’t read, let me talk a little around this, quoted by Gordon from Epoch:

All gods and all religions and all magical traditions get cobbled together out of bits and pieces of previous traditions. All theology and all revelation look suspiciously like syncretism, and scholarship confirms this. Chaos magic adopts it as a guiding principle without apology or evasion.

This sort of thing strikes me as somewhat banal these days, true in a breezy sort of way that doesn’t mean a lot. I can agree wholeheartedly with the statement without necessarily agreeing with Carroll or anyone else who affirms it. I’ll probably have to actually read this book at some point, but for the sake of a post, I’m just going to talk about how I would cash out the statement. Continue reading “Syncretism”