What do I mean by Geomancy?

[Decommissioning another page and rolling it into a post.]

And God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast [Qur’an 33:4],
but He has assigned to each heart two faces, because He has created of everything two, a couple [11:40].
Hence He built bringing together on the even,
for His oddness is none save the oddness of the many.”
—Ibn al-‘Arabi, translated and quoted in The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn Al-‘Arabi’s Cosmology by William Chittick (175)

Geomantic work is freighted with significance for me—practically, as a form of divination; spiritually, as a means of communicating with subtle presences; and mystically, as a means of aligning myself with the holy and the sacred. I regularly make use of several forms of geomancy and there are many, many more forms that out there. Where to start then?

Continue reading “What do I mean by Geomancy?”

[NB] Evidentiary Ghosts II: Trash Heap and Salvation

“All things are lawful to me, not all things are expedient. All things are lawful to me, all things edify not.”—I Corinthians 10:23

Philip K. Dick noted that one of the first places that the spirit of salvation tends to manifest is in the trash heap. Some trashy bit of fiction, a cheap bit of jewelry, a character in a TV show, becomes illumined all out of proportion to their material presence and speaks to us. It’s the sort of thing that superficially seems to justify all sorts of pop culture magic experimentation, but if placed in the context of the ghost-ridden fallen world, speaks against such efforts.

Continue reading “[NB] Evidentiary Ghosts II: Trash Heap and Salvation”

[NB] Grimoires and Kabbalism

The work with the seal strengthens my conviction that the references to ‘Cabala’ in some of the grimoires isn’t just for show, it isn’t just a word that magicians were dropping in their texts because it sounded mysterious. It seems reasonable to consider that one of the channels opened by the Kabbalistic work (and if not precisely the Kabbalistic strain, then one of its relatives) constitutes for itself the grimoiric world.

Continue reading “[NB] Grimoires and Kabbalism”

[NB] The Spirit of Seriousness

“‘But are you writing something serious?’ Note the word.

Fuck. If they couldn’t get us to write serious things, they solved the problem by decreeing that what we were writing was serious. Taking a pop form as “serious” is what you do if it won’t go away. It’s a clever tactic. They welcome you in….Next thing, they get you to submit your S-F writing to them to criticize. ‘Structural criticism’ to edit out the ‘trash elements’—and you wind up with what Ursula writes.”—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis (347)

Do you get the feeling that PKD never really got over Le Guin talking about him “slowly going crazy in Santa Ana, California”? He could accept her calling him sexist, but to be called crazy cut just a little too close to the bone. What Dick is talking about goes well beyond his grudge with Le Guin, though. Dick is talking about what we nowadays call respectability politics.

Continue reading “[NB] The Spirit of Seriousness”

The Broken Pieces

This is the post where I begin to move (I think) from interim phase toward whatever the next cycle is. There are a few distinct pieces that I want to highlight and talk about in that regard. This is sort of a notebook post and sort of not.

First, after I had mentioned Frater Acher’s recent article on magical tools in a recent post, a correspondent of mine asked if I knew much about him, mentioning that they had been doing some work with the Quareia material with which Frater Acher has been involved. It felt like one of those little nudges, so I went back and took a second look at his website (and Quareia’s, but that wasn’t where I found the hook). This little gem of an ebook caught my attention.

Continue reading “The Broken Pieces”

[NB] “A Most Extraordinary Myth”

I just thought I would share this story. It is a thing of beauty, packed tight:

“But in Oturupon Meji Maupoil stumbled upon a most extraordinary myth: Orunmila, beset with melancholia, consulted Ifa for himself. How to renew his zest? He was told to bring a sacrifice to his mother, upon whom all joy in his life depended. She was far away. It was Eshu who volunteered to go find her. When he got there he told the woman that her son was dead and that he would lead her back to perform the funeral if she would give him a certain he-goat, which had been entrusted to her care by Oduduwa—life itself. Reluctantly she agreed to give the animal up. Eshu-Elegba promptly slaughtered it, and the blood that flowed forth, covering Eshu’s body, was fire. Having at that time none of his own, Eshu took he-goat’s indestructible head and placed it in a jar turned upside down upon his shoulders. And worn by Eshu, that jar was discovered to contain the sun. (To the king of death Orunmila’s mother gave a ripe fruit; this became his head.)”—Judith Gleason, A Recitation of Ifa (149; emphasis Gleason’s)

Continue reading “[NB] “A Most Extraordinary Myth””

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.

Continue reading “Yeatsian Arconology”

[NB] The Future

This will be a brief post, entertaining strange thoughts.

I have talked a bit about tradition, especially my preference for using the term to refer to a very specific set of historical relationships between living people. I’m sure that seems unnecessarily fiddly to some, but one of advantages of limiting the term is that it exposes more clearly the domain of spiritual experience to which it does not apply, namely the eruption of gnosis.

Continue reading “[NB] The Future”

[NB] Talking Dead

So, I chewed through chunks of Joe Fisher’s The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts and while I have precious few things that I identify as ‘required reading,’ this might be one of them. I say that with some qualifications, because while Fisher does give the appropriate nods to cross-cultural warnings about working with these spirits, he doesn’t see those traditions which seem to have found effective ways of working with them. His survey of spiritualists are notably absent the most sophisticated spiritualisms that developed in tandem with practices like Palo, Ocha, Candomble, and Quimbanda.

Continue reading “[NB] Talking Dead”