Husks and Helping Hands

Following on the last post, let me talk a bit more about what I mean when I say that the Sa’adia diagram might provide the basis for a better ontological account of what exactly is going on with the talk of qlippoth. If we look at the tree as a manifestation of the archetypal forces of creation interacting with an alien matrix that receives it (which isn’t Sa’adia’s point, but one to which his model well extends), then the alien matrix’s own being has to be taken into account. Far from a passive mirror, it responds to the archetypal forces of creation according to difficult to discern internal properties of its being.

On some level, if for no other reason than they are capable of interacting, we can grasp that there is a deep affinity between archetype and matrix. There are many dimensions to the matrix just as there are many dimensions to the archetype. Whether as a result of the interaction with the matrix, or on the basis of its own self-differentiation, the archetype manifests such that it develops multiple points of reflection on itself, the seeds of individual souls. Those seeds possess the same constituting properties of the archetype on a smaller scale.

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Criticism and Disposition

The Armadel is one of the few places I have seen my specific trinity of potencies identified (to the extent that they seem to recognize themselves in it on some level) as a trinity (the Grimorum Verum is another). That odd little duck gets lumped into what some call the “Arts of Disposition,” a category that seems to fit quite well with my own work with the trinity. It has been less a matter of achieving some specific thing, than of transforming myself.

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The Body of Fate composed of people and books

“It is likely that no one ever masters anything in which he has not known impotence; and if you agree, you will also see that this impotence comes not at the beginning of or before the struggle with the subject, but in the heart of it.”—Walter Benjamin, “A Berlin Chronicle” in Reflections (4)

Finding this quote set me to flipping pleasantly through the pages of Reflections. Ah, Benjamin, such a pleasure. The double movement of Benjamin into the city and into his past, the opacity of its material forces and the opacity of his family wealth…well, if I wonder down this side street, I might never get to what I want to write about.

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[NB] Rite and Record

There are two things that I am thinking about right now that are trying to come together, so I am going to try to write my way to that.

First thing: one of the challenges of talking about spiritualist-driven practice entails attending to the concrete reality that underpins it, namely the way in which the diversity in our personal constitution has a direct impact on the way in which we can most effectively interact with the world of spirit. The point of identifying a person’s spiritual court, for example, derives from the sense that it varies from person to person and that the variation demands accompanying variations in practice.

Second thing: that historically, most forms of marginal spiritual practice has been magpie. I was thinking about this in light of my last post, in which I mentioned the way in which a single grimoiric ritual broke free of its grimoiric context and proceeded to circulate through numerous distinct occult practices, varying to accommodate the practices. And, too, in light of the way it makes sense to talk about the unity of the grimoires in a statistical sense, in terms of overlapping patterns of names and rites that are broadly shared by many grimoires alongside a set of rites and names that are particular to this or that grimoire.

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Mercury’s Ghosts

The tone of the spiritualist material that has been drawing my attention lately isn’t the usual tone in which I tend to feel most comfortable. It feels lighter, faster, and a little more ‘every day’ for the lack of a better word than the Saturnian weight that tends to be where I feel comfortable (I know, I’m weird). That’s one reason why I talked myself through its stability, because it is stable, but it’s not dense.

It’s real, but it takes me a little work to appreciate how it is real. That’s a good thing, because it forces me to stretch my legs a little and get out of my own comfort zone, but it’s different and I’m going to think about that a bit here.

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Digging Deep, Surfacing

One of the small formative moments in my philosophical life came in a undergraduate course on Islamic philosophy. It was a one-off course for the department, the fruits of having been lucky to land a temporary lecturer who had a side interest in the topic. We were reading (I think) Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi. In the text he was arguing that one of the proofs of the soul’s separation from the body was that while we could tire of physical action, we never tired of mental action.

To which youthful me immediately called bullshit. I assume, now, that al-Razi was making a subtler argument than I gave him credit for, attending to the fatigue of the body capable of shutting down our mental efforts, but even now I don’t really buy that mental actions don’t tire us. Mental action, even when the body is prime rested and wakeful shape, can wear you down.

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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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