[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.

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Preface to a Series on Geomancy: Correspondences as Assemblages

For each of the days of the coming week, you will see a post. Each post is organized around a double letter of the Sefer Yetzirah, a pair of geomantic signs, and a network of correspondences that I have derived from their interaction with each other. These posts are the fruit of a period of exploration and work on my part to introduce the two systems to each other and allow them to engage in a dialogue with each other.

This project develops a sense of mine that magical correspondences have their basis in the active operation of spiritual intelligences and that one of the best ways to develop a flexible system of correspondences is to develop a deeper relationship with the intelligences that produce them. Rather than develop a table of equivalences, the goal of this work is to develop a sensibility for the modes of manifestation for these intelligences.

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[NB] Grinding Ourselves Down into the Earth

I came across this discussion on the current shift in our understanding of what it is a lot of psychedelics actually do, as mind-limiters which make possible a more intimate encounter with the world as it is:

“There are likely to be analogous effects on other sensory inputs; sound, bodily sensations such as temperature, kinaesthetic awareness, proprioception, taste and smell. So psychedelics, named after the apparent mind-manifesting effects, may actually reveal instead a lack of ‘mind’ as we currently understand this terminology. The reducing valve theory of Huxley has already gained acceptance with regard to integration of brain centres. This visual phenomenon of visible colour waves could provide an easily accessible concrete example of its application. Psychedelics may well reveal the building blocks of our raw state of perception. This could explain that sense of familiarity many people have commented on, the coming home. For really, we ALWAYS see the world this way with our sensory apparatus, the non-psychedelic reality being constructed post-here&now by constant activity within our filtering brain.”

This sits well with the account of gnosis I’ve been pushing for here—a gnosis rooted in becoming as-if dead, as-if a mute thing in the world, in order to bring a portion of that worldliness back with us as we rearticulate ourselves back into our living skin. It is about becoming more embedded in the world, unless we get caught up in a reactive ego-inflation that has us blowing up scale of that process.

The as-if dead movement is what allows us to pick up more clearly on there being an other kind of life and awareness going on outside our head, one that isn’t human, one that doesn’t well map onto the anthropomorphic fantasies we often use to animate our understanding of ourselves, other people, and the world of spirits. That other-awareness is then what we work to give voice to in human terms by finding ways to link that alien voice with a humanized understanding.

Magic and Psychological Type

I have been thinking about C. G. Jung’s typological work again, in part because I have been thinking about the opening of a personal magical practice, about what constitutes the healthy openign for a person. Reflection on such beginnings provide insight into the present situation they made possible, and they also provide possible insight for those who are at the beginning, so it seems like good blogging material.

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[NB] Time, Angels, Daimons, Heroes, and Gods

I often find it easier to think about time in terms of space, in terms of the way we can abstract and spatialize time for a number of broadly mathematical operations. I think that’s pretty common, because we are better suited to conceiving of space than we are to conceiving of time. We can use our better grasp of space to ‘sneak up’ on time.

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[NB] 1911 (Modernities yet to be)

I have been dipping into Wassily Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art (Über das Geistige in der Kunst). It is a small volume, but I have been reading it in downright tiny portions. It is hardly complex or densely packed, but it is one of those books where the simplicity and directness of the presentation permits the material’s potency, it’s weightiness, to manifest all the more.

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[NB] Person, Persona, Style

This post began a bit far afield and so ranges widely to circle closer to home.I’m revisiting some old ground here, and this is very notebook-post, more observation and juxtaposition than well-articulated statement.

Today, Stacey and I were driving into Greensboro and talking about the clever use of doors in Jessica Jones, about the way the doors serve to mediate interactions between characters, and about how the doors where the characters live tells us more than a little about the sorts of people they are.

That set me to thinking and talking about the tail end of the first season of Person of Interest (haven’t seen beyond that; I’m a slow consumer that way), where the almost invisible eye of the Machine starts to acquire its own independence, where its camera-eye view shows signs of being guided by some peculiar machinic sense of interest and concern. That, in turn, set us off talking about how disappointing, how banally villainous, the Ultron AI of the last Avengers movie was.

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[NB] Kabbalah and Spiritualism: Light and Attention

I quite like this description of righting the world from Hermetic Lessons:

In Kabbalah we speak of Tikkun ha Olam – the rectification of the worlds – the idea being that in the Shevirat Ha Kelim, the Shattering of the Vessels, the world became broken and overwhelmed by evil. The Ari used the partzufim (personifications, countenanves) in order to complete this reparation – for while the kelim could not contain the light and so shattered, the partzufim, by being able to enter dialogue with each other, could both give and recieve the light**.   We could speak of our task on Earth being Tikkun ha Partzuf, the repair of the face.

The language is virtually identical to that of the espiritistas: identify your spirits [i.e., partzufim] and give them light. It’s worth pointing out what those asterisks in the quote specify, too: that ‘light’ is here synonymous with attention. In other words, to give and receive light is to give and receive attention, and it is through attention that the rifts in creation are bridged.

The similarity between the two is, of course, not accidental. Spiritism emerges from a soil that has been throroughly saturated with Kabbalism, sometimes so much so that it has become all-but invisible.

Knowing Spirits

When I talk about getting to know a spirit, I am usually talking about a lengthy ritual process through which the spirit becomes manifest, divination performed upon it, and a personal connection established. The personal connection part of the process is absolutely essential but difficult to describe. Even after a lengthy ritual manifestation and divination, the nature of the spirit is often opaque. It is only after weeks and months of living with it that the spirit’s place in my broader spiritual court becomes manifest.

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