[NB] Geomancy, Souls, Texts

I’ve been thinking about what exactly a geomantic chart tells you about a spirit or spiritual issue a bit lately. I use geomancy a good bit in my spiritual practice as a means of identifying and understanding with what I am working, so the question is fairly important. I want to talk about this a little bit. That means wandering a bit into some talk about spiritual typologies, so please keep in mind some of my caveats about that sort of thing.

Some of my posts about things like the relationship of texts and experience are informed by this geomantic work. More than once, I have had to prune back my ideas about a spirit or a working because the conceptual tools I brought to the work from my geomantic study cast a speculative shadow that I mistook for the spirit or work. I have also retooled my geomantic understanding so that it seems better calibrated to the sort of work I’m undertaking.

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[NB] Sex, Embodiment, Gender, Ecstatic Religion

Breathe. Breathe in through your nose, exhale. Breathe in through your mouth, exhale. Consider that with these two breaths you have fed your senses, bringing in the scents that surround you, bringing in the subtle tastes that move through the air. Consider your eyes, your ears, how closely they are to the channels of breath, how they are channels, too, of sights and sounds.

Follow your breath into your lungs, follow your breath out to its sympathy with your heart, pumping the blood, both oxygen and carbon dioxide rich, through your body. Consider how far the sights and sounds that reach you may be, and how close all of this is, how all of this pulls together the world into a tight knot of awareness, whether that awareness be acute or limpid.

Are you in pain? If not, recall the last time you were, recall the last time you felt yourself gathered on sharp jolts or rocked by dull aches. Recall the last time you really wanted something, how similar to pain that can be. Consider, now, the animal roots of all this. Consider what it means to articulate so much of your conscious being through this fleshy vessel organized by animal desire. Consider how rich an instrument this body is, but how few the notes it oft employs.

Because today I want to talk about our bodies, about a peculiar dimension of our embodied experience, gender and sex. That will take me through some terrain which can get a little abstract, but as you follow me through that terrain, I want you to keep in mind this sort of entanglement. I want you to think about how breath, smell, and taste comingle though we casually and technically differentiate them. This is similar.

Keep in mind how viscerally desires express themselves, how difficult it is to fully separate from each other, from our embodied awareness. Consider how entangled those bodies are with subtle realities like our DNA and gross realities like the environment to which our bodies are modeled. Consider how basic sex is to the continuation of the species and how fundamental sexual differentiation is in that. Try to keep an eye, at all times, on the ever-present knot this forms in experience, and how startlingly flexible this anchoring reality can become in conscious experience.

Keep that in mind as I proceed through abstractions. Run the abstractions back down toward this potent knot of your embodiment, because when I think about the Kabbalistic material and its broader gnostic horizon, it is difficult to ignore its gendered dimensions.

The question as to how seriously to take the gendering takes me down into the realities of our embodiment. This is present implicitly in the Saadia diagram, where the sefirot are anchored in direction, in time, in moral behavior. When you look at what the sefirot orient, it is a body. Though it is absent from the sefirot, it manifests in their interaction. This mystery opens into the embodiment of consciousness in other bodies, but I’m going to dive deeply into this human one here.

It will take me in an (surprise) unusual direction, so don’t expect too much familiar terrain here. Or, well, actually do expect familiar terrain but a very different path through it.

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[NB] Ichorous Proxies

“[T]he traditional witch types don’t like to hear that toad bones and the rest of these icky ingredients are proxies for some symbolic/psychological language…”—Gordon, Chaos Magic: Fracking the Spirit World

This talk of proxies set off a chain of thought that I want to just throw up here in a notebook post for later reference. While I may not be a traditional witch in the sense Gordon talks about here, my use of the grotty bits has some affinities with them.

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Talking with Cymbals

So, funny thing. It is actually pretty darn hard to think, if by thinking we mean something like considering a thing and its relationship to us and the world. What we are really good at is plugging whatever we think of into our established patterns for positioning things and then proceeding to go from there. It is one of the reasons that we are lousy at changing our ideas even when they don’t hold up all that well. Unless we stop and force ourselves to think, we tend to presume more than we discover. That’s actually not terrible and given how patterned the world can be, it’s even efficient. It does mean, however, that Gurdjieff has a bit of a point–it’s better to assume that we are more like machines, more like computers, than we are like what we imagine people to be. In other words, it’s better to start from the presupposition that we anthropomorphize ourselves and others to excess.

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The World Really Matters

Okay, so you make the tree of life a coil, big deal. What does that entail? For one, it means reapprasing talk about ‘spiritual’ realities and truths distinct from mundane ones. If the tree becomes a coil, the so-called mundane is not just the source of our spiritual work, it is also its destination. The tree lets us talk about transcending ourselves and our world, reaching a height that carries us beyond this world. The coil does no such thing; the highest point is just the charge at its most pure before it is returned to the ‘outside’ world. From this perspective, efforts to escape the world are often just an exercise in blockage.

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