[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.

Moses Redux

Let’s get ready to ramble, shall we? This is one of those throat-clearing posts that tend to show up in the middle. I keep coming back to something Simon said in response to my last post on Moses in the medieval Jewish Kabbalistic material:

“SY is considered a text of the school of ma’aseh bereishit (work of creation), a complementary but separate school to ma’aseh merkavah (work of the chariot). The former is a school focusing on the metaphysics of creation as outlined in chapter 1 of Genesis and the latter school is based on visions of Ezekiel and Isaiah involving heavenly ascent. I would place the experience of Moses receiving the law as related to ma’aseh bereishit and the splitting of the sea of reeds as related to the school of ma’aseh bereishit.”

It was useful to have it said in these terms contrasted in just this way because it reopens a series of distinctions that has long animated my thinking (wizard/witch; the sumerian diasporas; though the diasporas posts are basically a pitch to break it out into wizard/sorcerer/witch). So, when we are talking about the early medieval fusion of the SY with an account of an ascent to heaven by Moses, we are looking at an interesting case where the two modalities have crisscrossed each other.

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[NB] The Mothers of Nations

I have probably reading and thinking a bit much of late, but I have been sick and unable to do the sort of ritual work that I’m itching to do, but to everything it’s season? I pulled Gẹlẹdẹ: Art and Female Power among the Yoruba off of the shelf and there is much here that resonates with the discussion of Moses, of the covenant, but in a quite different register, so I thought I would at least share a few bits of it.

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Let’s Dance

“Sometimes the answers just come in the mail.
And one day you get that letter you’ve been waiting for forever.
And everything it says is true.
And then in the last line it says: burn this.”
—Laurie Anderson, “Same Time Tomorrow”

At the end of one of my synchronicity chains this last week is a video, “Let’s Dance,” by the late great David Bowie. I’ve shared it recently, so I won’t link it again here, but I want to talk about it more. In doing so, I want to talk about it in a strange way, as a complex spiritual sign, as if the whole video were being taken up and spoken as a spiritual message. I don’t necessarily want to assert that the video was originally intended to be that message, only that like any message, like any set of words, it can be taken up and given new meaning according to the context in which it is spoken. In other words, I only mean to say that it can be used to mean what I am saying here, not that Bowie or the director intended it to mean what I say here.

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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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Channels in the Earth: Kabbalah and Geomancy

If you’ve read around this blog much, I’m sure you saw this post coming. I didn’t want to rush it because so much of the work of assignment occurs on a level just below the conceptual, such that if I tried to jump right into reassigning the geomantic signs to the sefirotic diagram, I would surely over-conceptualize it and mangle it somewhat.

Today, though, I woke up with subway dreams about back channels, mapping the lyrics of Bush’s Glycerine half-consciously to the channels, and the line “Bad Moon Wine Again” on repeat. As I turned my attention to all that, the geomantic figures started to get moving in my head. Orion, Andromeda, and the Serpent came in for some clarification….Well, let’s just say it all started to make sense.

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Materia and Disposition

I have always found it useful to draw a line between occult and medicinal/chemical/biological/etc. properties of a material. I want to chew that over a bit here in a loosely practical fashion and highlight the importance of the person to the occult operations. I don’t think this will be saying anything groundbreaking, but I want to walk through the idea a little methodically.

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Scholarly Witchcraft

Witchcraft as I tend to think of it seems to do its best work when perched at the boundary between destruction and creation. It takes apart, but it also infuses what has been taken apart with new force, new potency. Witchcraft is an art of decline, but it is also the art of rebirth. If I were pushed into saying why this is the case, I would say that it is because witchcraft is concerned with the life of the world, the cosmos, the life that precedes and exceeds the life of individuals. The work of destruction is done for the sake of that life, in much the same way as its serving as the ancilla of creation.

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[NB] Assyria, Derrida, and a Language of the Earth

O radiance of the great gods, light of the earth
Illuminator of the world regions
Lofty judge, creator of heaven and earth
O Shamash, by your light you scan the totality of lands as if they were cuneiform signs
You never weary of divination.
—hymn from the reign of Ashurbanipal, qtd. by Derrida in of Grammatology, qtd. by Zainab Bahrani in Rituals of War (61)

I take an especial pleasure in this citation, the way this text joins other texts, like a needle and thread cinching together fabrics.

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