Ravemore's Notes

A little meandering… Pagan reflections on a left hand path.

Tag: Food For Thought

Need for Meaning

What prompts one to begin walking the Left Hand Path? For me it started as a journey or quest for enlightenment, a conscious decision to turn my back on Christianity… after four very long years of seminary. The end result of a sort of penal servitude to my mother’s dogmatic world-views. A rebellion. A semi-mirror reflection of the falling Morning Star? That analogy actually makes me smile a little as I type it… I would like to note though, that I do love my mother dearly. I thank her in my heart every day for bringing me into this incarnation. I would gladly murder the world to protect her from harm.

Instead of taking on the role of a missionary that I was being pressured into, I exercised my free will and chose to serve as a soldier. An infantryman in the Marine Corps. It allowed me to get away, to isolate myself from those seeking to influence me, and to think and develop my Own Way.

What were my reasons for spreading my arms, turning my back to the abyss, and falling backwards into the embrace of Darkness? A lust for power? A need for control over myself, those around me, and my own destiny? Fear of the unknown? An outlet for the Darkness and Hatred that had built up over years of being repressed? Disenfranchisement with Christianity and its repressive dogmas? Perhaps all of these… but probably more so a deep seated need for meaning. 

Ironically though, this “need for meaning” is what prompts many to walk away from the dark winding roads and turn a deaf ear to the Goat God of the Witches. People seem to be looking for a pre-packaged or canned pagan religion, where everything makes sense and follows a logical progression. One that builds a sense of order out of the chaos with little effort on the part of The Seeker. Anyone who has been on this journey for an extended period of time though can attest that the occult and pagan roads are a patchwork of beliefs, myths, and practices. They often present logical fallacies which cause pain and confusion, which can shake the pillars of our faith. We fall prey to the assumption that they are undermining the foundation of our belief system… but they do not. They are actually the bedrock upon which we should set our cornerstone. Part of the journey is taking these conflicting ideas and building our temple. Shaping them into a tradition that is rewarding, brings us value, and above all is something we as the practitioner are happy and content with. This can fulfill your inherent need for meaning. Fuck the naysayers and detractors who gleefully point out how elements of Your Tradition are culturally different or cannot be traced consistently to a root source. Curse them… then carry on.

Practice or Wishful Thinking

It seems that so many potential travelers on the occult pathways encounter two significant hurdles. I hear about it and read about it more often than I would like. Ironically they are both primarily self-fulfilling prophecies in failure if allowed to take root… but can be easily avoided with some thought and action.

How many times have you, or someone you know, began those first tentative steps in the direction of a particular path. You see the trailhead through the brambles and briars and slowly claw your way in that direction… only to give up, turn around, and begin looking elsewhere for an easier way? What does this simple allegorical paragraph really mean though? I think it boils down to this… You find a particular tradition that seems to call to you and you are drawn to it like a moth to the flame. After doing some research and asking some questions you start to see some inconsistencies that shake your faith. You get hung up on specifics. You find too many holes with missing information. You begin to doubt… and you start the search for something canned and ready to be served to you on a silver platter.

Then there is the second pitfall, which often blooms forth from the first like a foul smelling corpse flower… The nagging comments and responses from the “experts” and other “Sheeple” wandering around in stupid flocks. They remark on how their path is the correct one… and how yours is not. They point out the inconsistencies in your beliefs. They explain how the historical record does not support what you believe… or how it refutes it. They compound the doubt in you from number one, and if you have not already left the path to search for another… here is where you often will.

My recommendation is fuck both One and Two… The Gods do not care if your ritual differs slightly or drastically from what a book written by another man does. They do not care if you have a different name for them. They do not care if you fill in the gaps and holes with your own myth and stories. They do not care if the date of your Sabbat does not correspond to what an ancient text says. They do not care if the words being uttered from your mouth into the darkness praising their glory and beseeching their aid are not pulled from an ancient Book of Shadows or translated from some obscure cypher. They do not give a shit… and neither should you. Find your own way. Take of the wheat and cast away the chaff. Build your own temple. Set your own corner stone. Carve your own rough ashlar into that perfect fitting block. Turn your wishful thinking into Practice.. and thereby put your feet firmly upon the path to obtaining the eternal flame between the horns of the Goat God of the Witches.

Perspective

In relating the circumstances which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative. It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.

-H.P. Lovecraft (The Tomb, 1917)

Often it is the mad who have the clearest vision of what lies in the shadows. It would behoove the aspiring adept to listen, to read their words, and to contemplate the truths mixed within their incoherent ramblings. Although broken in mind and form, they have value and can serves as a looking glass to peer into worlds and realities that lie beyond the veil of rational thought and thinking. Some can serve as a lantern of sorts to cast feeble light onto the dark and twisted Left Hand Path… not all though.

Depression

The Darkness surrounds us, wraps us in soft tendrils, and hides us from our enemies and the ignorant. It protects us…, but sometimes it is a very lonely place.

There have been times when I have sat at the edge of the abyss, staring into the depths of a chasm with no bottom and wondered why I am here. Wondered what I am doing in this world and what fate I am bound to follow, bend, or break. Wondered why I have to trudge through this world filled with sheep and simpletons, playing the game, pretending to conform. I have considered taking a step into its yawning mouth to become one with the infinite. Each time though I have ground my teeth and pulled myself from the lip of the precipice and grasped upon The Darkness, stretching forth to kiss it, to taste it. I break the chains that hold me from my desires and immobilize me in despair… and then there is affirmation. It is because I am a hunter, a shard of darkness, a son of The Goat God, and a child of the Great Goddess. I am more than most. It is usually then that I see the glimmer of wicked light in the depths of the pit of self-loathing and crushing despair… a Black Flame that pulses and flares to the beat of my heart. I remember who and what I am and become stronger.

Why is it so easy to forget, over and over again?

It is Within All of Us…

Many occult teachers pontificate on the dangers of the “Left Hand Path” and “Black Magic.” They caution and warn, planting seeds of fear and contempt. They teach that to step onto the shadowy network of trails that constitute the Left Hand Path will lead to corruption of the individual, a fall from grace, or an abandonment of The Light. Many believe the truth of their words with the strongest of convictions, but I speculate that many of them have a nagging suspicion in the back of their minds, one they are afraid to face and admit… there is a Darkness within all of us already that hungers for a release, for feeding, and for growth. – All of us. Stepping onto The Path does not lead to Darkness. The Darkness from within is what leads one to The Path. Do not fear those first steps. Embrace them and allow the Black Flame to kindle and metamorphosis into True Passion. Rejection of our Darkness is an unforgivable suppression of the Self.

Silence

Speak little, listen much… A trait many who walk our winding ways rarely have the gift for. Clarity of immense proportion can be gleaned from silence. To capture brief glimpses of The Light from The Darkness we should suppress and avoid the urge to speak as authorities, to preach to the masses, to profess a true path or right way. When asked, state what you believe… do not seek to convert. Share with no expectation of reward or quid pro quo. Teach if you find one worthy, but do not do so with pride and hubris. The path of the missionary is not of The Left Hand Path, and those who act in that capacity are often charlatans. The greatest teacher one can find is simply the silence around us. Silence is a whetstone…

“..The apprentice must learn how to be confident in silence, and learn the hidden secrets in the madness of the quiet. When he no longer fights the need to fill it, he can think clearly. He can plan and apply proper strategy to any situation, and he can hear his own heart. Noise is merely distraction. It traps us into complacency so that we can ignore our heart and live in the dumb and deaf world that most are contented with…”

-Miles

Chains

Is not continually scrutinizing and searching for chains to break a chain in itself? Live life, breathe, kill, love, destroy… enjoy the moment and all of the carnal pleasures The Path has to offer. It is amazing to me how mortal man continually devises ways to imprison himself… even as he utters flaccid rationalizations to convince himself otherwise.

If a chain is found and realized along the way though, break it and cast it aside… for we are on the path to godhood.

Departed into the Mists…

Quite some time ago, a gentleman by the name of Eric Jeffords at the WordPress Blog “By Blood and Bone, By Staff and Stone” posted the following piece forwarded to him by a friend. His entire Blog was compelling and interesting. I often found myself there grazing on his thoughts. Inexplicably though, one day he posted what could be characterized as a retraction of his entire philosophy and belief in witchcraft… an intent to cast all of it aside. Sometimes I wonder what befell him… what caused such a radical change. Did he convert or return to the embrace of Christianity? Did he have a life altering event that changed his ontological views irrevocably? None know probably except for him and those he holds close…

As I often do though, I will copy and paste interesting pieces I harvest from my rabbit-holing into a document  where I go to find inspiration for writing or food for thought. It’s hovering at about 63 pages long these days. Luckily I grabbed this snippet and it was not lost to the ether… His Blog has been taken down and he has departed into the mists, which is truly a loss.

“To Hell with their father, hiding in heaven

 I spit on every letter of his name.

 His Kingdom is ashes.

 His will is bile,

 as it rises in my throat.

 I have worked in the fields to earn my bread,

 and need no forgiveness, but from him that I’ve wronged.

 And to hell with him that wronged me.

 I’ll take all my temptation,

 And judge my own what’s Evil.

 For this is the kingdom of the Old-Horn,

 And the Goatfoot, and the One-eyed,

 forever, and ever.

Nema!”

 

For posterity:

http://throughthehiddendoor.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/the-goat-foot-prayer/

 

 

Where Do They Hide??

Where do your demons hide? I’m interested in your answer…

Every time that song plays, it strikes a chord with me.

-Ravemore

 

Devising Death…

“I am often thought of as being remarkably bright, and yet my brains, more often than not, are busily devising new and interesting ways of bringing my enemies to sudden, gagging, writhing, agonizing death.”

― Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

Human nature succinctly stated… Come now, do not lie to yourself. Often times a mirror is the best net to catch a monster. This quote made me giggle a little when I read it.. and I thought I would share it.

I offer you a cup…

“The quest for balance is an excuse to play on the shadowy edge of Darkness.”

-Tsepha Eshai

Ah, yes… so beautifully and poignantly stated. An excuse to take a sip from a forbidden cup we of the Left Hand regularly quaff. An excuse to dabble… and still be able to claim the “mantle of gray.” To truly seek a state of balance or equilibrium is nothing more than a quest for stagnation and decay.

We adherents of the dark winding ways, where the whispers of the Goat God can be heard, should not be too quick to cast a stone though. A sip gives an opportunity to taste, and a taste gives rise to developing a fondness, and a fondness can lead to an addiction… and none can argue with the power of an addiction. Whenever I hear dogma from those who claim to be “Gray” or “Seeking Balance”, it always makes me chuckle a little. I know that someday I may be welcoming them into the fold… if they have courage and develop an addiction for Darkness.

Demons or Gods?

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

Value in a Monster?

I may tie this little post into Left Hand Path philosophy… or I may not. I’m not really sure as these words drip into the Blog via my fingers and keyboard. These thoughts have been floating around my mind for a couple of days when I began considering whether there can be good and value in bad people. I’m not entirely confident I know why either. I’m not even really sure they mean anything, or have any useful substance. This post is not going to be one of my usual mythical stories, philosophical points, cryptic Left Hand Path messages, or conversations on the arcane or ritual. I’m going to throw the proverbial plate of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. This is probably going to seem a little disjointed or rambling… but then again it may make sense to some of my readers. I think I may do a couple of similar posts because there are several other topics I want to write about as well.

Anyway, I’m not widely known for my compassion, empathy, or happy demeanor beyond my immediate family and a few friends. I’m a straightforward and to the point person most of the time. I like to go into a store knowing what I want to purchase before hand, and get out as soon as possible. I’m not keen on large social gatherings. I like to stay below the radar and am not ostentatious by any stretch of the imagination. My two story house in an upper middle-class suburban neighborhood with a homeowners association is neatly kept, freshly painted, and has gorgeous landscaping that I enjoy maintaining myself. If you wave at me when you pass by, I will wave back and smile… possibly even dabble in some polite gibberish. That is all a mask though… I am a chameleon of sorts, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A monster. But aren’t we all though? If you answer no, you are probably lying to yourself. You may raise many arguments to counter my assertion… but they are probably all fallacious at heart. It is possible my tours in the Marine Corps and Army shaped me. It is equally possible that the many years in my current career field have contributed to making me. My occult studies over the years have definitely had a hand in the result that sits in front of this monitor. It is amazing what affects the environment and an open mind can have on the social development of the individual.

What makes me a monster? I have many responses to that question, a sample of which follow… First and foremost, I embrace darkness. It is who, and what I am. If I do not like you and come across you in a car crash, and you beg me for assistance, I will walk away and let you die. If you break into my house, I will kill you… and then sit down to eat a bowl of cereal while I await the police department to arrive to remove your cold, dead, cadaver. I routinely curse… both types. I summon demons and cavort with devils. I enjoy debaucheries of many, many, many types. I disdain Christianity. I hate with a fervor and heat that can rival the sun. I am vengeful. I cannot stand people in general, and view most simply as tools… a means to an end. If you are a dumb-ass and I’m interacting with you, all will appear pleasant, but inside I’m probably wanting to rip your face off with a pair of pliers. I live my life as I choose and am not bound by the moral platitudes of a society shaped by religions and dogma. Ascension and seeking The Light are always foremost in my mind. Regardless of what I really am though under the thin veneer of conformity that I preserve, I am a high functioning individual by societal standards. I hold two college degrees, have managed very large organizations, am routinely required to do public speaking, and have been a member of a fraternal order and mystery school for approximately 18 years. I have never been convicted or charged with a major criminal offense. But where am I going with this tangent of thought…? Let me continue…

There are balancing qualities within me as well… Not strong… or enough to tip the scales into a state of equilibrium, but they are there. Those I love, I love with a passion and intensity to rival my hatred. I honor my word when I give it. I will fight to the last breath and put my life on the line for those I care about. Occasionally, on a whim, I have been known to act mercifully and with great caring toward strangers I do not consider absolute ass-hats.  I value the rule of law and the benefits it provides.

Again, where am I going with this?

Essentially, people are usually not what they appear to be. We are complex, beautiful creations and contain both Darkness and Light. This applies equally to those who walk The Right, those that travel The Left, and those that cling to the Middle. Whatever road you walk, it is likely you’ve have qualities from the other two. Also… even a monster is capable of some good. Therefore, beware hunters of monsters… in addition to the obvious dangers of the hunter becoming the hunted, you risk snuffing out the possibility of some good. It must be thrown into the equation before placing anyone in your sights.

 

“Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.

Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.”

– The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. (23)

– John Donne, 1624

 

The Key…

We are mortal, and we suffer the lot of all mortals – bound by destiny and chained by fate… yet we hold the key within ourselves to ascension, immortality, and godhood. A key dropped into the clay forms of the first of Danu’s Third Children by The Goat God at creation, a flame that quickened the potential within.

This potential is beyond good and evil… beyond light and darkness. Neither polar opposite is a prerequisite. We are what we choose to be, what we are most comfortable with, and we do not need to conform to reach our true potential… our birthright. What is the key though? What form does it take? What is that mysterious, invisible, intangible thing that can move us beyond the cycle of life and death? I think Crowley got it right…

“For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”

-Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law

We must simply be strong enough and focused enough to will it. Open to the Gnosis, eyes turned upward to The Morning Star, ears open to the whispers from the shadows…

Two Wolves…

This post is a tangent from a previous post “What is Darkness?” I think that from time to time I will expand that contemplation a little further by discussing how different concepts, or elements, are shaped by my beliefs… or perhaps how my beliefs are shaped by them. Occasionally I stumble across something that makes me pause a moment to consider its effect on My Darkness, or vice versa. Introspection is a tool for personal growth, and it seems an appropriate application to use in conjunction with composing these posts. A concept like “Darkness” is something worthy of unlimited dissection and microscopic examination.

My Left Hand Path adheres to certain inherent patterns of belief as it relates to Darkness and Evil. Others do too… and others don’t. I really do not care much what other belief systems and individuals adhere to. I am more concerned with myself. Something you will discover about Left Hand Path philosophy is that for the most part we are very individualistic in nature, and this translates directly into how we practice our Religion and Craft. As I have mentioned before, I have embraced My Darkness, and for me this term is indeed one synonymous with Evil. Hatred and Anger are both effective tools in attaining power… and useful. Good actions and emotions can be equally effective in furthering The Darkness within ourselves though… few initiates reach a level where they recognize this truth. (By the way… that is one piece of advice I recommend scribbling down in your little black book.)

On to the more germane part of this post… There is an old Cherokee story about two wolves. How old? I really cannot say for sure. It has some relevant concepts applicable to this post though… mainly because I use it in a way I’m sure was not intended by the author to underline a few of my points. I don’t know who the author is, so I am unable to give credit where credit is due. It goes something like this:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

This story is a very vanilla way of looking at hate, anger, good, and balance. Cute and simplistic… Faint aromas of Christianity and new age fluffiness sprinkled all over the top… It makes me want to puke. I strongly doubt it has any true roots in ancient Native American culture or myth, and it overlooks the pure power and unlimited potential that Hate and Anger can bring to the table. As a practitioner of a Left Hand Path we should not choose to feed one wolf over the other…. thereby seeking to amputate ourselves from primordial predispositions that have enabled us to survive and thrive in this brutal and unforgiving world. We should feed them both… and beat them into submission with a big stick. Turn them into Canis Domesticus and make them serve us. There is some wisdom to the parable though. Hate and Anger can both wear one down and act like the poison alluded to… but this is only if we feed that wolf and give it no room to grow, no ability to become action… if we fail to shape and use our Hate and Anger it can curdle and spoil like old milk.

Darkness has a use for most tools, and all emotions and feelings are valued utensils.

 

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

 

 

The Importance of Initiation

I have heard exhortations from both sides of the fence… some touting the necessity for initiation into The Craft, and others relegating it to either a footnote, or totally eliminating any significance and value it may hold. My personal philosophy places great importance on Initiation for a variety of reasons. It fulfills essential functions within a Left Hand Path, and arguably any religious or mystery system. With that being said though, I do not prescribe the notion that initiations must follow any type of genealogical line, or that a practitioner is for some reason “illegitimate” because another has not performed certain rites or rituals to welcome them into The Craft. That is utter garbage. The individual has as much capacity and right as any group or coven to properly carry out an initiation… possibly to even greater effect.

The purpose of Initiation is to experience a ritualistic death of the old life, and a spiritual re-birth onto a path few are brave or competent enough to tread. It shows a high level of resolve on the part of the initiate, and lays the soul bare for shaping and the mind open and receptive for the acceptance of sacred truth. It begins a fundamental process of change that is found in most religious gnostic traditions. A change within self… Care should be exercised though, particularly when performed by a single individual, because an Initiation carries great symbolic importance. It should not be cheap, easy, or hastily constructed and executed. It should create an atmosphere of awe, power, and profound introspection. It must prepare the individual for a lifelong quest to reach, grasp, understand, and use The Light we all seek. Initiation does not have to be long and drawn out… but it can be. It does not have to be full of props and actors… but it can be. It just has to be effective. To further this end, it should contain snippets of a tradition’s core tenants and lore… little tastes of the flavors and aromas the tradition offers the initiate if there is dedication, a willingness to perform hard work, and a deep thirst for knowledge.

Independence…

“The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without.”

― Aleister Crowley

Beltain Blessings…

For all of those who follow my Blog, or just happen to pop in from time to time for a peek, I wish you a joyous Beltain, and I will think of you as the witching hours approach and I place a lit candle in the window sill. May the Goat God of the Witches incite you to lust, eroticism, and fill your heart with ecstasy, his phallus a rod of iron. May Bridgit tempt you with her luscious round hips, and beckon you inside. May your garden prosper and grow green as the light of our Sun God Lugh gains in strength. May The Mother Danu embrace you in her protecting arms. May Morrígan leave your thread uncut for another cycle, as you continue to learn and grow in this mortal world. May Manannán mac Lir provide you with luck and prosperity from the mist.

Dance around the Bonfire until you are exhausted. Embrace the darkness, look to the moon with reverence, and listen for secrets whispered from the shadows.

-Ravemore

Inquisitions… Thoughts for Reflection

Most posts or articles in our community tend to deal with the horror of witch burnings, and I do not intend to take away from them because we should never forget the terror experienced by our fellow pagans, innocents wrongly accused, minority Christian sects, mystery schools, and others deprived of life, liberty, and personal wealth by the unstoppable machine that the various inquisitions had become. What I would like to do though is explore a little more how these entities flourished and were used. Touch upon some thoughts that might prompt others to dig a little more and post thoughts on their own  Blogs… something beyond the simple act of re-blogging. I firmly believe this is an important exercise because not only understanding what something is, but learning why it comes into existence and continues to live provides weapons to counter it in the future.

When we think about Inquisitions we often imagine small groups of fanatical inquisitors running around with sponsorship from the church and local government, perpetuating the horrible torture sessions, hangings, and burnings of heretics we look sadly upon today. This is a very simplistic way of looking at it though. The inquisitions were actually great ponderous mechanisms with many intricate cogs, gears, and wheels. They were complex bureaucracies with huge support infrastructures behind them providing logistics and funding. There are piles of records that can be looked at as a testament to the effort it took to maintain the tribunals. Monarchies, particular Spain often shaped or influenced the direction and focus of the inquisitions through financial manipulation, both in the Old World and the New. Peru keenly felt the scourge of the inquisition, and the unfortunate truth is there can be no clear reckoning of how many lives it destroyed. This is a reality I did not even consider until I began doing a little more in depth research. In fact, I was surprised there had been debate on whether a new Inquisitorial Office would be opened in the South American colony of Buenos Aires in 1636.

It would be nice to think the Inquisitions were shut down because we as human beings had begun to evolve to a higher level and were moving beyond such senseless and petty bloodshed, but the sad truth of the matter is it just boiled down to money. “Whether conducting full-fledged heresy trials or merely issuing warning edicts and indulgences, inquisitions incurred expenses and required sources of income. The question of inquisitorial finance has long interested scholars, and the extensive haciend records at the Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid have been subjected to preliminary surveys though much work still remains to be done.6 It is now generally agreed that while confiscations of prisoners’ goods and estates may have brought important revenues (particularly in the early days of the Spanish tribunals, and in special cases such as mass arrests of New Christian merchants in the seventeenth century), inquisitions were rarely profitable money making ventures.7 Day to day expenses could be met thanks to income from church benefices set aside for the purpose, so inquisitors had to be knowledgeable about the state of ecclesiastical resources in the regions to which they were assigned [INQ 5]. As time went on, revenues from seizures, royal grants or other sources were also regularly invested in real estate as a means of producing censo income.8 Yet spiraling personnel costs and extravagant auto de fe ceremonies ensured that many tribunals were perpetually short of cash or in debt.” (21.)

When the funds dried up, so did the inquisitions. This is the main point I want everyone to take from this post. In modern times we think something like this could never happen, but the reality is that wherever there is intolerance, religious zealotry, and large amounts of money the volatile mix is there waiting for a spark to ignite it. Imagine if the income sources had not begun drying up, if they had not been directed towards fighting new wars, or clinging to rebelling colonies… some of us might not be here now. When we see the religious right in whatever form it takes becoming vocal and more powerful… we should also be looking at the health of their bank accounts.

Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame, Ties to the new world, Lima Peru’s active Inquisition.

What is Darkness?

A question was recently asked of me, which made me examine something in a little more detail… something I have taken for granted I think. The question was fairly simple on its face, but also very complex; “What is Darkness to you?” I think the most difficult questions that can be asked of another person fall into this classification. They are like a fine wine with different hints of flavors and aromas; lost to you if you gulp them down all at once… but intense and enjoyed if you can discern their presence. Also, it is a very relevant question for me on a personal level because Darkness is something germane to the Left Hand Path I walk, and who I am as a person.

I think Darkness is not absolute, is very personal, and for me is intricately intertwined into my religion and existence.  People claim we are born innocent, not touched by good or evil, but for some this is not necessarily true. Old Souls returning from The  Morrígan’s  Cauldron are predisposed to The Light or The Darkness because of experiences in prior incarnations. For most though, Darkness starts out as an outside influence that seeks to find a way inside, and once it slips inside it is either welcomed with open arms, or battled with an uncertain outcome. I think the man who states he has never had this battle or welcoming embrace with Darkness is either a liar or a fool. Is Darkness equated with Evil? I would say yes. They are the same side of the coin. Darkness is not a static thing, it grows, it evolves, and no two types of Darkness are exactly the same. It is unique to the individual, but has the ability to shape and direct the Darkness in others. Darkness feeds Darkness, and can give birth to new forms of Darkness.

Darkness for me is the conscious decision to seek enlightenment for myself without seeking to save mankind in the process. Darkness is the fulfilling of carnal desires without thought to societal taboos and organized religion’s doctrine. Darkness is the unleashing of my passions, directed by an iron will to affect change beneficial for myself without high regard towards others. It is putting myself above the other base animals around me crudely mimicking the ideal of “human kind.” This life is merely a pathway towards my own ultimate ascension at the end of The Low Road, if not this upcoming time, perhaps the next. Darkness is power. The key aspect of this realization though is that there are varying degrees of Darkness within the individual. Although I hate, I also love. Although I want to kill, I also want to nurture. Although I want to injure, I also want to heal. Darkness in others may be skewed slightly one way or another, or be totally off the scale. I also recognize that to function in society I have to have a hand firmly in place on the reins of my Darkness. I recognize both the good and the evil inside myself, and accept the consequences of my actions… as all actions do have consequences. I am comfortable with who I am. I have embraced Darkness and am evolving with it. We have a symbiotic relationship…

Self-examination like this is not as simple as I have made it out to be though. I’m sure my thoughts and philosophy will change over time as my Darkness evolves and the balance shifts. From time to time I may make further comments on my thoughts concerning Darkness.

Stars…

What is it that makes the stars shine at night? It is the darkness…

-Unknown Author

And Death Shall Have No More Dominion…

“And when, after having divested thyself of thy mortal body, thou arrivest at the most pure Æther, Thou shalt be a God, immortal, incorruptible, and Death shall have no more dominion over thee.”

-Pythagoras

Eyes…

“Nature is a temple where living pillars let sometimes emerge confused words: man crosses it through forests of symbols, which watch him with intimate eyes.”

– Charles Baudelaire

Eyes, symbolic of The Watchers and the knowledge and wisdom passed on to Danu’s Third Children… Emblematic of mixing bloodlines, and men that are more then men.

Klingon Proverb

“bIHeghvIpchugh bIHeghpu’.”

Translation: “If you are afraid to die, you have already died.”

-Klingon Proverb

Wisdom can be found even in the most violent and destructive of the universe’s creations…

The Insights of Two Aleisters..

The Insights of Two Aleisters..

“If I classify something as evil, that is my opinion and certainly there is someone who would disagree with me. It really comes down to individual “taste” when defining evil…….one size does not fit all. The definition is up to the end-user; not the observer. If you do not like the taste of the wine, choose another, then another, until you find the one that pleases you.”  (19)

– Aleister Nacht

“The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”

– Aleister Crowley, Magick: Book 4, Liber ABA

Hotel California

Mirrors on the ceiling,

The pink champagne on ice

And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’

And in the master’s chambers,

They gathered for the feast

They stab it with their steely knives,

But they just can’t kill the beast

 

– The Eagles, Hotel California

 

To Know…

To know all, it is necessary to know very little; but to know that very little, one must first know pretty much.

– G. I. Gurdjieff

Gnosis… and the Left Hand Path

The material world we live in is full of sorrow and pain, joy and pleasure, and many other states and experiences that often compel mortal man to hold onto life at all costs, or bind to the living world after death, and return again and again from their journeys to Morrígan’s Cauldron. Can this cycle be broken? Should it be broken? What does it mean to attain divinity through gnosis? So many questions… and so many answers depending on where we look.

As told in the Creation Myth, Cernunnos provided the Third Children of Danu with an amazing gift. The sorcerous flame he ignited and bestowed upon mortal man was pure potential, the potential to overcome fate. The Great Mother Danu stood by, content to allow circumstance unfold and grow, all powerful, all knowing… a gnostic Monad in all sense of the word. She smiled and caressed his shoulder with affection as he left the garden because she knew at that moment in time her new creations had been given the ability to break the cycle of birth and death and become divine creators and destroyers in their own right. No longer bound within a system and equipped to be the architects and engineers of their own realities, masters and travelers along all branches and roots of The Great Oak, great Aeons of light and darkness. With each ascension the Great Mother becomes more than she was before. This is the meaning of divinity. It presses the limits of comprehension when you truly sit and meditate over the concept for any length of time.

The decision to break the cycle of death and renewal is a personal one. Some feel content and fulfilled to live life after life for ages upon ages, even many practitioners of the Left Hand Path. There is nothing inherently right or wrong with this choice. I tend to think of this along the lines of a big fish in a small pond. As we gain knowledge and experience, portions carry over after each re-birth. We have flashes of insight and moments of satori that can create conscious jumps in our self-development and make walking the arcane paths easier and more fruitful. We become more powerful, sometimes for good, and sometimes for evil… and it is a well-known fact that power is intoxicating and addictive, more so than the finest opiate. I firmly believe though that it will get to the point for all mortals where they will make a choice of their own free will… Some will transcend into something more and leave our mortal world behind, and for others fate will become too much to bear and they will wander off of The Low Road to be consumed and utterly destroyed, or to roam lost and forlorn for eternity… no longer bound to the cycle. For them the end is often truly the end. Their divine spark snuffed out, never to be re-ignited. A form of final suicide. Either way they will find emancipation from the cycle. Some of us are old souls and are closer to making this decision, others are newer sparks birthed from the great cauldron and will not be faced with this decision for ages to come. Some are driven and consciously seeking this outcome and will reach the portal much sooner. The variables are many and it would be an impossible task to exhaust all possibilities in this post, or any other text.

Although we have the potential to attain divinity through gnosis, the knowledge required to do so must be obtained through hard work, an open mind, and dedication to our craft. We must actively acquire it, often times over the course of many lifetimes. In this, the Great Goat God of the Witches continues to assist us. He whispers and teaches arts and lore to those willing to listen, and this is the basis for gnosis. It is the cumulative knowledge gleaned and retained until the moment to act is reached. Gnosis is nothing more than knowledge… and it can be found everywhere.

And he shall separate them one from another,

as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

And he shall set the sheep on his right,

but the goats on his left.

— Matthew 25: 32-33

Do not allow yourselves to be herded to the right brothers and sisters. You are not docile sheep. Seek the path of The Goat, and the gnosis that will set you free.

Faith

“I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.”

― Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies

Circumstance

“Do not be afraid of your difficulties. Do not wish you could be in other circumstances than you are. For when you have made the best of an adversity, it becomes the stepping stone to a splendid opportunity.”

― Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Bonsai?

“Trimming, pruning, especially for regular maintenance, requires that he who tends it must make thought out decisions of which new growth should flourish and which should be cut away. Doing so in an effective, artful manner – and with health of the miniature plant in mind – requires foresight. Proper foresight, in turn, requires patience.” (17)

-Darth Draconis

Bonsai?

… Or not.

The Left Hand Path teaches us that we must cultivate our inner selves, strive for personal growth, and learn the lessons that the Goat God of the Witches whispers into our ears while we sleep and while we walk in the shadows. True power requires both foresight and patience, cutting off that which does not serve us and nurturing that which contributes to positive growth… personal habits, points of view, things, and people. This requires introspection and meditation, knowing who we are, where we want to be, and what stands in our way.

Moral Laws

“Heaven makes no moral laws, but gives us instincts towards rightness and virtue.” (15)

The Logomachy of Zos – Austin Osman Spare

Understanding..

“To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.”

– Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil  (1997)

The “real you”…

“You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.”

– Edward Abbey

Self examination and introspection can reveal surprising insights into who, or what, we are. Mainstream religion over the centuries has conditioned mankind to repress, to avoid, and to fear our true nature. Pope Gregory was foolish, yet apparently effective. In an attempt to control the masses he whittled and shaped his “deadly sins”, yet was  unable to tear away from the influence of Pythagoras. Very hypocritical. A “perfect number” manifest in all of its glory. Remember though, we must not confuse sin with human nature. We should embrace all parts of who we are, without letting them consume us. They are foundations for true understanding. Abstinence is the only true sin… (12)

 

 

 

Ties Between Witchcraft and Mental Illness

I’m still chuckling. In fact my stomach hurts a little now. I heard someone recently state that anyone claiming to be a witch is crazy. This prompted me to find a few on-line mental health exams, and I have to note the third one seemed pretty respectable. Anyway… surprise, surprise.

Mental Health Quiz = Bipolar disorder 35% depressed.

Sociopath Survey = You are a high functioning sociopath.

The Great American Psychopath Survey (11) = Your psychopathy score is somewhat high: 133 out of 224

Carnal Reflections

Sex, beautiful sex. The foreplay, the build-up, the climax, the tingling all over. The energy released can be awe-inspiring… or not. I suppose it can vary greatly depending on the mood and the partner. As I get older I have found the importance placed on the act itself can be over-rated, but it is undeniable that when things “click” and when used in conjunction with a magical working, things can literally grow wings and fly at the speed of light. Many societies, including our own, are still mired in the prudish and puritanical chains of the past. The Left Hand Path frees us from these restraints. We do what feels right, and step outside the grasping claws of the mainstream religious right who preach social and political conservatism, but who in reality are promoting nothing more than spiritual slavery.

The embracing of the taboo can be exhilarating in itself. I remember over ten years ago when my wife and I began to swing and enjoy the debauchery life has to offer in its fullest, the idea was even more intoxicating than the acts. We have slowed down over the years though. I think that just comes with age… and perhaps too much of a good thing? Who knows… If you find our profile on swinglifestyle I guess I can give you a cookie, or a brownie point. *Grins* My advice though is to embrace what feels right. Don’t worry about who is touching who, don’t fret over who’s watching, and don’t deprive yourself of the experience. One, two, three, four… the more the merrier. When the church bell tolls for you my brothers and sisters, flip it the middle finger and walk into the shadows. The Goat God of the Witches will be there to embrace you.

Self Truth..

“Self truth results from the unification of Will, Desire and Belief forced into one thing. By this effectiveness the soul draws near and casts its omniscience over us by inspiration.” (15)

The Logomachy of Zos – Austin Osman Spare

My Next Project?

“Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.”

― Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley : An Autohagiography

 

Autohagiography (plural Autohagiographies)

An autobiography of a saint.

(pejorative) An autobiography that flatters the subject. (10)

 

I wish I had more time to work on my Autohagiography… Shouldn’t all practitioners of Witchcraft have one?

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