Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crata Repoa Decoded by Nick Farrell (book review)

As most of my regular readers know, the latest limited edition offering by Nick Farrell is The Hidden Path Behind Initiation or Crata Repoa Decoded. In the book, Farrell comments on the "syncretic fantasy" of masonic ritual, the Crata Repoa, written in 1770 by Karl Friedrich von Koppen and Johann Wilhelm Bernhard von Hymmen. Treating the Crata Repoa as an allegory of initiation, Farrell teases out a general path that all initiates of spirtual traditions suffer though.

And it is a path of darkness and suffering, with a lot of death and underworld experiences, if Farrell's reading of the allegory is correct. This is a point that I am currently hard pressed to argue with, given both my depression and the fact that I feel as if my connection to the higher has dried up (my depression probably would not be as bad as it is if I felt that I was still under the blessing of the higher, but that ship has sailed). Given my personal state of mind, I am not so sure that I can do justice in reviewing this book, still one must try.

One of the amusing things that has occurred since Farrell has published this book, or I assume that it would be amusing if my mental state was close to normal, is that Farrell recieved a "cease and desist" notice from someone claiming that Farrell had revealed real secrets about an Order constructed from the Crata Repoa. Personally, I do not see how he could have revealed real secrets unless the Crata Repoa itself is being considered a secret, for the majority of the book is his own reading of the allegory.

This is not a book that you buy to learn the secrets of another group--this is a book that you read to learn something about the secrets of the group that you already belong to. In my case, that would be an offshoot of the Golden Dawn tradition, and not any group based on the Crata Repoa itself.

One of the theories that occultists have is that the path of initiation, especially the mystical and magical versions, has certain landmarks, no matter what version that one suffers though. And Farrell theoricizes that this is exactly what the allegory is supposed to be about, the common experiences that initiation would bring about. After reading the book, I must admit that Farrell seems to be right that the Crata Repoa was an allegory to talk about these spiritual experiences.

Farrell also points out places where the Crata Repoa might have influenced the creator of the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript, in particular the use of the names of certain officers of the Order.

Normally, at this point, I would give a star rating to the book, but honestly I am not sure that I can do that with complete clarity, so I will not attempt to do so. Do I think that the book is worthwhile to my readers? To some of them, yes--but I am not sure that my entire audience would benefit from reading this book, especially if they are not yet ready to start to struggle with the overall arch that the path of initiation entails.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Beta blockers, depression and me

Some of my regular readers might have noticed that I have been quiet this last month--and not only here, but everywhere, including Facebook and my other blogs and Twitter, and just everywhere. The reason for the silence was that I spent a month living like a zombie, as in my doctor decided to put me on a beta blocker (propranolol). Turns out that I am sensentive to beta blockers--I went from borderline high blood pressure and heartbeat to borderline dangerously low heartbeat and blood pressure...and the damn stuff didn't help prevent the condition that the doctor wanted to try me out on it for--I still got migraines; in fact, certain triggers were a hundred percent surefire ways to suffer (unlike the previous unmedicated coinflip).

Of course, the worst part of it was that getting up in the morning was a chore in itself. One should not get out of breath getting up in the morning. And as my energy levels dropped like a rock, my depression decided to rear its ugly head. I was too tired to even think about doing magic, not alone actually summoning up the energy to attempt to do magic to crawl out of my depression. 

For those who are curious, I am on a waiting list--still have a month and three weeks to go, then I get to see a mental health care specialist and hopefully get to take a fistful of happy pills everyday. (I was put on the waiting list two months ago.)

Along with my depression came the thoughts of ending it all, the part that I am going to pound when I finally do see the mental health care specialist (and no, I do not know how to locate the actual word in the dictionary, not alone properly spell it, and for some reason spellcheck is completely off on this particular web browser). My wife says that I did not smile for a month, which sounds about right. 

The doctor took me off of the beta blocker on Wednesday, and I still feel like crap...but at least I feel like I am improving and can go for more than ten minutes without having to take a rest. And hopefully, I can keep my energy and mood up long enourgh to see the mental health care specialist, and get a big fistful of happy pills. 

And if you would like to light a candle and say a helpful prayer for my mental health, I will gladly accept it. Harmful prayers will be returned to their senders by the automatic wards set around my house. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Top thirteen signs that you are a poor magician or witch

The top thirteen signs that you might be a poor magician or witch.


You might be a poor magician or witch if...


13. You have colored talismans using crayons.


12. Your pillars and other temple furniture are made from found materials.


11. You know the names of the spirits that rule the local public transportation district.


10. You have grilled, baked, and eaten the spirit offering.


9. You have resorted to weather magic rather than fiddle with the thermostat.


8. Your familiar earns their keep by catching mice and bugs.


7. Your Book of Shadows consists of pages photocopied from public library books.


6. Your ritual room doubles as a family room, office, bedroom, or kitchen.


5. You restrict your herb use to what you can grow.


4. Your ritual knife doubles as a carving tool.


3. You have used your chalice to catch rain water from the leaky roof.


2. The spirits receive discounted wine as an offering.


1. You have accepted government surplus cheese as payment for a Tarot reading or spell working.


(And before you get upset with me, remember that I am speaking from experience.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

If everyone is entitled to be an Adept

Today on Facebook, I was reminded of one of my favorite bugaboos. It came in the form of a conversation.

The conversation started out with some eager student asking a question. A couple of us old-timers answered. (By old-timer, I mean people with twenty years or more of Golden Dawn experience.) Then someone with less than a month of experience (and who is proud of the fact that they have not read a single book on Golden Dawn) came by and told the eager student that the old-timers were wrong.

Yes, the screaming you heard in the distance was me ripping out hunks of my beard.

One of the modern misconceptions that plague the modern day esoteric traditions is the idea that everyone is their own best teacher, that the answers you come up with by yourself are better than any answer that someone else can give you, and that the Adepts of the esoteric traditions have to accept every damn answer given...even if one of them is obviously wrong.

In other words, everyone is entitled to a ribbon saying that their answer is right and that they are the smartest person in the room.

By the way, this means that no esoteric Order can reject a single applicant or refuse to advance a student.

Welcome to the world where everyone is already an Adept.

Of course, if everyone is already an Adept, or at least entitled to become one no matter how little understanding of the system that they have, then I do not have to grade test papers, help answer questions, or even serve as an officer during initiations. After all, if one can have complete understanding of the system without ever cracking open a book, undergoing an initiation, or doing any of the work, then there is no need for the higher Grade members to actually deal with new students ever again.

Acknowledgement does not mean universal acceptance. 



Thursday, May 8, 2014

One percent has always existed

Recently, I have started working with the lightning glyphs from Jason Miller's book. And as a side effect, I have had some thoughts about Jupiter, wealth, and the effect of luck on my own little universe.


(And I was thinking about this stuff before the rash blog posts that have occurred in the last couple of days on Jupiter--the blogosphere seems to have a hive mind *wink*.)


First, the one percent has always been with us. In the cave man days, it was the cave that housed the best hunter-gatherer. The Romans had one percent-ers. And the far future will have one percent-ers...unless humanity becomes a communist hive mind.


Second, it is a really great time to be alive. Merit and luck have never been bigger factors in turning people into successes than today. And merit and luck today can consist of the world's dumbest YouTube video.


Third, in my chosen profession (ye old world of writing), I am already pretty lucky. Your average self-published writer only sells nine copies (according to one source), and I am doing way better than that.


And finally, I really do not care about how rich people are. The one percent-ers can remain rich. What actually matters to me is how poor I am, hence my working with the lightning glyphs of Jupiter.


(Yes, I know I should want everyone to be equal in terms of money, but I am not yet enlightened enough to join the communist hive mind yet.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Not cool at all

This is a copyright violation--Hail Hydra!
People who report Facebook groups for copyright violations while pretending to be someone else are not cool. I am not sure what type of sick thrill such behavior provides, but it hurts people who were just minding their own business. And honestly, I do not want to see a return to the days of flaming trolls and the Golden Dawn Wars. So ********* ***** ******* **** ** get a life and leave the Golden Dawn community alone. 


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Union of opposites


Today's Tarot Blog Hop is all about the Union of Opposites, as illustrated by the Lovers.

There are many possible concepts that one could place in the position of opposites represented by the Lovers card: Good and Evil; Male and Female; Consciousness and Subconsciousness; Body and Mind (Soul). One of the quick ways to talk about the general principle of opposites embodied by the Lovers card is to refer to it as the Marriage (Union) of the Sun and Moon.
Rider/ Waite/ Smith Lovers card recolored by MDE. 
The most common depiction today of the Lovers card is the card produced by Pamela Colman Smith for the mystic A. E. Waite, who then issued "his" Tarot deck though the publishing house of Rider. The above illustration is a recoloring of the Lovers card, done by me with one eye on the ideas about the proper coloring of the Tarot cards taught by the Inner Circle of the esoteric Order that I am a member of.

One of the factoids about Waite and Smith is that they were both members of the original Order of the Golden Dawn. Given that fact, one would expect the cards that they produced to be illustrative of the mysteries of the Golden Dawn...well, provided that one thought that the general lack of secrecy of today was normal in their day and age. In all honesty, comparing their version of the card with the Golden Dawn version reveals that Waite and Smith were much better at keeping secrets than the modern generation.

Golden Dawn's version of the Lovers card.
The most striking thing about the Golden Dawn version of the Lovers is that the picture shows Perseus rescuing Andromeda from an ugly sea dragon, Cetus. The reason that Andromeda needed rescuing was that Neptune was jealous of her beauty and demanded that she be sacrificed.

The two versions of the Lovers card are related to one another--the Golden Dawn version is the pre-union version, and the Rider/ Waite/ Smith version is the result of the union of opposites.

One of the things to remember about Golden Dawn is that different teachers of the system view the symbols differently. While some would like you to believe that there is one correct answer to the mysteries, typically their version, the truth is that the system was never as codified that it ended up with just one correct answer. Please keep that in mind as you consider the following example of what the Lovers might symbolize.

One of the biggest sets of opposites is the Spirit/ Material polarity. Many religions and philosophies argue that the world of Spirit is Good and that the Material world is Evil. This rather Gnostic viewpoint typically results in a person abandoning the material world in favor of the spiritual.

But there is a way to join the material and spiritual worlds together--to spiritualize the material world. Quick answer for those who are curious is that the initiation rituals and exercises of certain esoteric Orders are a way to bring the element of Spirit into the material world and into one's daily life.

The result of this union of opposites is that one's existence becomes one steady walking mediation, a form of prayer if you will. The divine genius guides one hands and actions, so to speak. And that in my opinion is what the Lovers card, both versions, is talking about--the process of making the ordinary world divine.

Is my answer correct? Probably not--after all, I am not of the proper Grade to have experienced the Lovers card in actual initiation ritual. But my answer will do until I learn a better answer.

{A quick note for those who look forward to the Tarot Blog Hop--the Tarot Blog Hop now has a Facebook fanpage set up to help remind you of when the Tarot Blog Hop occurs--check it out here at this link.}