Copyright © 2004 by William Mistele. All rights reserved.
Problems in the Study of Magic, Part II
I am looking back over twenty-eight years of practice in the Franz Bardon system and I would like to continue commenting on the problems raised by magical study. This essay does not address the study of Bardon’s system if it is done out of curiosity or to supplement another set of magical or spiritual practices.
I spent three years in the beginning just studying some of the over five hundred spirits Bardon describes in his book, The Practice of Magical Evocation. I was curious and I also had some questions about the metaphysics that stands behind Bardon’s practices. I wanted to verify to some extent through direct experience the assumptions he was making in regard to the nature of the spiritual universe and how that universe impacts upon human history and our personal lives.
This act of “studying” Bardon’s system I do not consider inappropriate. The Dalai Lama used to say, “Take up to twelve years to study a lama before accepting him as your guru” and this positive attitude toward “comparison shopping” and background checks no doubt also applies when considering hermetic practices.
Also, if an individual has another spiritual or religious set of practices and wishes to deepen and supplement them in an enriching manner, then Bardon’s system can be extremely helpful. And for some individuals magic is second nature—it is the most natural thing in the world. When these people run into a problem in magic, it is no different from solving any other kind of problem in life. These individuals are already aware of everything I am describing. Their essays I assume complement my own.
In addition to those above, in my view it helps if an individual is asked by Divine Providence to practice magic. This is the idea of being “called.” Magic is one means for accomplishing a divine mission that benefits the world.
But this “calling” is an individual thing. It is a matter of conscience. You feel and sense it in yourself. Your inspiration is strong enough that it will it will take you beyond the world and back again.
Another reason for practicing magic is if you have a problem that has no solution other than through magic. Bardon mentions a spirit in the earthzone, Anamil, whom Bardon describes as being able to solve any problem on earth. No doubt. But this spirit operates under the sign of Aries. Aries are great at destroying obstacles and overcoming barriers but they are not always very good at dealing with the side effects. If you get what you want immediately and directly, then be prepared for all sorts of
consequences that accompany it.
In other words, if you are going to acquire genuine divine powers from practicing magic, then it is a really good idea at the outset to have some sort of divine purpose for which you are going to apply those powers. Consider for a moment some heroes from mythology such as Moses, Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Arjuna, Isis and Osirus, etc. Forget about belief and what is real or unreal. These stories all proclaim that there is a great price to be paid for genuine spiritual missions. This is impossible to miss.
When I think of Bardon’s practices, I think of them as walking an individual into the depths of the spiritual world. For me, this is serious stuff. It is not New Age. It is not cool. It is not neat. It is not a hot system or a really in thing to do.
I consider Bardon’s system so dangerous that I have never recommended to anyone that they practice Bardon or buy his books. I have a web site where I share my experiences. I feel am “authorized” by the spiritual world to share my experiences but I am not a promoter or salesman.
Some may object to my sharing such knowledge, but the constellation of Gemini has been placed in the sky to validate sharing and communicating. Secret traditions are up against one of the Big Twelve signs. Yet the “choice” to study magic forever and inherently remains with each individual.
Bardon’s first book, Initiation into Hermetics, is composed of practices that already exist in other training systems. Bardon is just placing them in a universal perspective that presents the highest training system an individual might encounter on earth. The goal is nothing less than empowering an individual who is in incarnation to have the freedom and discretionary power of a spirit who watches over and guides human evolution.
This is a beautiful concept divinely inspired. One assumption is that there is a spiritual universe and a spiritual university that introduces us to this universe. Such a university does exist but not yet in our physical world. It is a part of the earthzone of this planet which Bardon conceives of including 360 spirits. If you can train yourself to work effectively with these spirits then you are by definition a student in such a university.
My point is that the curriculum composing a universal training system is independent of specific religions and other spiritual systems. If it is universal and reflecting the universe within it, it enriches and supplements all other systems.
But being universal, such a training system does not provide the training in the nuts and bolts of historical traditions and everyday religious or spiritual activities an individual may desire. Such activities include things such as a desire for communal worship, devotional activities, social get-togethers, rituals for marriage, coming of age, death, friendship, love, service activities, conflict resolution, art, music, spiritual retreats, seminars, etc. Consequently, it is perfectly normal to have personal connections to other communities that do offer the basics that meet normal human needs.
I used to talk freely with the religious people who would come to my door. They do that a lot in Honolulu for some reason. After a number of years, I finally figured out what the difference was between us. They are interested in having a community and they are interested in spiritual security.
They are simply and absolutely not interested in the truth of the universe. They have no discovery process for finding that truth. They pretend to know this truth but they are not even in the ballpark. When I say they are not in the ballpark I mean that they are not even near to understanding the mysteries at the core of their own religion.
They do not wish to use spiritual power in order to serve. The act of entering and working in the workshop of Divine Providence is totally beyond them. Being committed to devotion and purity, they renounce knowledge and the wisdom acquired through direct experience.
Their minds are hermetically sealed. They have closed their eyes and their ears and that is ok with me. Sabotaging one’s mind—this is a small price to pay in order to embrace a loving community. Open your mind and you may well find yourself surrounded by wonders and ecstasies but also by monsters and horrors that others cannot dream.
The main problem, then, is as I have already described: The goal of training in Franz Bardon’s system is nothing less than empowering an individual who is in incarnation to have the freedom and discretionary power of a spirit who watches over and guides human evolution. If you take Bardon’s practices seriously and train seriously over twenty years or more you are inevitably going to run into immense problems precisely due to the depth and the power of what you encounter.
This is to be expected because in effect your body, soul, mind, and spirit are becoming the cauldron in which you are fusing together all the great spiritual traditions on earth encompassing all ages of the world. Simultaneously with this process, you are forging a “spiritual identity” that must be so pure and brilliant it can stand up to the hideous evil and encompassing darkness that has plague mankind on every front of spiritual endeavor from the beginning. The dark and negative are a part of the spiritual landscape you have chosen to explore in the same way that the mafia, drug lords, terrorists, and megalomaniacs are a part of what we read in the newspapers every day.
Specifically, as I see it at this point, the main spiritual problem on this planet on a collective and individual level is a lack of experience in shifting between activity and responsibility for the outer world—the events of history—and the incredible depths of the inner world—knowledge and experience with the soul and spirit. In a nutshell, magic, religion, culture, and all traditions do not as yet on this planet incorporate an effective means for moving between states of inner peace with the universe such as absolute contentment and outer activities such as taking full and complete responsibility for accomplishing end results—something every magician naturally wishes to be empowered to do.
To use a metaphor, we have a spiritual vehicle with different gears, a gearshift, and a transmission. The gears are the various stages of inner and outer experience. But the gearshift, the means for shifting between the gears, and the transmission—the apparatus that actual sets things in motion--are sticky or broken.
I have sat next to individuals who think it is the neatest thing in the world to live in a cave at fifteen thousand feet in the Himalayas and spend fifteen years in profound solitary meditation. They do this exploring a spiritual lineage wrapped up in specific religious and spiritual iconography—yidams, mantras, etc. Such activities are quite nice for developing a sense of inner peace, spiritual serenity, and tranquility.
And then there is for example my uncle who I am named after. He invented the automatic transmission for General Motors cars and produced aerodynamic designs for aircraft. There is my great grandfather who helped design and invent the liberty engine that helped win World War II for the allies. There is my nephew whose computer program is involved in the production of every Ford automobile that comes off the assembly line around the world.
These individuals are not magicians. They are productive making new things that change and enrich the world. They do this not just for themselves or for those who believe as they do but for untold millions around the world.
The Tibetan lamas like to explore the inner world. Engineers change the outer world. Two of the above engineers were Baptists in the fundamentalist Protestant religion. This is a religion almost void of any spiritual practice.
That is, there is nothing Baptists do that is a purely spiritual activity that continues for more than a half hour. That is, they do not meditate. They do not contemplate. And they do not have the faintest clue as to how to focus away from the outer world toward some sort of inner feeling, sensation, perception, or awareness. Their “inner peace” is found through keeping themselves busy, productive, and making lots of money. And by gum, this seems to have worked for them.
This is a perfect religion for an extrovert or for those who wish to discipline themselves by exerting the mental and emotional focus required to accomplish things through hard work and ingenuity. There is little or no social ethic. There is little or no empathy for others and there is a clear demarcation between those who belong to their spiritual community and those who do not.
The Voyager space probe required about 14,000 man hours by a vast array of scientists and engineers to launch a vehicle that even now is on its way to the edge of our solar system. Kalu Rinpoche, on the other hand, spent about 14,000 man hours working on his own consciousness. One set of activities is external and the other internal.
Some trucks have eight gears. We can think of the seven main chakras in the human body as gears with the eighth gear being the whole aura at once. But in the examples above, the individuals, whether spiritual or material, are only working with a few gears, a few of their chakras. They haven’t the faintest clue how to shift gears between all these different aspects of human consciousness.
When I first heard that Tibetan lamas have “tulkus” who reincarnate in the Tibetan tradition I thought to myself, “why on earth would someone want to reincarnate in the same tiny little culture?” Wouldn’t they rather develop themselves through experience rather than repeating like a broken record the same rituals and practices over and over?
So when Chairman Mao was talking to the Dalai Lama and blindly quoting Marx --“religion is the opiate of the people”—Marx being the one who crudely grafted economics onto Hegelian philosophy, did the Dalai Lama’s advisors turn to him and explain the nature of Hegelian and Marxist philosophy? No, they did not. Did they explain the rise of the modern, industrial state and how ideologies tend to consolidate power in a dictatorship?
No, the Dalai Lama’s advisers knew nothing of political philosophy, international economics, military history, technology, negotiation, political alliances, much less things like capitalism, socialism, communism, and democracy. If you ignore issues pertaining to survival you end up like the Tibetans or the Taliban who lose their entire countries. These issues are outer world concerns and “spiritual practitioners” oftentimes ignore them.
But it is the same human brain and the same human consciousness that is involved in both inner and outer world activities. Some cultures and masters of East and West simply do not have the gears, the gearshift, or the transmission that enables them to redirect their focus precisely at that moment in time when they have to think differently in order to survive or simply to proceed toward their stated goals.
Gear Shift and Transmission or Moving Between the Inner and Outer Worlds
The first problem, then, is that in the study of magic an individual needs all the gears, the entire gearshift, and a working transmission. Magic moves freely and equally through the inner and outer worlds. It is both masculine and feminine equally. It is right brain and left brain equally. And it is the outer brain—the frontal cortex--and the inner or lower brain.
Such a level of integration of consciousness simply does not exist in any religion. It does not exist in any culture. There is no tradition that currently supports this kind of practice.
Jeffery Schwartz, in his book, Brain Lock, describes how brain chemistry and the brain’s electrical activity can easily become stuck or locked in specific patterns. Certain parts of the brain become hyperactive and other parts under utilized when an individual obsesses on certain thoughts or feelings. The individual then compulsively reacts with a ritualized or repetitive form of behavior. The behavior, no matter how arbitrary, weird, or irrational, acts to regain a sense of lost well-being and ward off feelings of anxiety and dread.
He goes on to point out how the brain’s chemistry and electrical activity can be altered by changing thoughts and actions. He refers to the impartial spectator and mindfulness—being aware of your own feelings and sensations as you experience them. Schwartz is the one who uses the metaphor of sticky or broken gears.
Now let’s pursue this idea for a moment. The Dalai Lama’s disciples are offered a class in community health, that is, methods of protecting hygiene and inoculation for communities of people. India has vast problems in this area. But these disciples all decline to take the class preferring to practice their mantras and yidams.
Where’s the mindfulness? It is not there. What kind of mindfulness are these sweet disciples totally oblivious too? They are like the executives of the Big Three auto makers in Detroit in 1967. It was not until the city was on fire and tanks moved in that these executives said, “Gee, we were not aware that there was a social problem.” Mindfulness is not just about your own awareness. It includes being mindful of the surrounding environment in which you are functioning. If you miss the suffering of those around you, you are not being mindful.
Both the executives and the monks are equally stuck in certain mental ruts and back and forth their thoughts go oblivious to the needs of the world surrounding them. It is fine to sit for five hours a day meditating or rigorously analyzing project design and costs but get either group to take an interest in the needs of the communities surrounding them—this they cannot do. The gears are missing.
On the other hand, I have met many Christian fundamentalists who when reading the Revelations of John take note of how it describes that for a half hour there was silence as the angels went around searching for the one worthy to open the seven seals. And so for once in their lives they too sit silently for an entire half hour to discover what that feels like.
In the book of Daniel in the Bible, it mentions how Daniel on his own initiative went out and spent days fasting and waiting until he would receive a vision from God. Where are the Christians who have the faintest clue as to how to wait, to be still in their consciousness until a genuine angelic vision comes to them? I simply have not met any Christians who take one tenth, one one-hundredth of the time the Dalai Lama’s monks spend in meditating and instead use it to seek God.
No gears, no gearshift, and no transmission. The people who work with the outer world are trapped in the outer world and the people who work in the inner world are trapped in the inner world.
I knew this Zen student who was great at his Zen meditation. But when he went into the monastery bathroom, he got upset with this other student who didn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste and left his brush lying around. You see, Zen doesn’t emphasize personal boundaries, communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. So here he was upset.
He had to change gears from idling when he practiced Zen to first gear where you get moving again in the real world. But he had no first gear so emotionally he would get stuck.
At Enron and Worldcom, the CEOs had high gears. They knew how to manipulate and adapt to the market. But when one CEO had trouble meeting the payments on his hundreds of millions dollar personal loan, he artificially and illegally manipulated the stock price to stay high so he could protect his investments.
He sells his stock when its high while forcing his employees to buy more. He destroys their pension funds to protect his own investments. Here is a guy stuck in high gear. When it comes time to downshift, his transmission does not work. He steals whatever he can because he thinks he can get away with it. No heart chakra, no compassion, no empathy, no contentment—just endless greed.
In France, there is a law limiting a work week to thirty hours. At Microsoft, employees are required to work fifty hour weeks. After so many years, employees can take a year off. But Microsoft is considering changing this policy because after their break many employees decide not to come back and do those fifty hour weeks again. They discover they like having low gears as well as high gears.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was giving a demonstration of computers in Africa. But the location of the country he was in did not have the right electrical system to run his computer. It occurred to Bill Gates that before you can give people free computer technology, you have to give them the basics of life.
So Bill Gates, used to running in high gear, down sifted and set up the largest charity in the history the world—24 billion dollars. One of its tasks is to inoculate infants in Africa and to insure they do not die of diarrhea and other causes of infant mortality.
Over the next ten years, Bill Gates will have saved the lives of at least six million children in Africa. Hopefully, he will also assist them to avoid later on of dying of starvation caused by civil wars. Bill Gates, the shark, the guy who tells his project managers that the goal is not to make money but to sell at prices so low they destroy the competition, Bill Gates somewhere along the way acquired a heart chakra gear in his transmission.
When I was in a Tibetan monastery back in 1973, the Tibetan lama told one student he was irritated with to go sit in the temple for five hours and to visualize the Tibetan letter Ah. When I heard him say that, it was like a cultural breakthrough for me.
I thought to myself, gee, I can go out into the desert and contemplate something for five hours or all day. It can be anything. It doesn’t need to be this Tibetan stuff. I was far more interested in Quabbalah so I started contemplating the tree of life spending six hours on each sephiroth.
Now when Kalu Rinpoche comes back from spending fifteen years in a cave, he is not walking unknown and unacknowledged into a small Tibetan village in some desolate valley. No, he is a man of great dignity and honor who walks triumphantly into a monastery of five thousand monks. When you are involved with the day to day activities of doing the upkeep and work associated with five thousand monks in one set of buildings, sitting by yourself in a cave is pure luxury.
Nonetheless, the lama comes back and plays a role wrapped about with privilege and responsibility. He is honored by a community. All that solitary and internal exploration reinforces the rituals of the community. People feel strengthened by his presence.
Imagine then when someone asks me, “What did you do today?” And I reply, “Oh, I spent six hours with a pot of coffee working with elementals on the astral plane or meeting the spirits of the earthzone.” In other words, I was not here in this world. I was elsewhere—in an invisible world. Maybe after several weeks of astral work I end up writing a thirty-page article on an undine such as Istipihul.
The writing is a form of art. Without that art, what I was doing has no meaning for anyone because it is so intensely subjective and private it cannot be communicated. If someone asks me, What have you been doing for the last three weeks? What if I answered, “I have been doing nothing that has any meaning for anyone other than myself.” This is a very difficult situation to be in. In fact, it is down right dangerous to develop and explore very private experiences that cannot be shared.
Now if you are with a group of Vipassana or Zen practitioners and are asked the same question after a month long retreat, What have you been doing for the last three weeks? An answer such as, “Oh, I have been doing nothing,” is quite acceptable and appropriate. They are working on mental clarity, mindfulness, or a state of mind free of attachment or thought. These individuals have a communal activity. A magician has no such community, at least not yet.
I explore the inner worlds in order to be more active and effective in the outer world. I get around. I slip into all sorts of incomprehensible spiritual domains to check them out, to take their measure, and to contemplate their value and meaning. But it is this world that I share in common with others that I want to make lasting changes—it is this world, the outer world, where my true work lies.
Consider the late Swami Rama. Here was a man who had a phenomenal capacity to change gears. At the Menninger Institute, Swami Rama’s brain was measured while he was meditating. It was shone that he could sustain all four levels of brain waves at the same time—alpha—a meditative state, beta—problem solving awareness, theta—the imaginary state between waking and sleep, and delta—the state of dreamless, deep sleep.
In addition to his great yogic accomplishments, Swami Rama set up hospitals in India and research institutes in the United States. He sought to harmonize and bring together east and west. This is very good. The man was the official, state recognized yogi of India at one point. Swami Rama is the one who said, “Contentment is the greatest wealth there is.”
But it was Collin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs (who could have run for president with either party), but now the U.S. Secretary of State who had to fly over to India, not Swami Rama or any other Swami, yogi, whatever of India, and explain to India and Pakistan why they could not go to war with each other.
They both have “dirty” nuclear weapons. You set these things off and sure you can put Pakistan back into the stone age but look at the cost to India—you so radiate the landscape with nuclear fallout that a quarter of the country becomes radioactive.
Where is the intelligence of these spiritual people and yogis when it comes to dealing with real world conflicts? It does not exist. No gears. No gear shift. Swami Rama helps thousands of individuals with their health and thousands more with their spiritual practices but he is willing to let millions die in a nuclear war with Pakistan.
This man had a political destiny that he chose to ignore because he was addicted the way a heron addict is addicted except in Swami’s case it was to a vision of spirituality belonging to a long ago past. There are countless forms of enlightenment, as many as there are stars in the sky. I think the idea is to develop something that is relevant to the age in which we live.
Nonetheless, take a look at what some of these “masters” possess that entitles them to some sort of respect. Swami Rama, when he was a young student of a master, threatened to kill himself if his master did not bestow on him shaktipat. Shaktipat is basically a free gift, something for nothing that a master bestows so that another individual can taste or experience the master’s essence.
I took the liberty one time of psychically connecting to Swami Rama and asking him to pass to me a taste of this exact shatkipat his master had given him. Swami Rama sat for nine hours when he first experienced his shaptipat. I got the same thing but for nine minutes.
This was an exquisite, incomparable experience of having perfectly embodied within oneself one’s opposite. For a male, this is the experience of perfectly being one with a divine woman within oneself. It is sheer ecstasy. How many men awake during the night wishing that they had a loving woman to cuddle up next to?
And Swami Rama stated that every night he spends some time reliving this shaktipat. No wonder he says, “Contentment is the greatest wealth there is.” This is a gear in Swami’s gearshift that almost all Westerners will never experience. Just a taste of such bliss and no wonder these yogis want to sit and do nothing other than practice their spirituality—it is more addictive than heron and like heron it slowly destroys your ability to work and genuinely care about the activities of the other world.
Christ talked about a peace that passes all understanding. But I have never met a Christian who embodies any peace of this depth. The Western world is haunted by a feeling that something is missing. A profound inner peace and the beauty of life are not radiant and flourishing within the depths of ourselves. No wonder there is such publicity surrounding supermodels and movie stars. Just a faint image, a chance reflection of such qualities in those with outstanding stage presence produces fascination and obsession.
Take the Dalai Lama. He lost his country. No “politically astute gear” in his gearshift. But what he does have in his heart is a boundless sea of compassion. Place yourself, project your mind into his heart chakra and you can taste this. It encompasses the universe and all sentient beings. It is palpable, inexpressible—a beauty that passes all understanding.
It is not for nothing that he says “as long as suffering remains to sentient beings I will remain to serve.” The Dalai Lama has a gear in his gear shift relating to compassion that only a very few Christians on this planet, such as Mother Teresa, can even dream of.
This guy has the only genuine cosmic religion on this planet and yet the content of his thoughts and the structure of his philosophy are predominately bound by his culture and religion. Does he need an upgrade in his thought processes? Yes. To upgrade, he would need to study international economics, trade relations, and computer based educational curriculums.
I notice that one of the tools I acquired early on from Bardon training was the ability to project my mind directly into the consciousness of others such as these spiritual teachers. Consequently, I could study them from within. To some extent, I could trade thoughts and experience what they have experienced through their decades of spiritual training.
This is magic. It is knowledge through direct experience without the limitations imposed by specific religious systems. I do not have to confine myself to the ideals or objectives of Wicca, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoist, or a specific hermetic tradition.
I sometimes get asked how do you interact with spirits. I interact with spirits almost exactly the same way I am able to interact with other human beings. See other’s aura, contact or interact with their minds, discern their qualities and karma, work with their energy—same thing applies to working with spirits. You develop the tools through training and then you work equally within the inner or outer worlds.
Nonetheless, though developing and possessing such psychic and magical tools grants an individual incredibly power and freedom of spiritual exploration, each individual still has to maintain personal harmony, purpose, and self-integration. This is not easy when you find yourself moving within a vast, mysterious, and largely unexplored universe.
Like the sailors who first began to explore the world’s seas, your most important possession is your map. And this map of the spiritual world is still largely undeveloped—countless shoals and reefs, whirlpools, and strange psychic storms and all manner of hazards remain unseen. This is in part because those with knowledge of one set of chakras or one aspect of the inner or outer worlds have not applied themselves to working with the opposite of themselves.
With a car, the purpose of gears and a transmission is to respond to a situation on the highway with economy and efficiency. With a good gearshift and transmission you don’t waste energy and you don’t get yourself killed by stalling in the road as a train or truck bears down on you.
We need sometimes to go in reverse. We need a certain capacity to get going from a complete stop. We need acceleration to get on a freeway and to downshift when going down a steep hill. Life requires a full range of responses to the differing situations it presents to us.
You go down a straight and flat highway at a steady speed and one gear will get you there. But when you turn off that highway, when you go down back roads or have to make sudden transitions, it is precisely there that your tradition will break down and you may find yourself stranded.
Some individuals ignore red lights. They like the gear they are in and the speed at which they are going and they wreck the lives of tens of thousands or of millions. Others respond to the situation in front of them, change gears (invent a new gear) and save the lives of tens of thousands or of millions. Magic requires such ingenuity, originality, attentiveness, and creativity. You have to monitor the inner and outer worlds with equal regard.
In summary, the following points about problems in practicing magic relate to this first problem: there are no clear sets of practices as of yet on this planet that pertain to achieving both profound and enduring states of inner peace, contentment, beauty, and compassion and the magical acts of volition that oversee and take responsibility for manifesting real world results that transform life on earth.
But this is precisely what Franz Bardon is after: an individual with such divine virtues and self-mastery that he stands within akasha and operates effectively within our world all without support from culture, religion, or a social group. Such an individual must possess sufficient nobility and commitment to Divine Providence that he can avoid the abuse of power and pursues his high visions without twisting or distorting them to personal or sectarian ends. This is an incredibly challenging task and the difficulty and danger involved should never be underestimated.
More specifically, if the chakras are activated by various forms of activities, then to shift between the activities of these different chakras (or gears), the energy within our bodies has to move up and down our spinal columns. If there is a weakness in some chakra or psychic function, increasing the amount of energy going through it will turn that weakness into a disaster.
An individual says he wants to develop his will power. So he works with the fire element and suddenly for the first time in his life he feels emboldened to act forcefully and directly to accomplish his goals. Fear and insecurity are gone.
Fire is not afraid. It takes and consumes whatever it needs. Fire is not hesitant or timid. It destroys whatever obstacles are before it with its heat and its explosive power.
But look what may happen. The individual, suddenly feeling motivated to act and accomplish his goals, may find himself acting ruthlessly instead of with kindness. He is disdainful of others rather than considerate. And his nerves leave him feeling irritable, angry, and lashing out at others when before all he needed to do to unwind was sit down and read a book or watch a DVD.
The fire has forced a massive flow of energy through his third chakra, his solar plexus. Consequently, the suddenly onslaught of new feelings and unexpected reactions overwhelm him. This is just one example of one chakra becoming over-stimulated. A magician has to work with all seven of his chakras and with countless forms of psychic activities.
Now what if two bad psychic functions hook up together? Accounting is a certain kind of mental activity. Virgos sometimes make good accountants. They are analytical and like to get things just right. Such an individual is careful enough to keep track of a corporation’s expenditures, costs, liabilities, assets, and present a balance statement. The CFO, the chief financial officer, should be good at this sort of thing.
Corporations also require strategic planning. This is not about what is being spent. It is about market structure, sale’s projections, knowing the competition, the customers, and the possibilities of promoting new projects. The CEO, the chief executive officer, should be good at this sort of thing.
These are similar to the psychic function of answering the questions, What have I been doing with my life? And, what am I planning on doing with my life in the future? Each supports and provides feedback for the other.
What is a sure way to get a corporation to go bankrupt? Have the CEO and the CFO conspire together to inflate artificially the stock of the corporation in order to cash in on selling their shares and stock options. These are two psychic functions gone bad and working together they destroy the overall system.
I know magicians just like that. Bad accounting. It is not that they don’t know what has happened in the past with their lives. It is that they are willing to distort and twist their interpretation of it, avoiding the truth, in order to promote their current projects in life. These are con men fooling themselves.
I remember a bulletin board on the internet where an individual was proclaiming that he never had a problem with money. Magic alone could get him a check in the mail. And then the next day his spouse posts a note that he his financial woes overwhelmed him and he died unexpectedly. Maybe he just used up all his “spiritual credit,” took it for granted as something owed him. Or maybe it was just that simple assumption where the accountant and the planner conspire together to imagine that what worked in the past so well will continue to work in the future.
My mother complains that Microsoft has too high a P/E ratio, a Price/Earnings ratio, to invest in it. Until recently, they have not paid any of their earnings out in dividends. I point out that Microsoft has $34 billion dollars in cash that it is saving for “a rainy day.” This is a company that realizes that its main products could be worthless inside of a few years. They have the funds to invent or buy new products any day of the week. The CEO and CFO know exactly what they are doing.
This is the second and fifth chakra combination I mentioned in my previous essay, Problems in the Study of Magic, Part I. It is important to be happy, to follow natural and organic modes of living that work for you individually. But there are also windows of opportunity that comes to us briefly. You miss them, fail to seize upon them the moment they appear, and they are gone. You can’t get them back.
Magic is like that. To train, you have to persist over many years and decades. You have to live a simple and honest life free of complications. But magic also places you in a mysterious universe surrounding by astonishing wonders and incredibly powers. These powers and wonders from time to time will be dropping by and asking you what you want to do with them. You have to be incredibly sharp, alert, and at your very best in order to respond.
Again, this ties into the amount of energy that can freely move through your body and spine. Something magnificent appears to you, something inspiring, an opportunity for work, an opportunity to serve or to love, but if you respond with a major flaw within your psyche, the force of the encounter will knock you down. It was yours to seize but you were not able to handle the energy.
Magic and Family Life
Let me try to be brief in outlining some other problems. Magic and having a family may not mix well. I am writing a screenplay called, The Fall of Atlantis. Part of writing is doing research—namely, reviewing some of the major writings on Atlantis. One such book is Dweller on Two Planets written by channeling Phylos the Tibetan by Frederick Oliver.
Oliver apparently later renounced this work and became a fundamentalist Christian. Edgar Cayce and Alice Bailey, two other individuals famous for channeling, went in the opposite direction. They were originally Christians but did not let that experience interfere with their channeling.
In Dweller on Two Planets, Phylos explains how during his incarnation in Atlantis he had to chose between two different women, both of whom loved him. He agonizes over the choice he made because he felt he betrayed the women he had two children by to marry the other. This “adept” Phylos rants on endlessly about his guilt over this decision. Hey man, get over it and move on.
But the women he left, who he considered so perfect in her love for him, left her two children in order to be near him. Children to me are far more important than any relationship. The women left her children for her love for this creep. You get points off for that.
Family is precious and very special. You try to love those close to you as much as you can but you do not let them destroy you. And you try never to sacrifice your family for your needs for success or to indulge yourself.
Magic presents a real problem for those with families. There are thousands of kinds of magical attacks and even the very best magicians may not know how to block all of them. A magician may well know how to protect himself from a magical attack, but the energy just bounces off him or her and “hits” those closest to him, namely other family members.
And just having a high voltage magical energy around a house shared by a family can do damage to the spouse or children. A musician especially good at jazz was visiting my house one day and asked me, “How can you live here with so many spirits surrounding your house?” I replied that I have a “do not enter” sign posted and they leave me alone.
If being near high voltage electrical lines statistically increases the danger of cancer, imagine what being near high voltage magical energy can do. Even when you are very careful to dissolve any energy you work with, there remains a residue. If you are sensitive and walk into a room, you can feel that kind of psychic events have taken place there in the past.
I had a friend who could see and also tell me the name of the elemental being I had last worked with. She saw the spirit as having a connection to my aura. Children are often sensitive enough to pick up on such things. Some can handle this very easily and some it will drive insane.
Would it help in this case to practice magic outside the house? Perhaps if you can afford it. But another friend renounced his Hawaiian religion because his grandfather used to get into psychic attacks with other Kahuna priests. As a little kid, he found this to be absolutely horrible.
When Hawaiian priests meet this friend, the priests would say, “Oh, you have ‘such and such’ a spirit who would like to work with you.” But this individual would have none of that. Spirituality for him does not involve using your spiritual powers to engage in spiritual war with other “spiritual” people. You do magic and the magic you do may well be passed down as a spiritual presence to your children and grandchildren whether they like it or not, whether they are aware of it or not.
And then there is the lady who loved to contact various spirits or entities and have them stay in her house where she lived with her children. She told me one of these spirits, a ghost, likes to associate itself with one of her daughter’s garments. I told her to burn the garment and send the spirits away.
This is like inviting homeless people into your house to stay. That may be a very generous and kind offer but the change of having your children molested increases geometrically. A house is for the living and not the dead and a family is one of the most sacred things there is. A family should be protected with the greatest of care.
This brings us to another problem, namely, psychic attacks. Its true, some individuals with magic will attack others who know nothing about magic. This happens. I get email about this sort of thing. In the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of cases of stalking going on every year. The states and federal government have tried to pass all sorts of laws to crack down on this kind of abuse.
Usually someone with a service provider has signed a contract stating that he will not be abusive to others through using the internet or email. Someone does this and you can send an email to “abuse@(whatever the service provider’s name is).
Even internet offers some limited protection from stalkers.
But those with magical ability can freely “stalk” others, they just do so using their psychic powers and there is as yet no governing authority cracking down on them, at least not in this life. When confronted with evil, we often must take action in equal measure to become free of it. Perhaps it would good if an association of magicians offered the public some psychic protection.
Another friend’s grandmother was a hereditary witch. The girl’s father, like my Hawaiian friend, chose to become a Christian minister in order to be free of what he considered to be a dark influence. Obviously, he was uncomfortable with his mother. My friend, the minister’s daughter, however, inherited the psychic abilities of the grandmother. She was incredibly gifted.
Talk about karma, a wiccan coven (I know they are not supposed to act this way but life is life) tried to coerce her against her will to become their priestess. But she was just stubborn. In spite of all their group magic, and especially their abuse of lower astral powers, she did not join them or give into their brand of psychic terrorism.
The point is that her father’s Christianity did not protect her. And the grandmother’s psychic gifts skipped a generation and were passed down to the granddaughter along with the exact same conflict between the grandmother and her son. This personal conflict between two generations embodied a religious conflict between two millennia old traditions—Christianity and Wicca—with all their unresolved animosity and conflicting ethical imperatives.
This friend, by the way, has concluded, no doubt from her experience that any form of magical practice results in an ego trip. For her, human beings are simply too weak to avoid temptations leading to the abuse of power. Like two thousand years of Christianity, she shuns direct access to the spiritual world and to acquiring siddhis and spiritual power as something contaminated with evil.
It is a riot for me, that is, very entertaining to read about the account of psychic attacks in Max Freedom Long’s books on the Kahuna or Aleister Crowley’s experiences in his biography. Bardon mentions a psychic attack against him in his book, Frabrato. Psychic warfare comes with the territory.
In my opinion, it is an absolute waste of time. Although, like I say, being touched by evil is always an invitation to move toward enlightenment. The Buddhists have some great rituals regarding psychic attacks. In their metaphysics, the ego is an illusion, one’s own ego and the ego of the attacker as well.
So they can chant stuff like, “There is no attacker. There is no attack. There is no one being attacked. So there is harmony, oneness, wisdom, and enlightenment. There is only a great void, an empty mirror reflecting the universe, from which all things appear and disappear.” This a rough paraphrase of the Heart Sutra.
The Heart Sutra is a rough paraphrase of one aspect of akasha. Like I say, it is one approach to dealing with psychic attacks—you enter into an on-going meditation on the nature of enlightenment or of akasha. Enlightenment is being free of all attachment and so obviously there is nothing a malicious will can find in you to attack.
Why do individuals engage in psychic attacks? Even recently if not now great martial artists in the Orient went around challenging each other to combat, even mortal combat. Why? Well, if you are very afraid in the depths of your heart of the Great Void that surrounds us all, you then attach to something with definition that gives you a sense of security and boundaries.
That is, you compete with others. It’s the “big kid on the block” idea. It’s the idea behind being a bully. Its what you do when there is no judicial system in place and no law enforcement. Like the Old West, gunslingers went around trying to make a reputation based on killing the best. And what good are all those years of practice unless you really test it?
Early on in the U.S. history, the country outlawed dueling. After Hamilton was killed in a duel, it was clear that it was not in the national interest to have the life of individuals cut off in this wasteful manner. In first grade, we used to play king of the hill. You have a little hill and see who can stand at the top and keep shoving everyone off. It’s a great game for little kids when there is no playground monitor at school to keep watch of them at recess. It is a really stupid thing for adults to do. Like I say it is an absolute waste of time and energy.
So when I am practicing with one of the great martial artists on this planet and he says the goal of this exercise is to shove the other person down. I start thinking, “Hey, I used to do that in first grade. What happened to your culture and your tradition that you never got beyond competing with other masters? You talk about the Great Void but you know nothing of it other than obviously how to apply it to shoving others down, something he is very good at.”
The spirits of the sphere of Mars do not compete with each other. They are interested in the self-mastery that comes from uniting with the primal powers of the universe. You do not reach that level by comparing yourself to other people.
But malice is malice. A lot of individuals draw pleasure from hurting others. It is something they are familiar with. Again, it gives definition to their identity and makes them feel secure. That is their way of connecting.
Just before the Buddha became enlightened, by necessity, by all the doctrines of mythology and good story writing for that matter, he had to have an encounter with the final embodiment of all malice and evil, namely, Kama, the Lord of the demons. Now Kama had actually started out in Hindu mythology as being the lord of love.
But when Shiva lost his true love Shiva’s tears transformed into the demons. The demons in Hinduism are the embodiment of lost love. Get it? The demons fill in the void, the emptiness that is there when there is something too painful to bear, namely, total annihilation.
So Kama was made Lord of the demons because the demons arose from lost love—the love Kama himself had forced upon Shiva. So here is this prince, at the edge of enlightenment, about to attain absolute freedom. Kama cannot stand this. This is a failure to participate in life. Life requires connection and sacrifice based on duty to society and morality and this guy is going off by himself into the void turning his back on all of life.
So Kama throws at the would be Buddha Kama’s three daughters of incomparable beauty—heartbreak, longing, and desire. But this is not enough. Then Kama turns upon him the wrath of all of his demons. But they fail as well to break his meditation.
Let’s jump inside of the almost Buddha for a moment. There is no one here to hurt. There is no sorrow, no regret, no fear of loss, and none of that insane insecurity that characterizes all these incredibly great masters in the martial arts who crave recognition and respect and honor. That’s all absolute crap to a would be Buddha.
There is no “I am so angry at my father because he tried to twist my life to meet his desire that I be king. In trying to make me like himself, he deceived and lied to me.” There is no “my father never loved me and my mother never understood me.” There is no “I have no lineage and no guru—how can I become enlightened”—the kind of crap I hear from so many Buddhist practitioners.
So the Earth itself shook to acknowledge that one of Her children had fulfilled the purpose for which She has existed for four billion years—that those whom she bears might attain absolute and cosmic freedom. If you practice magic, you are by necessity working with akasha. And akasha is very deep, very dark, and as full of mystery as it is the power that gave birth to the universe.
What’s my answer to how to respond to psychic attacks? You find whatever works for you to stop it. Maybe a circle of light around your house embodying the affirmation that whatever crosses through it must be in harmony with the laws of the universe.
Maybe a copper wire around your bed anchored to the floor with a metal dapper. Maybe hanging up a BaQua, an eight sided mirror with the eight tri-grams. Maybe reciting the Heart Sutra or the Ninetieth Psalm. Maybe praying, that works for some.
Maybe contacting or drawing the sigil of one of the earthzone spirits specializing in psychic protection. Maybe you hire a Catholic priest to do a mass or an entire monastery in India to do the Heart Sutra ritual or better the Kalachakra ritual each week.
Maybe you hire a magician or a hermetic order of some kind to do some ritual or magical action to protect you. Whatever works. But keep in mind, malice and the abuse of power, injustice and evil, are there to urge us on toward the greater purpose of becoming enlightened—of attaining cosmic freedom. And this freedom requires an absolute commitment.
Impersonal Psychic Attacks or the Realm of Spirits
Nonetheless, these examples relate to personal attacks as when there is an individual or group out there attacking you. Some attacks are not personal. They are just acts of power, shifting power, emerging power, blind, incomprehensible power seeking a channel for its movement and you just happened to be in the way as a lightning rod where it strikes to defuse its tension. Such things may or may not be represented by a specific spirit.
One of the early great science fiction movies was Forbidden Planet. A scientific expedition discovers an advanced civilization on another planet where the entire race has mysteriously vanished. It turns out that this race worked on one project. The goal was to develop the means so that consciousness could materialize and dematerialize itself freely without being dependent any longer on possessing a physical form.
Why that sounds exactly like Bardon—to act and move as a pure spirit who is free to operate at will within a physical body but who is not restricted by physical being. They wished to accomplish this through advanced physics and technology and for an entire race all at once. One of the expedition’s members finally discovers the glitch in their project design.
As he dies he tells another member of the expedition, “Monsters of the Id.” If you put aside all the boundaries and natural barriers that tie consciousness to a physical form, then consciousness opens itself up to all that is hidden within its vast depths. These depths include global consciousness—the entire history of evolution on a planet.
We dwell in bodies that are the product of over a billion years of biological evolution. And yet we have trouble with relationships, communicating, and solving problems in social contexts. We study evolution but we are as yet barely aware of the range and depth of instinctual drives that are within us.
President Bush wants to fund an expedition to Mars and one of the cost cutting measures involves no longer maintaining the Hubble telescope. Democrats will argue, how can we fund space exploration when there are so many jobless here in the U.S. And the Apollo project during the Viet Nam war threw the U.S. economy into a recession.
But guess what? There is another player here no one mentions. Some groups argue that male testosterone is responsible for the excessive aggression and waste of history. We need a kinder and gentler planet, one more nurturing and protective of life.
Yes, this is true. But the DNA molecule that has been around for a billion years—its goal is to survive and expand throughout the universe. It is not afraid of change and progress and the costs of evolution. After facing extinction many times from asteroids hitting the earth, DNA definitely would vote for the Mar’s expedition. It wants to safeguard a billion years of work and it is very much in favor of the pioneering spirit that pursues the exploration of new worlds.
Suffering, sacrifice, costs—these are nothing. It has a goal and a mission it wishes to accomplish. And reproduction is still the most exciting thing in town—in this case, placing ourselves on another world.
In Forbidden Planet, the advanced race forgot about the phase of its evolution that encompassed dinosaurs that as Spielberg has so vividly portrayed in Jurassic Park, creatures that possess a blend of intelligence and will into pure ferocity. The Id, the constellation of wild and conflicting desires from prehistoric times, took control of the scientific device and destroyed every living being on the planet.
To put it simply, a powerful instinct, previously unknown and unrecognized, can awaken within an individual take over all the intelligence, memories, and skills and turn them to its own ends. One of the worst psychological states to be in is to have an alien presence within you that you cannot control. Something has taken you over and you cannot get rid of it.
In the story, The Wizard of Earthsea, the wizard Ged does a foolish evocation as a student and something enters his world that has no name. It cannot be identified. It is beyond the knowledge of his civilization. And it seeks to destroy him. In the end, Ged makes this unknown thing a part of himself.
A human being is a reflection, a microcosm, of the greater universe. Everything has a place in the greater scheme. There is a harmony that embraces the universe. But it is attaining this harmony, the discovery process and journey that are so painful and dangerous.
Bardon is actually very funny sometimes without intending it. He will say that you are ready now to begin working with elemental beings. And oh by the way this undine is very dangerous. She has bound many magicians by her beauty and great erotic charms so that they lose all further interest in their development. Or, now this gnome may offer you the philosopher’s stone, the Red Lion. But do not accept it because subsequently you will be under the control of the gnome.
I have known individuals with Ph. Ds in psychology and psychiatry who are text book examples of stalkers. They are professionals who are so obsessed with another person that they are down right crazy. They have lost all touch with reality. And they would never label themselves as stalkers.
They are living within a complete delusion while maintaining as best they can their everyday activities. And this occurs because a fascination has overridden their moral and ethical faculties
But Bardon wants to introduce us to beings who have been around for countless ages and who are adept magicians in their own right whom we are supposed to study and learn from. This is the training of a magician. I do not know about you but I consider that dangerous.
Why does an undine who is a master of love want to entrap the will of a magician? Naw. She is actually a master of the magnetic fluid. Like the forces that surround a magnet—it’s a natural action to take anything that enters its sphere of influence and align and adapt it to its own field of energy.
The attitude of an undine is “Hey, love is about becoming one with another. You want to become one with me, here I am, become one with me. Oh gee, you lost your will you say because you have become overwhelmed with my ecstasy—so what, this is my problem? I am not a Sunday school teacher. I’m an undine.”
Ecstasy is about expanding beyond your self. An undine can take on a form and personality and express herself and then in the next instant let go and become one with the waves and mysterious beauty of the sea. Why would a human being feel uncomfortable with something that is so utterly natural?
The following is a few paragraphs from my essay, Introduction to Elemental Beings.
There are, of course, many dangers facing those who wish to work with beings from an evolutionary path distinct from the science and wisdom traditions of human civilization. One problem is that elemental beings do not have human ethics. If you receive a gift for Christmas, you assume the giver of the gift has your best interest and well-being in mind. But a gift from an elemental being may be a gift of pure power.
I was meditating one time with a partner who said a gnome had given her an amulet to wear--something purely of a psychic nature and not material. But she found she started hallucinating at odd times during the day when she had it on. In this case, the amulet accelerated the woman’s ability to enter the astral plane of the elemental. Being pulled into the astral plane is an astonishing experience especially if it happens when you are driving your car down the street. When you enter the astral plane of elemental beings, it is like entering a dream in the mind of a creature from a different evolution. There are no references to anything pertaining to your culture or civilization.
The elemental does not worry if his or her gift of power is going to present you with complications or side effects. The elemental’s intent is solely to offer you an opportunity to experience its mode of existence. Whether this is dangerous for you as a human being is not its concern. Consequently, it is up to you to evaluate whether the experiences you encounter meet your objectives. It is up to you to modify the procedures you are following so that you maintain personal harmony and equilibrium.
I should also note that the elemental beings I describe are well acquainted with magicians. Some claim to guard treasures of spirit and hidden destinies that world teachers have not yet revealed to mankind. Some elementals have incarnated as human beings. Even in the twentieth century, there are reports of this happening. This usually occurs because the elemental has temporarily taken a human lover. In other cases, elementals and magicians have formed extremely close ties. They have become companions and learned from each other. For some individuals, this has been beneficial and for others the connection to the fairy realm has been their undoing.
Elementals sometimes discuss with me their experiences with mages, poets, and sages from historical and forgotten civilizations. When it comes to our own cultural myths and legends, it is sometimes difficult to track down the sources of the stories handed down through the generations. It may be that a poet or bard cannot help but embellish and add entirely new chapters to ancient sagas in order to convey a message to his own time.
The astral plane is perhaps even more prone to exaggeration and to excesses of imagination than is our world. It is probably wise, then, to take with a grain of salt the stories elementals tell. Any form of psychic perception including telepathy carries with it a degree of difficulty. Translating words from one language into another-especially where complex concepts are involved—requires patience and careful study. Translating the ideas and intentions of beings who resides in the realms of nature is far more difficult. It is not always easy to grasp the exact form of what is being communicated.
In summary, the difficulty in working with elemental beings is that they are from a different evolutionary path. The elemental beings are invisible except to clairvoyants. They do not eat food or drink water as do we--the energy sustaining them is altogether different. And they are not subject to human morality--they have existed for eons before any human religion originated.
When these elemental beings think they do not use the lexical items in our dictionaries--neither the sounds nor the units of meaning they use relate to the Indo-European or any other human language. When a “thought” is placed into your mind by an elemental, it is your experience that becomes the vehicle for translating that thought into something familiar that you understand. If you rush to label your sensory perceptions or take for granted your connection to elementals, you lose the depth and the beauty of what is being shared.
And though the life span of elementals is a matter of speculation, it is fair to say that many live for countless ages and some have been around for millions if not billions of years. And so, when you enter the domain of elemental beings, you have to create your own reference points. Science, history, culture and the works of mankind--these beings do not need any of this in order to flourish or to practice their arts.
A relationship with another person often takes a lot of work. Working with elemental beings also takes a great deal of effort, patience, and contemplation if you are going to get anything out of it. As in relating to another human being, there are times when you have to put aside your expectations if you are going to hear what is being said or make the most of the opportunity standing before you.
Here is the problem with gearshifts again. Once into the ecstasy or power of an elemental realm, it is very easy to forget that you are even a human being. The experience is so captivating that the desire to shift back into human form begins to fade away.
Bardon further says that if you have abused magic in another lifetime, a demon may return to tempt you in this incarnation early on in your development. Demons are very nasty. They like to destroy things. They are big on pain and torment. They like to possess, to dominate, and use you as a vehicle for their own ends.
You open yourself up through magic training to the invisible world and you end up becoming a lightning rod channeling a will of pure malice into a world completely ignorant and innocent when it comes to magic. Now how does this work?
Say instead of a magician we have a young individual trying to pass his bar exam and become a lawyer. A demon does not see a struggling student. He sees someone who will one day become a Supreme Court Justice. So the demon with great subtly presents himself within the individual as a blind instinctual desire so enticing, wild, and irrational that the individual takes it, accepts it, and lets it root deep within himself.
Why? Because whenever it is present he finds impossible things happening to him—that incredibly beautiful girl far beyond his reach falls into his arms. He passes his bar exam with ease. He is hired by a major law firm and soon is a full partner winning case after case and making millions on the side with his cunning investments.
It seems unreal, like a dream, but he is “following his bliss.” Like I say, it is an enticing, wild, and irrational desire. What can be wrong with that?
And after all, this demon only really wants one vote at one time at the demon’s discretion when this lawyer sits on the Supreme Court. Roe vs. Wade, impeaching the president, determining the outcome of a presidential election, the legality of going to war, the right of the government to maintain a super data base on everyone on earth, the use of nanotechnology to spy on people around the world, genetic engineering of advanced human beings—just one of these issues that throws the decision of the court one way or another.
The instinct is so much a part of this individual’s life that when the demon calls in its loan for all that has been given the individual would have to destroy himself in order to resist. His will on this matter has already been eaten away. And the demon gets what it wants—to alter the course of human history.
Imagine a magician. For that matter, imagine King Solomon. According to one story, a demon prophesized that he would turn Solomon against his own God by enticing him with the charms of women. After Solomon’s death, the kingdom of Israel was divided in two as a result. Solomon was so busy pursuing his infatuations that he did not have time like his own father David to advise his children on what to do after he died.
You become a trained magician. It may well be that all sorts of entities are going to come around and see if they can search through your psyche to get you to use that incredible will you possess to influence the fate of the world for an outcome they seek.
Then think again about that CEO who steals hundreds of millions of dollars from his corporation. You have a masterful human being with Business credentials from Harvard and what does he do? He steals because he was in charge. The money was his to take. Delusion had set in, a loss of reality.
And all that intelligence, experience, all that sharp and skillful mind and memory gets turned to the dark side. The man’s will is controlled by something no more than an infant’s blind craving to be satisfied, a baby’s scream that echoes with the cry of raptors and monsters long forgotten.
If it were Shakespeare you could say it’s a tragedy. He was a noble individual with a character flaw that determined his fate. He was greedy. But not really. I think a desire within him took over his mind and his reason, a desire he did not know, did not recognize, and did not understand.
A magician cannot afford to be so naïve and innocent when it comes to using his power. The power is divine and it is for a divine purpose. Throw in a little ego, a little desire for self-aggrandizement, a little need for recognition and respect, and self-delusion comes with it. Power is best used when it serves the purposes of love, the greater harmony and beneficence of Divine Providence. All other uses enable power to turn upon and destroy the one who is using it.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when an individual is exposed to ideas that are in conflict and have no immediate means for reconciliation. There are two or more ideas both working fairly well in their own ways but nonetheless completely contradicting each other. Aristotle might easily be claimed to be the greatest philosopher in history. And Aristotle’s method annihilated conflicting and contradictory thoughts.
Aristotle’s best attribute was that he could focus with great clarity on his opposition. He would address the reasons, experiences, and motivations for why another philosopher held a particular point of view. Aristotle would then draw from out of that point of view what was authentic and valid while pointing out the mistakes and limitations. He did this with all the other philosophers and then integrated each of their genuine insights into one new concept of his own creation. That’s Aristotle. You take what opposes you, recognize what is valid, and then build something far better.
This procedure did not always work. One of its limitations is lack of knowledge and empirical observation. Aristotle came up with generalizations about nature and about astronomy. These generalizations were overthrown thousands of years later when science developed the tools to investigate nature and observe with telescopes planetary orbits. At this point, science became somewhat free of philosophy in that it could now postulate ideas or theories without having to “believe” in them or work within previous categories of description. A theory is valuable because it generates research and tests and not because it gives you a clear mental picture so you can sleep better at night.
Take astrophysics. How humiliating and embarrassing for science! Ninety-five per cent of the matter and energy in the universe is completely unknown. That is, it does not generate any radiation that is observable by scientific instruments. All the stars, galaxies, black holes, and subatomic particles—that is, everything we know and observe is only five per cent of what is out there.
But this does not stop scientists. They are busy with their experiments using the Hubble telescope, infrared telescopes, and various tests for pursing the nature of subatomic particles. They know they will figure it out in the end.
The early Christian church, by contrast was so hungry for dogmatic theology--you know, one creed, one belief, one church, one way of salvation, one Christology—that it simply declared: this is the way it is and nothing else will be tolerated. The word “orthodox” meaning straight teeth was coined in the first century by a Christian theologian who said, “Don’t go out in the desert and try to find God for yourself. Just believe what I tell you to believe.”
Cognitive dissonance is very stressful. Recognizing conflicts and contradictions may make you appear weak. You don’t buy into the standard system of interpretation. It can wear you out but it can also spur you on to your highest creativity in your attempt to bring things back into harmony.
Magic is about first hand experience. It requires a huge tolerance for living with ambiguity and incomplete knowledge. It is not about building upon others’ generalizations or others’ blind dictates about the nature of God and reality. It is not about asserting and obeying any kind of established authority. But the cost of practicing it is rather great--you have to confront the darkness in yourself, human nature’s individual and collective capacity for self-delusion, in order to truly grow and learn.
Magic is out of touch with the age of the world in which we live. To practice it is to swim upstream. It is to be out of step with the movement of culture and history. It is in a sense going backward rather than forward.
Here are some case studies. Consider the theosophical movement in the first part of the twentieth century. Some of the founders in this movement started indulging themselves in past life readings. They deluded themselves with their grandiose speculations to such an extent that they got this stark raving insane idea that if they worked at it they could accelerate the incarnation of the world’s next Buddha—Maitreya.
Forget that these are Westerners who know nothing about the incredibly rigorous training of mind and body practiced by Buddhists. Forget that they have no lineage, no tantra, not theurgy, and no detailed system for working with energy. Forget that they know nothing about Tibetan Buddhism.
Forget that the Buddhas appear of their own accord according to the needs of the world and not according to some occult group’s desires. What we have are just a bunch of psychics with a few ideals thrown in about the integration of east and west and a desire to shine bright like the sun.
So they find this young boy with a bright blue aura in India and start grooming him to be the next Buddha. Do they train his mind and body with any rigor or system? No. Their attitude is that “we found him, we guide him, we stick him on the right diet, we pray for and to him, we celebrate him, and when he is older he will be Maitreya.” So here is this young kid and he notices that a hundred thousand people think he is someone who he is not. They start coming around and some of them spontaneously bow down to him.
One day on his own without permission or guidance he starts doing a little yoga. Typical teenage striking out on his own, he thinks, “Gee, what’s
yoga? I mean, they have been doing it for thousands of years in India, I think I will give it a try.” Then he starts having profound experiences but these experiences are not the “authorized” version of what he is supposed to represent.
So he renounces the whole idea of some “out there” Buddha coming through himself. Instead he becomes Krishnamirti and goes around proclaiming a philosophy the exact opposite of theosophy—namely, that you should be able to find enlightenment in yourself spontaneously without the need for attachment to a social/spiritual movement that is going to save the world or reconcile east and west. And this conclusion he draws without any recognition whatsoever for the fact that when you have tens of thousands of individuals “praying” for you, it is going to have an astonishing impact producing experiences that are definitely not a product of your own “spontaneous” experiences. Here is a guy who never recovered from being “spiritually” molested.
The theosophists, contrary the spirit of our age, wanted a big payout—a once and for all enlightenment uniting all under the umbrella of one bright light. How Piscean! Our age requires extensive work with empirical data, lots of testing, lots of projects and research, lots of investigation, and useful, user friendly practices specific and custom designed to advance the life of individuals, not of the whole world at once.
The theosophists had the wrong age, the wrong methods, and the wrong ideals. They were unable to respond to cognitive dissonance. They wanted a simple solution avoiding the rigorous soul-searching and hard work required by genuine magic. Blinded in the pursuit of their ideals, they avoided detailed and individual study of the operation and coordination of their bodies, emotions, and minds. Consequently, instead of advancing the world, they got stuck in using a gear belonging to a forgotten past.
Queen Elisabeth, Marx, John Nash, Steiner, and Schizophrenia
I walked into the headquarters of the Waldorf Schools in the U.S. founded by Steiner and inquired of the secretary, “What would you want Steiner to help you with if he were still around?” She replied, “I need more about technology.”
Part of Steiner’s philosophy is that young children should only use machines and instruments that they have made themselves. So what do you do when one of the most useful of all instruments contains a microchip? Try to make one of those in elementary school!
Now my nephew over there at Microsoft, he went to the University of Michigan to do precisely that—he wanted to know how to understand and make microchips so he majored in computer engineering. He is in touch with this age of the world and also you could say following Steiner’s philosophy about having hands on experience and staying close to the ground. But my nephew is more in line with the Montessori School’s philosophy. He was stimulated by his curiosity and exercised his own initiative in pursuing it.
Shift now to Karl Marx sitting there in London observing one of the great drawbacks of capitalism—it has no conscience or concern for the suffering it causes. Big cognitive dissonance—instead of technology and industry advancing mankind, it was exploiting and degrading. Marx then draws upon Hegel’s philosophy of history and method. Hegel had to deal with two thousand years of history that Aristotle did not have access to.
Hegel noticed that whenever someone comes up with a real clear mental idea someone else comes along and finds a flaw in it and destroys that idea by producing another idea. Then a subsequent philosopher destroys that second clear idea by coming up with a third idea that integrates the two previous ideas and on it goes—thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
Marx just took this basic structure and grafted economics on to it. So now we have economic classes opposed to each other and a vision of a classless society as the resolution of this conflict. Later in the early twentieth century, the head of the communist party in the United States would write to Stalin and say that he doesn’t think that the U.S. has a class conflict the way Marx envisioned it.
I mean, here is Roosevelt, a member of the elite capitalists, and he is proclaiming a New Deal and using government money (taken from capitalists through taxation and borrowing through monetary policy) to give jobs to the jobless. The unemployed are appeased, no class conflict, and no revolution. Democracy limits the social injustices of capitalism, something Marx did not witness during his life while in England. Stalin writes back to his operative in the U.S., “You are wrong.” Stalin was not actually a communist. He was a dictator whose only interest was absolute power.
Marx screwed up. His economic theory was wrong. His political philosophy was wrong. He wanted a simple solution to a complex problem. He could not handle cognitive dissonance.
For me, the historical death of communism occurred when John Nash wrote his thesis in 1949 on economics. Nash overturned the economic theory of Adam Smith who emphasized that as each individual seeks his own selfish ends the common good is advanced. Instead of studying the conflict between individuals or classes, Nash focused on the strategies for conflict resolution between small groups whose members each understand their opponents’ needs and goals. In such negotiation, there is a point of maximum advantage to all members in producing a settlement.
Nash based this on applied mathematics using theories and observations well beyond the keen of Hegel or Marx. Any group in conflict can resolve their conflicts through non-violent means. This means no class warfare and no ideologies. This was not a simple solution. It was the work of a genius and it took decades but finally Nash’s theory was applied in the real world to many different kinds of groups in conflict as well as those making economic decisions.
But John Nash had his own conflicts. He saw people who were the product of his imagination and brain chemistry. He was schizophrenic. What he saw other people did not see. What he was responding to with affection and emotion and fascination was not apart of our world. So he acted “crazy.”
If you see something that other people do not see, that is not apart of the “common” reality, how do you become sane again? How do you get your life back instead of wasting decades in pursuits that produce nothing of consequence in the world of others? It helps to have advances in medicines that correct brain chemistry. But Nash decided to ignore the people he could see but whom others could not. Nash integrated into his perceptual and cognitive system the feedback he received from others. If you do not act crazy, then by function and definition you are not crazy.
Marx did not do this. One of the problems with Marx adopting Hegel’s philosophy is what Kierkegaard criticized about Hegel—it allows for no individual decision making. Having a grand view of human history does nothing for the individual who must resolve personal issues of hope and doubt, love and hate, faith and despair, and most important—making personal choices with limited knowledge regarding outcomes. Kierkegaard would have been equally critical of the early church theologians who allowed individuals no individual’s process of discovery, of finding God within and for yourself.
If you ignore the individual’s involvement, motivation, and decision making, then, for Marx, its fine to have someone else, some leader, take responsibility for the revolution rather than having the responsibility fall upon each individual. In a democracy, everyone is equally responsible for the government. If you don’t like it, it falls to you to change it.
Good government requires a market place for the free exchange of ideas. Democracy requires a high tolerance for ambiguity. Democracy is an on-going experiment in government. It is all about cognitive dissonance.
So communism produces a Stalin who has no conscience while the U.S. produces (occasionally) a Roosevelt who against all expectations of his social class finds solutions that work rather than solutions that are the product of someone else’s “clear idea.”
No doubt, due to Marx’s simple solution to history, ten million died as a direct result of Stalin’s actions in Russia and thirty million starved to death in China due to Mao’s direct actions. And this suffering and death are the result of Marx’s emotional reaction to the suffering in England during the industrial revolution that involved a few hundred thousand.
Good magic involves a coordinated use of akasha, the mental plane, astral plane, and physical plane. There is the insight, intention, vision, and purpose of akasha. There is the supervision, oversight, accounting, and appraisal of methods and means of the mental plane. There is the energy, inspiration, motivation, and emotional involvement of the astral plane. And finally there is the hard work, building, and producing enduring results on the physical plane.
Where did Marx go wrong? Well, nice akashic vision of a utopia. But poor mental plane analysis, poor astral plane motivation of individuals, and horrendous dictatorships on the physical plane. The theosophists? No mental understanding of east and west and self-delusion run rampant on the astral plane.
Now what did bin Laden and Zawahiri do wrong? These are revolutionaries. They wish to change the world. Without the work of these two there would be no Al Queda. Their vision? For a thousand years Arabs were the most advanced in mathematics, anatomy, physics, astronomy, economics, scholarship, and justice including tolerance of Jews. Why not return to this golden age where one Caliph rules in both the political and religious spheres, a world free of national boundaries?
Put simply, the Arabs have had no Reformation. And the conflict between the nations has accelerated science, technology, economics, and political philosophy beyond anything these two individuals can understand. You cannot solve post graduate real world problems using a second grade education. Zawahiri was brain surgeon but that does not make him intelligent about social and political conflicts, only about how to organize groups to build bombs.
More books are translated into Spanish each year than have been translated into Arabic in the last thousand years. And the Arabs are the people who preserved for the Western world the writings of Plato and Aristotle while Europe languished in illiteracy.
This brings us to Queen Elisabeth in England. She came to power amid a civil war—Catholics and Protestants at each other’s throats. So she combines Catholicism and Protestantism into a Church of England. She did not try to create a solution for all people and the whole world. The world is too complex and spirit too deep for anyone to shape it through edict. Instead, she limits herself to the country for which she is responsible—England. She makes religion a matter of the individual’s conscience so that England can get on with doing with a nation is supposed to do—to grow and to flourish.
No so the King of Spain. He takes the immense wealth generated by the colonies and bankrupts his country trying to invade England to destroy this heretic religion. The king gets points for religious devotion but comes out the loser when it comes to managing his economy.
But what is going on behind the scenes? These imperialistic nations in fierce competition for survival with each other are developing their industry, science, technology as well as their cannons, ship designs, and commerce at an astonishing pace. Sure, England exploited its workers but Marx failed to appreciate that those laborers were still laboring for England rather than being slaves under another nation’s control. Meanwhile, these Arab countries with little interest in navies and exploration at this moment fall so far behind that even now it will take them centuries to catch up.
Make religion a matter of individual conscience and you vastly expand individual motivation and initiative. Compare this to Saudi Arabia. In 1990 the Saudi per capita income was thirty thousand dollars, the equal of the United States. By 2000, the per capita income had fallen to ten thousand dollars.
The crown prince says, “People think that we invented corruption but we are no more corrupt than anyone else.” After all, in the nineteenth century, every one of president Grant’s cabinet members was subject to impeachment. So what is the problem with the crown prince’s response?
In Saudi Arabia five per cent of the population controls ninety five per cent of the wealth. And this wealth is not being reinvested in Saudi industries. It preserved in accounts and investments in other countries. Corrupt or not, here is a government begging to be overthrown. You do not screw up your economy to that extent, you do not make the middle class wealthy and then drive them back into poverty, and expect to have any kind of a mandate, religious or not, to maintain your government.
The crown prince’s response? “Our government is the custodian of the two most holy sites in Islam.” In other words, religion grants us a free pass when it comes to being corrupt. In the U.S., if the president does not maintain economic growth and if unemployment remains over six per cent, he is voted out of office.
Islam never got a Martin Luther, someone attempting to turn the focus of religion back to individual experience. Islam has no reformer who points out that anyone with power, even religious leaders, will inevitably abuse that power. Instead Islam has revolutionaries who want to put a sixth century religious vision up against capitalism and democracy, two systems that have slowly been evolving for over four thousand years.
Bin Laden had a genuine vision when he was in charge of remodeling the holy sites in Saudi Arabia. But did he become to Nelson Mandela, a Martin Luther, or a Gandi? No. Al Zahwari is trying to expedite bin Laden’s vision. But is he a John Nash, a Martin Luther King, or a Kierkegaard? No.
Destroying is a short cut. Failing to learn from history is simple stupidity. And not getting inside the minds of your opponents and taking into account what is valid in the other’s point of view is a genuine failure of spirit. Bin Laden and Zawahiri are not working with the akashic or mental planes. Their power is all astral—they appeal to the emotions and mixed within this appeal is a vision of a golden age denying individual choice and liberty that is to be reestablished through violence and hatred.
Here are would be leaders who are trying to determine the direction of entire nations and yet they lack even the most basic gears necessary for shifting between freedom of choice, individual conscience, and intelligent interpretations of things like international trade, economic growth, and justice between the nations. These two would be great operating back in the tenth century where their specific spiritual visions and intellectual interpretations still worked.
Cognitive dissonance is inherent in magic. You work with akasha and you are within a realm of perception and intuition that is part of that ninety-five per cent of the universe that remains completely unknown to science and human history. And at the same time, you have to lay hold of your vision and purposes and produce dynamic and effective means for them to operate in the real world, the world we share in common with other human beings.
This is an immense challenge. No doubt at times a magician may feel like John Nash who sees living beings who others do not see and yet has to act in a normal manner lest he be considered crazy. At times, a magician may have a vision. But if he does not develop his mind and emotions to become the effective vehicle for that vision, then like the theosophists and religious fanatics, like Marx or the inquisition, he risks twisting and abusing his vision until he ends up producing the opposite of the ideal he is pursuing.
In summary, in this essay I am continuing to focus on some of the problems that accompany the practice of magic. Magical training requires an immense capacity to shift conscious between the inner and outer worlds. Developing a magical will does not in any way substitute for the need to live a normal, healthy, and happy life. Magic may not make this easier. It may make it much more difficult.
Ninety-five per cent of the matter in the universe is as yet unidentified. I suspect the spiritual universe is equally unknown and unexplored. The capacity for injury, accidents, and encounters with various dangers is therefore greatly increased. It is hard enough in ordinary life to keep one’s ego in check and free of delusions and false attachments. Magic presents us with constant exposure to temptations beyond anything we would otherwise experience.
Early on I point out that for myself the study of magic should only be undertaken if an individual has the highest commitments. This means an individual is focused within akasha from the beginning. I would also suggest that an individual first master his everyday life before developing his senses to perceive in the invisible world.
Everyday life is magic. It is the cauldron where our spirit is tested. If you have problems with work, relationships, emotions, mental clarity, physical health, work on these first. Dealing with these problems is the requisite training required for developing a magical will. And if you develop a magical will and succeed in using it to solve some great problem, akasha will still require you to succeed in everyday life in order to make further progress.