Tuesday, June 28, 2005


In a rooftop garden in what appears to be South Beach, I'm reading a dictionary of psychology. To my delight, I find a concept coined by my friend Sophia, to the effect that one must always separate ideas and their validity from the people and schools of thought from which these ideas arose. The entry has a citation for Sophia's last name and the year 1993.

Before I can flip to the bibliography in the back of the book, I awaken.

Reflecting on this dream as I wait for the alarm clock to beep, I remember one of my favorite (very serious) pranks by Uncle Al. It's at the beginning of Liber 0:

"In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.

"It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them."

It was a huge breakthrough for me, aeons ago in my guise as a Wiccan, to realize that belief had little or nothing to do with spiritual progress and could in fact be a great hindrance. The branch of Wicca I had the blessing to fall into focused almost exclusively on what worked. One proceeded empirically, building on practices that had worked for others, testing one's own innovations and tossing them out if they didn't get results. (Uncle Al again: "These rituals need not be slavishly imitated....if [the student] have any capacity whatever, he will find his own crude rituals more effective than the highly polished ones of other people.")

(Uhh, Al--girls do this stuff, too. Just thought you'd--yeah.)

Ironically, had I not--strayed?--been led?--chanced?--stumbled?--been foreordained?--into this kind of experimental metaphysics, I'd probably still reside in the dark night of materialism. Allegedly there "are" lines between spirit and matter, mind and matter, metaphysics and science, but increasingly I'm hard-pressed to see them.

1 comment: