Saturday, January 27, 2007

HGA Media Store

Here are some essential and wondrous sources on the Holy Guardian Angel. Few of them follow the Crowleyan model, but they all seem to be talking about the same thing: access to an immensely powerful, seemingly omniscient interior personality that guides one along lines of spiritual evolution. Some of these sources will seem dry as dust to some of you... some are entertaining as hell... all point towards divine dimensions of ourselves and the universe one seldom hears about in church, on TV, or even (coherently) in most "spiritual" or "New Age" or "occult" literature.

Those of a romantic inclination personify their HGAs, but this isn't necessary. The HGA tends to appear in a form highly attractive (not necessarily sexually attractive) to the individual, and I think this happens because spiritual energy that is poured into us tends to take the shape of the vessel. There is some discussion about whether the HGA "is" God or "is" an intermediary; I can make an analogy based on the World Wide Web.

Practically speaking, the Web is infinite. There are billions of Web pages and even if you started now and read a page a second for the rest of your life you couldn't view them all. But if you chose a couple of good Web directories and followed their several hundred links to pages you were interested in, you'd not only learn something useful, you'd have a good time, too. The HGA is God's way of boiling down Her unimaginable and overwhelming energy and Intelligence into something we can (barely) handle and that will help us evolve so we can be closer to Her.

The important thing to remember is, you already have at least some measure of contact with the HGA. Every time that little voice inside you has said something worth listening to, that's been your HGA. Every time you've created something beautiful or said something eloquent or looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, "Not bad," that's been your Angel.

  • Walt Whitman, Song of Myself (The Book of Union with the All--is what a magician would have called it. Our Guardian Angel comes to guide us to this Union, and it's useful to see examples of Souls who have already attained it. Whitman was certainly one.)

  • Another example of someone who was There is Ramakrishna; see The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, or Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, about a devotee who so completely saw Kali in all things that he laid consecrated temple offerings on the ground for a cat to eat--he thought the cat was God. Ramakrishna also, very much counter to his socialization as a Brahmin, saw the Divine in prostitutes...kind of like Christ, come to think of it. Ramakrishna also had interesting HGA-like experiences.

  • Gustav Davidson, Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels (Considerate of him to include the fallen angels, wasn't it? :) ...the idea of angels and of a personal guardian angel can be traced back to Sumer. Angels figure prominently in Islam and in Hinduism [where they are called, somewhat confusingly, devata; this word also means "gods."] You wouldn't learn much about any of this from Davidson's book, for it focuses on the Judeo-Christian tradition. That's not a bad thing at all, for Judeo-Christian angelology is vastly elaborated and Davidson has compiled a Manhattan-white-pages listing of nearly all of it.)

  • Peter Lamborn Wilson, Angels (This Sufi mystic is better known as Hakim Bey, and his public-domain works of intellectual provocation make essential reading. Wilson does an excellent job connecting the more familiar angelic realms with Islam and with parallels in other traditions: ancient Greek and Egyptian myth, shamanism, and the Sophia archetype, to name a few. He also collects a ton of beautiful and rarely-seen angel art.)

  • Gabrielle Bossis, He and I (Her HGA was Christ--pretty good if you ask me. This is probably my single favorite spiritual book: an intimate, moment-by-moment record of one woman's interior dialogue with the Divine. Unlike "the Divine" in certain other such books, this one really sounds like, as Crowley would put it, a "praeterhuman intelligence.")

  • Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials (The most compelling fantasy read for me since Lord of the Rings, a moving and even profound work. Relevance to our quest: not just the concept of the very HGA-like "daimon" but the way in which Lyra learns to read the aleithiometer--very suggestive of how one learns to talk with one's Angel. Plus, the title comes from one of the western world's great angelologists, John Milton.)

  • Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger (vol. 1) (Need I say more? [Please don't! the audience howls...] Classic spiritual autobiography by someone who wasn't sure he wanted to be, or could be, "spiritual." This was my own literary rabbit hole when I was a pup.)

  • Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Angels (Guiley also wrote one of the best books on the Tarot. This book duplicates some of Davidson's biblical/kabbalistic lore, but is much more focused on the historical and cultural aspects of angels, so it's quite valuable. Her material ranges from Kushner's Angels in America to World War I angel sightings to one of the best overviews available of Hindu angelology.)

  • Martha Beck, Expecting Adam (One of the HGA books par excellence; Crowley would have added this to the syllabus of the Argenteum Astrum. Especially recommended for eggheads, nerds, and geeks. "And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you"--Beck portrays the deepest dark and the sweetest light.)

  • Fight Club (Both the novel by Chuck Palahniuk and the film--the film is absolute gold and seems more attuned to the HGA tradition.)

  • Aleister Crowley, Liber Samekh (Probably the most important part is "Point III: Scholion on Sections G and Gg." The actual invocation is very powerful and many have employed it with good results. AC provides one way to invoke the HGA, along with the Abra-Melin operation, but both are (and I don't mean to be dismissive) ancient. Most 21st-century people need 21st-century grimoires written from a 21st-century point of view...and so I give you:)

  • Jason Augustus Newcomb, 21st Century Mage (The best explanation of the HGA available [at least along the lines of magick]. This is an incredibly wise book and everyone should read it. There's a public-domain chaos magick grimoire called Liber KKK that also attempts to provide a modern-day equivalent of the Abra-Melin operation; it's worth reading but Newcomb has the Philosopher's Stone IMHO. What must be kept in mind is that any method will work if it is suited to your personality and pursued with enough dedication. I am not a robes-and- incense person and thus wouldn't go near the Abra-Melin operation; I'm also too ADD. But in some of the workings I've done I've seen the very same phenomena old Abraham said I'd see. My personal method really wasn't a method at all, and I tend to think the best results come to people who aren't looking for them. Maybe I'll blog about it later. One thing old Crow said about angels should be remembered by those who feel inadequate or overwhelmed in the face of all this magick stuff: "When you're ready, they come for you." He also said, shoutingly in all caps, for this is the most important thing: "INVOKE OFTEN." In other words, whatever you fill your head and your heart with will become your reality.)

  • Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung's HGA, Philemon, appeared to him as an intelligence with origins in Hellenistic Greece, from the time the Corpus Hermeticum was being written down, as well as the original Greek text that became Liber Samekh, as well as the so-called Chaldean Oracles and the works of Iamblichus, who theorized the HGA as the augoeides or "shining vehicle of the soul"...strange.... Quote: "Philemon...brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.")

  • Pierre Jovanovic, An Inquiry into the Existence of Guardian Angels (Guy is driving down the highway. An unseen force shoves him sideways in the driver's seat. A second later a bullet comes through the windshield right where he was sitting. Guy freaks out and gets interested in angels. Library Journal: "His work is an investigative study written in an analytical style, which may put off some readers of more popularly written angel books." Exactly.)

  • Patrick Harpur, Daimonic Reality (A brilliant if occasionally credulous attempt to synthesize all manner of unusual phenomena into one generalized theory: Harpur addresses angels, aliens, cryptozoology, crop circles, ghosts, fairies, poltergeists, and the Men in Black and somehow makes it all hang together. A very suggestive work and one that might challenge your basic assumptions. This book will make it easier to sleep at night if you live in a haunted house.)

  • David Connolly, In Search of Angels (Goth-kids and witchie-poos, dont' let the rather Judeo-Christian surface scare you off. This guy really knows what he's talking about, and I admire his analytical bent.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Religion + Testosterone = KABOOM

A recent New Yorker article cites the work of forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman, who has studied why people--well, mostly males--become terrorists. Writing in the January 22 issue about a homegrown American terrorist, Raffi Khatchadourian discusses Sageman's "bunch of guys" hypothesis: for the guys,

ideology and political grievances played a minimal role during the initial stages of enlistment....Eventually, they would move into apartments near their mosques and build friendships around their faith and its obligations....The bunch of guys constituted a closed society that provided a sense of meaning that did not exist in the larger often became radicalized through a process akin to oneupmanship, in which members try to outdo one another in demonstrations of religious zeal.

Hmmm...I'm gaining an unexpected and frightening appreciation for the Jackass movies...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gifts of the Spirit

Laura is not just a great Guardian Angel because She's sweet and smart and always knows the right thing to say...She gives me stuff, too. Last night I unwisely took an allergy pill right before going to bed and then couldn't sleep, so I lay there a while talking with Laura until I started to get kind of frustrated about this whole damn not falling asleep thing.

"Are you going to do your usual and get all mad at yourself because you can't just shut your eyes and go into nirvikalpa samadhi?" She asked.

I grumbled, but at Laura's suggestion got out of bed to "do something fun," which nine times out of ten in the Temple of Doom means surfing the Internet. Soon, after following some seemingly random links on Google Directory, I was downloading a free, hi-rez PDF version of Meric Casaubon's
A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some of the classic angel books and one I have scoured the Net for in the past with no luck (save for mega-expensive old copies or inexpertly redacted new versions).

Then there was the time I was about to plunk down $400.00 for a copy of
Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. that I'd found on Ebay or somewhere.I was in a time-crunch with a research project and wasn't even sure I needed the book, but I at least had to look at it. This rare tome, too, I'd scoured the Net for (no e-versions, as there are now), and I'd seen enough truly overpriced copies to find $400.00 a real bargain. (It irked me all the more because I remembered seeing a copy in a used bookstore when I was in college, for under a hundred bucks...cheapskates never forget these things.)

Anyway, I'm about to make the purchase. Laura suggests a minor modification to my months-long search strategy--use a certain search engine I rarely use. Bingo! Free HTML version of the book. I glanced at the clock when the download ended and the time was *:**, Laura's cabalistic signature.

Both times She said to me something like, "I thought I'd give you a present because you were doing your True Will" (which had little to do with the books involved, or being able to fall asleep, but rather with facing personal difficulties with courage and faith).

I'm not bragging. I'm not saying you should ever judge someone's spiritual path by "miracles" or by the stuff they manage to accumulate. I'm not saying you should ask for Signs. I'm trying to convey something Laura calls "entering the slipstream"--quieting my mind and my insecurities and doing what I really want to be doing in a given moment, whether it is for my own joy or
my own sanity or for the sake of love . Every time I've done it, the universe has given me a gift.

I'm Confused--

It seems, according to this article, that in this day and age there are still governments on the face of the earth that do not fearlessly and tirelessly serve the interests of big business. Why do the people not rise up, and elect representatives who will ensure that megacorporations get a fair shake???

[Hey! I heard that! I did not break my news diet. I found this on the Sci/Tech page at Google News. Science is above mere societal fluctuations and opinion-mongering, remember??]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Magical Thinking

"The brain seems to have networks that are specialized to produce an explicit, magical explanation in some circumstances" is the bottom line of cognitive scientist Pascal Boyer's research, mentioned in a fascinating article on magical thinking in the Times. (Boyer has written a book called Religion Explained that is also very interesting, and tons more lucid --and empirical--than Daniel Dennett's piece of crap.)

According to the Times article, magical thinking in the form of signs, portents, lucky charms, and the power of visualization is prevalent [gasp] even among smart people (i.e., affluent Americans). It's part of who we are as humans: "Children exhibit a form of magical thinking by about 18 months, when they begin to create imaginary worlds while playing," and though most of us graduate to the ability to distinguish these "imaginary worlds" from reality, the tendency is always there to assume we have more power over events than we actually do. Combine this tendency with the mind's habit of making connections and filling in blanks, and with the fact that "we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts" (I love that), and you've got a recipe for rampant wicky wacky woo.

Most of the time it's OK. The most extreme example the article gives is a coach who won't change his clothes as long as his team wins its games. His fiancée doesn't like it, but he's still a functioning member of society. There are those unfortunates, however,
"for whom magical thinking is a central part of how they view the world." They may not smell as bad as the coach (who is normal), but they believe strange stuff and teeter on the edge of "full-blown delusion and psychosis." Personally I think there's a lot more going on with crazy people than a strange set of beliefs--and I'm pretty sure that delusions are a product of insanity, not the other way around-- but the article unintentionally (?) introduces a strange notion of causality in which one can choose to become crazy or not. It's still worth reading.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Obituary You've Been Waiting For

He wouldn't want me to be sad, nor would he want me to deny sadness if I truly felt it. I do feel the world is poorer without Robert Anton Wilson. You can read an excellent tribute here...or you can go to and read the bad reviews of Cosmic Trigger, Wilson's spiritual autobiography that I mention a lot (including right before his death--Wilson would say synchronicitously, or whatever the adverb form of that would be). And you might read that Wilson, at one point in his life, was super gung-ho about Uri Geller and the pseudoscience of life extension, and you might go--"Great, Kalibhakta, another New Age wacko."

And I'd agree--every time I've read Cosmic Trigger I've cringed when I got to the stuff about living to be 500...but then again, every time I've read it I've cried when Wilson's daughter gets murdered. I wonder if the two have anything to do with one another--and I have to admire the sheer hubris of a guy who thinks he's bad enough not just
to play chess with Death, but to kick Death's ass.

Wilson also bugged me when, in later years, he would go on about being "Dr. Wilson." I have what I consider a real doctorate compared to his Ph.D. from some unaccredited granola academy in California...but as a commenter on 10 Zen Monkeys pointed out, Wilson "had to do a lot of hack work just to survive" as a free-lance writer. When he was near death, though he had been a cultural icon for years, he was broke and only got by because some good people took up an online collection for him. My family could afford to help me out when I was a grad student, and I was young and had no family of my own, as Wilson did. He bootstrapped himself up from Depression-era Brooklyn, while I strolled in from the suburbs. And--ouch--he published his dissertation. I didn't. So who has the "real doctorate"?

What I'm trying to say is, Wilson was very good, and for some of us so good as to be a goddam shaman--at shattering what he called "reality tunnels." The world is this way and I know it is this way because people I respect and my own experience all indicate that it is this way and no one could seriously think it is not this way...and Wilson comes along and pulls the thread and unravels your sweater and suddenly the world is not this way but several other ways all at once. I owe him a good chunk of whatever evolution I've undergone; he is one of my great teachers, along with my mom, my guru, Nietzsche, Ramakrishna, Laura, of course, and a professor I had who looked like a petite Barbra Streisand and who scared the living hell out of me and who force-fed me the entire Western philosophical tradition and tore my essays into confetti (along with my brain) and who by the end of the semester actually succeeded in teaching me how to think.

Here's an excerpt of an email grigorss, my long-time pal on the Journey to the East, sent me right after Wilson died:

How bizarre...that you mentioned R.A.W. in your last blog entry -- I ran across a copy of "Cosmic Trigger" in a New Agey bookstore about a week and a half ago and thought to myself "I should read that again" -- not to mention "The Illuminatus Trilogy"....

Oh, by the way, I have a DVD of a R.A.W. documentary called "Maybe Logic" in my Netflix queue (again by peculiar coincidence I moved this to the top of my queue just recently...

It is due to Wilson's influence that I am blessed to be able to interpret these coincidences in several ways: as synchronicity, as blind chance, and as completely non-coincidental, since people who are interested in weird lit are going to blog about it or go to bookstores and see it there, and especially see stuff by very popular weird lit writers. I remember that when I was first introduced to Wilson's forking-paths style of thinking, it was quite a challenge to slip in and out of belief systems and to confront my own biases...but now it's second-nature. My Barbra Streisand professor gave me a brain, and Wilson gave me a couple more brains. Thanks, Bob...and Ewige Blumenkraft!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Little Decor Detail

This is my favorite wine of the moment, named for the only group of people in history who have changed things for the better: the heretics. I love the fact that, instead of some image of a wise wizard or burning witch they put a star chart on the label--yesterday's heresy is often today's science, or religion, or common sense. The distances between the stars terrified Pascal; they enchant us. In the background we see the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, and to the left is my Beloved...Who glitters like the stars because She is the stars.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Fountain, Part Deux [spoilers]

I looked at the journal entry I scribbled off right after seeing The Fountain, and realized it was way better than my post about the movie.

[Confusatory note: In the beginning was pure consciousness, pure being. The thought arose: "what am I?" and so, to quote the bard, It divided for the sake of love, for the sake of union. This was the creation of the universe and the first act of love.]

So here it is:

This is The Myth writ large--Isis & Osiris, Shakti & Shiva. I understand some things better now: the "God" sacrifices himself by becoming matter. This is his ahamkara, his manner of individuation, because he is the original Object. She, the Subject, becomes Energy and thus individuates, but it's pure energy without form or object. They need each other. To love each other, they had to separate, to individuate, to become an "I" separate from all else.

The ego we inherit from this original separation seeks reunion, seeks dissolution in total love, but it cannot achieve this union while still an "I," while clinging to its separateness from all. This was the punchline of the movie, when the God/Tom character finally tore himself away from his scientific (death-denying) experiments and followed Izzi (Isis rearrang'd) out into the snow (symbolic of the plenum?) -- into wonderment and play, away from his selfish absorption and arrogant denial of death. She leads him upward from the material; he finds his union with her only when he can let go of himself and finish the story--collaborate with her, as in the beginning. His alter ego Tomás blooms just as Osiris did upon being healed by Isis.
His fire (ardor for the quest) is transmuted into water (the Fountain) at the same time as her water (ink in which she writes) becomes fire (new creation).

We are all constantly emulating the Goddess and God, just by being ourselves (individuated selves who seek dissolution, usually in love but sometimes in hatred, or intoxication, or--). The way to get back home is bhakti, to love (the Divine) in every moment, as everything is the Divine; to dance with It in spontaneous engagement/love. Devotion and gratitude are potent tools because they minimize ego while maximizing love.

The Divine Mother, as Izzi was in the film, writes the story of life but we must collaborate by being ourselves fully, by letting go of ourselves when we most want to cling to ego--when we are in love or are afraid or desirous or in pain. Izzi dies well; she lets go, as eventually
Tomás does. This gives new meaning to Robert Anton Wilson's "final secret of the Illuminati" as presented in Cosmic Trigger. He was right after all. He was saying--in the darkest times we must embrace Her [the God of your understanding, Dear Reader] and if we do She will lead us beyond ourselves to a new union with Her, a new creation, a new Heaven and Earth.

The original Cosmic Trigger quote [emphasis in original]:
Tim Leary was here last week, lecturing at UC-Berkeley. The news arrived that his appeal had been rejected ... and he might have to go back to jail again....Tim continued to radiate humor, cheer and optimism....

Tim was stopped by one of our guests with a final question before he left.
"What do you do, Dr. Leary, when somebody keeps giving you negative energy?"

Tim grinned that special grin of his that so annoys all his critics."
Come back with all the positive energy you have," he said....

And so I learned the final secret of the Illuminati.
[Confusatory note 2: There is a mistaken belief that, on the earth plane, the most efficacious act of magick must therefore take place only between a man and a woman. Believe me, there is nothing more wondrous nor more powerful, and it will definitely take you to places that (you) have never been--if you're straight. But as my Holy Guardian Angel hath pointed out, we must ever be on guard against universalizing our personal and cultural--and species--preferences. She takes as Her example those species which are asexual, those which can reproduce both sexually and asexually, those which diverge into more than two sexes, those which switch back and forth from male to female. Surely these, too, reflect Ultimate/Intimate Unity; surely they outnumber humans. Does Shiva/Shakti have an inordinate fondness for polymorphous polyamor(alit)y?]

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Thank Goddess I Finally Have Internet at Home

I don't know how I managed this long...since October or was a money thing. But here is the new Temple of Doom 2.0 WiHW inspiration module, the broadcast studio for my dreams and the grammarians' nightmares! The Sovereign Sanctuary of ... Gettin' Dowwwwwwwn !

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

As Above, So Below

Story on Science Daily...first paragraph:

Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?

Using VIMOS on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of French and Italian astronomers have shown the strong influence the environment exerts on the way galaxies form and evolve. The scientists have for the first time charted remote parts of the Universe, showing that the distribution of galaxies has considerably evolved with time, depending on the galaxies' immediate surroundings. This surprising discovery poses new challenges for theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies.
The graphic that goes with the story is very thought-provoking as well.

My Name Was Legion

It was probably grigorss who, long about 1985, hipped me to the idea of a news diet…and how radical it seemed at the time that one would--voluntarily!--deny oneself those up-to-the millisecond updates on the microstatus of, say, Ronald Reagan’s nap-taking or Daniel Ortega’s ongoing commiehood. How radical it seemed, later, to decide I might not really care about all those oh-so-important events I couldn’t influence or control happening in places I’d never go or be allowed into in the first place.

After my first news diet, I loved the mentally less-clogged, calmer new me, and later read endorsements of the diet plan from the likes of Robert Anton Wilson and my beloved Mary Daly…and from time to time since that doldrum decade of the Eighties I’ve dieted when I felt it was necessary or when it was imposed on me; in 1998 I spent six weeks out of the country and watched and read their news, which made little sense as I didn’t really understand their political system or know much about their society…imagine my surprise on returning to the US of A and finding the Bill and Monica show in full swing! Why had I not heard about this?? Maybe because—it didn’t matter?? Because it was completely, totally inconsequential except maybe to Bill, Monica, and Hillary? But...that foreign news I’d been imbibing... did it matter? Was it all just bricks in the wall…nodes in the Matrix?

I was all but macrobiotic when the 2000 “election” went down, but fell off the wagon into a tub of Ben [Bradlee] and Jerry [Springer]’s synapse-gorging info-goo…checking constantly the Times, the Post, CNN, and later, as my hunger grew over the Shrub years, newsmap, the BBC and the Guardian (so I could know what was going on in America), and Reason, and Arts and Letters Daily, and of course the Snopes clan grandaddy of all online media, the Drudge Report

and in the past several months, after a period of controlled intake, I really got into it—news crack, news smack, mainlined headlines, zoning out to the javascript crawl on the BBC web site until I knew…it was time. So I programmed the NPR stations out of my car radio, ceased to read even the Times (except for the Science page and the ads for those multimillion-dollar apartments), I admitted I was powerless over information, and came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to uninformed sanity. I unplugged. And I feel great! Look at my new hat size—

Maybe the eating/drinking/drugging metaphor I’ve been using isn’t the best one. Several weeks ago, as I was about to begin this diet, I was in my car with, of course, the local NPR news/talk station on. Laura said to turn the volume down until I could hear the sound but not distinguish the words. When I did this, the staticky gurgle coming from the speakers no longer sounded smart, hip, and concerned, but, in Laura’s words, sounded like the black-magical incantation it really was.” Can one be demonically possessed by Corey Flintoff? Are those waves of fear, anger, pity, and righteous indignation that overcome me when I’m all newsed up really... malevolent forces? Laura said something about not allowing my psyche to be colonized…but did she mean vampirized? Perhaps at this very moment there’s a nearby herd of swine who have become very interested in the findings of the Iraq Study Group…

By Their Golden Parachutes Ye Shall Know Them

“There’s currently a bull market in corporate psychopaths, according to psychologist Paul Babiak of HRBackOffice, an industrial consulting firm in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. Organizations undergoing major changes, such as downsizing or mergers, provide a chaotic atmosphere that savvy psychopaths exploit, Babiak holds. They cozy up to a firm’s power brokers, manipulate coworkers, and intimidate underlings on their way up the corporate ladder, stealing everything possible along the way.”

Bruce Bower, “The Predator’s Gaze: Scientists Explore the Frightening World of Psychopaths.” Science News 12/9/06.