Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Thoughts On Paranoia

Based on something tonight, I felt I wanted to discuss this a bit.

In many cases, magick aids and abets paranoia. The magician having created a fully functional microcosm, and adjusted to trance - especially by its very nature oracular trance - will often find that significance and meaning are picked up by cues in his surrounding. These are often in relation to his or her own life, but the more adept (and note that the term is in lower case in this choice of words) can do the same for the world around them. The danger lies in applying significance to fears or desires, rather than coming possibilities. In other words: the shuffle of tarot cards reveals a set of symbols relating to patterns which surround one - which can be complex or simplistic - and can reveal things of which we are consciously unaware. Those particularly skilled, can glean this information without a set oracle. (Yes, I am implying that I can detect patterns of meaning from wandering down the street and letting my eyes drift over license plates until the "shock" of a coming or going occurance - be it microcosmic or macrocosmic occurs. In fact, I've done it with news reports to aptly predict future patterns a few times while quite stoned and scared my less magically inclined compatriots shitless.)

However: this form of trance, and communication with the oracle, becomes dangerous when unfulfilled desires or previously dwelling issues take hold and pervert the meaning. The burdgeoning magician easily becomes convinced s/he's special; and they are quite right. And wrong. By participating in this form of communication with the universe they are special. However they are hardly of significance on a grand scale in many cases. The crux of the problem comes in two forms early on:

1. Convinced that they are "special," they believe they enter communication with an entity and it feeds them lies. They then conclude that they are in some way macrocosmically important. This ideation often involves belief that one is an Avatar, the right hand of God, or something similar. They immediately seek to bring this message of their living embodiment of whatever to the wide world. The response of the world, normally bitchy and snarky, often hits them not unlike a large truck driving down the road at sixty miles an hour and breeds a martyr complex. (They become convinced that agents of a hostile universe to their message of love are everywhere.) The good news here is that they rarely get enough followers to make a religion and at best have a handful of people that listen to them.

2. Convinced that they are "special," they enter communication with some of their inner (unconscious) drives and desires, and similarly become convinced that they've achieved a pinnacle of experience before they have, in fact, reached the necessary point. This is the face of the Uber-Adept. The 18 year old Magister Templi. The would-be badass. The wanna-Blessed Be. The good news here is that few pack a punch.

Now, those are just two examples and the list is endless. The big thing to remember is that paranoia on its own isn't dangerous - in fact attempting to completely remove it from one's self can be even more so to you - but that when it's fueled by delusions of grandeur or fear it becomes something quite different. Magickal paranoia is typically really just a type of oracular trance which allows you to detect patterns within information structures and derive personal or otherwise meaning from. But if fear, a deep seated need to be something more on a grand scale (delusion), or hate fuels it then it becomes the sword that cuts into one and severs the actual meaning of data.

The basic mechanisms for destroying problems of these sorts are skepticism - in fact a personal skepticism that can occasionally borderline on cynicism and focused on the self - and grounding. The act of returning to the earth, like a tribal shaman gathering food for the village, is particularly important because if delusions get too out of hand they can truly destroy one's capacity to grow magically. On the other hand, since the above examples are quite common, they are occasionally simply stumbling blocks to step over. (Just hope people don't remember when you were an idiot or, better yet, remember when they were also idiots.)

Our fears personified by trance and technique can become demons which haunt us when these situations are reversed into the negative. Likewise paranoia becomes fuel for a repeating pattern in which the affirmation that "something is going on" even if the fact is that we are causing it all own our own.

The best curses are always self-induced. Who knows what we fear - about ourselves and the world around us - better? Not a single soul. That is the hidden power found in flashing the "Evil Eye" at a superstitious individual. Often the threat is more than enough for the sorcerer or witch to aid them in destroy themselves.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or (as it ended yesterday) Saturnalia...

Seasons Greetings and much love. One thing to remember is regardless of what we celebrate, the season is all about who you love, when you love, and how you love. Family and friends.

I, personally, celebrate the rising of the Great Old Ones who will devour all of humanity once the stars align correctly, bringing forth destruction and despair. But I make sure to love everyone before they get eaten (whether first or last)!

Ahem, ignore the above. What I mean to say is that it isn't the name - Hell, you can worship consumerism for all I care - but the idea. That we all huddle together as the cold bears down on us, and grin at one another despite the shivers.

The name is immaterial. It's all about the feeling the possibility of the Holiday season can provide. And in America, a lot of pretty lights. Which, I have to admit, aren't all that bad either.

Whether it's the manifestation of the Logos in human form, the redemption of humanity through the birth of a deified savior, the birth of a God (Dionysos, Mithras, whoever else), a reversal of conditions; or a celebration of how much cash we can throw at one another, I think the point is looking across the field at those that surround you and relaxing for ten seconds to celebrate the fact that we're all more or less still here.

So leave a plate of food out for the ancestors that brought you about, and love the people still with you. Today or tomorrow could always be their last. So love them right now, without exception or expectation, and enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Post Yule Tidings for a Very Scary Cthulhumas.

You all rock. I'll see you after the stars stop being right for my evil, Qliphotic, Lovecraftian rituals of doom.



Not that I'm actually conducting any. But you have to keep up the ill-repute after so many years.

And lastly, I bring you a dose of Church inspired Fail via Failblog:



Be seeing you.
Jack Faust

Monday, December 8, 2008

Woah.

Today I was sent a publishing contract for stuff written four years ago or so.

Color me stupid, but I didn't see that coming. This, plus Bluebird, and everything else...

Now... to get ready to visit Sacramento. Be writing again when I get back.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Unexpected Inspiration.

"But even the Germanic gods and heroes are surrounded by this rebuffing immensity and enigmatic gloom. They are steeped in music and in night, for daylight gives visual bounds and therefore shapes bodily things. Night eliminates body; day, soul. Apollo and Athene have no souls. On Olympus rests the eternal light of the transparent southern day, and Apollo's hour is high noon, when the great Pan sleeps. But Valhalla is lightless, and even in the Eddas we can race that deep midnight of Faust's study-broodings, the midnight that is caught by Rembrandt's etchings and absorbs Beethoven's tone-colours. No Wotan or Baldur or Freya has 'Euclidean' form. Of them, as of the Vedic gods of India, it can be said that they suffer not 'any graven image or likeness whatsoever'; and this impossibility carries an implicit recognition that eternal space, and not the corporeal copy - which levels them down, desecrates them, denies them - is the supreme symbol. This is the deep-felt motive that underlies the iconoclastic storms in Islam and Byzantium (both, be it noted, of the seventh century), and the closely similar movement in our Protestant North. Was not Descartes' creation of the Anti-Euclidean analysis of space an iconoclasm?"
- Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West.


Expect to see this quote in an upcoming piece, from one Joshua Carfax and myself exploring two of Spare's techniques (The Death Posture and Atavistic Resurgence), of which at least the introduction will be posted here. (It is highly likely that it will be published in a currently forth-coming 'zine, hence I'm not willing to put the whole thing online.) Ramblings on something that's important to me for mostly ego-based things also forthcoming.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Invisible College.

"Our job is to inspire freedom, and that includes cognitive freedom. For every mind we free, twelve others will prefer to remain as part of the sheep-herd and within the taxonomies and categorizations that our predecessors inspired. This is not our fault, nor the problem. Twelve more still will decide they've become prematurely enlightened because they found Hot Topic and crap music. This, too, does not mean they are our enemy. We have no enemies. Our goal is to reach one person, for one second and give them a glimpse of the possibilities. Words are weapons: though it is a slow-moving war, it is still a war. Not between the dichotomies and twin dualisms of "us and them," but towards a moment where we can all appear equal on the field and let history - rather than the machinery of society - sort the two out. Should we fail, so be it. Better still than the possibility of never trying. Our writings may be forgotten, and fade with time, but there still exists the possibility that they will remain and inspire others. This is not a chore. It is a labor of love. It is the Game and the only game worth playing.

We cannot yet say, as the Ranters did, that Empire nor the machinery of the State-Church apparatus is undone. We cannot yet say we have come nearly far enough. Bruno burned; as did so many others of our heroes. Our blessing alone is to burn brighter while still standing. This is not revolution; this is just one more task.
Still.. It is the only task worth pursuing."
- The Travelogue of Jack Faust. January 3rd, 2006.

(Written for the adherents of the Black Sun, the HedKult, and the Diamond Dogs of Kwan-Lyl prior to the Splintering of the Nomads.)

Dogma, Dictation, & Relevence.

Yesterday I made a (livejournal) post about how horrid S. Meyer's "Twilight" books are, and waves of people clashed in my comments. Some comments, including my own, were more abusive than others. I will not justify myself nor anyone else. Insofar as my journal goes: you are free to duke it out. I encourage it. Which is not to say that I encourage flame wars. I simply think that conflict is a necessity of the human condition and can lead to far different outlooks on all parts of those involved if given its place. No one will be asked to come to this journal with fluffy Neo-Pagan "perfect love and perfect trust" hogwash that doesn't exist. "As brothers (and sisters), fight ye!"

But there's one thing that bothers me. It's something that I didn't detect until I woke up this morning... and sat on my glasses. I was literally thinking about it at the moment I sat on my glasses, no less. (Which I took as an omen.) Which led to two startling conclusions:
1. I should probably not toss my glasses on my chair when crashing because I'm lazy. Because I will inevitably sit on them upon waking up.
2. We have a funny idea of what kids should be exposed to in this country.

The idea that books written for "young adults" should or can fall to lower standards than those written for adults is atrocious and completely insulting. But considering how "educated" Americans are right now it really isn't very surprising.

Every child that isn't mentally retarded should be able to, or at least encouraged, to read Shakespeare at age twelve. This is not to put Shakespeare on a pedestal the way many middle school and high school (and I refuse to capitalize the terms on principle) teachers do so. There is no reason a child needs to be expected to understand all of the content involved... But I'll bet that most, if not all, children can manage the task given the appropriate time-frame and people willing to explain what's going on.

During the Dubya years, which is not to suggest politics but general mentality, we've seen a significant factor of intellectual crippling in American society - ranging from television to literature - that is astonishing. From a President who's speeches were worse than many given by second language citizens to the rise of "Reality Television" we've continually crippled the benchmark for learning, understanding, and content.

Saying things like, "if you want adult stories, don't visit the young adult section of the bookstore" is fucking terrifying. Saying things like, "kids read it," is fucking terrifying. These are inapt justifications for shoving (as Samuel /Sammaelhain 23 commented) junk food down our kids' throats and then not understanding why they'd bypass the four-course meal for fucking cheetohs.

If our standards have become so low that white-washed teen-MTV bullshit with veiled propaganda is the best we can hand out then we're in bad shape. And if the inability to recognize that is part of the problem, then someone needs to point it out. I may not be the best individual (between Shakespeare - because I was told his works were "far too hard" for me to read - and classics I also read pure Cheesy-puff delicious content too: the Forgotten Realms novels are hardly amazing literature. They still have more to offer than the Twilight books, however).

Stop stunting children and let them amaze you. Lowering the benchmark because the back of the book states "Young Adult" as the targeted readers is fucking atrocious. And some people should still be ashamed of themselves. The bias inherent in it is that "children can't understand" - and the fact of the matter is that we aren't giving them things to understand. Especially things like relevance. Questions revolving around sexuality, politics, ideology, and divergence in opinions and belief are all the more important to expose kids to. Because these are things that as they become adults will become further ingrained in them unless they're given the options to play with before they're adults.

If there's one thing I admitted about the Twilight books then it's that sex wasn't taken for granted. That doesn't make the novels any better, however. That just shows a need for better novels with the same content. Of which there certainly is: a vast majority of Victorian novels played with similar themes not relegated to children. Instead of forcing twaddle down kids' throats, why not expose them to The Portrait of Dorian Gray and then ask them questions like: "what do you think?"

They're "young adults." As the label implies, they can more than hack it. If we let them. Stop forcing children and "young adults" to deal with Spongebob-esque novelizations and open the fucking doors to both their imaginations and capacity to reason. They can, and will, surprise us all.

A quote to end this commentary:
'Repeated exposure to myths – or merely mythic motifs – rather than conscious learning is responsible for embedding myths into the structure of our consciousnesses. Such 'deep structures' manifest in the modern world not so much as fully-formed mythical narratives but rather as 'fragmentary references, indirect allusions, watchwords, slogans, visual symbols, echoes in literature, film, songs, public ceremonies, and other forms of everyday situations, often highly condensed and emotionally charged.' (Flood 1996: 84)

If this seems rather abstract, consider this Jewish proverb:

We do not see things the way they are but as we are.

- Foamy Custard, Cosmologies as Deep Structures.