Monday, April 4, 2011

Memo from the Black Brotherhood #2

The Tower, ATU XVI.
Moon + Tower + Ace of Wands*
“When you reach the Tower, your fortunes will end & your troubles will begin.”
- Brotherhood Motto

“If you should meet the Buddha on the road: Kill. Him.
- Zen Koan

You think you're enlightened? You're not. You think you've survived it all, crossed the final abyss? You haven't.

It isn't that we don't believe in Truth: we're open to the idea. We sorcerers, we-the-people-of-the-Tower, we know that it might very well exist & we encourage any who find the desire for such a quest to go on that quest. But we expect that real adults, doing real adult magick, will remember they aren't enlightened... Yet. Maybe you'll become enlightened. But in the meantime, remember that “premature enlightenment” is 100% bullshit, all the time.

How can I alleviate my anxiety?
You need to learn how to meditate.

How can I create some kind of self-discipline in myself?
You need to learn how to meditate.

Because meditation will teach you to enter vacuity. We assure it: this is not a lie. Enough meditation for a long enough period, & during a lengthy enough timeline, & you will discover the Hidden Secret of vacuity. Once you reach that point you'll be near what John Lilly calls “the Zero-Point Hour” - a bodiless sense of virtual space in which darkness & silence extend pleasantly & infinitely in all directions. (Some keen Godform assumptions work great from within this space. Just sayin'.) At that point it will become relatively easy to begin jacking Elemental space, & within 'elemental space' you will build your elemental Astral Temples. Some GD groups have you build one at each first elemental grade. (We have no idea about how wide-spread this technique is.) It is awfully handy to have access to these spaces, as they can allow access to the astral.

How do I build an astral temple?
Look up directions on how to build a Memory Palace. Adapt them to whatever occult tech you feel like. We really don't care.

I suck at visualization. How can I correct this?
Two options: white-out, or black-out.
- Black Out: purchase a pair of welding goggles. Buy some black paint. Paint over the lenses (or, if you want to keep the goggles intact tape black butcher paper over the lenses). Putting these goggles on will put you in a state of “black out.”
- White Out: Get a shoe-box. Line the inside with white paper. On one of the small sides, puncture two holes equidistant from each other (start small & enlarge later), & add some string so it can sit on your face. Some individuals prefer to even cut grooves into the sides of the box so that their face can fit easily against the box. Now, either get a small “travel reader's light” & place it over the holes, or sit under a fuck-off bright light. Regardless, you've now entered “White Out” if you managed to figure out these instructions.
For the first week, do nothing but visualize a red dot the size of a quarter into either the black-out or white-out apparatus. Once you can easily pull the dot to mind & perhaps even see it in “real time” (this can become harder if you stop practicing), move on to a red triangle. Once you can also mentally pull up the triangle, turn the triangle into a 3-dimensional & moveable Pyramid. This should be nearing the three-week to a month mark, & at the point when you can create the red pyramid & manipulate it, you should start working on visualizing male & female statues & work on seeing if you can make them 'move' while engaging the visualization process.

Did we mention that you should learn how to meditate? We seriously meant it.

Why is the Tower so important?
The Tower is the House of God, the Crucible. The Tower is what happens when you've fucked up, but your head has been shoved so far up your ass that you couldn't see where you were heading. The Tower is Ego Death. Purgation. Notice the Eye of Shiva above the blasted edifice, & then snake on one side & the dove on the other? They represent the two modes of survival for those who have been caught in the shit-storm that the Tower represents, often having been lead there by illusion & delusion.

The dove is blind acceptance: a good card to reflect on, symbolically linked to the Dove at the Tower, is the Hanged Man.

The Snake is the desire to survive: the Devil, the Chariot, the Emperor. We tend to become raging assholes when we're confronted by the Tower & not ready to just – let go.

We suggest that upon reaching the Tower, you most assuredly have learned how to meditate. Then we suggest making recurrent, daily use of Austin Spare's Death Posture.

You are not who you think you are. Who you will become is entirely mysterious & up to you. & shouldn't it be such?

Dispense with the need to be seen as enlightened. We're all Fools here, in this place. Why else would we be here? & remember to laugh. A lot.
“No, Mr. Bond! I expect you to die! ”
* “What should I write about?”


the Valentines said...


"Enlightenment, meditation, dharma, all these were the Buddha's mischievious talk" - Ikkyu

Fuck meditation .. smoke weed, drop acid.

It has long been my contention (and exceptionally successful method of reading for clients) that both Death and the Tower represent climactic ego-death. Death is a passive surrender to inevitable change and the Tower the fated struggle against it.

If the Tower must fall, that collection of self-defined beliefs, your faith in your perspective and confidence in what you have been taught, then that collapse will be as traumatic as you make it.

Why reinforce your Tower on the astral? Why not wander aimlessly and invite Death at every meal?

Jack Faust said...

@Valentine: Death really isn't a very good card for passive acceptance in this case, as it can be voluntary or involuntary. The Hanged Man is voluntary.

I did not suggest reinforcing the Tower at any point. That's a different trick altogether and beyond any point of discussion.

Not everyone can get acid, or weed. For those that can't, meditate.

the Valentines said...

I didn't mean to say that you were suggesting the reinforcement of the Tower .. I meant to suggest that the creation of Astral temples does.

Personal perspective mind you.

Why do you feel the Hanged Man better exemplifies willing ego-death? Sacrifice for sure .. but death? Pontificate.

I contend that true Death is always surrender, always. Otherwise you get the Tower. In over a decade of professional reading (literally millions of reads) this has been demonstrably and repeatedly true.

Interestingly, I consider the Hanged Man to have primacy in the areas of Initiation and Ordeal. The tempering of the ego and its castration are related but not the same.

Rose Weaver said...

@Valentine; could you please clarify your comment, "I contend that true Death is always surrender, always. Otherwise you get the Tower."

IMO, the Death card equates a dramatic change; the Tower equates Ego-Death, or a much more traumatic change. Surrender, in a sense, is Death which is why I refuse to surrender, but rather Accept. Acceptance allows me to live.

barry said...

you must surrender before you can accept.

Jack Faust said...

Definitions via Crowley:

Death: Transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary, in either case logical development of existing conditions, yet perhaps sudden and unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but such interpretation is illusion.

The Hanged Man: Redemption through sacrifice. Enforced sacrifice. Suffering.

These, of course, ignore the negative possibilities for the card. But - Death is Saturn, and Saturn is and always was King. (Except, you know, when Zeus eats him. But. Anyway.) However, the card itself notes voluntary or involuntary change.

Meanwhile, the Hanged Man represents self-sacrifice, which is another type of surrender. Hanged Man also gets ruled by Venus, rather than Saturn. So, you know...

... I just think that you're probably more willing to go through with the whole self-sacrifice/nailed to a Tree deal if you're sitting close to Venus, rather than Baby-eating Saturn. Not that I'm suggesting the planet eats babies. But you get what I'm saying, right?

@Rose: Dying bodily isn't a problem at the Tower. It's only your ego and the spurious assumptions you've made that get burned. You don't need to resist death, nor accept him. He shows up regardless.

Jack Faust said...

@Valentine: Ahha! I see it now. I seem to be suggesting one builds their astral temples ON the astral. My apologies; that is not so. The temple is a microcosmic structure that is 'attached'/associated with to an element. It should not really be built on the astral, outside the microcosm unless... Well, I guess unless one is doing group work. But in that case, why bother with a temple? heh.

barry said...

tarot is cool and all but to me the cards are nothing more than exits on a highway.

Jack Faust said...

Fuck. LMAO.

Death is Scorpio, not Saturn. I kept wondering why that was nagging at me. The skeleton and his scyth being Saturnian symbols fucked me up for some reason.

Well, I guess either works, then. I suppose it's a preference thing, really. That said, the Hanged Man better represents self-sacrifice and clarity of purpose during that pivotal moment to me, than Death. I'm really leaning toward both now, though.

Jack Faust said...

@Barry: If you prefer I-Ching or the Runes, by all means...

However, having an oracle helps shit immensely. From my tarot spread I can ask a question like: "what is the path of least resistance for this ritual I've completed?" and the response can actually give me a path if I know how to look. (Using the planetary rulers for cards drawn, for example, I can extrapolate a series of color correspondences or even Hand Mudras to help enhance my insane goal.)

the Valentines said...

@Rose and Jack

The ego fears death, not the soul of the being. Not the Fool. Death, at its root is a graceful surrender to a power greater than oneself namely, Change. The Tower (as I mentioned earlier) the vain striving against Change. Fear of Death makes a Tower of Death when the old Lady comes to collect.

Change, the real sort is never a thing you impose upon the world through the vehicle of your attachments, is always a force greater than the individual. Death is your surrender to it, the Tower is your fear of it.

Seen in this way, yes the Tower is always ego-death and always traumatic (how could a confrontation with the object of our fear not be traumatic). Seen in this way Death is also ALWAYS EGO-DEATH (whose ego survives death?).


Jack Faust said...

@Valentine: I can accept that just fine. *chuckle*

Rufus Opus said...

Worst. Black. Brother. Ever.

Jack Faust said...

@R.O.: Hence my continued amusement. It has been years since the accusation was first leveled, but I stopped caring and decided to use it very quickly. As, it honestly amuses me.

And let's me troll about enlightenment.

Rose Weaver said...

@Valentine, I surrender to your explanation. ;) Nicely stated.

I was stuck on other, more personal and non-applicable assumptions. Furgive me?

Rose Weaver said...

@Jack; Saturn deals with the limitations placed upon us by time, at least in many respects, which actually assists with Death via change over time... if you chose to look at it that way.

the Valentines said...

@Rufus Opus - are you referring to me? Or am I again entirely misreading the narrative?

Jack Faust said...

@Rose: Mmm. Yeh. Might we suggest that Death is the agency that lifts Saturnian restriction/constriction. (Saturn does also constrict, right? Or am I wrong about that?)

Rose Weaver said...

@Jack, yes you're correct. Saturn also constricts. Which is why it correlates to Binah on the top of the Pillar of Severity. You would think Binah is all sweet, motherly energy, but no. ;)

Jack Faust said...

@Rose: heh. Mapping the planetary intelligences to the Tree. I still haven't bothered to internalize that yet.[/HATEHATEHATESTUPIDFUCKINGQBL/ENDHATE.]

Erm. Sorry. That got away from me. It still erupts periodically. And as I recall, I told certain people that Binah was a mean mother. Then again, I've also told people the same about Isis. And Lilith. But not Venus. So, y'know, whatever.

Hrm. I like this idea of death as the agency that removes restriction/constriction. Like, a lot.

Rose Weaver said...

@Jack, I'm not much on QBL, but due to a vision I had in late 2008, the Tree has been on my mind a lot. I have notes from my grandmother who mapped the Tree and I've been working with it, especially the Supernals and Da'ath, kinda fixing them in place in my mind. They sit well with my experiences. And yeah, Binah... complicated. Love it.

Death removes constriction/limitation because it is also the agency of destruction which allows rebirth/renewal. There is no limitation or constriction on what can be rebuilt/renewed. :)

Rufus Opus said...

No, Valentine, that was aimed at Jack. He's a terrible Black Brother. Hardly any unfettered lust for power, not much interest in dominating and controlling the world, and generally being good all the time, even when he vents a little mean-spiritedness. It's an ongoing disappointment to me. He's got so much potential, and he just keep right on GWBing it all up.

Jack Faust said...

Heh. I just get grouchy. Some shit has had me really fucking bored or annoyed lately.

I'm not particularly good, though. Hah! Were it that that were true! I might even make it to the Pearly Gates of Paradise! ... Only to be ejected for coming on to an angel, and/or Yah. "Baby, you aint never looked so fucking good!" lmao. Yes, (I want to Troll Fundy Paradise. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.)

I just sinscerely hope that I don't see another example of Negative Saintification any time soon. Negative Saintification being when you use the image, words, or message of a well-known "public saint figure" (Gandhi, MLK Jr.) to justify your message. And also make you look all-inclusive. I doubt I'd be able to hold myself back any longer. I'd just have to start straight-up, balls-out trolling. I would be unable to stop. It would be a brutal incident, indeed.

Frater A.I.T. said...

@Jack.....have you ever read David Beth? Dude's an Adept of La Coulevre Noire (most awesome name for an Order ever, btw. Bastard! Wish i thought of it.)and ya'll would have some interesting conversations, perhaps some work to share. He's got his Theurgy all twirled into his black current, and appears to have made some sense of The Voudun Gnostic Workbook, which looked like a sack of babbling madness when I first read it years ago. Anyway, very cool post.

I find the debate about surrendering to Death interesting. Death is Saturn, and he will eat you anyway. Without giving two shits about whether you are passive about it or not. Ha. You do the work to call him out, you've signed your own death warrant. Regret that shit all you want, struggle and wail and pull your hair. You asked for it, you got it. The tower, however, falls for everybody. Problem isn't the tower, it's that we insist on living there. Until Saturn comes and devours us, we re-build new flawed towers on the rubble of the old mess. Saturn doesn't destroy the Tower though-- he makes it so that we can live outside of the damn thing, and so see it for what it is. Of course, only my personal perspective.

I second Fra RO. Go burn some shit up, get a possession or two going. Taunt some Christians, maybe. What kind of Black Brother are you, anyway? Kids are going to start thinking that sort can be sane and interesting. I mean, come on, bro. Think of the kids.

Jack Faust said...

@Brother AIT: The kids always find Valentine first. He tells 'em to smoke weed and drop acid. After a few bad trips they find me, and I tell them that they should have consulted Lilly and Leary before the weed/acid mix, and that Valentine is untrustworthy swine of the finest sort.

But they always love him more.

I'm sure the kids will be fine. Those meant to find the terribly frightening Brotherhood of "Don't Give a Fuck" & "School? Learn to Read, fool!"

Regarding Beth: I haven't read his work, but VI has and has even discussed it on his cold albion blog. I can find links if you want.

Rose Weaver said...

@Frater A.I.T., love your perspective regarding Saturn/Death and the Tower. I've found that to be quite true. I tore down my Tower to rebuild it only to realize it was just another version of the same old structure. Currently working to "accept" living among the resulting rubble of Change. Heh...

the Valentines said...

@RO If it is of any consolation I consider Jack to be possessed of a flawlessly unsavory character. Just needs to polish some of that kind-heartedness off thats tarnishing the gleam.

@AIT and everyone I guess. To me, the body always selflessly surrenders itself to death. Poke some holes in it, let it get real old, mash it up too much and it dies. It is the ego that rebels at the notion and the Tower is the product of that rebellion.

I think there is a greater value in that than just this-card-means-your-life-is-shit. The whole of the minors describe the architecture of it, I just also think the major itself describes the ultimate fulfillment of that construction. All things end once they have perfectly described themselves. If that makes any sense.

Jack Faust said...

Did I mention that AIT has recently discussed elements of the Saturnian force in his blog? No? I suck. It's cool.

@Valentine: Which minors do you see linked to the Tower? Because most of the ones I associate with massive ego tend to belong to the swords...

I don't mean to imply that the card just means "your life is shit." Sorry if I came across that way. It's, uh, more complicated than that in my mind. What you said makes sense; however, the Tower can be encountered many times, in many forms (as the things we cling to change with time). So, while the Tower is Babel... I don't know. Babel pops up an aweful lot sometimes, I guess. I'm not making any sense, am I?

And thank you! At least someone thinks I'm a rogue. You fall in love and stop being a threat to the dudes and suddenly everyone thinks you're all-loving and all-generous. Just wait till they find out about my profound ability to be flakey! (I consider it a Siddhi, really. The power of, "yes, I'll do that later.")

Jack Faust said...

@Valentine: And dude, I will spare you at least three more red cards. But you need to work some shit out with Mercury, yo. And maybe Uranus, too.

Which is not to say that I don't need to work some things out with Mercury. 'Cuz, who doesn't? And who doesn't love working with Mercury, anyway?

When does Jupiter go direct?

the Valentines said...

God man .. I need to do something about my mercury, my sun, my venus and my ascendant!

Regarding the minors, like literally all of them. When you build the ladder out of the relationships between the majors the minors constitute the pathways between. Literally, the architecture of the Tower. Different from how Crowley broke it down but I think it works better, less hierarchal and more narrative if you get my meaning.

But literally every time, if you get caught in the energies of the minors, of material existence then it culminates in the Tower or catastrophic deconstruction. This is why I feel that the Tower is also a symbol of wisdom, power and knowledge. Its literally built out of the foundations of creation.

That being said, yes the swords for sure can augment several of the other cards to create something akin to the Tower in terms of effect or trauma. Ten of Swords with Death or the Universe gets read more or less the same as the Tower in terms of its emotional effect, usually the only difference in the situation is that the person saw it coming (death and ten swords for 200 year old grand ma dying, tower and ten of swords when your 16 year old kids dies in a car accident).