Thursday, May 23, 2013

Famous Last Words: Thoughtforms, Heroes, and Gods.

This is the last I'm going to write about the subject that Sannion, Phil, and others have written about super-heroes vs. Hero Veneration.

If it's not clear? I think Hero Veneration is awesome, and I love learning more about it. In fact, part of my annoyance is that I've learned very little about how Recons approach Hero Veneration, but I've learned an awful lot about what they don't like.. In place of simply putting down sources for individuals who haven't been exposed to the practices adopted in recent years, much more effort is being put into distinguishing between what isn't liked and those practices... Except, when you don't see the practices, you don't see the difference. While discussing the difference between myth and comic books is interesting, I guess, it doesn't clearly distinguish the effort that goes into trying to work with Heroes versus the relatively easy work that goes into working with thoughtforms.

Which brings me back to something I caught and let slide in Phil's entry, but I'm going to expand on one last time:
This kind of chaos magician notion that anything which is believed in can potentially be made into an agent of one’s magic is interesting, and possibly workable; but, it’s much different than a polytheistic cultus to a deity or a hero, because deities and heroes exist outside of anyone’s belief in them. (Certainly, a definite amount of people need to know that a certain deity or hero or other divine being exists in order for that being to have any recognizable power in the world; but that’s not by any definition the same as “belief in” such a hero or deity in the common understandings of the term “belief.”) I hate to have to take a page from Augustine of Hippo here, but I do recall that he stated at some point that he didn’t want his notion of god to be something that is the product of thought, because when thoughts go away (and they do!), then that means that his god likewise goes away; thus, thinking about gods and heroes as “thought-forms” sort of does exactly what Augustine was saying, and thus necessarily limits their potentials to do anything or impact the reality of their devotee’s lives.”

This is the kind've understanding that only arises if you have only approached one category of work and assume it applies to all the others. Chaotes are as as much to blamed for the outlook as people who don't understand what we're saying and misapply our thoughts. A number of Chaos Magicians have taken the Allan Moore-inspired view that spirits are just “ideas,” and myth is nothing more than narrative, and thus there is no difference between Gods, Spirits, and Thoughtsforms.

On the other hand, working with thoughtforms and then attempting to work with existing spirits throws a monkey-wrench into thinking that it's all the same. At least, that is my opinion. A thoughtform is something that can come about spontaneously – created unconsciously by those who don't realize what they are doing – but it doesn't have the full range of potential activities that either spirits or Gods do. Even Servitors, the Chaos Magick approach to making a thoughtform and then allowing it to act on the world, are fairly limited. They will do what they were created to do – consciously or unconsciously – and only stop when they start to evolve... Which is pretty rare. In my experience, only about 1 in 10 Servitors will possess the potential to evolve unless they are designed to having a certain amount of staying power, or handed over to other spirits to be taught to act more “spirit-like” or whatever. You can certainly funnel in a certain amount of power, but once they are done with a task they tend to dissipate. Some magicians actually take them apart once the desire they were put together for is accomplished.

In his post, Mr. VI goes on to note that presence of mind and a certain amount of mental focus is required for the practice of magick and that thoughtforms are so easy to make that they can cause very real problems for individuals with depression or anxieties and who allow their own power to more or less be used against them by unconsciously made thoughtforms. This is a real issue, although it is very easy to solve. Daily and routine practices can disempower unconsciously created thoughtforms: doing the LBRP every day, twice a day, to blast out the gunk from your aura can be enough to shred thoughtforms attached to you. It's seriously one of the most basic practices, like, anywhere. Meditation will teach you to be aware when certain thoughts do not arise internally, but from things (like thoughtforms and even certain malicious spirits) attached or presently linking to your microcosm. The Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram is a macrocosmic ritual intended to clean out the area of practice around one, and is certainly enough to lay waste to most unintentionally created thoughtforms. Meanwhile, water cleansing (purifying baths, etc.,) can obliviate links that thoughtforms are attached to and thus diminish their ability to mess with your perception. Once detached from the microcosm, most just... wander off. It's probably more kind to other people to just blast the things apart and not give them a reason to harass anyone else. But that's just my opinion.

They are a basic component of magick, akin to casting a spell. We generate them naturally, and they are everywhere. In many cases, plenty of “spells” that are cast are actually, at least from my perspective, generating a thoughtform and then sending it to accomplish a simple task.

Heroes are often “semi-divine,” and they have their origins in an individual or a group of individuals. Taking a slightly different tack: when some scholars talk about The Argonautica, they claim that the tales arose from colonization attempts. In such a case, Jason and the Argonauts are composite individuals: the recompilation of hundreds of different warriors, Shaman-styled practitioners, and the like pushing further and further into areas of Europe. Those explorers occasionally returned to Greece, and the tales they brought back with them were eventually compiled into the tale of Jason and his other shipmates.

They were further linked by combining them with the living spiritual systems of the day; and in the video I linked, you can even see the cave where Chiron was thought to trained Jason. Chiron was a daimon linked to training and teaching various Heroes (Achilles, Jason, etc.), and that they approached him in a cave is quite telling. Daniel Ogden's Greek and Roman Necromancy has an enormous wealth of information surrounding Hero Cult practices centered on both the gravesites of Heroes, and within caves. It is quite easy to imagine that even if Jason or Achilles were never living humans, the forces which respond have and retain within them the memory of the approach of innumerable practitioners coming to the cave to sacrifice an appropriate animal in the appropriate manner, and then lay upon the fleece of the slaughtered animal as they propitiated the Daimon Chiron to teach them... Most likely in dreams, or in a trace-like state akin to dreaming.

Even if Jason himself were never a person, there is still a spirit that is represented by Argonautic myths as Jason, and who probably fit a close enough profile to respond to the call. Suggesting that the long hand of history regarding these practices, the close ties to the spirits propitiated and and worked with, and lived and known side-by-side and working with thoughtforms is the same thing would be reprehensible. It is not the way I approach the subject, or thing. Nonetheless, until you can actually point the difference, it remains a relatively moot point in the minds of those unaware. These ties have meaning, these practices shape things far deeper than simply using mythology and comic books to understand human nature. The ties between the participant and the Daimon are far more intense, far more far-reaching than playing with a thoughtform can ever be. Whereas on one hand, one is simply messing about, on the other hand there is the beauty of union: two drawn together, and even later remaining to be capable of being called upon in times of need. Which are, also, precisely the times when Heroes tend to arise. There is something to be said about cultural need and the way problems play out in the lives of communities that brightens the entire topic. But I'm not sure I'm doing that something... any justice.

As for the Gods, the immortals of the Starry, Oceanic, and Earthly/Cthonic realms: it is far harder to be specific as to what they are, aside from old and...
different. I am of the mind that many of the Gods were akin to Heroes or Ancestral forces, that many of them initially were regarded as having allied in life with certain daimons of well-being, and abundance, and protection and all that good crap that we desire to survive and over time their status as Heroes was diminished and those alliances forgotten while religious outlooks were also formulated. Even if they were once akin to heroes and those swept up in the flow of the spirituality of their predecessors, they have subsequently been defined differently and treated differently. They became a part of the ever-growing state appartus and their roles became emphasized as Gods. Subsequently, they still mostly act that way even if they were once part of the Hero cults of differing regions. Likewise, this doesn't mean I think all the Gods were once that. Some have origins more or less lost to time. Hekate has always been Hekate, and she was likely old when the Greek Hero Cults and first stirrings of Empire were both young. Zeus as the Kouros, meanwhile, was probably closer to being treated like Heracles or Dionysos at one point. However, changes in the society from which the name and identity emerged, also caused changes in the doctrine and outlook. I guess you could say that they weren't always in need of fleecy flocks when they called on him, and so his job was expanded upon. And thus, several thousand years later, Zeus is still doing that job. But I'm a simpleton. The Hell do I know, anyway?

You can totally call me a Cretan for thinking that way. I won't be upset.

Anyway. That's all I got, and all I'm gonna say about the subject until the next time it rears its ugly head.

Be seeing you,

PS. Have you seen Jason's post? Because I quite like it.

1 comment:

Rachel Izabella said...

This bloggie is kcufing awesome. Thank you for writing it. I said on Twitter that if pagans knew some basics about the Astral and higher then the current embarrassing brouhaha in the pagan community would not exist. You wrote something I wanted to write, only without the occult impedimenta that many pagans would reject outright. —I never could've written a post like this, 'cause I'm too damned ignorant.