Saturday, October 24, 2020
Saturday, October 17, 2020
The Four Elements - visualizations from Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon
All essays by Aleister Crowley unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Personal Transformation and the Work
Monday, October 5, 2020
My Mom's best friend Elaine said that they would jump into Sue's silver Porsche two seat convertible at the beginning of a long weekend with the motto "Destination Unknown" and just drive. Leaving Vancouver, Canada they might end up in Baja California or take a left somewhere along the line and do a little gambling in Reno. She was doing this well into her seventies and eighties., sometimes going on camping trips by herself. Last year, at 83, she drove 1400 km from Vancouver to Nevada City, California to help celebrate my 60th birthday.
It appears she had a similar sense of daring adventure about leaving her body, going on one final, from the earthly perspective, Destination Unknown journey only this time she won't return.
Sue was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Charles and Germaine Kendel. She was their only child. Her maternal grandfather made a lot of money at something. I was told it came from inventing the first smoke detector, but I can't find anything on the internet to support that assertion. Her grandparents split up in the middle of the Great Depression with a million dollar settlement awarded to the wife. My mother said she grew up in a socially privileged mileau attending Hathaweay Brown all-girls private school in Shaker Heights and later, Vassar liberal arts college in upstate New York. She told the story that her mother, Gerry and Gerry's brother Ralph anticipated receiving a large inheritance when their father died, but he tricked them by leaving his fortune to charity. Sue said she never saw that money so she never missed it.
Sue met her future husband, George Fritz at a physics class they both enrolled in at Case Western Reserve University. George's working class family and background met with strong disapproval from her socially sensitive, domineering mother who did all she could to break up their union. That conflict resulted in Sue not inviting her mother to their wedding held on January 31, 1959. Gerry showed up anyway quite inebriated on booze and pills and made a big scene. The following week, with Sue and George honeymooning in Quebec City, Canada, Gerry called up her friend, the Archbishop of Cleveland and attempted to get him to annul her daughter's marriage. That went nowhere after either the Archbishop or someone from his office contacted my parents (I was already in her womb at that point having been conceived in late November, 1958) and learned that my grandmother was out of her effin' mind with the whole annulment thing. Upon discovering my parents planned to name me after my father, he was OGF Jr., I would be the IIIrd, Jerry announced her refusal to call me by any variation of that name. My parents compromised by giving me the nickname Mickey, a name I used until High School. Sue's father, Charles, had the demeanor of a Taoist monk, his low-key demeanor keeping him above the fray. I don't know what resolved things, but Gerry came to accept Sue's married life. Her parents even helped out Sue and George by purchasing a modest home for them while my dad pursued his doctorate. Sue put her own education on hold for about six years, resuming it in 1967 following the birth of her youngest child Peter in June of 1966. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in November, 1967.
In the early '60s, Sue had the good fortune to work in the office of famed pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock author of Baby and Child Care, one of the best-selling books in history. Spock was working at Case Western Reserve University at the time. My mother said that he would often tell her what I was going to do next as a growing toddler and he was always right.
Both my mother and father loved the outdoors and getting out of the big city. They camped across the United States on their way to California in the summer of 1967 then again the following summer in 1968 this time taking their kids and as much of their belongings that they could stuff into the family Dodge relocating our home to Palo Alto for a year where George did post-graduate research at Stanford. We moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the summer of 1969. Except for a couple years living back in Cleveland in the mid 70's, Sue never resided outside of Canada again, eventually becoming a citizen.
Sue split from my dad and left the family in late 1970 or early '71 largely over a dispute over her wishes for a career in social work. George retained custody of the children, but Sue visited them frequently and took them on outings. From my perspective, she changed overnight into a much more liberal parent. It seems in retrospect that moving from out of my father's shadow allowed her to express and be herself more fully. Social workers had very bohemian attitudes that influenced Sue. Through her, I was exposed to the artistic, creative side of hippie culture at the ripe old age of 12. She would let me listen to her albums - Goats Head Soup by The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Hot Buttered Soul by Isaac Hayes are ones I remember. She took us to see the film Easy Rider, that stellar soundtrack was one of the three eight-track tapes on endless loop for long car rides. She once told me about going to and enjoying an Alice Cooper concert.
In the mid to late '70's she relocated to Vernon, B.C. in the Okanagan Valley, an extremely beautiful and fertile part of the world. My brother Mark went to live with her there. She continued her education along with her social work. Sometime in the mid-seventies, she took a Neurolinguistic Programming seminar with Richard Bandler for a few weeks that made a strong impression. She showed me how she used techniques learned there with her clients and how it made a big difference in nonverbally and quickly gaining their trust. I believe she got a Masters degree in Psychology somewhere along the way, her Facebook page says she went to UBC. Maybe I'll learn more about her life when they let me into Canada to retrieve her personal effects.
Sue was delighted when some of the boys in the band I did sound for, Sargent, and I stayed at her house high in the hills just outside Vernon when gigging there in the early '80s. We'd stay there for a week at a time on a couple of different occasions; she often brought up that time and asked about the band members later in life.
That's the first instance of her supporting my audio engineering career. In 1984 I sold all my gear and moved to New York to attend the Institute of Audio Research and get a degree in Recording Arts. I ran out of money about halfway through and began supporting myself with a job as a foot messenger when not in class. Mom came through big time covering my living expenses for the remaining 4 or 5 months allowing for a more relaxed school term. She always came out when I was working in her area, for instance driving down to Seattle to hear Meridiem (Percy Howard, Bill Laswell, Fred Frith, Charles Hayward) perform and meet them backstage. In the fall of 2017 and 2018 she came out to the Vancouver shows when I toured with Simrit. She loved the music and let everyone know with articulate, detailed comments to them personally after the 2017 concert. In 2018, she volunteered to make the pre-show food run proving most helpful as we scrambled to work with some borrowed equipment following a break-in and theft the previous night.
During the early 90's she began running a government funded center for mentally handicapped adults. As the Chief Administrator, she got that running smoothly giving her time to invest in and operate a coffee shop in a Vernon mall. Her friend Elaine said that she gave a lot of dubiously employable young kids a chance to work there, some she would have to fire, but that didn't stop Sue from giving others a chance, a throwback to her beginning social work days. Her first job, in the early '70's, was at a place called Hull Home in Calgary, a residence for emotionally disturbed adolescents.
I believe her center got defunded at some point in the 90's leading to a decision to retire to Vancouver, Richmond to be precise. The coffee shop went out of business when Starbucks became all the rage. She continued to stay active and socially involved, volunteering for political campaigns she supported as well as for the Operation Rednose program the government ran every New Year's Eve where people too drunk to drive could call and get a free ride from a volunteer like Sue. She had an exercise regimen of swimming every day which terminated with the covid lockdown. I suspect that played a major contribution to her body breaking down.
The circumstances around her death seem quite revealing, I learned much by the elegant way she wrapped up her life and journeyed into the unknown. The wrap-up began when she called in June to let me know that she'd been treated for blood clots in her arms and legs. To my knowledge, this was the first medical issue she had to deal with in something like 15 - 20 years. She stressed to me the minor importance of this condition, not to worry, she just wanted to let me know. I accepted her report at face value and didn't worry. I had been concerned about her after the first 4 to 6 weeks in lockdown after she mentioned being generally bored. I've noticed from past experience that some elderly people who feel bored most of the time tend to enter the beginning of the end of their current human incarnation. A natural inclination to move on to something else, why stick around if bored all the time stuck inside a declining body. I asked if I should send her books to read and suggested watching films but she said she was all right feeling bored.
In July she called with a diagnosis of cancer, but they didn't know what kind, possibly breast cancer. From that point until about a week before she passed, the full extent of her medical condition remained largely unknown because not until then did I get a briefing from the last ICU doctor treating her. Her regular doctor seemed to be on vacation for much of July and August which brought stress to her as she didn't like the substitute doctor. About a week later she sent an email with the single sentence: "I have stage four long cancer" (sic). I googled "stage 4 lung cancer" to see exactly what that meant and found out that this type of cancer rarely, if ever, gets diagnosed before reaching stage 4. Also, that patients can live up to 5 years with successful treatment. Then I called and asked how she felt about that. I expected an emotional reaction of some sort, but she went into an accelerated spiel of all the preparations she had started making for her demise - her and a kind neighbor, Linda, wise in the ways of service, had begun packing up all her belongings, and rented a storage place to put everything. I was supposed to drive up within 3 months and get it all, her bank account would be signed over to me at some point etc. etc., all these plans. I interrupted her at some point rather alarmed that she had jumped from receiving a fatal, at some point, diagnosis to complete endgame and said, no that's not what I'm asking, how do you feel about the situation, how do you feel about death? The question seemed to calm her down and she answered dispassionately, "I'm curious about it, why, are you going to convert me to something?" It seemed quite remarkable to me that she expressed not the slightest trace of fear. She told me that she was 84 years old, had done and seen a lot, was sick of seeing Trump on tv, there's rioting in the streets, she saw no reason to stick around. That message stayed consistent, she repeated it again from her hospital bed and when my sister's sister Kirsty, a practicing MD in Vancouver visited Sue and had a heart to heart conversation with her about medical options, she indicated that she didn't want aggressive treatments like chemotherapy to prolong her life, she only wanted the remaining time she had left to be made as comfortable as possible. Her last words to me were "I love you, I gotta go."
I've wondered how she was able to handle death so well, she wasn't religious and didn't have any meditation practices I knew about. It was just the opposite for my father who appeared terrified the day before his final surgery, though he was much younger, 58. Her psychological background and social work with adults and adolescents needing help probably gave her great training in dealing with high stress situations; how to stay calm when everything breaks down.
She told Linda that she wouldn't be alive past August, but she didn't communicate anything like that to me or my brothers always staying upbeat, she delayed communicating her condition to them until I insisted. She seemed concerned that her death not be an inconvenience to anyone, that consideration always makes me sad when I think about it.
Around August 9th I had the urge to hear a song called Sunday Morning originally performed by Nico and the Velvet Underground. I knew it well, from the inside out having mixed a cover of it by HuDost about six years ago. I listened to their version then got the V.U. version and had both versions on regular rotation; no idea why, at the time, that song came up. Sue permanently left her body on a Sunday morning. I felt ripped wide open but kept it together to get into my floatation tank to send her prayers and love. At times I went into moments of intense weeping and grief before remembering that I was there to help her with the transition and that sadness didn't help at all. I did feel moments of contact, at one point I thought I received a communication from her that she was doing all right. Clearly, that could have been imaginary wishful thinking though it does seems consistent with how she approached death and other subsequent indications. I've been doing the practice of attempting contact and reading every night from the American Book of the Dead which maps out the 49 Chamber bardo voyage. I suspect the readings help me more than they do her, it feels good to do that for her, the least I could do for the blessed one who brought me into the world.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Play for me, I play for free, I play the whole night long
Monday, August 24, 2020
To be honest, I can't be certain that Proust had anything to do with these lyrics. Yet the fact remains that Zeppelin did name their music label Swan Song and the first volume in Proust's magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time is called Swann's Way. Further, a swan song comes from an Ancient Greek phrase to indicate the last gesture, effort or performance before death. Charles Swann, the character who provides the Way in the title is one of only two protagonists who die in the first four volumes of ISoLT – as far I've reached in my reading. Swann's death doesn't get considered much, unlike the narrator's Grandmother, but we do get one poignant scene in the third volume where Swann tells his friends the Guermantes about his poor health and limited time, the narrator grasps the gravity of the moment, but the Duc seems to not care and prioritizes rushing off to a party. His wife, the Duchess, seems torn between the two positions, wishing to stay and talk to Swann, but being dragged away by her husband. This turned out to be Swann's swan song in the novel. Zeppelin's Swan Song began life as an unrealized epic instrumental piece by Jimmy Page before lending its name to their fledgling music label. The irony of using a phrase indicating imminent death for a new record label may relate to Mr. Page's "reading and research" into the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley's Thelema which confront death full on with material from The Egyptian Book of the Dead among other sources.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Robert Anton Wilson’s Quest To Turn On The World
by A Student
In a jailhouse interview, Timothy Leary responded to a question asking if he was trying to change the world with his activities in the 1960s: “Yes, we were trying to change the world. We knew the odds were against us, but we had a sense of humor about it.” For his efforts, Leary got rewarded with trumped up drug charges resulting in enforced retreats in multiple jails and prisons. He lived for months on the run as a fugitive before getting illegally kidnapped in Afghanistan by the U.S. authorities who placed him in solitary confinement next to Charlie Manson in Folsom Prison. Richard Nixon had named him the most dangerous man in America. His compadre in the conspiracy of Higher Intelligence, Robert Anton Wilson, took a less public, more low-key approach to the same mission. In spite of facing significant social challenges by going against the grain of economic slavery and following his own vision, Wilson managed to not get burned at the stake, locked up, or vilified in the tabloid press like several of his predecessors. He knew how to keep silent and the necessity of that for effective communication. The Greek God Harpocrates, pictured as a babe on a lotus flower, forefinger to lips in the gesture of silence, represents the god of protection.
I am not aware of Robert Anton Wilson ever directly expressing an intention to transform the world. He did carry a life-long interest and transmission of the work presented by Aleister Crowley while distancing himself from Crowley’s personal philosophies:
“It is this synthesis of Eastern and Western occult traditions with modern scientific method that is probably Crowley’s major achievement. His notorious anti-Christian philosophy – a blend of Nietzsche Supermanism and anarcho-fascist Darwinism – is quite distinct from his methodology. Whether you like that philosophy or not (and the Libertarian does not), you can still use the methodology of research Crowley devised” (Cosmic Trigger I, p. 70 Hilaritas Press).
Later in the book, he tells the story of meeting a clown in the park named Parcifal doing Sufi exercises as part of his routine. Parcifal accurately predicts that RAW will soon find his son whom he’s looking for. RAW later looks up his name: “By Cabalah, Parcifal = 418 = ‘The Great Work Accomplished,’ i.e. the total awakening of all humanity” (CT I p. 102). This appears to be Wilson’s unique interpretation of the Great Work, I’ve not encountered it elsewhere in quite that formulation.
A few pages later while discussing the Cabala of The Book of the Law he returns to 418:
“The second major number in the book is 418, which, ‘coincidentally’ is the number of Crowley’s home in Inverness, Scotland. Its standard cabalistic meaning is ‘the Great Work accomplished,” or the Illumination of all humanity.” Crowley has a lot to say about 418 in Sepher Sephiroth, this number has the most extensive entry in the whole book, but nowhere does he say it indicates the “Illumination of all humanity,” though that certainly makes a valid conclusion, RAW’s conclusion. He continues:
“Crowley interpreted this to mean that his mission was not to illuminate a few, as other gurus have done and are doing, but to set in motion occult forces which would result in the illumination of all, by the end of this century; 418 is also the number of ‘Parcifal,’ the Sufi whose life so oddly intersected mine in that mad summer of 1973” (CT I, p. 111)
I’ve been reading Crowley and the secondary literature consistently for many years without encountering that interpretation RAW attributes to him. Recall that 40 pages earlier, he distanced himself from Crowley’s philosophies while aligning himself to his methodology. One of those methods includes playing fast and loose with facts in order to transmit a particular piece of Intelligence.
Boleskine, the name of the house Crowley owned near Inverness adds to 418. Though subtle, RAW deliberately calls it the number of Crowley’s home without referring to it by name. He then connects it with the Sufis, in particular, someone doing Sufi exercises in the park.
418 also = “Servans misericordiam” which translates as “keeping kindness,” or “keeping compassion.” The root of the second syllable of the second word, “cordi” = heart. Boleskine, now in preservation and restoration after multiple fires ravaged it, lies very near to the geographical center of the Scottish Highlands.
Cosmic Trigger I appeared relatively early in Wilson’s literary career. We find similar sentiments expressed in the last novel he wrote, Nature’s God. This note from Sigismundo’s Wilderness Journal sounds like it might be autobiographical:
“I ran away from the Priory because I cannot waste time being an Emperor. I have more important work to do. I want to become the concert master for future evolution” (NG, p. 128, Hilaritas Press)
Later, Sigismundo explains the intentions of the “Free Builders” to the indigenous shaman who seems both his friend and enemy:
“They wished to cure not just suffering individuals but the entire suffering race of humanity. It was their aim to help all humans walk through the gate of the four quarters and become like gods.” (NG, p. 161).
* * * * * *
From his work, it appears that Robert Anton Wilson’s efforts toward illuminating humanity consisted of showing people how they could turn themselves on, how they could proceed towards transforming their lives into whatever they desired; how they could move in and out of different ideological spaces, increase their intelligence, and live longer, not only physically, but vitally. In the field of voluntary evolution, he showed a remarkable talent for transferring and transforming technology from a variety of sources, taking information and methods, integrating them with his own practices, strategies, and experimentation to eventually communicate them back out from the understanding of personal experience personally experienced. The legacy of his philosophical research gave the world Maybe Logic and Model Agnosticism, approaches to making sense of life forever associated with his name, explained well elsewhere, only as far away as an internet search engine. His tinkering with and ceaseless trumpeting of the 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness, originally conceived by the good Doctor Leary, remains his most extroverted and recurring example of broadcasting a set of tools for conscious change.
Like the jazz guru bandleader Sun Ra (see the documentary, A Joyful Noise) whose name they both shared, RAW valorized the Unknown. His excursions outside the domains of the norm and into new territories sometimes led to startling events and conclusions far outside acceptable scientific consensual realities. Rather than invalidating them, or reducing them to a psychological or sociological profile, he appeared ok with ultimately remaining agnostic about the nature of these discoveries. His skepticism seems as legendary as his willingness to stay open to any possibility.
* * * * * *
The technology I have personally benefited the most from RAW is magick. Magick is spelled with a “k” to distinguish itself from stage magic and illusions although both of those can help with magick. It’s also forever associated with Aleister Crowley who revitalized that spelling. Crowley based his magick on the Golden Dawn while significantly modifying and expanding it.
Crowley’s most significate accomplishments don’t appear to be his not inconsiderable mystical and magical attainments, but rather his ability to communicate the methods and schema where you can do that for yourself, or in his words, produce Christs. RAW based his magick on Crowley’s while significantly modifying and expanding it in his way. I’ve come to understand Crowley through RAW and to get a better grasp of RAW through his understanding of Crowley.
Significant magickal instruction appears in every single book I’ve ever read by Wilson, particularly in his fiction where you’ll find it usually coded, though he helps the attentive reader crack the code. In the spirit of pearls before swine, he doesn’t seem interested in freely giving out esoteric data, rather he makes the reader, the student, work to discover and realize it for themselves. This appears one intention behind Guerilla Ontology, or Operation Mindfuck: feed the system with blatantly false information, then less blatantly, dubious information that may or may not be true in order to get the reader to think for themselves, not blindly accept everything or anything the Author/Teacher says without question. Balanced skepticism seems the first order of business in a career of magick. When RAW taught Crowley 101 online in 2005, during the 101st anniversary of the reception of The Book of the Law, the first essay he assigned for study was The Soldier and the Hunchback, Crowley’s dialectic between certitude, as represented by the Soldier (!) and doubt from the Hunchback (?).
For the past several years, RawIllumination.org has often hosted weekly discussion groups usually featuring one of Wilson’s books. By reading a tiny chunk, this weekly voyage through a small portion of his literary world enables the iso-magnification of the text to reveal more of the depth of his transmission than you might get from reading straight through without feedback and analysis. His books seem ideal for reading slowly and contemplatively and makes for a great deal of fun for people like myself who love to solve literary puzzles and who love to learn.
Much of the magick in his fiction remains to get discovered. I comment extensively in the group discussions only limited by available time; I perceive much more than I can comment on and I miss a lot that other people notice. Since I see much more now than in past readings, I can reasonably expect additional didactic tracks currently unknown to me to come up with further study in the future.
RAW is my first and primary teacher of magick. Through him I met E.J. Gold whom I’ve learned a lot from indirectly, mostly by example. Like Crowley and RAW, Gold uses guerilla ontology, communicates on multiple levels and has fluency with Qabalah. One of the first things Gold told me is that 50% of what he says about the Work is a lie. That makes it a 50/50 chance that the figure of 50% is a lie if you accept the statement as true. Sometimes it seems a much higher number. Gold and RAW were friends. There are a couple of sets of recorded talks they did together at a 4th Way Convention in 1980 in San Francisco. Gold once told me that he and RAW were in the same School together.
Circa 2003 or 2004 Gold suggested that I reread The Golden Apple, the second book of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. I decided to read the whole thing and experienced new strata of previously opaque Qabalistic imagery open up. When that finished, I received a strong intuitive sign from the environment to go on, so I continued with Schrodinger’s Cat. That coincided with an intense period of my life that felt like going through Chapel Perilous while also producing a jazz record in Paris. I experienced so many synchronicities with events toward the end of the book and events in my daily life that it felt like I was living inside the novel, or the novel had jumped outside its pages to encompass my entire world. It’s hard to describe, definitely reset some neural wiring and increased my respect for the power of the word.
Lon Milo Duquette is a teacher who played an invaluable role in my education, initially with his book, The Magick of Thelema, now called The Magick of Aleister Crowley, A Handbook of Rituals of Thelema. The title speaks for itself. In one of his books, Duquette calls RAW his hero.
I have held a great affinity for the writings of Crowley since I first read the Equinox and the Confessions at the age of 22. It took a long time and the help of the above to fully penetrate his presentation and I’m still learning. RAW’s communication of magick bypasses Thelemic administration and a lot of the formalisms, generally getting to the heart of the matter while adding his own twists. The process of understanding the magick in Wilson’s writings seems similar to the process called the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Both cases require a feedback loop between subject and object. You read his writings, they can inspire a change of some kind, new habits, new experiments, new attitudes that make you a little smarter, funnier, and more sensitive to a greater range of energy. You read or reread more of his writings and comprehend significantly more, leading to different changes; the process of growth. With the HGA, it seems the creation or discovery of a spiritual guide through exercising intuition. Like both RAW’s fiction and nonfiction, the HGA communicates often through Qabalah. One can learn to establish lines of communication with whatever that is by studying RAW. Synchronicities appear key to this type of communication. Information can be received through coincidences. You can learn about yourself through observing how you interpret them.
I will go so far as to say that RAW forged a link with the Secret Chiefs for anyone making the effort … just making the effort! of understanding his books from the perspective of magick.
As an adept, RAW knew how to invoke. Meaning he knew how to draw into his writings Intelligence beyond his own personal knowledge. I asked him about the Secret Chiefs and he told me “they are a useful metaphor.” I infer from this response that he used this metaphor to some advantage. I’ve also found it a useful metaphor. It once got me into a personal message dialogue with Kenneth Grant less than a year before he died.
The spiritual path seems a construction, as given in the contemporary iteration of the tradition RAW speaks from. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, can mean figure it out for yourself, forge and follow the path you create; follow your bliss as Joseph Campbell suggests. Take what you find and use it the best you can. Improvise, if you don’t have a wand, use your finger or a stick of incense. Magick, the way RAW presented it, doesn’t have a rigid, proper, formal way of doing things. You are free to improvise. Magick defines itself as a Science and Art, some seem to overlook the latter, some overlook both. RAW emphasized and balanced the two. In Cosmic Trigger I he quotes Nietzsche as saying, “we are all greater artists than we realize” (p. 28). Nietszche didn’t exactly say that, or maybe we read different translations? In what I saw, Nietzsche implies this without the clarity RAW artistically transforms his words into.
Immediately following this quote we find a brilliant statement about magick, one very accurate and true in my experience:
“Learning to remember the invisible donkey who carries us about — the self-programmer — is the first step in awakening from conditioned, mechanical consciousness to true, objective consciousness. Whether or not there are fairies, elves, and extra-terrestrials hiding behind every bush, awakening reveals that the universe is full of invisible intelligence. It is very hard for us to learn to contact that intelligence without clothing it in projected humanoid forms” CT I, p. 28)
The spiritual path appears an eclectic construction to the scientific and artistic traveler. In Cosmic Trigger I, Wilson provides a great deal of raw material, hints, formulas, programs and suggestions for initiating the construction of this path; actually, in many of his books. “Buildung supra buildung” as Joyce puns in Finnegans Wake. The 8 Circuit model provides a framework to hang your soul on with enough information, particularly, in The Game of Life, to build a super highway to the stars, metaphorically speaking. Different types of people get drawn to different materials and methods. There’s something for everyone. Model agnosticism allows the freedom to pick and choose.
Crowley’s system seems opens source code – he allows variation, improvisation and experimentation. He emphasizes the creative, artistic side in his chapter, The Circle from Magick Book 4: “… the scope of any (wo)man’s work depends upon their own original genius.”
The focus of his system gets quickly revealed in Liber E., the first set of exercises in The Equinox:
“6. The experimenter is encouraged to use his own intelligence, and to not rely upon other person or persons, however distinguished, even among ourselves.” That seems a reiteration of the intention behind RAW’s use of Guerilla Ontology.
The kind of magick most often found in Wilson’s books is theurgic, which he once defined as magick intended to raise consciousness. Thaumaturgic magick, magick intended to change the environment appears less common and seems usually done in the service of theurgic magick, of raising consciousness. We find thaumaturgic magick in the manifesting quarters exercise, the first exercise in Prometheus Rising. I have found the training of attention to visualize in that way very useful for manifesting parking spaces in crowded cities. I got the idea to try this after ex-Merry Prankster Mountain Girl said she always calls upon the Parking Angel to find her a spot and it works.
Robert Anton Wilson’s final novel, Nature’s God contains an extensive, quantity unknown, treasure trove of both coded and uncoded magical information. It begins bluntly with a quote from Nietzsche: “The world itself is the will to power — and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power — and nothing else!” Power in the sense of the power to do, the power to act, not simply react, the power to create; not power over others. This connects to the True Will of the Thelemites and to the self-programmer in the quote above. It takes Will to awaken at will. Will and intention seem both keys to magick.
The awakened individual seems turned on from an electrical point of view, like a light switch. To turn on the world, provide the tools, methods, motivations, mysteries, maps and philosophies for each individual to turn themselves on as thou wilt, along with significant doses of humorous entertainment to help the medicine go down.
The proof of the pudding, speaking mathematically of course, is in the eating of it. RAW, a product of his work, exemplifies genius … in the original Latin sense of the word, from the verb gignere – to give birth, to bring forth. This will likely sound politically incorrect, but I recognize Robert Anton Wilson as a spiritual Master. This doesn’t mean he was a perfect human being (an oxymoron if ever I heard one), or a Saint or a Guru or that he never got annoyed with people. Crowley was a spiritual Master who completely sucked at relationships. It means, among other things, that he had an ability for specialized communication, he could, in the words of the Sufis, transmit baraka. I know this from direct experience, I wrote a blog about it.
It confirmed for me that this could happen over the internet. Baraka can be found in his written materials, but it has to get unlocked.
More evidence of adeptship can be found in the prognosticating Intelligences he conjures into his books. Wilson has talked about a scene in Illuminatus! similar in content to the Jonestown massacre that occurred a few years later. I found it more startling to find the gematria of the historical graffiti that appears all over a chapter in The Widow’s Son adds to a number equivalent to the word “crown.” The King of Spain makes his one and only appearance in the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles at the beginning of this chapter in relation to the graffiti hence “corona,” the Spanish word for crown. No prediction of a virus, but the plague becomes part of the set elsewhere. The graffiti represents an early meme meant to disarm the Pope whenever he sees it as it predicts the timing of his death. RAW introduces Thomas Paine near the close of The Widow’s Son and makes a pun with the closing words which I interpreted as learning to deal with pain cheerfully; I pointed out other allusions to strategies for dealing with pain in those closing pages. We read that maybe a week or two before the lockdown due to the corona virus. Our society has gone through a great deal of collective pain ever since, it has yet to let up in any significant way and might be getting worse.
In Nature’s God, Sigismundo Celine on a retreat in the 18th Century American wilderness, makes the offhand prediction: “By 2020, autokinotons may even fly to the moon” (NG p. 127 Hilaritas Press). By very simple Qabalistic computation: “By 2020 = b(2) + 20 + 20 = 42. According to Crowley: “This number 42 is the Great Number of the Curse … This number is said to be all hotch-potch and accursed” (The Book of Lies p. 95). This gives an accurate assessment of the current year. The terribleness of 42 gets elaborated upon elsewhere, but we hardly need to read more when we can just look at what goes on right now outside our windows and on our networks. We’re living it. The notarikon, the addition of the initials, in the second phrase = 110 which might suggest the final secret of the Illuminati to anyone who looks up 110 in Sepher Sephiroth found in the back of Crowley’s Qabalah dictionary, 777. It radiates RAW’s optimism as we travel through the current cultural Chapel Perilous. This interpretation seems more plausible than a lot of the ones I’ve seen attempting to read Nostradamus’ quatrains into historical events.
Chapter 38 from The Book of Lies might be where RAW derived the interpretation of the Great Work as illuminating all humanity. One of the most straightforward and informative books on magic is The Tree of Life by Israel Regardie. RAW and Regardie corresponded. Regardie wrote an introduction to Prometheus Rising.
In the words of the Master: “I can say this so simply in music, but when I try to say it in words only paradox and nonsense approximate to what I mean” (NG p. 133). I’ll then close with a musical suggestion. I don’t know how much RAW appreciated The Beatles but he and Shea did put a Yellow Submarine in Illuminatus! Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise into A Day in the Life.
” A crowd of people turned away, but I just had to look, having read the book