Thursday, September 29, 2011


Senet is a 5000 year old board game from Ancient Egypt based on traveling through the Land of the Dead. It's a very old form of bardo training.

Senet is played in the TV show Lost in the episode Across the Sea in the 6th season. Makes sense to me, Lost has a strong bardoesque flavor to it most of the time, though I haven't seen the 6th and final season yet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Instant Karma part 2

This series of posts starts with Talking Heads.

Instant Karma confronts Death in the first line of Lennon's song. The choruses sing "we all shine on ..." etc.

The image Leary created in the final moments of the documentary Timothy Leary's Dead, ie the removal and close-up of his head immediately after death, vividly communicates a similar picture with Qabalah. Both suggest a great release of light and energy upon death. This appears cognate with the revelation, 'Every man and every woman is a star', as well as the Tibetan Buddhist observation that the first stop on the bardo express is the Clear Light.

What follows are experimental postulates and speculations, about the Unknown. As much as possible the intention here is to indicate how these temporary conclusions get arrived at. I urge anyone interested in Space Migration, Intelligence Increase and Life Extension to carry out their own research. It has never been more vital or necessary.

Let's accept the premise: 'Every man and every woman is a star' as literal.

What is a star?

A star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity.
For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen in its core releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all naturally occurring elements heavier than helium were created by stars, either via stellar nucleosynthesis during their lifetimes or by supernova nucleosynthesis when stars explode.

From here

Nuclear fusion is what defines a star.

And here.

Normally, I don't feel anything like these definitions of a star. However, it's suggested by Leary, Wilson, Gurdjieff, and a host of other mystics that higher modalities of consciousness exist hidden or unknown to our ordinary awareness. Leary and Wilson write about activating higher neurological circuits or activating higher aspects of neurological circuits already existing and functioning. Gurdjieff talks about "waking up" as if there is something there dormant or sleeping. Something like a star. . . , maybe.

Crowley told Frank Bennett something to the effect that the Holy Guardian Angel is equivalent to the subconscious mind when Bennett went for a spiritual retreat to the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily.

in a few short sentences he (Crowley) explained the whole thing in such a way that my consciousness seemed to expand there and then... Bennett suddenly saw how he had been cutting himself off from himself. The sun, sea, and sand, and Crowley's illuminating presence, did the rest of the trick, and after a terrific struggle overnight as his conscious thinking began to give way, he saw the light. His diary records that on 20 August, he received his first conscious experience of his Holy Guardian Angel: 'For at that moment all became radiant and beautiful; my consciousness expanded to touch the inner world of realities - my mind had come in contact with some inner world of being which was God' He awoke the next day ' a new being.'

Quoted from Aleister Crowley, The Biography by Tobias Churton.

Notice the association with Tiphareth in Bennett's description of contact with his HGA. Also note the resemblance to a death/rebirth experience.

If our deepest nature is a star, then when all the things that mask and obscure the Deep Self (ego, personality, emotional armoring, headbrain chatter, the physical body, our concerns and worries etc, etc. ) completely drop off at death, you might expect a great release of light and energy. For the voyager transiting through this experience it could seem extremely intense going from ordinary, filtered, consensual reality to being at the center of a "massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity." Tibetan Buddhists call this: bouncing into the Clear Light of Reality. It's said to be so intense that the unprepared voyager can only take it for a few seconds before blacking out.

... But thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark.

Book of the Law ch I v. 56

This release of light and energy upon death can be sensed and felt, particularly by someone very close to the person who died. This was my experience with my father's death in 1994. I also experienced the energetic effect of Robert Anton Wilson's death in 2007 in the form of a very moving synchronicity several hours before receiving the news he had moved on.

This notion of energy getting released at death appears in Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy, Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, and in The Western Lands by Burroughs.

If our starry nature surfaces so dramatically at death as the filters, barriers, and buffers to it break down, then it follows that anything we do to incur a "little death" - any kind of meditative or contemplative activity, yoga, ritual, playing music etc. etc. will gradually wear down the obstructions to our Deep Self and make it more apparent to our awareness. Perhaps this somewhat motivates the Sufi statement to 'die before you die.'

The truth to the statement, 'Every man and every woman is a star' seems a process of unveiling or unfoldment. As we become more aware of the luminous plasma at the core of our being, we get sensitized to feeling that strata of energy from others. When strongly felt it's known as 'being contact.' I've observed that people playing music together experience this contact frequently especially when the music is really cooking.

On another note, until looking up the definition of a star, I didn't realize that its light was a result of the thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen. This caused me to wonder if a relation exists between Gurdjieff's Table of Hydrogens and all the theory behind that given in Ouspenky's In Search of the Miraculous and Crowley's starcentric cosmology? Hydrogen, of course, carries the distinction of existing as the lightest element.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Instant Karma

The Book of the Law serves as the "bible" of Aleister Crowley's Thelemic ideology. He claimed that he didn't write it himself but that it was dictated to him by a non-human Intelligence. He said that proof of this lies in the qabalistic analysis of the text which revealed things he couldn't have possibly known.

We can get a small taste of this just by looking at the first six lines of the first chapter:

1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.

2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.

3. Every man and every woman is a star.

4. Every number is infinite; there is no difference.

5. Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!

6. Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!

One exercise might be to analyze each verse according to its number. For instance, line 1 suggests the Supernal Triangle, the top three Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. 1 = Kether, Had = Chokmah, Nuit = Binah. Some lines will appear obviously connected to the number of their verse, others may seem to bear little or no relation.

Verse 6 has an obvious allusion to this notion of communicating Tiphareth that I've been harping upon. This interests us because the idea appears some 10 years before Crowley became explicitly aware of it. The Book of the Law was 'received' in 1904. It wasn't until 1914 during a series of Operations known as "The Paris Working" that Crowley became aware of the cognate relationship between Tiphareth (6) and Hod (8), or as he realized it at the time, between Christ and Mercury. He regarded this as a new discovery. The Book of the Law expressed this idea through Crowley 10 years before he became consciously aware of it.

Another line, verse 3 Every man and every woman is a star, appears intimately related to this basic approach to the mysteries advertised here in the last several blog postings..

When I first heard this statement years ago, I wondered what it meant. Is it poetic metaphor or does it indicate something literal? I suggest that it's a little of both.

What does it mean to be "a star" in this sense? Some suggestions for further research:

  • Study the commentary on the Star tarot trump from Crowley's Book of Thoth
  • Study the Book of Lies and observe how it leads to the final chapter called Starlight.
  • I get a lot from listening to certain music. John Coltrane has at least one very obvious album that clearly communicates this idea.

Had one convincing synchronicity with music years ago while practicing yoga. I put the cassette tape of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars into a boombox and pressed REWIND in order to listen to the song Starman, the first song on that side of the tape. The tape rewound, I pressed PLAY and turned up the volume. After Starman finished, a completely unrelated, non-David Bowie track played. This made no sense at all. How could the cassette play something different? It turns out that I had the boombox function set to play FM radio. When I turned up the volume after rewinding the tape, the radio station played the exact same song Starman at exactly the same time I went to play it.

The song Pride by U2 about the life and assassination of Martin Luther King is another one that's inspired me.

At some point Crowley came up with a list of Saints aligned to his work. It's been semi-seriously suggested that John Lennon be added to this list. I couldn't agree more. Some very good evidence for Thelemic Sainthood is provided by the song Instant Karma. I like it because it connects these starry ideas with death and bardo training. It will be seen, in future postings here, that a great deal of Magick has to do with expanding our conventional beliefs and limitations about the big D, death.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ninety-Three and Sixty-Eight

This is a continuation of the Talking Heads post right before this one.

Timothy Leary publicly declared (it's on YouTube) that his work was a continuation of Aleister Crowley's. This work is known as the 93 Current:

A few other oddities about the Book of the Law and the Stele of Revealing are worth noting. Crowley was an avid Cabalist and spent years examining the Cabalistic numbers for key words in the text. This is based on the traditional assumption that Cabalistic numerology is a code worked out millenia ago for communication between humans and Higher Intelligence. Be as cynical about that as you will, but consider the data: All the important words, Crowley gradually realized, had the value of 93 in Greek Cabala. ( He thereafter referred to his magick work as "the 93 current," and Crowleans to this day speak of their work as carrying on the 93 current.)

- Robert Anton Wilson from Cosmic Trigger Volume I p. 110

Wilson goes on to mention that Thelema, the Greek word for Will adds up to 93. So does Agape (Love) hence "love under will" indicates an essential characteristic of the 93 current.

Timothy Leary was also an avid fan of James Joyce particularly his most experimental works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Robert Anton Wilson has suggested that Joyce was able to tap into what he called a non-local circuit of consciousness which allowed the reception of information outside the purview of ordinary knowledge or intellectual sources. For instance, forecasting future events.

Crowley called Joyce a genius. All of the events in Ulysses occur on one day in Spring of 1904 about 2 months after Crowley received the Book of the Law. I consider Finnegans Wake one of the great grimoires of modern times and very connected to the 93 current. So I thought it might be fun to see what was on page 93 in that book:

from Fillthepot Curran his scotchlove
machreether, from hymn Op. 2 Phil Adolphos the weary O, the leery,
O, from Samyouwill Leaver or Damyouwell Lover thatjolly
old molly bit or that bored saunter by, from Timm Finn again's
weak tribes,

Perhaps it's only mildly coincidental that "Timm" and "leery" appear in the same sentence on page 93 but there it is.

I also looked at page 186 - 2 x 93 which in musical terms would be considered the octave, the simplest harmonic, of 93. The page starts with a passage very related to the 93 current but more technical/alchemical than I wish to get into at the moment. That page also has some lines that maybe addresses resistance to this current which seems to inevitably spring up in predictably pavlovian fashion.

p. 279 (93 x3) also has some interesting related passages.

I was led to this line of inquiry by the implication that the 93 current is dead. Hardly! Bob Dylan, linked to this conspiracy by name (see The White Goddess by Robert Graves or the Dylan Thomas, Victor Neuberg connection) and by works, wrote a great line to his wife on the album Planet Waves: I love you more than ever and I haven't yet begun.

I recently discovered another telling correspondence with 93. The book called Psalms (songs) from the Bible ranks as a practical favorite amongst magicians of various stripes. The etymology of "psalm" shows the musical nature of this book:

The word psalms is derived from the Greek Ψαλμοί (Psalmoi), perhaps originally meaning "music of the lyre" or "songs sung to a harp" and then to any piece of music. From psallein "play upon a stringed instrument" and then to "make music in any fashion".

The last two definitions, in particular, relate quite well to what I've been getting at with all this qabalah.

In the last verse from psalm 93 we see the line "holiness becometh thine house..." which suggests the song, and the separate album Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin, led by Jimmy Page, are well-documented, powerful musical conductors of the 93 current. They did alright for themselves too despite getting besieged by uncomprehending music critics at first. Not surprisingly, the lyrics to the song Houses of the Holy contain obvious Thelemic references as well as allusions to some of the difficulties and challenges involved should one dare to enter this Magic Theater.

Also thought it might prove interesting to look up 68 in Finnegans Wake. 68, you'll recall as the number Robert Anton Wilson highlighted at the top of the Illuminatus! Trilogy.
As previously mentioned, I see 68 simply as the combination of the key numbers 6 and 8. 6 = Tiphareth, the sephiroth I suggest studying first as an entryway into the transformational use of Qabalah. 8 = Hod = communication. 68 = communicating Tiphareth.

The combination of 6 and 8 only appears twice in the Wake as dates. From p. 150:

Why am I not born like a Gentileman and why am I now so
speakable about my own eatables (Feigenbaumblatt and Father,
Judapest, 5688, A.M.) whole-heartedly takes off his gabbercoat and
wig, honest draughty fellow, in his public interest, to make us
see how though, as he says: 'by Allswill' the inception and the
descent and the endswell of Man is temporarily wrapped in
obscenity, looking through at these accidents with the faroscope of
television, (this nightlife instrument needs still some
subtractional betterment in the readjustment of the more refrangible
angles to the squeals of his hypothesis on the outer tin sides)

Perhaps just coincidence or the non-local circuit poking through but "speakable about my own eatables" does recall both ch.68 called Manna from the Crowley's Book of Lies and Wilson's "keep the lasgna flying."

Looking at "5688 A.M.) whole-heartedly takes off his gabbercoat and wig", we'll leave aside speculation on what the end numbers could represent. A.M. explicitly describes technique to tarot initiates: A = the Fool, M = the Hanged Man. The next sentence seems extremely explicit about 68 when viewed from that angle.

In 1985, some years before I knew about this ideogram, I formed a company, High Velocity Sound Engineering and wrote a manifesto to describe, and market, my approach to recording or mixing live sound. The first sentence reads:

The essential aim of High Velocity Sound Engineering is clear aesthetic communication.

aesthetic = beauty = 6; communication = 8.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Talking Heads


Good friend Bernie Worrell on keys.

Speaking of Talking Heads, one head that said a lot without emitting any words was Timothy Leary's right after he died.

Leary, in true trickster fashion, had given exclusive rights to two different filmmakers to document the end of his life. In one of them, Timothy Leary's Dead, they appear to show Leary getting his head sawed off and placed in a case supposedly for cryonic suspension. In an interview given right after the film's release the director let on that this was a staged sequence Leary had come up with.

I recall that it's a close-up of Timothy Leary's detached head that ends the film. It's a very powerful image even knowing that it's not his biological head but a very convincing artificial simulation. Why would Leary go to such lengths to leave us with that image? Perhaps the explanation comes from the fact that he seemed a rather unique qabalist who publicly stated that one of his missions in life was to carry on the Work of Aleister Crowley?

Of course, just to remind and for new readers, Crowley's stated mission was to introduce and bring humanity to the next stage of consciousness expansion which he called the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. In qabalistic lingo, this means the activation and full realization of Tiphareth. It's also identical with discovering and aligning to one's true purpose in life, whatever that may be.

To my knowledge, and I welcome correction, Leary made no other final statement along the lines of transmitting the legacy of his Work such as Robert Anton Wilson did with his infamous culinary instruction to "keep the lasagna flying." I submit that Leary went to the trouble to commission a replica of his head and create this drama to make such a statement.

There's more to this ideogram Leary created than a qabalistic restatement of Crowley's primary instruction for contacting the HGA:

Invoke often. Enflame the heart with prayer.

Leary literally, and very graphically connects the qabalistic correspondences related to "head" (see 777) with his own death.

This connection reminded me of a theatrical event my wife at the time and I staged along with our group at Webster Hall in New York in 1992. We called it an Apres Vie Happening. It was based on a suggestion by E.J. Gold. Yanesh, my ex, was cast as the "Make-Up Artist for the Recently Deceased. I was her consort, Rudolph Valentino.

As part of the theater, a line of makeup and method of application for the Recently Deceased was introduced under the brand name, "A Good Look For Me." That name comes from a line at the end of the film Beetlejuice.

This blog post is dedicated to Yanesh who suffered a serious stroke about 5 days ago and remains in Intensive Care.