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Topics - Olive

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Thought about Thought
Reason, the Intellect, Conclusions, and Magic

Category: Casual philosophy/theology

The average man seeks happiness.
The clever man seeks truth.
And each has as much as he can,
Though both of these are but phantoms

Strength of Thought can be considered in terms of calculations performed, or in terms of time spent.

Both of these measures are interlinked in the measure of calculations per second.

But we should note that “calculation” here does not refer only to mathematical and analytical processes but also all of the other small subconscious exchanges of energy that take place when a being solves a problem or contemplates an object of experience.

Thinking is a rational approach to mental activity.

Therefore a man who is dull-witted and yet adopts this approach will be lead to grasp his own truth in the personal conclusions he forms.

The Purity and Defilement of Logic

Schopenhauer once said that Reason or the Intellect is the only pure thing in existence (Pure in this context meaning free from the domination of the Will to Live). In truth this is blasphemy, as there are several others of note that constitute the heavenly realms. We shall speak about them again in another installment.

Moreover, as the sharp reader may have already noted, Reason itself is not always free from the influences of intention. In fact, it is more accurate to say that the process of the Intellect is pointed at the object of the Will, and the results thereby gained are always colored by the context of the initial investigation. Two examples to demonstrate the point:

1. When a fascist investigates global affairs with an eye to the influence of certain groups, he will always come to the conclusion that yes - The Jews really are in control of everything. He is able to argue this point resolutely with supporting facts that all derive from the initial motivation of his investigation to find such evidence.

2. Schopenhauer, one of the greatest philosophical geniuses of the western tradition, full-throatedly argues misogynistic points in his Essay on Women with the same authority and solemnity with which he approaches most of his subjects— and yet when we look back on this with modern eyes we can see that some of his assertions are patently false and absurd. Schopenhauer gives us a clear account of the behavior of women in his time, but fails to penetrate the level of understanding which would reveal that these behaviors indicate what the then-current power structures made of women, and not what they are in themselves. A similar principle is at work in the noted Racism of Kant. (Note that we are not dismissing racial and gender-specific differences in people at once, but the overt positive claims made by supporters of these ideas still reveal themselves to be palpable sophistries.)

Rigorous thinking and Magic

But when one contemplates an object, doing all that is possible to do away with all prejudices and bias to the best of his ability - and even then always questioning his conclusions as he subjects them to the crucible of repeated experimentation, then he begins to pursue a more rigorous approach to thinking. This process is known as the Purification of the Intellect. When the intellect has been totally purified, it becomes like the Vajra - the diamond hard faceted jewel, reflecting the light of clarity.

Even at this stage, the intellect is ultimately unable to reach its goal of truth in fullness. As the Artemisian saying goes, Truth is in Silence, and not in words. However, the cultivated reason should still be considered one of the great bodies of purity in the manifestation, as it can produce clear-sighted conclusions at a deep level, which then inform the thinker’s mentality moving forward - eventually forming something of an unspoken understanding which culminates in Wisdom.

Rigorous thinking results in a clear-seeing of the processes in the world, considered apart from the needs, wants, and opinions of the individual organism. We could romanticize this in so many ways; “seeing with the eyes of god”; “the cosmic perspective.” But in reality it is not so fantastical - although it’s results on important subjects can be equally dramatic. The power of certain conclusions is such that it can immediately impact the Will of the individual, so that his behavior is forever changed.

Because of this, intellectual conclusions are a primary method of magical practice. One who has sufficient flexibility of mind can allow himself to reason from a point of view which he does not hold, or to reach certain conclusions that would have otherwise been undermined by the honest operation of the intellect — and this is one method of forming a constructed perspective and mentality through black magical methods. Practicing the purification of the intellect described earlier amounts to a kind of Internal Alchemy, which can be understood as a specific school of magic. (Greater white magic - or the sage way.)

It is the characteristic of the Chaos Magician that he makes use of multiple conflicting perspectives/mentalities at the same time, and is able to put all away and put on a new one without qualm.

The Trajectory of Contemplation

Regardless of the aim with which the intellect is used as a tool for the transmutation of self, the process of doing so follows something of a pattern. As more and more objects are contemplated, they string together to form wider conclusions and eventually whole schools of thought. Each object of contemplation passes through the following stages:

1. Defining
2. Analyzing
3. Synthesizing
4. Concluding
5. Integrating
6. Deconstructing
7. Full Understanding

Oh look at that - an even seven. Praise the Moon! Let us describe each step simply.

1. Definition Drawing lines. One of the simplest actions of the Reason is to draw the boundaries of a concept. When a concept is created, it must be described in terms of what it is and what is not. When this criteria is met, the concept attains to a quality, and can be given a word such that the thinker can distinguish what does fit the conditions and what does not. This allows for interpretation of the interplay of various qualities and objects of experience. Contemplating is a more advanced action of the Reason, which involves the usage and comparison of many different definitions. And so the beginning of contemplation lies in defining the object of the investigation. What is it that is to be understood, and in light of what factors? Clear and honest definition of terms and queries will greatly advance the rigor of one's contemplation.

2. Analysis Now that terms and goals have been established, one can begin the process of analysis. This involves comparison of definitions, and dedicated attention to the question at hand. More and more data is collected as the contemplation continues, drawing from direct observation, memory, and empirical evidence - depending on the exact method of investigation. Solid analysis reveals what a thing seems to be, what its behavior is, what is thought about it, what its apparent motivation is, and so on.

3. Synthesis Once a sufficient amount of information has been gathered about an object, one can begin to form positive ideas about the how and why of the object. These ideas must conform to the data collected and should not be contradicted by the raw analysis of the object. The ideas must be tested and retested against competitors by experimentation and fresh analysis.

4. Conclusion Conclusion represents a first end of the investigation after thorough analysis and synthesis, partitioned by the definition, and to the rigor of the method pursued. A conclusion is a solid claim of function and predictability about the object of its investigation, which has not been contradicted by rigorous study and experiment, and which is aware of other possible solutions and the criteria which make it a better model than those.

5. Integration Integration is the next natural step of the thinker who seeks to be intellectually honest not just with his thought structures but also with his daily activity. A man is not truly a great thinker until he has lived his ideals. If the conclusion is honest and rigorous in its revelation, then it should be a worthy guideline by which to live and think going forward. Note that some objects of contemplation are too rarefied to have much impact on daily life. In these cases a more abstract kind of integration happens in which a conclusion affects the mentality of the thinker as he pursues further philosophy and meditative practice. Meditation itself can be considered a kind of integration as one enters into and becomes the idea at hand.

6. Deconstruction Deconstruction is the natural consequence of honest integration of honest conclusions. As one remains with the conclusion/ideal and lives with it, it begins to show itself with new life and color. Deconstruction is a kind of second analysis which takes place from inside of the conclusion, rather than from outside the object. It goes back and critiques the definitions and methods which lead to the conclusion, and takes an overview of shortcomings, accomplishments, unexpected ramifications, and the possibility of practice without belief - truth without concept.

7. Full Understanding Full understanding is a high stage of contemplation which only the serious thinker has any share of. In the same way that deconstruction is a kind of second analysis, Full Understanding is a kind of second conclusion. This is the stage at which the investigation is fully satisfied and quieted by the acquired wisdom of the adept. This stage comes with knowledge of why the object exists, how exactly it works, why it is necessary, the paths one can take in response to it, and the ramifications of doing so. Here the knowledge of the investigator transcends thoughts and becomes a systems-level understanding and culmination of the object itself.

... thoughts? ;)

So this is an interesting little experiment that's been going around Twitter. The idea is pretty straight forward - use only pictures you have saved in your phone to describe your ideology or practice. The limit is 4 images, but if you make a two-parter it can be up to 8. I had a go at doing this and found it to be a valuable and worthwhile method of expression.

I'd like to share what I came up with and invite other members to do the same. I decided to tell a bit of a narrative with mine, so you'll probably be able to understand a subtextual story going image by image.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Artemism / Artemism and the 12 Jungian Archetypes
« on: December 10, 2018, 11:42:37 pm »

Category: Comparative Theology

Jungian archetypes are referenced quite often in communities like this, partially because they prove to be a useful framework for talking about the possibility space of possible human ideologies. They are a series of answers to the human condition. Like Tarot Cards, they can be seen as a system of describing the Platonic Ideas that lie behind certain processes always happening again in the manifestation. We can leave aside for the purposes of this discussion the metaphysical status of these ideas. I.e if they are Psychological, Material, or themselves Ideal.

Artemism is also a response to the human condition, and so I think it will be a fun exercise to attempt a quick analysis of Lunar Devotion as I describe it in the context of the Jungian framework. It's an imperfect fit, but perhaps something productive yet arise from it.

Twelve Jungian Archetypes:

1. The Innocent
2. The Everyman
3. The Hero
4. The Caregiver
5. The Explorer
6. The Rebel
7. The Lover
8. The Artist
9. The Jester
10. The Sage
11. The Magician
12. The Ruler

Because our tradition cannot be summarily connected with one of these 12, I'll instead list the 4 most applicable of these in order of most strongly related.

1. The Innocent

Innocence is a core value of Artemism, as might be expected for a group that pays homage to a Virgin Goddess. So, what is Innocence? A superficial view would be to say it is merely naiveté and inexperience. But this is not what we mean when we use that word. We refer to a purity of spirit and consciousness which is unbound by powerful attachment to any kind of thing. This noncommittal perspective is what gives the child his levity, but it is also the freedom of the wise woman who has seen through the illusion of the world and thus is not bothered by it. So there are two kinds of innocence: ignorant innocence, or purity by lack of experience; and wise innocence, or purity chosen due to abundant experience.

Similarly, the Virginity we praise as a virtue is not a literal or physical virginity (if such a thing could be accurately defined or measured), but freedom from craving or need. In other words, the one who is untempted and unconcerned with sexual desire is just as much of a Virgin to us as the one who has no knowledge of these things. Perhaps even more so, as this former condition is the more endurant of the two.

I am now referencing the principle of Reclamation of Innocence, or alternatively formulated Purity with Knowledge, that forms the central thrust of the ideological manifestations of Artemism, Gnosticism, Buddhism, Anticosmicism and the like. We do not seek blissful ignorance, but the strength of will to look upon the evil of the world without succumbing to it. We do not fear the darkness, and the dirt - we know it perhaps best of all. We are like the lotus that grows in the swamp, but which blooms untouched by its surroundings. This is aptly stated in the bible as follows

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16 KJV)

2. The Sage

This is the other half of the formula previously mentioned. The impassioned drive for truth which produces the diamond-like gnosis [knowledge, or perhaps more appropriately wisdom] which allows us to conquer the conditions of material existence and attain perfection. The Sage uses analysis and the intellect to understand the world, and this forms one half of the dual pronged Artemist approach to existence. The intellect is the dark half which sees the reality of the things of the world despite their glamorous appearance, and the phenomenological practice is the light half which provides internal freedom and power through direct experience and understanding of the ground of being, which cannot be reasoned about.

The reason that wisdom is a better description of the Sage's virtue than knowledge, is because the quest for Truth will eventually reveal that Truth as such cannot be stated, and so it will never exist in the form of a linguistic expression which could be called the form of true knowledge. Every statement is susceptible to flaw and misrepresentation - even tautological statements are not free from this. Therefore gnosis lies in the intuitive understanding and experience of Truth as such which informs the wise person's use of the intellect.

But the Sage is not concerned only with meta-logical application of the Intellect, he also applies it to everyday processes and his own decisions, so that he can see clearly what the result of each is without being deluded by the projections of his own desires. The ability to put the results of Reason before the objects of desire is the primary attribute of the Sage, and one of the greatest methods of maintaining clarity of mind.

3. The Magician

The Magician is the will to affect change in ourselves and in the world in accordance with one's own vision and understanding. Whereas the Innocent provides freedom from compulsion, and the Sage provides understanding of Self and the World, the Magician uses methods to alter Self and World deliberately - by use of the tools of the Will. The Magician is most clearly seen in the Artemist respect of spiritual practice. Philosophy is a wonderful method of understanding, but it affects change only very slowly. What does it mean to work with Will? The tools of Will allow for self-directed evolution of our core Idea - which is defined by the motivations which drive it.

This ability to define our own motivations can be referred to simply as Autonomy. Autonomy has nothing to do with the philosophical position of Free Will. It means that one is able to set and follow rules of his own making.  This is why the methods of magic are called Practices and Rites; because they are designed ahead of time to produce a certain effect, and then followed diligently to see that effect accomplished.

A wise man once said "A man can do what he Wills, but he cannot Will what he Wills." And while this is true for nearly all of mankind, the Magician is the sole exception, who defines his own Will and ceaselessly works to solidify his aims.

In the context of Artemism, magical methods are primarily used to unify and purify the Will until it is indestructible. What are the objects of the Will to Purity?


4. The Explorer

The Explorer is that which makes use of the Freedom we earn through our devotion and spiritual practice. One term I like to use in the context of Artemism is Psychonautical Exploration; this only means active discovery and experience of the far-reaching possibilities of the mind/soul/spirit. To sail the waters of consciousness out to their furthest reaches. The first three archetypes we have so far discussed - The Innocent, The Sage, The Magician, when practiced to their fullest produce a state of flexibility in the mind which is unrivaled by any other walk of life. You can prove this to yourself easily. The mind which is unbound by contraction (grasping for a particular thing), which knows the possibilities of the world and himself (knowledge/wisdom), and which sets his own motivations and follows them willfully (Magic) is totally free to do what he will with the vast capabilities of his mind/soul/spirit.

There are secret places within us which the everyman will never reach or even conceive of because of the way he chooses to direct his attention. Our attention is focused on nothing else but visiting them and making them our home. The Artemist will likely never climb the tallest mountain, or travel to the farthest land - but despite that, she will in a very real sense be more of an explorer than the man who does those things. He experiences novelty of phenomena by changing the physical surroundings on which his attention may fall. She experiences it by changing the attention itself, its object, and the phenomena themselves directly through internal processes. His conquests provide merely a rare sight, which is really not so different from any other. Her conquest provides a truly unique vision which is so far beyond the normal range of experience that she could hardly describe it if she desired to.

Honorable Mentions:

1. The Caregiver. Artemists are primarily concerned with profoundly freeing themselves. But once a person is free and complete, it is only natural that she will want to be around others who have achieved a similar level of perfection. Or at the very least, she will be unable to stomach the delusion in others all around her, and will naturally attempt to heal their minds due to compassion and a more general level of peace.

2. The Artist. Likewise, she who is wholly complete and is a visionary beyond compare, will only naturally try to express the fullness of her inner life by whatever means she can. Sometimes in the freedom of imagery or sound, sometimes in the rigidy of the written word. Expression is an essential part of Reconciling one's realization with her life.

Challenge: Which archetypes most aptly relate to your tradition? Even if the choices are similiar - how do they differ in terms of ranking and explanation for you? What does that mean to you?

Artemism / The Will to Purity as seen in the Writings of Evangrius Ponticus
« on: December 03, 2018, 05:56:42 pm »

Category: Theology, Aphorisms, History

Hello all. I recently came across the works of an early Christian saint by the name of Evangrius Ponticus. He is often considered an ascetic today, but so far I haven't come across anything in his works that is suggestive of the kind of extreme asceticism which I'm sure we're all acquainted with. In fact it seems to me that he followed something like the Middle Way promulgated in Buddhism. The goal of his school is not to flagellate the body or to torment the mind in order to redeem the soul; rather he seeks to purify the soul of distractions and attachments in order to approach spiritual knowledge (or knowledge of that which is most fundamental).

He was a student of Origen, Gregory, and Basil the great, who became an Archdeacon of Constantinople. He was also present at the second Ecumenical council. His high position made him extremely prideful and lustful, until a crisis of faith precipitated a warning in a vision which prompted him to leave the city for Jerusalem. Only after confessing his struggles did he break from his former ways and became a cenobitic monk - who spent the last 15 years of his life engaged with studies and practice. Later on both he and his teacher Origen were condemned as heretics, and consequently many of his writings were lost. (Although some copies remained in Syriac, and others were kept in monasteries though ostensibly accredited to other authors).

On this subforum of course we do not concern ourselves with official condemnations of dedicated practitioners - especially those issued by an institution such as the church hundreds of years after his death. We do not have to believe or even agree with everything he says, but the writings of those who withdraw into themselves with determination to approach the supreme should be at least considered by us who seek to do the same. Anyone who engages in this work for a length of time cannot help but find his old ways of thinking overthrown, and new truths revealed in their place. Whether they be monastic disciples or solitary witches or more modern hermit writers like Thoreau - we Artemists are in a unique position to understand and learn from these texts.

The seminal trilogy of Evangrius is composed like so:

1. Praktikos [The Practice] - A fundamental work which lays the foundations of Ponticus' thought, and also explains the basics of ascetic life. This is material meant for novices in the great work.

2. Gnostikos [The Knower, or One who is Worthy of Knowledge] - A more advanced treatise which deals with mental and spiritual formations, as well as theoretical and contemplative material. A little more than half of the original survives, so far as I am aware.

3. Kephalaia Gnostika [The Principle Points of Knowledge] - A treatise discussing the highest and most esoteric levels of knowledge and experience, dealing with knowledge of god, the world, christ, spirits, and men. It was not made available to those who were not already highly advanced for fear of creating misunderstandings in them. This text was almost totally destroyed by those who condemned him as a heretic. Some copies remained in Syriac but were altered to remove much of the most offensive content. Only recently has an original, unexpunged Syriac manuscript been translated into English and made available to us.

There is also another work titled Sentences to A Virgin, which I am interested in acquiring and perusing, but have yet to find a copy online. The other works mentioned and much more information about Ponticus can be found here:

My research of these writings is ongoing, but I'd like to share some selections from what I've read so far.

Important Terms
Nous - The Intellect, or the Reason - though with a spiritual connotation as the highest part of man.
Apatheia - Dispassion, or Equanimity.
Logikoi - Rational beings or principles, either material or immaterial
Epithumia - Desire, Craving, Lust
Logos or Logoi - disembodied principles which govern those things which take part of them within reality. Similar to an Archetype, or a branch of Physics.
Thumos - Spiritedness, or Force of Will.

All of these quotes were selected by me, but those which I have emboldened I deem to be especially relevant to the work or especially interesting.

Quote from: Gnostikos

The ascetics will understand the deep purposes of asceticism; the knowers (gnostikoi) will behold matters of knowledge.   

The ascetic is one who is concerned solely with the achievement of perfect freedom in the portion of the soul subject to compulsions.

But the Knower [gnostikos] has the significance [logos] of salt for the impure and light for the pure.

The knowledge that reaches us from external [things] tries by means of the logoi to indirectly teach material [things]. However the [knowledge] which by God’s grace is innate [within us] directly presents matters to the mind; and in beholding them, the nous welcomes their logoi. And opposing the first is <error; against the second is> anger and indignation <and what flows from them>.

All virtues clear the road before the Knower; but superior to all other [virtues] is freedom from anger. Indeed, one who has touched knowledge yet is easily moved to anger is like a man who pierces himself in the eyes with a metal stylus.


Those things among what relates to praktike, physike, and theologike that are useful for our salvation, [we are] invited to speak about and to perform unto death. But those things that are indifferent it is not necessary to speak about or to perform, because of those who are easily scandalized.

It is proper for the knower to speak to monks and seculars concerning a proper way of life, as well as to explain in part doctrines concerning physike and theologike "without which no one will see the Lord."

Learn to know the logoi and the laws of circumstances ["fitting times"], [ways of] life, and occupations, so that you can easily tell each what is useful for him.

It is necessary that you have the matter for the explanation of what is said, and that you embrace everything, even if a part escapes you. For it is indeed proper to an angel that nothing of what is upon the earth escapes it.

It is necessary also to know the definitions of things, especially those of the virtues and vices; this, indeed, is the source [and the beginning] of knowledge and ignorance, of the kingdom of heaven and of torment.

It is necessary to know this: that all texts of an ethical character do not comprise a contemplation of an ethical character; no more does a text concerning nature [comprise] a contemplation on nature; but such as is of an ethical character comprises a contemplation of nature; and such as treat of nature comprise a contemplation of ethics, and the same for theology. What is said, in effect, of the fornication and the adultery of Jerusalem, the animals of dry land and waters, and the birds, the clean and the unclean, the sun that "rises, sets, and returns to its place," relate : in the first place to theology; in the second place to ethics; and in the third place to physics. Now the first text relates to ethics and the two others to physics.

It is necessary that the Knower be neither gloomy nor intimidating. For the first is ignorance of the logoi of things which have come into existence; the second is not desiring "that all men be saved and come to Knowledge of the truth."

It is necessary sometimes to feign ignorance because those who question are not worthy of an answer: and [in this] you will be truthful, since you are linked to a body and you [thus] do not yet possess complete knowledge.

[Concerning] those who dispute without having Knowledge: it is necessary to make them approach the truth by proceeding not from the end, but from the beginning; and it is not necessary for gnostikoi to tell the young anything, nor to let them touch books of this sort, for they are not able to resist the falls that this contemplation entails. That is why, to those who are still besieged by passions it is necessary to speak not words of peace, but how they will triumph over their adversaries: indeed, as Ecclesiastes says, "there is no discharge [from service] on the day of battle."

Do not, without [careful] consideration, speak about God [in Himself]; nor should you ever define the Deity: for it is only of {things which are made or} are composite that there can be definitions.

Close your mouth to those who slander in your hearing; and do not be amazed when you are accused by many, for this is a temptation from the demons. For it is necessary for the gnostikos to be free from hatred and memory of evil, even when this is not what he wants.

[Although] unaware of it, he is himself cured - the one healing others through the Lord. For the medicine which the gnostikos applies cures his neighbor insofar as it can, but [it cures] him of necessity.

A Bitter accuser of the gnostikos is his own conscience, and he cannot hide anything from it because it [sees] into the [secret] knowledge of the heart.

Every proposition has a predicate or a genus, or a distinction, or a species, or a property, or an accident, or that which is composed of these things. But on the subject of the Blessed Trinity, nothing of what has been said [here] is admissible. In silence let the ineffable be adored!

There are four virtues necessary for contemplation, according to the teaching of the just Gregory: prudence, courage, temperance, and justice. (1) The work of prudence, it is said, is the contemplation of the holy and intelligent powers apart from their logoi; for this latter belongs to wisdom alone, according to the tradition we have received. (2) Courage is steadfast perseverance in the truth, even to the point of combat, as well as refraining from entry into that which has no existence. (3) The reception of the first sower’s seed and the rejection of what is sown secondarily - this is the proper work of continence, according to [Gregory’s] explanation. (4) Justice’s task is to give to each, according to his worth, a word: that is, proclaiming some things darkly; using parables to make other things known; and clearly explaining still others for the benefit of the simple.

That column of truth, the Cappadocian Basil has said: the Knowledge which comes from men is strengthened by careful meditation and diligent exercise; however the [knowledge] that by God’s grace has come to be within us [is strengthened] by justice, by the refusal to indulge anger, and by compassion. The first [Knowledge] can be received by those still subject to passion; the second [Knowledge] is received only by those [who have achieved] apatheia - those who are also able at the time of prayer to contemplate the illuminating gentle radiance proper to their nous.

IT was said by the angel of the church of Thumis, Serapion, that the intellect by drinking spiritual knowledge is perfectly purified; Charity heals the burning parts of the irascible self The flux of evil desiring is stanched by self-control.

The goal of the praktike is to purify the intellect and to render it free of passions; that of the gnostike is to reveal the truth hidden in all beings; but to distance the intellect from matter and to turn it towards the First Cause - this is a gift of theology.

Quote from: Kephalaia Gnostika

To the first good there is no opposition, because He is essentially [good]; thus there is no opposition as regards essence.

The opposition is in the qualities, and the qualities are in the creatures; opposition therefore is in the creatures.

Every reasoning nature is in its essence knowledge-seeking; and our God is Himself knowable: indivisibly He comes to be in those whom He has caused to be, like earthly science; but different from this in the substantial [nature of His] being is.

Principles do not engender and are not engendered, but the intermediate engenders and is engendered.

When that which is in us will be changed, those [things] in which we are will be changed, and this often to the extent that, that which is will no longer be named with modes.

The goal of the praktike and of suffering is the heritage of the saints.

The bodies of demons have color and form but they escape our senses, because the mixture is not the mixture of bodies that our senses apprehend. For when they wish to appear as persons, they transform themselves into the complete image of our body, while not showing us their bodies.

The thoughts [logoi] of things on earth are the good [things] of the earth; but if the holy angels know them, according to the word of Teqoa, the angels of God eat the goods of the earth. But it is said, Man eats the bread of angels. Thus knowledge of the thoughts[logoi] of that which is in the earth is also known by certain men.

If the sprout is in the seed with power, also perfection is in the receptive one with power. But if this is so, it is not the same as the seed and that which is in it, nor the sprout and that which is in the grain. But the seed of that which is held by the sprout and the sprout of this seed are the same. For although the seed becomes the sprout, the seed of that which is in the sprout has not yet received the sprout. But when it is liberated from sprout and seed, it will have the sprout of the first seed.

If the human body is a part of this world, but the form of this world is passing [away], it is also evident that the form of the body will pass [away].

Five are the principal contemplations under which all contemplation is placed. It is said that the first is contemplation of the adorable and holy Trinity; the second and third are the contemplation of incorporeal beings and of bodies; the fourth and the fifth are the contemplation of judgment and of providence.

Just as each of the arts needs a sharpened sense that conforms to its matter, so also the intellect needs a sharpened spiritual sense to distinguish spiritual things.

The sense, naturally by itself, senses sensory things, but the mind [nous] always stands and waits [to ascertain] which spiritual contemplation gives it vision.

We say various things about sleep while awake; but [it is] during sleep that we experience the proof. In the same in regard to all the things we hear about God while outside of him: we will experience the proof of them [once we are]within him.

We had the seeds of virtue [within us]when we were made [in the beginning] - not [the seeds] of vice. For if we were not receptive of something would we have [within us] all its power? And since we have no power to cease existing, we do not have [within us] the power of the non-existant: that is if the powers are qualities and the non-existant not is not a quality.

There was a time when evil did not exist, and there will be a time when it will no longer exist; but there was never a time when virtue did not exist, and there will never be a time when it will not exist. Indestructible, in effect, are the seeds of virtue. I am also convinced of this by the rich man who was condemned in the Shéol because of his evil and had pity for his brothers; thus to have pity is a beautiful seed of virtue

IT is said that God is [present] where he acts, and where he acts most, there he is most present; And since He acts most in the reasoning and holy planets, it is therefore in the celestial powers that he is most present.

God is in every place and he is not in a place; he is in every place for he is in all that exists by his manifold wisdom.. He is not in a place because he is not [one] among other[beings].

There is nothing among the bodiless which is in power in bodies; and bodiless is our nous, when it renders itself similar to God

Nothing in power in the soul is able to leave it through action and then to subsist independently, for [the soul] was by its nature made to exist in bodies.

It is not the Unity which apart from itself puts itself in motion; but it is put in motion by the receptivity of the nous, which, by its negligence, turns away its face and, by the fact of being deprived of it, engenders ignorance

All that was produced was produced for the knowledge of God; but among beings, some are firsts, and others seconds. Older than the first beings is (spiritual) knowledge, and (older) than the second beings is movement

Demons who fight against the nous are called birds; those who trouble indignation [are called] animals; those who move desire [are called] beasts.

Without end is the fullness of those who are first by their genesis, and within ends is the emptiness contained . The second beings are coextensive with emptiness , and they will rest when the perfect fullness will lead those who are receptive of it toward the knowledge of the Unity of the Holy Trinity.

Only those who are first in their creation will be delivered from the corruption [inherent]in action; but none among beings [will be delivered] from the corruption [inherent] in power.

Men fear Sheol, while demons fear the abyss; but there exist [beings] even more cruel, such as the indescribable [or mute?] serpents.

Whether the logikoi exist always or do not exist depends on the will of the Creator; but whether they are immortal or mortal depends on their own will, as does [the question] whether they are joined or not joined to one thing or another.

There are none of the second beings which would be susceptible of the knowledge, and none of the first beings which would be contained in a place.

Knowledge is said to be in a place, when it frequents the intellections of creatures, but in no place when it admires the Holy Trinity

In the knowledge of those who are second by to their creation various worlds are constituted and indescribable battles take place. But in the Unity nothing like this occurs: it is unspeakable peace, and there are only the naked noes that constantly quench their insatiability, if according to the word of our Savior, the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to Christ.

Who can know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements? And who can understand the composition of this organ of the soul? And who can investigate how one is joined to the other, in what their empire consists, and how they participate with one another in such a way that the praktike becomes a chariot for the reasoning soul, which strives to attain the knowledge of God?

In angels nous and fire predominate, but in human beings epithumia and earth, and among demons thumos and air. It is said that the third approaches intermediaries through the nostrils, while the first [approach] the second through the mouth.

The end of natural knowledge is the holy Unity, but ignorance has no end; for as it is said,there is no limit to his greatness.

With God is said to be: first, the one who knows the Holy Trinity; and next after him one who contemplates the logoi concerning the intelligible [beings]; third, then, is one who also sees the incorporeal beings; and then fourth is one who understands the contemplation of the ages; while one who has attained apatheia of his soul is justly to be accounted fifth.

The life of man consists of holy knowledge but the mercy of God is the contemplation of beings. Many of the wise of this world have promised us knowledge, but the mercies of God are better than life.

The light of the nous is divided in three, that is: in the knowledge of the adorable and holy Trinity, in bodiless and embodied nature, and in the intellection of the natures of creatures

It is not to the knowledge hidden in objects that ignorance is opposed, but rather to the knowledge of the intelligible forms of the objects. For ignorance is not naturally made so as to exist in corporeal nature.

The first renunciation is voluntary abandonment of the objects of this world for the sake of the knowledge of God.

The second renunciation is the laying aside of vice, which happens through divine grace and human diligence.

the third renunciation is separation from ignorance, which naturally becomes apparent to people according to state they have attained.

While the glory and light of the nous is knowledge, the glory and light of the soul is apatheia.

The nous of the logikoi is receptive of knowledge and ignorance, epithumia is receptive of chastity and of luxury

The nous wanders when impassioned, and is uncontrolled when it attains the elements of its epithumia, but ceases from distraction when it becomes dispassionate and attains the company of incorporeal [beings] who fulfill all its spiritual desires.

Love is the excellent state of the reasonable soul, which in this cannot love anything which is among corruptible things more than the knowledge of God.


Please feel free to pull out any of these quotes to dispute or discuss - I would be happy to engage with anyone who has considered these lines.

Artemism / The Virgin Mary - Lunar Goddess in Disguise?
« on: November 20, 2018, 09:32:48 pm »
Category: Comparative Theology, Archetypical Analysis

I'd like to start this thread off with a disclaimer. I am not and have never been a practicing catholic, nor I have studied the canon of Catholicism at a scholarly level. I do have a strong understanding of the history of the church and important doctrinal distinctions, perhaps at the level of a second year seminary student, but I understand this is a far cry from living inside the faith or as an ordained priest. So again to be perfectly clear, I am approaching this subject as an outsider primarily interested in the esoteric and archetypical meaning contained within the catholic depiction of the Virgin Mary.

In the largely baptist protestant culture I grew up around, Mary is relegated to the role of a supporting role - a minor character. It is commonly believed in this framework that the catholic reverence for Mary amounts to a kind of Idol-worship, and is a sign of the corruption in the Roman Church. Funnily enough, the answers one gets when asking protestants about their legitimate object of worship, the Godhead, are greatly confused and nebulous. Especially when it comes to what is known as the Holy Spirit. Christ is of course known, and the Father can at least be described as the vengeful deity of the Old Testament - but what of this ghostly figure off to the side? Hardly a thing can be said. Some describe it merely as the human conscience, (AKA the knowledge of Good and Evil - this is actually an interesting connection as we shall see in time), others as the image of the Father in man, and still others hold a myriad of incongruous views. 

If this really be the true understanding, does it not seem that the trinity is severely imbalanced? There is an emptiness in the protestant trinity; the negative knowledge of which has formed the basis of many critiques of the doctrine of the godhead itself.

The Catholic church does not have this problem. Mary is implicitly and explicitly identified with the Holy Spirit in much of the reference material I have combed over. And in a way this makes a good deal of sense. My understanding of the Holy Spirit indicates that it is indeed a feminine force. A receptive and graceful quality that can be cultivated in man in order to receive the light and wisdom of the heavenly realm. Mary is a perfect example of this. The term Immaculate Conception refers not to the miracle birth of Jesus Christ - but of the miracle sanctity of his Mother. It is believed that the Virgin Mary was born without bearing original sin; in other words, she herself - while not God incarnate, was indeed a perfected being. We see this made plain in the following two official statements (quoting from wikipedia here):

The defined dogma of the Immaculate Conception states that

the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin [ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem].

Not only that, but "The Encyclical Mystici Corporis from Pope Pius XII (1943) in addition holds that Mary was also sinless personally, 'free from all sin, original or personal'. "

These two statements, taken together, confirm that the Virgin Mary was not only free from original sin, but also from personal failings. In other words, the Virgin was in the highest sense a sanctified and pure being of spiritual significance. Both of these opinions have been widespread since antiquity.

Further cementing the connection between Mary and the Holy Spirit are some interesting quotes from Louis De Montfort - a priest and confessor (later made missionary apostle) from the 1600s.


All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.

Mary is the fruitful Virgin, and in all the souls in which she comes to dwell she causes to flourish purity of heart and body, rightness of intention and abundance of good works. Do not imagine that Mary, the most fruitful of creatures who gave birth to a God, remains barren in a faithful soul. It will be she who makes the soul live incessantly for Jesus Christ, and will make Jesus live in the soul...

Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance.

We can keep going and going on this subject, but based on what I've gone over so far - I'm prepared to accept that in theological terms the Virgin Mary is equivalent to the Holy Spirit of the trinity. Or at least, that she represents an archetypical manifestation of the Holy Spirit fully embodied as woman. If we take this to be true, things begin to line up in a significant way in potential interpretation of the doctrine of the trinity. No longer is the trio lopsided - it is balanced. The divine feminine principle that was sorely missed in the protestant version now makes a colorful reappearance. Now we have the Mother, the Father, and the Son - all the parts necessary for the Divine Child spiritual narrative that has been popularly used for thousands of years. (Compare to the Osiris-Isis-Horus story for example.) We can also plausibly connect this with the Three Great Lights of Masonry - The Sun, The Moon, and the Master. Therefore it seems to me that this understanding of the trinity is also esoterically accurate.

Catholicism, it is known to students of the esoteric tradition, has historically made a habit of reincorporating pagan ideas behind a thin Christian veneer. One obvious example of this is the recasting of several ancient daemons and gods as angels and fictional saints. This proved to be a useful method of preserving the wisdom contained in these tales while simultaneously protecting the church from the influence of those pesky heretics. So the reader may forgive me if I suggest that the cult of Mary, could be based on - and covering over - another important pagan figure. She is in fact a near perfect representation of the Lunar Goddess - corrupted only in that she has been made servant to the Sun (Son) rather than being a significant and independent figure in her own right.

This idea first occurred to me en force when I was inspired by the beauty of Schubert's Ave Maria. I decided to translate the lyrics of the piece and was somewhat surprised by what I found.

Quote from: Ave Maria

Ave Maria! Virgin mild,
Listen to a maiden pleading,
Out of this rock, rigid and wild
Let my prayer come to you.
We'll sleep well until morning,
Whether people are still so cruel.
O virgin, look after the maiden,
O mother, hear a pleading child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Undefined!
When we sink to this rock
To sleep, and your protection covers us
Will the hard rock soften us?
You smile, blowing rose scents
In this dull crag,
O mother, hear child's plea,
O virgin, a virgin calls!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Pure maid!
Earth and Air Demons,
Chased by your eye's favor,
You can not live here,
We want to quietly bow to fate,
As your sacred comfort comes to us;
The Virgin wants to hold you,
The child pleading for the father.
Ave Maria!

I realized that I could have easily written these lines in praise of my Patron, the fair moon. And while the verses are more poetic than spiritual in character, we can still see a connection to the Gnosis or Transcendental Sorrow that we Artemists attribute to the Moon. (The description of Earth as "the hard rock," and "this dull crag," as well as the acknowledgement of the cruelty of men and the sacred comfort of the Lunar goddess.)

The similarities do not stop there, however. Being first and last among the planets, the Moon is heavily identified with the number Seven (there being seven classical planets and seven also being symbolic of magic). Both of the previous two correlations are nicely tied up in one of Mary's titles: Our Lady of Sorrows  -- [referring to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady; revealed to Saint Bridget]

(I'm sure it's not necessary to point out the obvious numerology here.)

Heck - even Crowley gets in on this association of the holy spirit and the Moon. In his Eight Lectures on Yoga, he writes

Quote from: Third Lecture - Niyama

14. The last of the seven sacred planets is the Moon. The Moon represents the totality of the female part of us, the passive principle which is yet very different to that of Venus, for the Moon corresponds to the Sun much as Venus does to Mars. She is more purely passive than Venus, and although Venus is so universal the Moon is also universal in another sense. The Moon is the highest and the lowest; the Moon is the aspiration, the link of man and God; she is the supreme purity: Isis the Virgin, Isis the Virgin Mother; but she comes right down at the other end of the scale, to be a symbol of the senses themselves, the mere instrument of the registration of phenomena, incapable of discrimination, incapable of choice. The Niyama corresponding to her influence, the first of all, is that quality of aspiration, the positive purity which refuses union with anything less than the All. In Greek mythology Artemis, the Goddess of the Moon, is virgin; she yielded only to Pan. Here is one particular lesson: as the Yogi advances, magic powers (Siddhi the teachers call them) are offered to the aspirant; if he accepts the least of these-or the greatest-he is lost.

At the other end of the scale of the niyama of the Moon are the fantastic developments of sensibility which harass the Yogi. These are all help and encouragement; these are all intolerable hindrances; these are the greatest of the obstacles which confront the human being, trained as he is by centuries of evolution to receive his whole consciousness through the senses alone. And they hit us hardest because they interfere directly with the technique of our work; we are constantly gaining new powers, despite ourselves, and every time this happens we have to invent a new method for bringing their malice to naught. But, as before, the remedy is of the same stuff as the disease; it is the unswerving purity of aspiration that enables us to surmount all these difficulties. The Moon is the sheet-anchor of our work. It is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel that enables us to overcome, at all times and in all manners, as the need of the moment may be.

There are other significant correlations, as well. There is a prominent statue of Mary on the golden dome of the University of Notre Dame that features striking Lunar and Serpent imagery; originally the figure also bore a crown of stars (The Lunar Goddess, being the queen of heaven, is also depicted like this at times - partially due to the fact that the stars remain visible when she reigns). This statue was allegedly based on a statue of Mary that existed in Rome.

And when you really start looking into it, you'll find this kind of imagery repeated over and over again...

One final, much more esoteric connection I would like to draw is that which has been previously alluded to - the connection to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In legitimate gnostic texts written around the beginning of the christian age, the Moon is associated with that sacred knowledge definitively. In the text we call On the Origin of the World, we read

And next to it (is) the tree of knowledge (gnosis), having the strength of God. Its glory is like the moon when fully radiant. And its branches are beautiful. Its leaves are like fig leaves. Its fruit is like a good appetizing date. And this tree is to the north of Paradise, so that it might arouse the souls from the torpor of the demons, in order that they might approach the tree of life and eat of its fruit, and so condemn the authorities and their angels. The effect of this tree is described in the Sacred Book, to wit: "It is you who are the tree of knowledge, which is in Paradise, from which the first man ate and which opened his mind; and he loved his female counterpart and condemned the other, alien likenesses and loathed them."

Now after it, the olive tree sprouted up, which was to purify the kings and the high priests of righteousness, who were to appear in the last days, since the olive tree appeared out of the light of the first Adam for the sake of the unguent that they were to receive.

This lines up perfectly with what Montfort claimed about Mary. And if we go a step further and recall that in other Gnostic texts such as the Hypostases of the Archons and The Apocryphon of John, the Tree of Knowledge itself is considered to be but one manifestation of the Woman of Spirit (or Gnostic Lilith, or Epinoia or Zoe - also either the Serpent or the Mother of the Serpent) - we can see that the theological position of Mary as "The Second Eve" is just another formulation of the Double Creation of Woman (the Feminine and Divine Feminine principles). This would theologically mean that the sacred principle of woman which in the beginning gave the Knowledge of Good and Evil - also reappeared to produce the fulfillment of that promise in the perfected man of Christ. Narratively, this can also provide an explanation of how  Mary could have been free from original sin. She was actually not from the line of Adam and Eve - she was Lilith, finally overcoming the curse of the Demiurge which had always prevented her from conceiving, thanks to the help of the Most High. This would mean that the Holy Spirit did not originate with Mary 2000 years ago, but has always been with mankind - even from the first.

After all that my research has revealed so far, I am inclined to believe that in the figure of the Virgin Mary, we are looking through a lens darkly at the remains of the Lunar cult as it existed in antiquity before being rolled into the solar christian cult alongside many other myths and legends. I'll continue looking into Mariology (the equivalent of Christology) and probably make a part 2 to this post in a few months to talk about what else I turn up. For now, I'll leave you all with the heavenly music that sent me down this path of exploration to begin with. Enjoy :)

Artemism / Annihilation, Sacrifice and Perfection
« on: November 19, 2018, 03:06:01 pm »
Category: Philosophy, Theology, Lifestyle.  [Overview]

If I'm honest, the only things that matter in this life are these two skills:

1. The ability to joyfully work hard and suffer

2. The ability to be compassionate towards other beings

(i.e being able to offer them tolerance, patience, regard, and that kind of love which does not ask for anything in return.)

Do not concern yourself with the promise of the afterlife; do not spend effort in the attempt to make thy soul immortal. These are but vain dreams and lies propagated by those who would sow and exploit this profitless hope in those who have not discernment.

Do not hope to leave behind great monuments so that thy life may be celebrated and remembered for all time. Do not seek to write thy name on eternity, and thus to be immortalized in the minds of men.

This is the realm of finality, and here all things without exception are reduced to nothing in the course of time. Whenever your heart longs to to extend yourself indefinitely either in this realm or in any other, you only succeed in robbing yourself of what is most essential - and in torturing yourself with delusive thoughts and desires. Whenever you are troubled by such things, remind yourself of the total impermanence of all manifested things and allow your soul to be quieted.

Meditate on how your body, however strong, shall be rendered unto filth and the food of worms; on how all friends you make shall meet the same fate; on how all knowledge you gain shall be lost; on how all things you build shall be crumbled unto dust; on how even this whole world shall be reduced to ash floating on a great cosmic wind; on how time itself shall be unraveled and dismade; then you will begin to see your life in a right light.

There is no hereafter - there is not even a tomorrow. There is only this moment. Always the regular sounding of consciousness continues while you live. And as it does so, it lights upon much pain and varieties of suffering out of number.

If this were not so, men would have no reason to search for writings such as this, or for those spiritual practices promulgated by wise sages which, at great length and difficulty, can allow a being to attain a measure of peace with his condition. If it were not so, all beings would live happily and without deception.

Since it is true that all lives are marred by great suffering - even the most powerful, the wealthiest, and the healthiest; and since it is also true that there is no separate individual existence wholly apart from this realm of miseries; and since there is also no afterlife, no justification, and no reward for this experience; it becomes clear that the only way for a woman to attain peace here, is for her to realize that suffering is her only purpose in this existence. And therefore that she must take on this responsibility willingly - and to bear it fully and joyfully - rather than shirking away from it. In this way she will go about her days blissfully and without anxiety. And in those moments in which she rests from her work, she will abide in truth, self-knowledge, and that complete mindfulness which can transmute each moment into beauty and her own being into jewel-like perfection.

There are two methods of pursuing this, which is really one method revealed in two forms:

1. Renunciation of all action.

2. Devotional action

(i.e. Action which does not expect a result or reward.)

In both of these practices, one cannot do better than to think of herself and all that she does as a sacrifice - sweeter than the most fragrant incense. She should offer these sacrifices of vital essence to her ancestors, to her deity of choice, or to that unborn primal chaos which is totally transcendental to all manifested things. But in whatever name she sacrifices, the recipient is in truth always the same: her own self - her higher self. And every offering brings her into closer accordance with it.

Two maxims oft repeated go as follows. "Know Thyself," and "Do as thou Wilt." Now the real meaning of each stands naked before us.

To know oneself only means knowing what type of work one can willfully and joyfully sacrifice herself to perform. For all work is sacrifice, and all sacrifice is work. All people who would have peace or who would perfect themselves, must find a way to sacrifice themselves that is palatable to them and therefore in accordance with their Will.

And so "do as thou Wilt," means simply to labor ceaselessly in service of that which is in accordance with one's true self. The second part of the phrasing "Love is the Law, Love under Will," affirms that one should learn to perform this unceasing labor lovingly; that is, joyfully.

All this being understood, only one question remains to answer. What is Artemism for? What is it that the daughters of the Moon will to do? For what work do we sacrifice ourselves?

The object of our work is the same as its subject - our very own selves. We do not wish bring ourselves into union with any thing or project or person. We labor to transform and explore the essence of being. We sacrifice, that we may sail the uncharted psychonautical waters at the far reaches of experience. And indeed, even to find, behold, and reflect that sublime and sanctified void at the very core of existence!

Ours is the purest sacrifice in that it requires nothing, it can never be taken from us, and it is eternally offered alone! Our work earns us no praise or reward from other men, but in that we revel. Others may obtain perfection by exhausting themselves among dust and demons, but our perfection lies in unseen and secret places.

How naturally then, we choose the Moon, that celestial representation of the Holy Spirit, as our object of devotion? She who returns to nothingness and yet returns, waxing until she shines with that light most undefiled! Ruler of all darkling things, even as we shall be!

Though few, there are others that tread this path. But we alone will not whisper comforting things in your ear. There is no such comfort that you could find here. You must understand the cost, and then choose of your own volition to accept it, to move forward. You must step forward and throw yourself into the pyre - with a smile! Render yourself unto annihilation without a moment's hesitation! It will cost you nothing less to ascend to the highest heavens. Then you shall no longer have any further questions to ask, for you will have answered them all.

Hail to the Immaculate One!

Hail to the Pale Goddess!

Hail to the Virgin Queen!

Artemism / Temple Appreciation - Respect the Greats
« on: November 08, 2018, 04:50:42 pm »
Housekeeping: Hey everyone - I've been a little quiet here what with my moving around and performing my rituals for the end of the cycle. But I have a lot that is being prepared to share with everyone. Very soon you will see the first writings of theological significance to our fledgling lunar canon. Also I have several recordings that are just about ready to be uploaded (one lecture already over 30 minutes), but unfortunately the connecting cable for my preamp was damaged during transit so I've been unable to put the finishing touches on them to make them suitable for upload. I'm going to replace it today though, so TL;DR - much material is coming.

But for now, I thought I would make something a little more light-hearted and discussion oriented. There is an element of Temple-building as one of the longer term goals of Artemism, as stated in the introduction. So I thought we could talk a little bit about which of these great constructions we most enjoy and why that is.

It has been said that a temple is a tool for spiritual development. Meaning, one has to know how to use the temple, and what kind of mentality to approach it in, to get the most out of it. Unfortunately this is not possible for most of the greatest ancient sites of worship still present; but we are not totally lost. The Architecture and the experience of visiting them often speak for themselves to a large extent. This is why in ancient times Architecture was considered the greatest art (or among the greatest), sometimes even beyond writing. A writing must be translated and decoded by a set of rough definitions and interpretation. Architecture is meant to be beheld. It exists not only in the realm of concepts but also in the realm of extension and impenetrability.

There are so many great sites I should like to talk about in time - but I'll start us off with a few of my favorites, one at a time.

Note: Any temple associated with the Moon or Lunar deities should be specially marked so that a list of such structures can be made for the consideration and appreciation of Lunar Devotees.

1. The Kailash Temple

This has long been one of my favorite sites - and it is truly an amazing temple unparalleled by any other. It is named after Mount Kailash, which is considered to be the location where Lord Shiva resides and a holy site. It pays homage to him with a lot of Shaivite imagery such as Nandi the cow of Shiva and the Shiva Lingam. But many aspects of Hinduism are represented more generally - such as depictions of the different incarnations of Vishnu.

The entire thing was carved out of a single rock, starting from the top and working downwards. This in itself in somewhat incredible, but it is even more so when we consider that the site contains many rooms, pillars, statues, and bas reliefs, as well as windows, hidden peepholes, rainwater collection and a working drainage system (not to mention the bridges, balconies, huge staircases, and hidden underground passages). Many of the reliefs and statues are breathtaking works of art in their own right - retelling the famous stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in a visual format.

it was a bedrock excavation with no stone added - so there was zero room for error. All of this had to be carefully planned from the beginning. And on inspection, no errors were made.

200,000 - 500,000 tons of rock was removed, leaving behind the incredible structure. This was not merely limestone or soft sandstone - it was solid Basalt. Crystalline volcanic igneous rock.

There is a legend about the site dating back to the 17th century. It claims that the emperor Aurangzeb sent 1000 workers to fully dismantle the great temple. After three years, it suffered only minimal damage in the form of a few broken or disfigured statues. Realizing that it would be impossible to destroy the site, the emperor gave up.

Modern historical perspectives often date the site's construction to the 750s during the reign of Krishna I, but this is uncertain and in my view - highly unlikely. It is claimed that the temple was constructed in some 19 years. This would mean that at least 55 tons of rock would have to be cut every hour for 12 hours a day throughout that time span. Then, of course, the rock would have to be removed and the remaining exposed rock had to be intricately carved to form a temple fit for a god.

The rock that was removed has not been found, nor have the tools used to construct it. It is worth noting that nearby there are also many carved ruins which are now totally submerged - possibly from the same civilization that created the Kailash temple.

H.P Blavatsky claimed that the temples in this area date back much further than what scholars believe today. And in my view this seems likely, as it is still not understood at all how such a feat of construction was possible at that time. It is possible that it is an ancient site that has been progressively worked on over many centuries in different phases of work.

This is by no means the goal I have in mind for the Temple of Artemis - it would take a herculean effort to produce anything resembling this in the modern era. Perhaps over many many years of diligent work a rival could be constructed, but I dare not set my sights so high as of now. I'm only bringing this forth so that we can appreciate the work of the ancients, and form more robust ideas about what the possibilities of a temple are.

I went a little longer on this than expected, so I'll just leave a few pictures. It's impossible for me to show off everything about the site, so I recommend doing some research of your own if you're interested. I'll return shortly to speak about two more sites - one Indian and one Akkadian - and then we can go from there. Looking forward to see what sites hold the fancy of our members. :)

Som·no·man·cy (n) - The use of sleep related states for magical and alchemical purposes.

Somno (sleep) + Mancy (~divination) = Sleep Magic.

Category: Practice, Lifestyle

Difficulty: 2/5 

Recommended Prerequisites for Mastery:

6 months of daily meditation 20 minutes or more


Occult initiation into the first degree, attainment of second-sight/astral sight.

I. Differentiation between the magic of sleep and that of dreams.

In other words, the topic of this discussion shall be focused on using sleep and sleep-related states as magical tools rather than those methods which are enacted while in dreaming consciousness. We shall surely return to the latter subject in time, but until then I would recommend taking a look at @Kapalika 's thread on the subject which contains some general ideas on the subject (

II. Sleep Deprivation and Bad Habits

Before we discuss potential methods for using sleep to sow and reap great benefit to ourselves, we first must briefly mention how to address the negative impacts which can easily be accrued by a poor approach to the practice. For example, many adults and children are subject to chronic sleep deprivation. The CDC reports that 35.2% of all adults in the United States get less than 7 hours of sleep per 24 hour period 1. This figure tracks closely with other conditions that can also affect the quality of sleep such as smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, and physical inactivity. If it is at all possible for the initiate to avoid these conditions or to suspend them temporarily, it would be most helpful to do so in seeking to master this subject.

Even if most of the overtly negative preconditions can be avoided, our problems are not solved. For the practitioner shall also have to set aside enough time to get a healthy amount of sleep on a regular basis. This duration is often reported as 7+ hours, but in practice one should likely try for at least 8 hours to aim for natural and restful sleep (and if you are already sleep-deprived, you may need as much as 10 hours a day until you have recovered). Another factor that is poorly reported upon is the negative impact of noise exposure upon a sleeping person. The ears are not totally forgotten in sleep - they continue to hear faithfully and this information intrudes upon the dream world and draws subconscious attention away from other processes. A similar thing can happen with light exposure during one's sleeping hours, though to a lesser extent. If it is all possible, one should endeavor to have a quiet and dark space to sleep in - free from all intrusion. A space like this is of enormous value and will be mentioned again in various other practices.

Another problem is the use of alarm clocks in order to make early shifts and classes after potentially working long hours the night before. Many people are in general overworked and thus are forced to use such tools in order to regulate their daily routines. This is unfortunately one of the worst detriments to making the best out of a night's sleep and the process of waking up. An alarm clock is a jarring intrusion into your resting essence, shaking you to waking consciousness and demanding that you at once open your eyes and move, and begin the morning struggle (if not to fitfully steal a few more moments of sleep before repeating the same experience). This method totally destroys one's ability to go through the natural process of waking, and much less to make use of hypnopompic states of consciousness.

Sleep deprivation and other negative sleep factors cause an internal deficiency which is no less debilitating than hunger - and yet because of its subtle and pervasive nature in modern society, it is rarely addressed as a real problem. Sleep deprivation has been used as a cruel method of torture 2 3, and has been shown to precipitate psychotic episodes 2 and even death.

Other side-effects of these conditions include:

• Irritability and sensitivity
• Inability to remember dreams
• Retarding effect on growth and healing processes
• Misalignment with the circadian rhythm of the body
• Temporary state of "shocked" consciousness from the quickened transition

We carry these things with us into our day, and they are not always the easiest of conditions to shake off. Making a directed effort to address some of these problems will greatly increase the quality of your sleep and give you a good baseline to begin using it for magical and transformative purposes.

III. Sleeping Naturally

In contrast to the complicated and myriad effects that come with the chronic sleep deprivation in the modern world - where indeed even in wealthy countries sleep is neglected and disturbed - the most beneficial way to conduct sleep is extremely simple. I'd like to share a quote from the mammoth tome of pessimism called Ever Deeper Honesty, which describes this quite aptly 4: (Slightly paraphrased for better readability)

1. When your body/mind is naturally tired, you will naturally want to lie down,
and your body/mind might sleep, or do whatever it does.
2. When your body/mind is totally finished lying down, it will naturally not want
to lie down any longer, and you will naturally have to get out of bed.

Despite this being extremely simple and easy to do, most people are not doing this (or not being allowed to do this). Which means that they are not even listening to their own bodies. And if they are not even listening to their own bodies on such a crude level, it is highly likely that other things are also happening in their bodies which they are not fully aware of.

Indeed, there are so many spiritual books/teachers/courses/etc, which all teach you how to
listen to your body/intuition/etc, but none of this is as important, as being able to naturally
wake up (when the body/mind is ready), and naturally go to sleep (when the body/mind is


Note: It's important to see, that this is not about being able to stop (and rest, take a step
back, etc), on an occasional basis.
-- Ie, it's not about having 3 or 4 evenings a week, where you go somewhere (and/or do
something), to stop (and rest, take a step back, etc).
-- Ie, It's about being able to do this naturally, every day, 24/7.
And it’s important to realize, that this is not something that is a “want”, but a “need”.
-- Because, if you just “stop” for a short while, (eg, stopping for a whole week, or month, or
year), this will not help, because as soon as you get back into your normal life, you'll be
back into the routine (of not letting your mind/body naturally rest when it needs, and for
however long it needs).
-- Ie, the only way to make a true/permanent difference to your life, is to naturally live your
life, like this, everyday.

Note: Saying that all of this is important, might sound ridiculous (to some people),
however, what is more ridiculous, is a life where:
1. You can’t go to bed when you want.
2. You can’t wake up when you want.
3. You can’t just stay in bed if you want.

And indeed, this level of achievement alone can have massive impacts on the practitioner's life. The ability to sleep alone, in a relatively sound-proof, light-proof room for as long as the body and mind naturally require (that is, until going through the full process of waking until one is ready to get up without an alarm clock) is invaluable. Some of the effects of this include: the ability to remember dreams with much greater clarity; starting each day with a mind that is fully recharged and healed to a great extent; consistently having energy levels which are overflowing rather than deficient; much better mood in general; no need for caffeine, which would further tax the resources of the body. These abilities become more and more apparent over longer periods of time, and being able to consistently sleep effectively should be considered one of the greatest fundamental methods for the purification of the intellect, and the emotional mind (Air and Water).

This alone can go a long ways towards alleviating the need within one's psyche that can cause her many impediments in her alchemical work. Consistency in this practice of natural sleeping also allows for the recognition and observation of the various states of consciousness peripheral to sleep and the transition periods between them, which we shall discuss in brief directly.

IV. Hypnagogic States of Consciousness

Hypnagogic (adj) - relating to the state just before falling asleep.

Now it seems we are getting into the real meat of the practice, or what is experienced most definitely as an active form of practice rather than a matter of discipline and Will. That is, the observation and appreciation of the transitional periods in consciousness. Only so much can be said in text, so the initiate should work by his own experience to see exactly what is there, and how it can be made use of. The first of these kinds of experiments involves the hypnagogic period just before falling asleep. This is probably the easiest category to explore and also one of the most intriguing, and so we'll speak a bit about it first.

The practice sounds relatively simple, but the actual doing can be a little tricky - since it involves observing and learning from experience that is happening at some of the most rarefied and relaxed states of consciousness available throughout one's day. This is why the primary requirement for this type of magic involves a relatively solid base in meditative practices - wherein the skill of maintaining focus and presence in all different states of consciousness is honed. The alternative prerequisite, is the acquisition of what I second-sight. This is the ability to perceive veridical visual impressions that do not arise from the functioning of the eyes or the reception of any light. Equal to this prerequisite is the apperception of extrasensory powers, or in other words access to modes of perception beyond those of the five senses. This is a relatively deep topic on its own, so we won't divert too much to discuss it here; these abilities qualify a candidate because a person who has mastered any of them has a strong ability to perceive and recall those phenomena which happen on very subtle levels and in different seas of conscious possibility space.

The practitioner should recuse herself to her sleeping room while not sleep-deprived. As she approaches natural sleep, she should attempt to maintain a subtle level of awareness as the processes of drifting asleep take place. One should observe without preventing sleep from approaching by raising conscious activity overly much. As this is done, several different kinds of phenomena may begin to occur, including:

• Dis-identified speech of an inner voice, speaking with great clarity (or a great dementedness) about sometimes surprising topics
• Weak and frenetic visionary experiences, sometimes rising into full blown consistent visions with color.
• Less frequently, auditory effects that do not seem to arise from internal gesticulations or from external sources.
• Divinatory effects - future and possible future events being revealed subtly
• Rarefied states of feeling resulting from sinking into oblivion while maintaining awareness
     → Sometimes incredibly blissful as the comfort of the bed is enjoyed, and as the various processes of the body are wound down
     → As this happens, the related impulses of the Will are relaxed and set aside, giving it less and less reason to bring consciousness outside of itself.
     → Awareness eventually relaxes itself totally and returns to Essence (spirit).
     →     → Similar to a Samadhi-like experience - but notably different and less intense in these circumstances
     →     → Nevertheless, both experiences can be classified among joys as Shiva-Bliss, since they are bliss arising from the dissolution of self and of experience itself.
• Once one has become skilled with this practice, then she may wish to explore what happens when it is done from a state of exhaustion rather than peaceful sleepiness.
     → Greater hallucinatory and delirious happenings
     → Powerful practice for strengthening the Will and training discipline

V. Hypnopompic States of Consciousness

Hypnopompic (adj) - relating to the states immediately preceding waking consciousness, and during the transition to full wakefulness.

This state and the last one often get thrown around together - but they are in truth markedly different in experiential quality and applications. At the end of the day, one wearily returns to bed and takes comfort in that respite as her physical processes take the chance to heal themselves, and her mind is let loose from the chain of mundane existence - quickly spinning off into semi-incoherent and self-indulgent tangents. But in the morning, one is suddenly born again, gasping, from that state of ultimate relaxation and infinite mental potential. She struggles to make sense of the lingering afterimages and feelings as the ordinary sounding of waking consciousness reasserts itself. In this way, the hypnopompic stages of waking amount to a kind of violence - the violence of creation; as such magical and alchemical methods that make use of this transition period are themselves more violent than their counterparts and similarly powerful. It has been said that some of the creative insights which are usually attributed to dreams actually happen during this period of waking from R.E.M sleep. Whether or not this is true you shall have to explore for yourself in your personal practice.

The practice I recommend to begin experimenting with this, is similar to the previous one if only in description. One must exert control at the critical moment of instantiation and then prevent herself from mentally tensing up at this experience. Instead she must assert a calm watchfulness and observe what is happening within herself carefully. It is imperative that an alarm clock not be used for this practice. One should be waking from a night of natural sleep, and as this is happening she must resolve to keep her eyes closed for 3-5 minutes and refrain from moving as the aforementioned observation and appreciation begins. The natural process of waking takes several minutes to complete and this should all be observed without interruption.

Here are some things one might experience with attention to this practice:

• Observing the instantiation of one's waking consciousness.
• Taking note of one's first thought of the day - slippery as this notion may be. First intentional thought of the day, first heard thought remembered etc.
• As long as the eyes remain closed, one's dream recall will be nearly perfect. Use this to reach back into Dreaming consciousness and analyze the content there to recall important semiotics and the emotional states you have been in throughout the period you can remember.
• An incredibly fresh and vibrant state of consciousness, sometimes the most pure and satisfied of one's day.
     → High states of bliss can be achieved; they are different from hypnagogic states as they are based on restful and springlike being rather than awareness of dissolution.
    →     → According to the framework previously mentioned, this would be classified as Brahma-Bliss transitioning into Vishnu-Bliss if sustained as the period ends.
    →     → Done correctly, this joy of birth will be accompanied by a sublime state of Will-lessness that will allow the adept to experiment, unimpeded by impulses to move or think.
    →     →     → (Advanced) Using this birth of consciousness divided from the material world, to create a separate existence for oneself before eventually opening the eyelids.

VI. Napping and Interrupted Sleep Schedules.

Napping is not only a casual way to catch up on sleep, it is actually quite a useful tool for occult and spiritual purposes - especially those who are interested in exploring the processes of dreams and sleep. If an adept has had a long day and is exhausted or is otherwise suffering from certain mental ailments such as headache and brainfog, it can actually be more beneficial for her to simply take a nap and recover rather than simply going right into a more demanding practice such as meditation or yoga. (Although if she has determined that she will continue her practice then and has no other time to perform it to make her regimen, she should still perform the practice, or she sins against her Will.)

Varying lengths of nap time have been proposed for different desired effects. Short naps, colloquially referred to as “power naps”, are those ranging from 10-30 minutes. This kind of nap does not allow enough time to get very deep into REM sleep, and so they are often not very useful for generating inspiration. However, they are sufficient to “wipe clean” the current mental state of the practitioner - and this property makes them a great way to break through such limitations as procrastination and writer’s block. I have also found them effective for storing up a bit of extra energy before going about a task.

Longer naps, such as those that go 1-2 hours or even longer are sufficient to create the sensation of awaking to a new day. They are usually enough to fully rejuvenate the practitioner unless he has sustained more serious bodily damage or exhaustion. These kinds of naps also have a good chance of passing into REM and also into the deepest states of sleep which are beyond dreams. In these cases, inspiration from dreams becomes again accessible and is sometimes easier to recollect owing to the smaller amount of time between dream and waking.

More fine distinctions on nap time can be made, but this would serve no real purpose, as each adept will have to discover for herself what effects she can induce by altering the time scale - and this is something that is by no means able to be spoken about in a general sense.

It should now be noted that the restriction against alarm clocks can be lifted for naps and interrupted sleep schedules, as these things may prove impossible to experiment with accurately without some external signal to intentionally break up sleep at the desired time. Still, care should be taken that the alarm not be too varied or agitating enough as to destroy the potential usefulness of the waking state by requiring immediate action. The best noises that can be used for this purpose is either a single short note of sound, or otherwise a constantly sounding tone which is not too loud or grating. Either of these will allow the adept to wake and take note of the signal without being required to take immediate action to silence it.

One additional purpose of napping, which is quite obvious, should be noted all the same due to its significance for our purposes. This is that taking naps or making use of interrupted sleep schedules makes it possible for the adept to experience multiple hypnagogic and hypnopomic effects in a day. She is not limited to the usual one of each. This allows her to take a closer and more frequent examination of her subject.

The use of interrupted sleep schedules needs little explanation, as the term speaks for itself. By setting (non-invasive) alarms during the night, one turns her sleeping period into a series of deep naps. There are several different ideas about how to best go about this - but I shall list only two for those who wish to experiment with this.

Up to 4 hours rest, 1 hour awake, 4 hours rest. - This schedule is meant to replicate the natural sleep schedule that humans pursued before the advent of modern time scheduling and artificial lighting. It is speculated that this spare hour of productivity (under the moon) was responsible for much of the copulation of ancient humans. Whatever the case may be, it does allow for two very deep periods of sleep per day, and a single hour of productive time apart from all worry as the rest of the world sleeps.

3+ hours rest, then waking every 90 minutes - This schedule is designed to assist in trawling up even more material from the deep places of dreaming consciousness. In theory, the long period of rest is enough to allow for REM and dreamless sleep. Following this, the adept can quickly rise for just a few moments and record whatever she remembers from the content of her dream. Afterwards, the end of each 90 minute interval is meant to interrupt a period of REM - allowing for greater dream recall. I have had some success with this method, but I advise caution. It is a difficult schedule to keep and one must be careful not to exhaust herself pursuing it.

VII. Sleeping Asanas

- under construction -

Title of Mastery

One having mastered these practices should consider themselves as having earned the Somnus Dreadnought - that is, the God of Sleep's heavy coat. Once you've thoroughly integrated the results to the point of being able to speak about the merits of the degree and to keep consistent mastery over your sleep, you can wear it with confidence. Fools may scoff at its significance, but in the weary lines of their faces you shall spy the oversight of those who have neglected the art of natural rejuvenation, and who approach the dark half of their lives with carelessness.

Sigillic Representation of Degree

-under construction-


4. (page 436-437)

Artemism / Introduction: Artemism and Lunar Devotion
« on: October 15, 2018, 08:25:48 pm »
Work in Progress

Welcome to all devotees of the Moon, and to all of our wonderful members here at the O.S! This sub forum is currently under construction, and it will likely take a bit of time to expand to reflect the full breadth of its reference material. For now, I will handle most of the work and the content here, but I encourage others to comment upon, critique, and contribute to the ideas and experiences being put forth.

Part 1: Historical Context in brief

To describe the beginnings of our subject, we must speak a bit about the heavens - that is, the sky above us. As long as creatures have had functioning eyes, they have beheld and scurried under a great expanse, filled with remote lights and colors, ever circling above them. Indeed long before this, those various influences had exerted themselves on the life and development of each of these beings, even from the beginning.

With the arrival of Man, the thinking animal, came the desire to understand and explain these strange and dizzying phenomena. This desire, was invariably the cause of his earliest mythologies, religions, and cultural traditions; alongside, of course, the desire to understand and explain those things of the natural world around him, and those things he saw inside himself. But as thought matured and recorded observations expanded, a more sophisticated approach was taken: the celestial luminaries were seen not only as representatives of the great unknown - they were also seen as representatives of the things of the natural world, and the principles within man. Thus the birth of the eternal adage, "As above, So below."

And so the bodies of light began to acquire identities and personalities, informed by but not limited to the characteristics they themselves exhibited. They became something like universal cultural categories, to one of which every part of existence belonged. Every color, metal, plant, animal, and human, was ruled in part or in whole by one of these sets of principles. The luminaries had ceased to be mysterious lights in the sky, and had become the Gods in Heaven.

Such as we have described happened in one form or another in every civilization that reached a certain level of sophistication. Perhaps most prominently in Egypt, Greece, Babylon, China, and early Western Europe. The assorted names and meanings and traditions did vary, of course, though not so much as one might expect. This became one prominent basis of religion, astrology, and later, magic and the occult.

Unfortunately, what comes after this point is equally predictable and widespread. Through a complicated series of syncretisms and societal changes one god, usually the Sun god, gains prominence over all the others, until they are seen as no more than demons and idols. One example of this can be seen in ancient Kemet. The myth of Osiris-Horus that we know of today had reached its basic form no later than 2400 BCE, and naturally Horus was seen as the highest deity, though not to the exclusion of all others. I say naturally, because Horus was seen as the embodiment of the heavens themselves in full. He contained the stars and planets, and most importantly - his left eye, the Moon, and his right eye, the Sun. However, as time went on the Solar cults, who honor power above all else, gained the advantage - and began the consumption and integration of other traditions under their banner. Consequently Ra grew out of all proportion of his original role. He absorbed the creator god Atum, and became Atum-Ra. He absorbed Osiris and became god of the underworld. He even absorbed Horus, and became the god supreme, Ra-Horakhty. And in the New Kingdom when Amun became a popular rival, he too was absorbed and syncretized into the Sun and Ra. The project of Akhenaten to destroy the old traditions and worship only the Sun as the one god was almost a natural extension of this process. It was not successful, of course, but the whole scenario only solidified the supremacy of the Solar cults in Egypt.

Another example, can be seen in Roman civilization - which had long honored a pantheon of planetary and stellar gods even since the early days of the republic. Sol had been with them, but he was as one among many, and was certainly subordinate to the sky god, Jupiter. But by the late roman Empire, he too had become swollen out of all proportion as he took on the title of Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, honored by emperors and said by his devotees to be God Supreme. It was this characteristic expansion of power, in my opinion, which helped to make the Empire so susceptible to Christianity and it's one God doctrine. The two cults, which had become the largest in the empire at that time, essentially fought and absorbed each other - producing the Solar Christianity that would dominate much of the world and destroy its opposition for the next 1500 years.

We could go on and talk about this process of Solar cults expanding and assuming power in other contexts, but I think the point has been sufficiently demonstrated. We are not here to argue about the embittered theological and political battles of the past, but it must be noted that something is lost in this great grasping for supremacy - that being, the perspective of the other hand. In the earliest times, the Sun and the Moon were always seen as equals (or sometimes even with the Moon being the greater of the two). But the Lunar cults never became dominators and oppressors, as such a thing would be antithetical to the wisdom of the Pale Goddess. The Sun is the conqueror, the master of external power, always projecting himself outward. The Moon, is the undefiled, the Queen of internal power, and revealer of esoteric mysteries.

Because of these characteristics, it is almost natural that we should see the Sun worshipers gaining prominence in the public sphere, while the Moon worshipers gain prominence in that of the occult. And so it was. Even when the one god had reigned unchallenged for centuries, Lunar worship was never totally destroyed. There were no texts, or holy books, or vastly complicated syncretisms full of narrative parables and self-sustaining world-views. But the Moon does not need such things to entice devotees. In fact, she accepts none except those who are perceptive enough to seek her praise, and worthy enough to earn it. In this way, she is the most terse of the Gods, but also the most meritocratic. The Queen of Night speaks not in texts, but in silence. And so how could the moonlit path ever be destroyed? Therefore it should be no surprise that even under the domination of Christianity, there were still witches, oracles, and priestesses who received the direct transmission of the Goddess, recognized her power, and honored her by ritual and lifestyle.

But as a consequence of this long process - there are almost no theological texts in existence that detail the worship of the Moon and her practices (as the isolated followers mentioned earlier were not typically scholars with patrons, but were often hermits and witches that were not even literate much of the time). There are no religions based on the wisdom she offers. There are few if any schools that honor the way of the Moon primarily as there were in ancient times when many different mystical traditions and their places of worship could co-exist peacefully. The way of the Sun has survived and been recorded ad nauseum. The way of Saturn has flourished in certain circles of educated elites. The way of Mars is just as everlasting as the eternal conflict of man, being the path of the experienced soldier and the perfected warrior. But the way of the Moon, has vanished from the minds of men. It cannot be studied, or appreciated. It is nowhere to be found, except by those who determine themselves to seek her favor. In fact, there is not even a word to describe a devotee of the Moon, or the tradition of those who do so.

To remedy this, is the Goal of Artemism. We seek not merely to reconstruct what has once been lost, but to rediscover the hidden truths for ourselves in their purest form. We shall learn the secret names of the Goddess, so that we may speak them in praise the more lovingly. We shall learn that of her lore which remains and incorporate that which is in accordance with the insight given by the Immaculate One. We shall reestablish the lunar tradition, lay down what is revealed in writing so that those lovers of Diana shall not have to grasp in the dark for even the first touch of her word, as I have done. We shall rebuild her temple, and we shall share again her mysteries to those who have the intuition to seek them. We shall be a light in the darkness to illuminate the path for her children, even as she is that light for us in the darkness and mire of this world. It shall be done, as an expression of thankfulness for the blessings I have received, in accordance with my Will. The three-faced seed has been planted - may it sprout and grow to full stature! Domina Oriens

I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, "Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand".

Part 2: What is Artemism?

Artemism and Moon Worship in general is the reverence and celebration of the Divine Feminine Principle. The Divine Feminine, in contradistinction to the Balance of Male and Female, stands alone without an opposite pole. It is before the beginning of all and is the point at which they all come to rest. Therefore the Divine Feminine is, esoterically speaking, the Woman without Man. I.e The Virgin.

The Divine Feminine Nature exists as a realm to itself, but it is also manifested in this realm - in the form of those devotees who have known it and thereby had their own Spirits radically transformed in its image. In this we can see the mystery of the Virgin Birth made plain. And it is for this reason that the Moon is known to us by one title as 'The Virgin Mother'.

On an experiential level, Artemism is focused on the direct realization of the great mysteries of life. The goal is not to seek truth that we may speak it, but rather to plumb and explore those hidden depths of reality which we already know could never be spoken. This is accomplished through various methods which will be expanded upon at length in time as one of the main goals of this subforum. But, simply speaking, the Lunar Priestess is attempting to unify the Will, and to become queen of her subjective universe. Once this is accomplished, the focus shifts towards psychonautical exploration, the precipitation of visionary experience, revelatory communion with the goddess, access to rarefied states of conscious, subconscious and unconscious activity, total transformation of the processes of being in accordance with the Will, etc etc etc. One of the most defining characteristics of the Witch is the unerring dedication to this work. One does not become the High Priestess, standing before the veil, speaking mysteries to those who would seek to look beyond it - by being a casual occultist on the weekends.

On a philosophical level, Lunar devotion becomes a question of ideals and communication. What characteristics of the Moon can be gathered by observation alone? What does it mean to be a Priestess, an Oracle, a Virgin? What are the benefits of this lifestyle? How can transcendent experiences be described, and what do they mean? Alongside this, is also the analytic and deconstructive effort of reality that causes Artemism to make that choice. In other words, coming to certain conclusions about the nature of this world, seeing through certain illusory aspects of it, and therefore choosing to approach life in a different way that is consistent with the logic employed.

On a theological level, Artemism is about devoting oneself to the Moon Goddess, and learning exactly what that means. Collecting the names of the moon, learning her myths and legends, and those narratives revealed by her true followers. It is also about honoring the cycles of the moon in ritual and in other ways, making essential astrological observations, and conducting appropriate rites based on this accumulated knowledge. All these things inform the aesthetic of the Artemist, as well as an understanding of her place in the world on a more symbolic and personal level than what can be done solely through dry intellectual diatribes.

Artemism does not make an exclusive claim to truth. Devotees of the Pale Goddess recognize that the one and same truth has been available to mankind for all time. Nor does it claim that the symbols and thought structures it provides are the only path to approach this truth. For this reason, an Artemist does not have any trouble with syncretizing thought structures from different traditions, always keeping in mind one primary truth taught by the Moon Goddess - that only in Silence, not in speaking, is the real truth revealed. This being said, Artemism should be recognized not only as a philosophical and theoretical framework which understands and revitalizes other traditions by the light of direct revelation; it should also and perhaps primarily be seen as a modern tradition of spiritual practice which has been constructed to lead receptive beings towards that which is beyond words.

Artemism and the Left Hand Path

Any order of Lunar Priestesses should rightly be considered part of the Left Hand Path, even if only in the esoteric sense. For the Moon has always been the counterpoint to the Solar cults of worship, and the left hand to their right.

Artemism is radically individualistic and is consistent in this point throughout all of its associated philosophical traditions. However it differs from other LHP ideologies such as Satanism, Setianism, and Saturnianism in that it asserts the reality of Good and Evil. Artemists, almost by definition, do recognize the ultimate which is beyond Good and Evil - however a strong system of logically positive Meta-ethics has been developed which addresses the causes of these phenomena in the Manifestation, the challenges they provide the Individual, and unique methods of addressing the problem (As I have elaborated here in the past at length and will continue to do so). What Artemism does not subscribe to, is Moral Compulsion - or the idea that there is some preternatural regulation of theses forces in the Manifestation, or that the existence of Good and Evil constitutes a Duty to act and react in some specific way. No, as the Thelemites say, and as has been written the happenings of this realm through all times, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Therefore, the Artemist solution comes as the result of a "Will to Purity," which arises from the denial of the Schopenhaurian "Will to Live," and the transcendental knowing tasted thereby. This structure also allows Artemists to accurately recognize and understand White and Black magic at a much deeper level than is common in other traditions, and thereby to more accurately understand the power that is accessible by magical methods that make use of Ritual Purification or Ritul Defilements. This is one example of how Artemist philosophy is characteristically 'Logically consistent, but not logically bound.' (Refer back to the truth value of Thought vs Silence and the emphasis on practice.)

This Will to Purity, essentially constitutes a refusal of union with the material world (Again, see the fundamental nature of the Virgin metaphor). In this way, Artemism naturally finds itself in association with structures of thought such as Gnosticism, Buddhism, Zen, certain strands of Hinduism, Zurvian Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, Philosophical Pessimism, Existentialism, Antinatalism, and Anticosmicism. In a sense Artemism can be thought of as a common descendant of these lineages, and Artemists may often refer back to the writings of these schools of thought based on personal preference - but I consider it more accurate to consider Artemism a modern reformulation of the most effective manifestations of the Will to Purity in the past. I.e Artemism is not merely Buddhism, or Gnosticism, or Western Esotericism, but stands on its own as a new tradition which intends to create a clear and honest path towards spiritual realization for individuals who are receptive
to this type of perspective.

Goals of Artemism (One Sentence each)

1. Provide an effective and practical system that can bring one's true will to accordance with the Will to Purity, and thereby to
reveal the and develop the occult and spiritual potential of those who wish to transform themselves in such a way.

2. Re-establish the Temple of Artemis, and restore the true spiritual tradition that is informed by the Moon Goddess.

Goals of Artemism (Short)

1. Totally free the individual from all bonds and weaknesses, returning her to a resting state of Purity and Sublimnity. A state which, unrestricted by mundane conditioning and routine compulsion, is most receptive to the glories of the higher arts of Greater White Magic - apprehension of understanding and wisdom through direct revelation, the precipitation of visionary experiences and transcendental states of consciousness. We will discuss these greater arts in detail as time allows what teachings I am given to share to unfold and blossom. This state is also one which greatly increases personal agency and protection from evil for oneself and others.

1a. Ideally the higher teachings would be shared in an individual way, to those who have reached a sufficient level to be able to understand an implement them in an effective way, instead of merely learning them as new systems of thought and concept. However, due to the challenges of modernity (lack of qualified masters, extreme lack of dedicated students, extreme difficulty in providing communal spaces which are conducive to the journey, total lack of privacy etc etc etc) - the essential teachings should be propagated in a totally open and free way, for any that would seek them out and put them into practice of their own volition. Accordingly, if possible all practices and rituals should be prepared in such a way that they can be conducted by a lone practitioner. This does open up the possibility of abuse of the teachings, but this risk may be accepted - as it has always been possible for magical dabblers and Zen devils to do such things that cause them to fail and fail spectacularly. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the conditions of this global society (but particular in "The West") are such that most true philosophers, and nearly all true witches, are autodidacts and lone practitioners. We should endeavor to provide those who have the intuition to pursue purification and spiritual development access to the moonlit path of Artemis, and the exalted fruits which it bears.

2. Having freed herself and become self-realized, the Lunar Priestess should endeavor to re-establish the temple of Artemis, so that a haven might be created for all followers of the moon to know communion with one another, to perform workings together, to record the essential teachings in a more permanent way, and to offer guidance and loving service to those who are drawn to the path of the Pale Goddess.

Goals of Artemism (Long)

 - Under Construction -

This post is currently unfinished, and partly unedited. It will be refined and brought to completion alongside the growth of this subforum as time allows.

General LHP Discussion / My Experience with a Lam-like Entity.
« on: October 03, 2018, 01:56:35 pm »
So, It's taken me a while to digest this experience and follow up on some of the many things that came out of it. As far as I know, I have never yet mentioned this encounter on the forum except in oblique reference. To be clear, I still have never read any of Crowley's experiences with it - so I can't say if there is any similarity between the two other than a half-resemblance. (If any of you have read up on the subject, please share any noteworthy similarities or differences you notice.)

Several months ago, I was in Satsang with one of my students (I've taught no more than 3 people in person so far; only one of them is still actively pursuing greater knowledge and ability). I gave a short discourse on some basic principles of sanctification, and then conducted a simple rite. Afterwards, we began a meditation session together.

Quite a while on, I had entered a profound state of concentration and restful awareness - when suddenly a light broke into that sacred temple. I saw standing before me a being in simple red robes. His form shimmered in the vision of my second-sight in a curious way that I could not quite grasp. The body was humanoid, covered almost entirely by that scarlet cloth - but the face peered at me from under the hood. When I saw the face it was as if I was looking at it from up close, though he remained a fair distance away. Because of this, I could see his visage in great detail. I saw a small, neotenic face with no healthy color in it whatsoever. The skin was an unforgiving slate grey, almost stonelike. I realized that it wasn't really skin, as I saw the subtle impression of overlaying scales. Most striking of all were the eyes. There four of them: two on top of each other on each side of the face, all four with a diagonal orientation. The eyes were the most remarkable hue of pink I have yet perceived. Yes, pink. Bright pink, fully and without deviation. There was no pupil or sclera, the entire eye was that piercing color wearing the glisten of false moisture.

I said nothing.

The entity raised its two arms and brought the hands in front of where a human heart would be, about a foot inbetween them. There in his hands a shape began manifesting. It was a two dimensional star written in lines of blinding light, though there was no impediment to viewing it. I was extremely interested by this, and I tried to count how many points there were on the outside of the object. There were seven points, no - eight. Now seven, now eight, now seven... and perhaps more. The created figure was shifting in a mind-boggling way. I could see the general shape of of it at once, but when I observed the details it began moving in that unearthly way. It befuddled my second sight. Normally, when I perceive objects in (let's just call it) the Astral plane, they at once reveal themselves to me in full. This is what I've referred to as 'True-sight' here before. It is also present in dreams if you are sufficiently lucid. When I see an object in that space, there is no need to deeply observe it and look it over for details. Everything it is, is immediately revealed in a direct way. Even if there is some particularly strange or noteworthy characteristic somewhere on it, that too is contained at once in the direct perception of the idea behind the manifested form. An example I've used before involves seeing a man with a totally blank face in a dream, and at once knowing that in the context of the dream, he represents your father. There are many other examples of this type of phenomenon, but that's not the point of this post.

The interesting thing, was that the shape - and perhaps the entity itself, refused to reveal itself at once to my spiritual perception. Was it hiding itself behind a glamour, of sorts? Or was it simply unable to reveal itself fully in that provisional space of meeting? I began to open my mouth to speak (not the physical one, I was far from my body at that point) but at once he let the mystical star projection cease and lifted one hand. I had the sense that he had placed one finger over his mouth, but I was unsure if this had actually happened. What I was sure of, was that the same message was delivered. No, it meant. Not that way. Not here. It's difficult to explain, but I knew at once that this was what was meant. We were in a sacred place, too holy for words - even those that are spoken in the mind.

I stared into its eyes for a long moment, becoming aware that a more fundamental level of communication was taking place between this being and my inner spirit. I have no words for it, but I felt it deeply. I was being taught. There was much more happening here that would continue to unfold for me over time.

I started to waking consciousness, seeing that my friend and student had fallen into a deep sleep. So deep in fact, that I was entirely unable to wake him up - so I left at once without the opportunity to say goodbye. We had been doing meditation together for some time, so this struck me as extremely odd. How had he fallen in the beginner's trap and lost himself again, after all our efforts? I drove in silence to my home, puzzling all the way about the experience. I remember thinking that he had looked somewhat like a grey alien, but with less exaggerated features, and he was very tall rather than diminutive. His scales and those unforgettable rows of eyes and his strange clothing, the star he had showed me. All this set it far apart from the experiences with greys or even reptillians I had heard of before.

I have experienced many incredible things in my practice, some much more powerful than what happened here. But it remains a unique experience that has stayed with me. The entity appeared to me again much later while I was in the midst of a beautiful visionary experience. By that time, I had mastered much of star lore. The different kinds of seven pointed star and the eight pointed star were now to me as natural to draw as the pentagram. I had already seen and done so much in this vision that I was confident, perhaps even a little bold. This time I was the one to manifest a shape before me. It was a heptagram with a blessed image of the moon contained within that I had worked up and charged as a personal symbol. This projection, was something like a demonstration of my progress so far. It was impossible to tell if he was pleased, or just indifferent. And then I was gone, moving on through different parts of the vision-space.

This second experience was not, I think, a direct encounter as the first one seemed to be. It's more likely that I was exploring the depths of my spirit in this state; I came across the part of myself that contained the unspoken teaching I received the first time. If so, I may be able to reach him again - if not make him move.


So, there are a couple of other things I could mention where this experience came back to me, but I think this is enough for a starting point. Any thoughts on what happened here? Is this anything like what crowley recorded with LAM? It may be totally different but the resemblance is sort of uncanny to me. Every time I see this drawing I remember the being's face, even though it was different in significant ways.

So, I was just thinking of ways to foster some community interaction outside of dialogue, and a thought occurred to me. Why don't we choose a topic, and then bring our collective symbology skills to bear upon it, so that we may represent it and ourselves by what is produced. And perhaps after a certain time, we shall hold a vote to determine community favorites. (If the community finds it to their liking, maybe we could feature some of the winners in the next newsletter?)

Certainly we are not asking for masterpieces, or anything. Just simple linework that expresses our perspective. If anyone has any feedback on this competition, the presumptive rules, or the topic, please feel free to discuss it with me. Everything is open for revision, that's why this is the Pilot, which may or may not be picked up for a full season's run. ;)

Presumptive Rules
1. Any size canvas or material that you have access to is allowed.
2. Any color may be used in the construction, but please keep it Monochrome so that the spirit of a sigil is preserved, and that it may be transcribed to a different medium for charging and publication.
3. You do not have to follow the established style of any symbolic or occult tradition. Your work can even be mostly automatic or made with incidental energies. Shading, unless it be simple, should probably be avoided for this style.
4. Letters and words are allowed, but extensive descriptions and phrases are discouraged. If you use a different script, you may wish to provide a translation or a pointer towards which language or script it is. It is also fine to include the words that make up the topic somewhere in your submission if you like.
5. You may wish to include a title, or a few lines of poetry/prose alongside your submission; these will be considered supplementary additions to the sigil and not the sigil itself.

Presumptive Topic: XXI - The World

I look forward to hearing some feedback on this. I will be working on a submission to give an example and share some of my own energy (until then, if anyone wants any inspiration as to the suggested medium, I have posted in my journal thread  several sigillic representations, semi-sigils, and automatic line drawings that are mostly within the pretty open rules I suggested.) There is not a ton of urgency with this. I say we should keep this open for 1-2 weeks so that everyone who wants to participate has time to make a submission.

General LHP Discussion / Recent Magical Experiences
« on: August 04, 2018, 04:12:47 pm »
Things have been a little too quiet in here, and I feel like even in my own discussions I've been a little too stuffy and cerebral lately. So let's talk about Magic(k)!

 I've been having some pretty significant breakthroughs in my practice. I've developed a method of tapping into visionary and revelatory consciousness much more reliably, and I'm able to bring a lot more out of it than in the past. My experimental chaos magic is becoming more refined as a divination tool. But I've also decided to invoke some order in my life as well, bringing to bear my efforts on audio content to share some of my ideas and experiences, as well as designing and promoting a new game of Dungeons & Dragons so that I can exercise my passion for storytelling.

I feel like I'm undergoing a transitional period in my studies. A lot of the more topical interests and materials have been falling away, and the focus on my cultivation and practice has become even greater. A lot of insights that I had long ago are becoming more and more integrated, and it seems that the fruit of my work has freed my intuitive mind to a great extent. I am amazed at the wise energy I have found there; it goes beyond thought and even knowledge.

I saw @Mindmaster mention a servitor called Fotamecus over in the lounge, and I've worked with him a few times now to great effect. I actually have been working on binding him and creating a personalized version imbued with my power, so that I can use him to fit the particulars of some of my other methods.  (The original)  (some additional info)

What have you been working on, O.S Members?

This is my first attempt at sharing content in this style! I thought I would post it here, and see if anyone wanted to check it out, and perhaps give me a bit of feedback. The quality is mediocre, but hopefully it is understandable. I tried to make the commentary sections more casual and approachable, so you aren't going to hear my most brilliant insights here haha.

Keep in mind that I am sharing and sharpening an interesting perspective from a source, and not only speaking my own opinions. I know most of you will likely disagree with some of the subject matter in this video, but know that it is not my full understanding either. I leave you a way out, at the end, but it's dependent on you. The beginning of this is the blandest so just skip ahead a bit if you get bored.  ;)

Other Religions / The Lion, The Serpent, and The Lamb
« on: July 24, 2018, 03:19:19 pm »
Hello all, this is just a bit of speculative reverie I hope you'll join me in. It revolves around three of the most potent animal symbols in Hebrew theology: The Lion, The Serpent, and The Lamb. First I will assign some values to each, and then we shall see what arises from their relations. After that, I'll open the floor for you guys to give this same exercise a go on your own terms.

Here is what I see in them, in simple terms.

The Lion is primarily mighty. He represents power and strength. He sleeps where he chooses, and he eats what he chooses. No other beast can challenge him. He is king of the wild.

The Serpent is primarily wise. He represents reason, knowledge, and the sagacity of understanding.

The Lamb is primarily innocent. Due to the nature of it's heart, it is harmless to all. Even if you hurt it, it will still present itself to you with the same vulnerability. It is pure and untainted.

Let us imagine an equilateral triangle with each of these occupying a vertex. At each corner, there is a paragon that stands for the perfected principle of each of these symbols. And in the middle of each connecting line, there is a circle that represents the paragon of someone who partakes in both of the principles he is connected to.

Between the last two is the Gnostic. He strives to be as wise as the serpent, and yet as innocent as the lamb. He wishes harm on no one, and yet, he doesn't ignore evil either. He does not turn his face away from carnage and devastation. He watches with unflinching eye, and learns from it as well as or better than the predator does. He is experienced, and has the means to preserve himself in a cruel world without stepping on the heads of others so to speak. We can see this in theory with gnostic Christians, Buddhists, White witches, the romanticized depiction of the Cathars, and certain Yogis and alchemists.

Between the first two is the Satanist (just to use a name, not speaking for anyone else). He strives to be as wise as the serpent, and as strong as the lion. He lives by a sort of Nietzschean Master Morality, and seeks to satisfy his Will to power. The value of something is related to its usefulness to him in fulfilling his purposes, whatever shape they may take. He seeks knowledge and understanding, but then applies the insight gained from that to better realize his personal will. Certain groups of satanists, black magicians, illuminists, and secret societies tend to assume this role.

And making use of those on either side, is the Righteous Warrior or King. As innocent as the Lamb, and yet as mighty as the Lion. It is harder to put a generic name on this one, because it is the rarest combination. In this world, a man who has both purity and power will lose one or the other in time. Either for his own renunciation, his giving in to temptation, or having his power taken by someone smarter or more cruel than he. The resurrected Christ at judgement is referred to often as "the lion and the lamb," because of his nature of being All-mighty and All-good. (Although one could also argue he would be all-wise in a gnostic interpretation.) For more grounded examples, I would point to someone like Layman Pang - who is remembered as living a practical life in society despite being fully awakened and selfless. Or otherwise in a zen-like warrior, who enters into battle without thought of victory or defeat. Like a samurai, or like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

Challenge: Add a new animal, or use another set of symbolic animals, and see how the relationships change, and what new characters arise in their concordance.

Hello everyone. Recent discussions on the forum here and some other material I've come across have had me thinking about the question of Meta-Ethics. Do Good and Evil have any objective reality? Can universal claims be made about them? Moral Realism is the position that they do, and we can. Moral Relativism is the position that they do not, and we can not. In this thread, I am going to be attempting to argue for Moral Realism - but I encourage you to disagree! The point of this writing is to find the limitation and benefits of the paradigm. By the way, this is a super long thread so I don't expect anyone to respond to every point mentioned here.

Descriptive Moral Relativism is not a useful position here. Merely describing that people disagree about Moral Law and justice, does not say anything about the ultimate nature of Good and Evil, and the judgement about their objective existence.

I'm going to open us up with an excerpt from a lecture on the topic I recently listened to. It does not represent the full position outlined in this post, but it is a useful piece to respond to - and it sufficiently introduces us to the types of questions we will be asking here today.

Quote from: Illuminist Pythagoras - 1
Let's assume that a moral relativist is tied up, and tortured, until he can come up with a reason why his torturer should stop torturing him. If there are no moral absolutes, then of course he can't object to to being tortured. If he admits the torture is wrong, then he won't be tortured. At first, he'll be prideful, and will try to resist giving in and screaming out in pain. But in time, he will begin to scream. Soon afterward, he will beg his torturer to stop. But why? His pain is only subjective. But of course for him - it's the only thing that is real. Nothing else exists, but his mental experience of pain. And he wants it to stop. But why? Why should a person not value pain over pleasure? Isn't it all relative? Aren't all values merely the creation of humans? So why doesn't he choose to value pain over pleasure? If he did this everything would be fine. But he can't. Pain is bad. It just is. It is a fact of existence. Could it be otherwise? It doesn't matter. It is what it is. It is like this for everyone. Suddenly he understands: the torturer wouldn't want to be tortured either. A world in which torture is permissible, is a world in which the torturer could be tortured. The torturer doesn't want to be tortured. Therefore the torturer doesn't want to live in a world where torture is permissible. Therefore the torturer doesn't want to torture. Because to desire to torture is to desire to be in a world in which torture is permissible. But someone might object here and ask "Well, couldn't the torturer desire to live in a world in which it's permissable for him to torture others, but not permissible for other to torture him?"

But is such a world possible? More importantly, is this such a world? It is not. In this world, when a person violates moral law - that person incurs the wrath of others. ... So if someone wants to steal, without being stolen from; or if someone wants to murder, without being murdered; or if someone wants to do to others, what he wouldn't want done to him; he will need an army. He will need a monopoly on the use of violence. In other words, it is necessary for a government to exist. And it is necessary for him to run that government. He has to become a dictator. But he himself would not want to live under a dictator such as himself. Neither would anyone else. Everyone else would resist living under such a dictatorship. Maybe for a while, he will manage to hold onto power. But the longer he holds on, the more the pressure builds. And the more the pressure builds, the worse it will be when it explodes. I don't subscribe to any simplistic notions of karma. But every action, creates an equal and opposite reaction. Morality, is the study of cause and effect. It's interesting that many moral nihilists appeal to Hume's argument that you can never derive an Ought from an Is. Of course Hume also argued against causality in the same way. You can never prove causation based on correlation. And yet, every Ought is derived from an Is. Just as every fact, is derived from a cause. Reality is unconcerned with our inability to comprehend it's inner workings. The law of causality, in moral law, continue to govern the world in which we live. Whether or not you can provide a mathematical proof for the Pythagorean theorem, it still holds true. Whether or not scientists can prove what caused the big bang - here we are. In the same way, meta-ethical arguments are ultimately irrelevant to the existence of moral law.

Moral nihilists will sometimes say that Morality isn't objective, because it is referential. I say, it is objective because it is referential. Morality refers to objective truths about the conscious experience of suffering and well-being. If it weren't referential, it would be arbitrary. If someone pokes you in the eye with a sharp stick, the wrongness of the action is found in the reference to the pain it causes you, and the loss of vision that results. So, what? How does that prove moral relativism. Then I've also heard the stupid argument that morality is contingent. "It's only bad to poked in the eye with a sharp stick, IF you don't WANT to be poked in the eye with a sharp stick." This is simply idiotic. Who wants that? But I'm going to try very hard to play devil's advocate here. They might respond that, they don't want their eye poked with a sharp stick. But if I say that it's wrong for them to poke someone else's eye with a sharp stick, I'm wrong. They'll admit that poking someone else's eye out with a sharp stick will cause pain. The pain may be a fact. But this is merely a descriptive statement. And a descriptive statement cannot prove a prescriptive statement. But is this really so?

This is an interesting approach to arguing for Moral Realism. He is essentially invoking the Principle of Sufficient Reason and applying it to the moral sphere. The implicit claim is that any who desires to do harm or wrong to another, desires it only because they are ignorant of the consequences that their action would have, due to the inevitable reaction from this immutable sphere of causality. That due to the interpenetrated nature of all things, Justice is done to those who would transgress moral law, à la Ralph Waldo Emerson who prefers to say it more romantically:

Quote from: Ralph Waldo Emerson - 2
The same dualism underlies the nature and condition man. Every excess causes a defect; every defect an excess. Every sweet hath it sour; every evil its good. Every faculty which is a receiver of pleasure has an equal penalty put on its abuse. It is to answer for its moderation with its life. For every grain of wit there is a grain of folly. For every thing you have missed, you have gained something else; and for every thing you gain, you lose something. If riches increase, they are increased that use them. If the gatherer gathers too much, nature takes out of the man what she puts into his chest; swells the estate, but kills the owner. Nature hates monopolies and exceptions. The waves of the sea do not more speedily seek a level from their loftiest tossing that the varieties of condition tend to equalize themselves. There is always some leveling circumstance that puts down the overbearing, the strong, the rich, the fortunate, substantially on the same ground with all others. Is a man too strong and fierce for society and by temper and position a bad citizen, - a morose ruffian, with a dash of the pirate in him? - nature sends him a troop of pretty sons and daughters who are getting along in the dame's classes at the village school, and love and fear for for them smooths his grim scowl to courtesy. Thus she contrives intenerate the granite and the felspar, takes the boar out and puts the lamb in and keeps her balance true.

The farmer imagines power and place are fine things. But the President has paid dear for White House. It has commonly cost him all his peace, and the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne. Or do men desire the more substantial and permanent grandeur of genius? Neither has this an immunity. He who by force of will or of thought is great and overlooks thousands, has the responsibility of overlooking. With every influx of light comes new danger. Has he light? he must bear witness to the light, and always outrun that sympathy which gives him such keen satisfaction, by his fidelity to new revelations of the incessant soul. He must hate father and mother, wife and child. Has he all that the world loves and admires and covets? - he must cast behind him their admiration and afflict them by faithfulness to his truth and become a byword and a hissing.

This Law writes the laws of the cities and nations. it will not be baulked of its end in the smallest iota. It is in vain to build or plot or combine against it. Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Res nolunt diu male administrari.

And while this is a beautiful sentiment, I think that it is only a matter of argumentative convenience that we should insist on the efficacy of this hidden code that eventually serves it's wrath on all that oppose it. For while it is well known that each action we take every carries forth it's karma into the future, it is equally well known that the one who issues forth cruelty and violence is not always subject to the consequences of those actions. A government is not necessary for this. All that is needed is a slight imbalance in power relations between groups of people for one person to be able to exercise his will to manipulate others without being accountable for his actions. But even this is an unnecessary argument, because even if we assume that by supreme justice each person is led to this divine mean of balance before death - we must admit that the comfort in this is only based on the assumption that some amount of good repaid in whatever form, can account for and make up for the wrongs and suffering that one has been subjected to. And I don't believe that it ever really can. Nothing can ever undo the damage, or free you from all effects of it. The fact that you are no longer subject to evil does not erase the experience that existed in those moments. And that exists in every passing moment around us. Therefore every good moment is but a consolation for the reality of evil and suffering. (Just to be clear, this can also be reversed. Every moment of suffering is just a counterpoint to those of good experiences, and does not undo them in any sense.)

Therefore we should not place so much focus on the existence of Good and Evil in terms of obligation to our fellow man and even to ourselves, although convincing ethical arguments can be made in this spirit. Neither should we focus on the immutability of a divine law to enforce Good and Evil. Instead the fracture point between Moral Realism and Moral Relativism lies solely on the reality of Good and Evil as existing principles or phenomena of consciousness. But of course in order to argue along these lines it is necessary to attempt to define what we are talking about. For one cannot say that something exists without first describing or demonstrating what is meant to exist. It is always possible to squabble in the details of such definitions, but I think the description I am about to offer is sophisticated enough to withstand most such detours and provide a basic framework for addressing what is meant, when we speak of Good and Evil.

What I consider to be the four pillars of Evil are Torture, Imprisonment, Enslavement, and Rape. We can add other words to this definition, such as ignorance, falsehood, deprivation or greed. But it should be acknowledged that any of these others are on some level contained within the four. These four are not actually separate things, but different aspects of that which is truly one and the same. It can be called suffering - or more coldly non-consensuality.

We can contrast these against the four orbs of Good, which are Freedom, Bliss, Peace, and Truth - with a tentative fifth, which is Love, which is not directly reducible to the other four, but also does not fully exist without them. Then there are many smaller ornaments as well such as creativity, which deserves mention but is on a more subtle level part of Freedom, Bliss, and Truth. These might at first seem to be different, but again they point in the same direction, which is hard to name, but for now we can say that they point towards liberation.

I will attempt to further flesh out and expand any of these words upon request (capital words), but for now I trust the reader to sufficiently understand what is being pointed at by each concept and the distinction between these two categories.

Now let us attempt to test this definition with a stress case. Let us say that a man submits himself to be Tortured intentionally. We can say either that to some degree he enjoys it, or that he does not at all enjoy it but has soberly decided to exercise his Freedom in order to experience it anyways and learn about the depths of suffering. The conflict is that by my definition, Torture is an evil, yet Freedom is a good, and both are present in this scenario. I would say to this that the man who exercises his freedom to experience something has done it by choice and therefore is not Imprisoned by the action. But, the reply comes, we are not discussing the applicability of Imprisonment to this situation, but Torture, and therefore you have avoided the question. But this is where the singleness of Torture/Imprisonment/Enslavement/Rape/Suffering/Non-Consensuality really shows its face - because if one contemplates this further he will realize that Torture is not possible without Imprisonment. Because the very nature of Torture is such that it is not Torture unless the victim wants to escape from it, or in the contrapositive, that he doesn't want it to continue. I have previously posted a succinct thought experiment on this forum, one that is very similar to the one raised in the first quote I started us off with, that demonstrates the universal nature of this reality. I would like to repeat it to you now, in its fuller context.

Quote from: Olive Fontaine  - 3
[...]But if we look at evil/bad/suffering - we do not see the same ambivalence. Pain is very real - almost too real. We all experience it, and it is not subjective. We do not have to craft the negative meaning for ourselves in our experiences of pain, it asserts itself. There is no other way to react to it. Pain certainly has a positive existence, characterized by its presence in varying degrees of intensity, duration, location. This is very easy to prove, as we can take a person (any person) and subject them to suffering. Then we can increase the level of suffering until it is far beyond their degree of tolerance. At this point, they will admit two things readily:

1. Suffering is real.

2. Freedom is desired. (To move away from that suffering.)

And since Torture is by definition the extreme application of pain well beyond a person's capacity for tolerating it, this means that Torture has not truly been performed if the subject does not desire to escape from it, or in other words consents to it. And if he does not consent to it, and Torture is truly performed on him, then he is also Imprisoned, because he is unable to escape that Torture. (Challenge yourself to relate the 4 concepts I mentioned together this concretely in your mind. Understand for yourself how Rape is not possible without Torture, Imprisonment, and some level of Enslavement. How Enslavement is not possible without Rape and Imprisonment, and also a degree of Torture.)

Therefore the requested torture would be permissible on the grounds that the man who volunteers for it always has the ability to opt out of the torturing. The reason we cannot be satisfied with a one time consent with no additional opt-out, is because the man who requests the torture while at sober peace is a different being under different circumstances than that same man under agonizing pain far beyond what he can handle - and therefore we cannot allow the first man to speak for the second, or to rob the second man of his consent on behalf of the first. But what if we say that the Man desperately volunteers for a Torture experience from which he cannot escape. He consents to this totally and will even pay for it, ensure it, sign the contract, whatever you like. What then? Is it a denial of his Freedom to not allow this experience? Does the coerced torturer commit evil by accepting money for the job? Do you on some level Imprison him, by preventing him from fulfilling his wish? This is a very grey situation indeed, and it can possibly be argued either way that he should be allowed his freedom, or that he should be spared from the non-consensual experience. However, this is a prudent time to remind the reader that the existence of shades of grey does not indicate the nonexistence of white or black. We must remember that we are speaking on the fringe of this topic, and know that not all ethical problems can be solved in the abstract. Perhaps there are some that are so entangled they cannot be solved even in principle, or at any rate, to a degree that a human can understand. Sometimes judgments must be made on imperfect knowledge and imperfect understanding. This is life. However, in these situations I would apply the principle of Compassion. The principle of Compassion urges that one should help free his fellow man from pain and Suffering, but it does not require that you would give him pleasure instead. For pleasure in itself is not in fact what is Good; what is Good is Liberation - liberation from Torture/Imprisonment/Enslavement/Rape/Suffering/Non-Consensuality, and to liberate others from it, so that they may know and instantiate Freedom/Bliss/Peace/Truth and Love.

That being said, I'm going to reiterate now that the recognition of Good or Evil is not an obligation by divine law to action. However, Compassion that is written on the heart is and does become an obligation for those that truly understand the reality of Evil. Ultimately it is not only loving but also Wise, because it brings about the betterment of the human realm, it reconciles the spirit with the material and is the indication of a Son of God. If one is intimately familiar with the depths and nature of Evil, or Suffering, they will most likely want to stop it - even if they are only concerned about their own self interest. Because they would understand that Suffering always spreads and causes even greater Suffering for others.

e.g. A person who is fine, but then witnesses someone under intense Suffering, they too will Suffer. Perhaps greatly so. And even if only subtly, they carry the karmic influence (causal ramifications) of that event with them and continue to propagate negativity, unless they are skilled in techniques that deal with this influence such as Magic or Equanimity, or else Psychopathy and Sadomasochism.

e.g. A person who causes Suffering to another robs them of their mental well-being, and earns the wrath of both their victim and their loved ones, who are all grieved and filled with enmity about the consequences of your action, and may have to go to some terrible lengths themselves in order to survive because of what you've done.

And as stated earlier, nothing will ever redeem or wash clean or make up for this Suffering, even the Good which is its counterpoint that seeks to alleviate it. The Good can not redeem the Evil, the Evil does not destroy the Good. Because of this, every act of Evil contributes to the misery of the human race, forevermore. If anyone has any interest in not being a miserable creature thrust into a hateful world of Torture and damnation, with no possible solution to their situation except annihilation at death - then Reason will also reveal to them that they have an interest in promoting the uprightness of themselves, their communities, and their race as a whole. This does not mean that other motivations are not possible, but they are quite rare because almost everyone cares for themselves above all others, and seek to preserve themselves, and from this alone can spring the compulsion which births the practical Moral Law.

But again, this does not mean that there is truly justice in this reality. That all evils will be repaid in full, and every good deed taken account of. No, we have said already that this is impossible anyways. And therefore he whose motivations are such that he wants power for himself at any cost will by a careful study of this world realize that beyond the natural consequences of any Evil he may seek to commit in pursuit of his ambition, there is no Supernatural power that will punish him. And there is no divine force that will step in and save his enemies from being ruthlessly slaughtered like dogs if they do not have the power to defend themselves. The Law of this world is Might. The sad history of human affairs as well as evolutionary biology confirms that nature adores the vicious and the wicked, and rewards the strong. The very nature of embodiment in this realm is that Evil can never be fully avoided, because beings that exist here have very limited control over their circumstances. And these circumstances invariably lead, at the very least, to physical pain which they did not consent to and which they cannot escape from - and in many cases, the Torture/Imprisonment/Enslavement/Rape of their consciousness at almost all levels (Physically, Socially, Emotionally, Romantically, Mentally, Spiritually, etc). This transgression against the sovereignty of one's own being, is what we have defined as Evil, or Non-consensuality. (Not just being made to finish your dinner without consent, either. Up to and including the complete ruination of your own being on many or all levels.)

But just because it is possible to recognize this and to desire Evil rather than Good, or otherwise to disregard both as considerations, this does nothing to disprove the reality of Evil, which is the topic under discussion.

The Meta-Ethical Moral Relativist claims that there is no objective reality to what is called Evil, and therefore are not subject to truth conditions of any kind. Instead, Evil is contingent upon the traditions, belief systems, customs of a certain people. However, this is not a strong claim. Because while it can be said that the variations in these things have produced a wide diversity of different positions about what a certain person or group will consent to, or will subject themselves to, or choose to endure for the sake of survival, it is the violation of the limitations of their consent or endurance which has always and everywhere been recognized as Evil. It is a consequence of being an embodied individual. It naturally follows from the Law of Identity in this impure realm.

1. I am I.

i.e I am the one who is subject to the internal world of my experience. Or alternatively, I am identical to my perception and my will at a fundamental level.

2. I am always coming into a state of deficiency. If this is not addressed, my internal world will quickly become an agonizing hell until I am annihilated.

3. There is no other that can navigate my consciousness through external circumstances, that can address my deficiencies for me.

4. Therefore I must be the one who speaks for myself, who stewards over my internal world, who guides it through external circumstances.

5. Therefore no other should speak for me, reign over my fate, or use me for his own ends.

I believe that at this point we have sufficiently demonstrated that Evil is not merely a subjective specter, and that universal claims can be made about it. Although this does not mean that objective claims about Justice can be made, or that a universal Justice could ever be described or realized.

The Moral Relativist may object to my definition of the word Evil, and claim that while pain objectively does exist, it is not the same thing as Evil. I would agree with this. Evil is not the same as Pain, although they are often related.

They may then try again, and say that while Suffering does objectively exist, it is not the same thing as Evil. But I disagree. The reality of Torture/Imprisonment/Enslavement/Rape/Non-consensuality/Suffering is one and the same thing as that which I am addressing - Evil. This is what is meant by Evil, and not some separate, theoretical Evil which exists apart from all of these things.

It is almost as if the moral relativist has a chip on his shoulder. He is willing to admit that suffering is real, but won't say that it is not desired, or that it should be avoided or escaped - even though the reality of suffering is such that the only possible response to it is to seek to escape it, or else to avoid it altogether. Because if it is admitted that suffering is unsuitable, or not desired, then this is tautologically the same as saying that it is wrong. And if something is both existent and wrong, then it becomes clear that this is the same which has always been referred to as Evil, and that to deny one and affirm the other is nothing more than a game of semantics that does nothing to undermine the reality of the quality which is referred to by both.

Therefore the only option left to a Relativist, is to say that Suffering does exist, but that it is acceptable/necessary/important/good/moral/a part of life; or otherwise to deny the presuppositions of identity and deficiency, which cannot be easily done without descending into absurdity. But can we honestly hold this position? If someone is involved in an activity that causes them heavy suffering, and they are convinced, or have convinced themselves, that suffering is acceptable/necessary/good etc, then they will simply continue to do that activity and thereby continue to suffer. This will continue, and perhaps increase dramatically, unless the person is able to analyze their situation and realize that their position on suffering was ill founded, and that suffering is not acceptable/moral/good, but the opposite. They will realize that they had only been brainwashed to believe that suffering is good by those who wished to take advantage of them, or otherwise that they had reasoned themselves to that position without understanding the full depth of how extreme and irresistible suffering can be. Other arguments against the position that Suffering is acceptable/necessary/important/good/moral have already been made previously when I spoke about how suffering always spreads, that it is not in anyone's self-interest, that it affects the entire species, and that it can never be repaid, etc. I won't continue to belabor my points, but I will expand upon anything if I receive a question about it in particular.

And here we are, at the end of this topic of discussion. There is only one final objection that should be addressed more fully, that has followed us through this treatise and peaked its head out from several nooks and crannies already - and that is the subject of Sadomasochism. To what extent is it possible to flip the script, to desire Hell, to love the scourge? To make Evil one's own Good, as John Milton's Satan chose to do.

Quote from: John Milton - 4
Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserable
Doing of Suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his Providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destind aim.

And so, if a person is a true Sadomasochist that loves pain and suffering, how can there be any evil to such a person? And this is true to an extent. A person who desires all manner of Torture and Imprisonment and Rape and Enslavement, does not have their consent violated by any event - and therefore is totally immune to the effects of Evil. And so we see that Sadomasochism is a sort of dark Equanimity, the flip side to it's coin. Through Equanimity also, one can be largely freed from Suffering - not by loving misery, but by such a perfected and crystalline resolve that they are unmoved by any amount of Suffering, and can even submit unto death, although they are still subject to pain. But clearly these two things are extremely rare outliers of human kind, and their existence does not disprove the reality of Evil, but only shows that it is possible to change one's relationship to it. That stated, this is a good opportunity to contemplate what the difference between the two qualities of Equanimity and Sadomasochism is, and if both are equally Good, or equally removed from Evil.

I cannot answer this question in its entirety, but I do not think that they are. The sadomasochist has aligned his will with Evil, and therefore is not violated in the same way by it. But it can be argued that this person is not actually free from Evil in the way that the enlightened person is. For if he desires the scourge, he must crave it, and if he is always craving more Evil and Torture, can it not be said that he is actually imprisoned by Evil on a more subtle level, and must become its servant? Such a person will always realize more and greater Evil in his life, which will consume a greater and greater share of his Freedom and Peace, and will eventually destroy him - Unless he has found a way to enjoy truly inhuman amounts of pain in such a way that his mortality is not affected by it. If we compare this to a person who has mastered Equanimity, they will find peace and set aside all restriction and woe, cultivate their spirit, and form their reality into a perfected image of their soul - their self-idea, rather than taking on the grim visage of sin. Or otherwise, to go beyond Good altogether to approach Incorruptibility and Chaos, to know the unmanifest.

The perfect example of a True Sadomasochist comes to mind from a movie I was recently introduced to. The Cenobites and their victim Frank from Hellraiser 1987 are a prime example of what we are talking about. Pure Sadomasochism - unrestrained and inhuman. I recommend watching these clips to get an extremely visceral understanding of what is being talked about with the Sadomasochism critique of morality. (Warning: Very Violent/Disturbing)

  (5)    (5)

(I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this film to be honest with you. I would give it a shot if you have any love for classic horror movies. If so then I would also recommend  Suspiria (1977) , Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Thing (1982)  -- but that's neither here nor there!  ;) )

A quote for those who can't watch the video (but you're really missing out.)

Quote from: The Cenobites  - 5

"The Box. You opened it - we came."

"It's just a puzzle box!"

"Oh no. It is a means to summon us!"

"Who are you??"

"Explorers - in the further realms of experience. Demons to some, Angels to others."

"It was a mistake! Agh! Go to Hell!"

"We can't. Not alone.

"You solved the box. We came! Now you must come with us. Taste our pleasures."

"Please, go away! Leave me alone."

"Oh, no tears please... It's a waste of good Suffering!"

"Please wait!"

"No time for argument."

"You've done this before, right? -"
"Many, many times."

"To a man named Frank Cotton?"

"Oh yes."

"He escaped you!"

"Nobody Escapes Us!"

"He did, I've seen him - I've seen him alive!"

"Supposing he had escaped us. What has that to do with you?"

"I can lead you to him! And you can take him back instead of me!"

"Perhaps we prefer you. -

"I want to hear him confess himself! Then, maybe, maybe...

"But if you cheat us -

"We'll tear your soul apart!"

It's really interesting to note how many of the ideas we have discussed here that are touched upon in this exchange. Of course, the Cenobites are not sensitive to moral arguments. They have no compassion in them whatsoever, and in fact cherish it's opposite, which is bloodlust and Sadism. They do not care about consent in the slightest. Your body is not sacred to you, it is theirs to desecrate and defile as they wish. You gave your consent when you solved the box, and there is no safe word for you now. Their victim only catches their interest, by offering another in her place - which really begins to hint at demiurgic themes of salvation by sacrifice.

This is certainly an interesting discussion to have, but whether or not such defiled beings truly exist among us is questionable - though I believe that it is possible to approach such a mindset at the very least. But even if they do exist, as stated, this does not all disprove the reality of Suffering; in fact it may actually further demonstrate such a reality and the possible states of freedom from it: when we compare sadomasochism to the normal condition, equanimity, and someone who is using methods like stoicism or witchcraft.

Ultimately we should recognize that while the existence of Good and Evil does not constitute an obligation toward specific action, or a divine law or justice, it does open our eyes to the potential cruelty of the existence we find ourselves in - and the problem of being tasked to preserve life, when life is by all means set against by the conditions of this reality. There is much that is beyond our control that is not merely indifferent to us; it would harm us, restrict us, spend our vital energies for its own profit, and destroy all of our peace. The discussion should rather be on how to identify, understand, respond to, and prevent Evil - and not to act as though it is unreal or irrelevant by making it disappear from our vision in a cloud of semantic smoke. If we acknowledge good and evil, we can properly cultivate in ourselves a sense of moral courage and compassion, and gain a more penetrating insight into the nature of the world - which will allow us to preserve our honor and uprightness in all situations, and remind us to offer our hand in charity to those who truly need it.


Now then, I believe we have adequately sketched the start of a defensible position of Moral Realism. If you disagree, feel free to post your arguments against any of the claims made here! Or instead, you can add your own thoughts, ask for further explanation of words, or comment on the construction of this post! I look forward to reading your feedback, the purpose of this writing is to provoke a philosophical response, and to find just where the limitations of Moral Realism lie. For anyone who took the time to read all of this, you have my personal thanks. I hope you were able to find something here of interest to you. Blessings to you all!



I do not endorse the stated opinions of any author listed here, or their character.

1. Illuminatus Pythagaros, MetaGod, MetaEthics, & Philophilosophists;

2. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation, 1841 Essay

3. Olive Fontaine. I'm Done with Horus/RHP (rant), Xepera MaSet. (2018).

4. Paradise Lost, John Milton (1667)

5. Hellraiser (1987), Clive Barker

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