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Topics - Liu

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1
Reading / Liber Null
« on: December 12, 2020, 09:42:31 am »
I recently started reading Liber Null, finished the first chapter (Liber MMM).

But I find it hard to understand, it's really lacking examples.

Which object in the world, for the purpose of the object concentration exercise, would have "no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional or useful significance"? I can't think of any example - I could pick up a random stone or a random object from a pile of trash and would find some symbolic meaning in it without trying.

I guess the purpose is finding an object with a low degree of significance so that one doesn't get distracted by that, so that it's beginner-friendly. Even though the explanation seems to imply that focusing on something meaningless would be harder than focusing on something with significance.

Similar with the exercise of exchanging a habit against another - I find it hard to find anything that I do every day and that hasn't some meaning or purpose for me. And the few things that might perhaps count - like which hand I use to open a door - are so subconscious that trying to change them has a high risk of failure as I often would forget about not doing it, so this wouldn't fulfill the criterion of having no risk of failure.

I could of course pick a daily habit that does have significance or purpose, but I don't know any I would want to give up. I have habits I'd like to give up, but they don't happen on a daily/regular basis.

And I'm not really clear about the purpose of banishing rituals, about how to pursue the non-attachment and about why the method of sigil magic described there would work (i.e. what's the problem with consciously desiring an outcome). Especially for the latter two, an example would be very helpful.

Also with the exercises, it's not really clear how strict adherence to them is expected for success. E.g. for no movement - muscles move automatically when they relax, which simply happens when you keep in one position for a while. Am I supposed to suppress these movements as well? Or for breathing meditation - keeping the focus on the breath for 30 minutes shouldn't be that hard if one sets one's mind to it and isn't tired, but having no other thought but the breath for 30 minutes is extremely difficult if not outright impossible. So I guess the goal needs to be somewhere inbetween these two options.

I think I'll continue reading, perhaps then things will get clearer. But as that's the beginner's lesson and the latter chapters are for when one has mastered these things, I wonder whether I'll not instead have trouble understanding the rest when I don't understand how the basics are meant.

2
Reading / Infernal Geometry
« on: August 21, 2020, 07:19:30 pm »
Infernal Geometry (2019) by Toby Chappell has been highly praised a couple of times on this forum. I finally also got around to reading this book.

**Overview**

A lot of it consists of two different types of content, which alternate with each other:
- The much larger part goes into the historical background the angular system of magick is based upon. That was quite interesting, and seemed also fairly accurate to me to a large degree (not completely sure about certain aspects of mythology).
- Especially the first and the three last chapters go into explaining the symbolism of the sigil of the trapezoid as representing certain steps in the development of self-awareness and in how the psyche further transforms itself. The author also shortly lays out how he assumes magick works: One does a symbolic action that refers to a goal one has, and thereby the objective universe reacts by giving one some insight on how to get to that goal.
The final chapters also lay out certain rituals/practices based upon the 9 angles-system.

**Angles and their effects**

One of the inspirations behind the sigil is a list of 4 principles cited from The Command to Look, which are easy to confirm by intuition.

Yet while it in theory should fit well, I don't think the sigil of the trapezoid comprises these 4 principles (or 3 of them, the 2nd doesn't apply either way) well.

The trapezoid itself is supposed to represent the 4th principle, yet to me it seems nothing like that - it rather seems like a misshapen rectangle or perhaps a truncated triangle, so if anything it represents incompletion, imperfection. Or it looks like an actual object, e.g. a tabletop, seen from a particular perspective, which also doesn't give me the associations expected from the 4th principle. And the pentagram gives me warm and fuzzy feelings, so it can't reflect the other principles very well for me either.

I haven't paid much attention before to angles in my surroundings, but in the house my parents moved to some years ago, where I lived for several years as well,  there are a lot of non-horizontal ceilings, especially in the bedrooms. I have never noticed any effect of that on my psyche except that they are slightly more interesting to stare at.

I find it curious that, while for many other things explanations are given, it is simply claimed that unstraight angles have negative effects on the psyches of people not familiar with their power, and positive effects on those familiar with it. Well I might pay more attention to that now, let's see.

**The 9 angles**

As mentioned above, the sigil of a trapezoid and a pentagram combined symbolizes the digits 1 through 9 that represent certain parts of both the genesis of the self-aware psyche and of how creative processes work from a subjective perspective. I think I'd need to apply that to processes I'm familiar with in order to really grasp it, but I think I got the gist of it. I still find it quite abstract, though.

**Historical rituals**

The 6th chapter serves as a kind of exegesis of some rituals from The Satanic Rituals. Therefore it's recommended at its outset to read other texts related to them, namely Frank Belknap Long's "The Hounds of Tindalos", Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark", "The Dreams in the Witch-House" and The Call of Cthulhu", Aquino's "The Metaphysics of Lovecraft", and of course the rituals in question, Aquino's "The Ceremony of the Nine Angles" and "The Call to Cthulhu" and LaVey's "Die Elektrischen Vorspiele".

The three stories by Lovecraft I found very boring. I had to force myself to finish them, I was yawning all the time, and not of tiredness. The Hounds of Tindalos was slightly more interesting, but perhaps because I read it before the other 3 stories or because it's quite shorter.

While I tend to value Aquino's writings, I would disagree on central points with his interpretation of Lovecraft's stories, they gave me an utterly different impression. But they were the only thing by Lovecraft I have read thus far so perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with his work.

It's very good that Infernal Geometry provides such a thorough exegesis of the rituals taken from The Satanic Rituals, because without that I wouldn't have understood the least of them.

But even so, I don't really understand the point. I can't really try them out as described, at least the first 2, lacking a room besides my bedroom (and lacking a group to perform them with). Yet based on my intuition they'd have quite a different effect on me than the intended one.

"Die Elektrischen Vorspiele" is supposed to lead to power over other people by means of putting oneself in an anxiety-inducing surrounding. Well I don't desire that goal very much but even if I would, I can't wrap my mind around how that's supposed to work, it would rather drain me instead of making me stronger in any regard.

"The Ceremony of the Nine Angles" seems like a kind of confirmation/initiation ritual, i.e. a symbolic way of adopting the angles system into one's psyche. But their language seems much too cryptic to me, both in the original and the Havamál version, performing that should have hardly any effect when done without thorough preparation, I would rather recommend regular contemplation sessions focused on e.g. one verse of the ritual at a time or on certain sections of the book in order to absorb the system and finding one's own understanding of it, and then one doesn't really need that ritual anymore.

And "The Call to Cthulu" is supposed to get one connected to the primal parts of one's mind, and here again I'm at a loss as to how that's supposed to work. The exegesis of this one is much shorter in comparison.

If I compare the explainations to those given in the essay by Aquino in Appendix A, there are quite some differences, btw.

**New rituals I**

This chapter starts with two more rituals. The first of them, "The Bond of the Nine Angles" not a full ritual itself but intended as a ritual opening, so I guess to symbolize to oneself that one is now performing a ritual, and it looks like something that would work well for that purpose, if a tad too long. I don't usually do any opening when doing spiritual work, I just get my tools (if any) and get right into it.

The second is an initiation ritual to which basically the same thing applies as what I wrote about "The Ceremony of the Nine Angles" above. But as it's more explicitly initiation-like, I can see the symbolic point it can have as a self-confirmation that one is actually gonna work with that system. So I think the best approach would be 1) regular contemplation of the ritual's parts until one has grasped them well 2) performing the ritual 3) continuing to work with the system.

**New rituals II**

The chapter continues with suggestions for regular practices. I have other priorities currently than meditating right after waking up and practicing visualizing right before going to sleep (in both situations I'm often much too sleepy to be of use for anything), but in principle that's a good practice and I'm not excluding giving it a try within that framework.

The symbolism of inhaling to the count of 4 and exhaling to the count of 5 is obvious. It would have been nice if also potential physiological effects of doing so for 9 minutes would have been noted.

The noon ritual is supposed to be performed outside. It seems a bit strange to me to expect from the practitioner to have private surroundings available outdoors to draw symbols into the air every day without causing unwanted attention. But going for a short walk outside after lunch can sometimes help with noon-(or rather afternoon-) tiredness as claimed, yes, even though that should rather happen at like 3pm and not at noon proper.

The 2 daily practices not bound to a specific time also have their practical problems. The first is focusing on the Angles of Understanding and Being (the 3rd and 4th) whenever crossing an intersection where the streets/paths don't meet at a right angle. Yet that would apply to the vast majority of intersections I cross, I would have to look out for those which are even close to a right angle. So, only counting intersections (junctions and crossroads) outdoors, when walking to work I'd be doing that meditation at least 8 times in the 12 minutes that way takes me (compared to 4 or so that are kinda right-angled, yet even 3 of those have at least one path each leading steeply uphill or downhill, so they are irregular as well in a way).

And the other daily practice is about noticing the angles in whatever room one enters in order to bring up some self-awareness. Yet most rooms I enter are rooms I enter at least once a week if not several times a day, so that quickly would become a mindless routine, so I'm not really convinced of its usefulness.

**New rituals III**

The "advanced" rituals in the final chapter seem more interesting. But I don't understand how they are supposed to get one into the appropriate mindset in most of the cases. I assume the author has a point when saying that it needs to be experienced and not just studied.

Their purposes are:
- getting a message from one's future self
- getting inspiration (I guess)
- putting a project on hold
- facing an obstacle one tends to procrastinate on
- getting dreams of particular kinds
Also included are descriptions on how to use the system for divination and sigils.

Well technically I could benefit from that 4th one but I know the reasons for me procrastinating and I have tons of ideas of how to approach them (and am experimenting to find the right ones), and the ritual seems to be mainly about finding out the reason and getting any idea of how to approach it.

**Summary**

The historical background and exegeses were quite helpful and will likely make it easier for me to understand also certain other esoteric writings.

I would have preferred if suggestions for practice would have been spread throughout the book instead of being only found in the last 2 chapters. Also, I'd have appreciated further suggestions for integration of that system of magick into daily practice as the suggestions given don't fit my routine that well.

Yuggothic seems like a fun conlang (if fairly limited), and the alphabet used for it is quite pretty.

I'm not sure whether I'll actually use much any of the practices. I didn't find the system intriguing enough, I'm not sure whether I'll really get anything out of it. It's more relatable than quite a few other systems I encountered, though. What also makes it easier to use is that the focus is not on evoking anything or on manipulating energy in any particular way but more on getting insights by putting oneself into certain mindsets, which will lead to changes  in the objective universe, which is in line with the theory of magick the author provides.

**P.S.**

The usage of "performative utterance" is wrong imo. The definition is correct, it refers to a phrase that creates a change merely by being spoken, yet that's not the same thing as the examples from rituals the author provides.

If you say "This court is now in session", then that instantly and automatically means that the court is in session as long as other people accept that you are in the position to make this statement.

If you say "We shall have Power", while it has a certain effect on your mind, it does not literally make it true immediately. It makes a statement about objective reality which you could only fulfill indirectly by doing changes to subjective reality which then, long after the ritual, may have the desired effect, whereas actual performative utterances merely make statements about shared subjective reality (i.e. culture-based notions) that are not expected to affect objective reality except for by means of the changes in behavior they cause.

Saying "We shall have Power" would be as if a judge would say "I shall make a fair judgement" or similar (within a cultural context where that is not the traditional way to open a court or similar).

I agree that such ritual words are linguistically peculiar, yet I don't think there is a technical term for them within linguistics (but then, the field of pragmatics isn't my focus of study). So it's good that the author brings that up. I would refer to their mechanism as self-suggestions or self-hypnosis.

3
General LHP Discussion / Spirit communication - how?
« on: March 07, 2020, 09:16:42 am »
This is a continuation of the discussion that was started off-topic here: http://orderoftheserpent.org/forum/index.php?topic=1578.0

Let me shortly summarize (correct me if I misrepresent anyone's opinion):

According to @Etu Malku, spirit communication isn't real but the experience can be induced by getting into a trance state (best by sensory deprivation or overload) that leads to hallucinations. It would also not be distinguishable from being real when experiencing it due to the brain attributing agency wrongly.

According to @Mindmaster, spirit communication is real, but the method described by Etu wouldn't lead to genuine communication but just to random hallucinations.
He rather recommends focusing so much on the entity one wants to communicate with that one doesn't think of anything else and forgets even that one is focusing - the thoughts that one then would still perceive would originate from the respective entity.

By my own impression on the first method - inducing visions is not very difficult but doesn't ever give me the impression of being real. I haven't tried inducing hallucinations yet and on the rare occasions I had them due to being extremely tired, I still immediately knew that they were hallucinations.
And the second method, well, I have no idea how to even start trying.

Some other methods I have at least any experience with:

Involuntary movements: The best known method for that is using a pendulum, but one can pretty much let go of the control of any body part and let it be controlled by the subconscious, as in automatic drawing or to get into a shaking trance. I have no idea how one would distinguish genuine spirit communication/possession by this method from the ideomotor effect.

Divination (e.g. tarot): Also the previous method can be used for divination, but here I rather mean the interpretation of a randomly or subconsciously generated input (like a spread of cards or a bunch of tea leafs). By my experiences with tarot, the important part is that one is in a particular mindset that makes one believe that the cards are actually gonna tell one something that one can trust in. Got that spontaneously once or twice, but it's rare and I have no idea how to intentionally induce it - and I practiced tarot on a daily or weekly basis for quite a while. If you're not in that mindset you can still do divination but you will be under the impression that you are just communicating with your subconscious.

4
General LHP Discussion / Chakras (and qi gong)
« on: October 20, 2019, 04:51:56 pm »
Anyone here having experience with the chakras?

I'm currently reading through Asenath Mason's Draconian Ritual Book, and the first exercise (after some ritual opening rite I've not yet tried) is a chakra meditation.

And I have basically three questions.

1., one is supposed to vibrate a mantra (some syllable like vam, lam, etc) at each chakra. But that actually makes it more difficult for me to focus on the visualization of the energy moving from chakra to chakra and on feeling the chakras themselves. I can feel them quite well if I just focus on those parts of the body, with some very basic visualizing perhaps (e.g. energy as a simple stream, and perhaps also the color associated with the chakra or which psychological area it symbolizes), whereas trying to include more details (e.g. the energy as a serpent or the chakras as flowers) usually mutes the sensations I get, and vibrating the mantras moves my focus to my respiratory system and I immediately fully lose sensation in the chakra I was focusing on.

I think the vibrating is supposed to make one feel that stuff also throughout one's body in general, but it rather causes me to feel nothing.

Does that mean I should simply practice more? I didn't give that approach many tries yet as it feels so discouraging.

2., since I recently learnt a qi gong meditation I'm using those points instead of the more typical chakra points.
I.e. svadisthana and anahata being on the front side instead of along the spine (at the lower and middle dan tian points, they are basically opposite to the traditional chakra points), and vishuddha in the shoulder and neck area instead of the throat proper.

For that qi gong meditation I learnt, you basically start at the lower dan tian (slightly below the navel), move down to the perineum, from there up the spine following muladhara and manipura, then further up to the shoulders and the back of the head (the latter of which Mason also calls a chakra point to which one could go after sahasrara), to sahasrara, to ajna, and then down to the breastbone (opposite of anahata) back to the beginning.

So if I use those points for a chakra meditation, otherwise following Mason's instructions on the order of the chakras, I'd go zig-zag up through the body from muladhara until ajna, then to sahasrara, then to the back of the head, and then straight back down to muladhara (perhaps first to the perineum).
The advantage I see in going zig-zag, as opposed to just following the spine, seems to me (besides being used to those points and so finding it easier to feel them) that the meditation doesn't just focus on the spine and head but encompasses the whole torso, especially when I consider the focus points rather layers than points.

The description in the book could also be interpreted to work like that, but it's fairly ambiguous.

Does that sound like a good idea?

3., one is supposed to remain at a given chakra until it's fully awakened, but what's that supposed to mean?

During the qi gong meditation I may go through the whole system within a couple seconds (well often I do slow down a bit more, especially during the first rounds, spending a few seconds at each point), whereas that rather sounds like spending many seconds or even minutes on each chakra and doing only one round in total.


Edit: Regarding my 1st question, I don't think focusing on the vibrating and simultaneously on specific points of the body in general is the problem - in the qi gong book I have the qi gong meditation from also mentions some movement exercises with an accompanying one-syllable mantra, and instructs one to focus on specific body parts (e.g. thumbs, balls of the feet,...), and there the mantras don't bother me in the slightest. But there the focus is also mainly on the movement, secondarily on the mantra, and only thirdly if at all on the body part of focus.

5
I read Apophis and Ægishjálmur, or at least major chunks thereof, a couple years ago.
Since I considered them among the best manuals on occultism I have read, and since I can very much identify with the draconian symbolism of their focus, I intend to re-read them, and to this time also put their instructions into practice a bit more, or at least to discuss them with you here when I find the exercises to be difficult to pursue, to see whether I'm just not trying hard enough or whether some of you here have alternative suggestions that fit my needs better.

Since I recently noticed that these two books and two others by Kelly have been published in a single volume as the Draconian Quadrilogy, I acquired a copy for a reasonable price, and now I read (or re-read) the first chapter of Apophis and leafed a bit through the rest.

I remember someone here mentioned they had worked through the whole of Apophis, which I found most curious as even several of the exercises in the first chapters seemed very difficult to combine with my life situation, so I was surprised that someone found all exercises to be pursueable.

In the chapter on the first head, there for example are several exercises on "testing your limits", two of which make it necessary to involve another person, something which I would like to avoid.
One of the two is about walking as long as one can, and having a reliable acquaintance pick one up when one is exhausted, who therefore needs to be able to drive a car (in order to pick one up wherever one is). Most people in my social environment don't even have a driver's license, and the one who has and whom I might consider involving is afraid of driving at night and doesn't like driving routes she doesn't know yet, so I can't ask her about that either.
Also, considering my current health, I would judge it recommendable to skip all of the exercises in that section for the time being, with the exception of the last one, on chastity, which I am experimenting with anyway. But well, I guess I can nevertheless start with other exercises of that chapter in the hopes that once I'm through all of them I'll also be fit again to pursue those. I currently sleep so much that I have trouble finding time for my normal meditation routine, and when I do I'm often so tired that I can't focus on it, but at least the first exercise (the section "posture and breath") is supposed to only take 10 minutes per day, so let's see whether I can do that.

Not on the exercises, but on more general notions:
The first chapter is mainly about a trinity of deities with which the reader is expected to work, which I would identify as 1. awareness and self-awareness, 2. feeling/desire/will, and 3. the subconscious plus objective existence.

That 2nd deity is called the scarlet woman or daemon lover, depending on gender etc., but while reading the section on it I found it quite difficult to grasp what the author is talking about as he mainly talks about sexual and romantic desire (or one of them, he doesn't make a difference) towards other people, neither of which I can relate to. So I'm not entirely convinced about why to make a difference between the 2nd and the 3rd deity, especially since he describes that 2nd deity as the object of desire, and not the desire itself.
The difference between the 1st and the 3rd is much clearer, but it would need to take quite a bit of getting used to to not associate them with one and the same deity.

So, TL/DR: Has any of you read any of Kelly's works, and what are your thoughts about them, and especially about the aspects of them I mentioned above?

6
General LHP Discussion / To ban or not to ban
« on: April 13, 2019, 03:38:10 pm »
A couple days ago, we had a new user who is far-right, has a problem with LGBT-people, non-whites, etc. and stated that in the thread "Get to know you questions - philosophy edition" under the proper questions, after having left some other unrelated comments.
He was banned for it - which according to our current rules is right and fair.

I had expected that to happen, and I do detest his opinions, but I still kinda had hoped that we allow him to stay in order to make it possible to show him potential flaws in his perspective, instead of showing him the door immediately.

@Xepera maSet then invited me to start a thread to elaborate a bit more on this and to discuss it further.

Well, I am not opposed to banning people that obviously have no interest in discussing their viewpoints and interacting with this community in a fruitful manner.
If someone insults other users or spams and doesn't stop after being warned, they don't fit here and should be forced to leave.

However, freedom of speech seems like an important value of this more tolerant path we all are treating here, and furthermore I think it is a virtue to help others see the light of understanding. And also we ourselves can probably learn from such discussions.

Some people are incapable of learning, but we should not decide that too early in my opinion - especially since shunning them will then only make them feel validated in their worldview.

What are your opinions on these matters?

7
Entertainment / Today I Learned...
« on: September 29, 2018, 07:39:02 pm »
This is a thread to post some random fact (or more if you want) that you learned on that day.

Better if it is not fully off-topic for this forum, but anything really goes.

Best if it's something that others here might appreciate to learn. Dunno whether that's true for my first example, but...

Today I learned that in botany, they use the alchemical/astronomical symbols of the planets as well:
Some are pretty straightforward, as in ♀ for female plants and ♂ for male ones (and a combination thereof for hermaphroditic ones), or even ☉ for annual plants.
But they also use ♄ for shrubs, and ♃ for perennial plants.
Was leaving through a book on botany in the book store.

(and I learned that the proper English term is botany, and not botanics)

8
General LHP Discussion / Kundalini
« on: September 24, 2018, 07:35:39 pm »
Recently there was a very short exchange of comments between me and @RussellHart since he mentioned his experiences with Kundalini. I suggested to move this into a new thread.

I'm not 100% sure whether what I experience is Kundalini, but at least it has quite a few similarities, so I assume it's related at least. Perhaps someone here wants to tell me what they think and/or share their own experiences.

Kundalini is normally described as a tingling or electricity along the spine, starting in the area of the genitals and moving from there upwards until it gets to a barrier that relates to a blocked chakra/psychological or spiritual problem.

Well, for me it almost never starts down there. I mainly feel it in the lower part of the neck area, and it spreads from there downwards (until the sacrum, sometimes also into the buttocks and towards the perineum) and, too a lesser degree, upwards (sometimes until the top of the skull).
After a while it may change directions, i.e. moving from the sacrum upwards, and I often also feel it in my shoulders close to my neck.

A while ago I heard a demonolator describe that when he starts getting possessed by a demon, he first feels it as a tingling in his neck. Perhaps there is some relationship between his and my experiences.

Kundalini is often referred to as sexual energy. That isn't really confirmed by my experiences.
Few months ago I took notes every day for a couple weeks whether I engaged in sexual activities and/or whether I felt any kind of strong spinal tingling. 2 consecutive of those weeks I spent chaste (in the sense of not touching my genitals except for hygienic purposes). I didn't notice any difference in frequency or intensity of kundalini-related sensations, but perhaps it only makes a difference when abstaining for longer time.

Regarding how it feels, I can quite understand why people consider it something sexual, though. At its most intense, it basically feels like an orgasm, but it can last quite a bit longer. Also, there is no real difference between different intensities of it except for the intensity itself (unlike with sexual feelings where there is a clear difference between what arousal feels like and what cumming feels like), and there is no refractory period or similar.
@RussellHart described it as getting raped in the spine or something like that, and I have thought of it like that myself before - one doesn't have much control over it and it's overwhelming, the main differences to it being a kind of rape would be that it's very pleasurable and that it's likely caused by one's own psyche.

I don't exactly remember when I first felt it. I remember first getting similar tinglings in those or related areas from listening to music I really enjoyed. I think that happened to me first about 10 years ago, in my late teens. But I don't know when I first felt it without music. It only happens to me commonly since I would guess 3 or 4 years or so, and is getting more frequent overall, even if sometimes nearly or completely disappearing for weeks.

Things that tend to trigger or intensify it for me are on the one hand rhythmic/spontaneous movements of the spine (swaying, shaking, twitching, even headbanging), on the other reading/hearing/seeing something to which I feel a spiritual connection.
Also focusing on it intensifies it, especially the parts near my shoulders, and I can suppress it if necessary (e.g. in order to avoid spinally cumming while in the presence of others :mrgreen:).

It is something different from religious devotion (which, while also feeling awesome, is much more related to emotions and less to sensations), but the two strengthen each other.

There is actually a course on Kundalini Yoga this winter semester at the sports center here. It seems to be on basic and mantra meditation, breathing exercises and some hatha yoga. While spiritual openness is recommended, it's no requirement. Perhaps that course is helpful in my situation, I'll certainly try and check it out.

9
General LHP Discussion / Reading Koetting's "Evoking Eternity"
« on: July 16, 2018, 07:57:25 pm »
So, since I wanna improve my relationship with some entities I feel drawn to, get over being an armchair magician and do some actual practice to find out myself whether occultism is just a bunch of bullshit or not, @Ásbjǫrn Óðinkárr recommended me 2 books, one of them "Evoking Eternity" by E. A. Koetting.
And I guess I might profit from keeping a kind of reading diary here, in the hopes of keeping track of my reactions to it and benefiting from any input other people here might give me on it. Also to get some accountability support to actually read it, do practices, and if not at least have to come up with good excuses as to why not. If anyone also reads it or has done so and wants to add their impression, that is fine by me, too.
(If this should be moved to another sub-forum (Reading, Journals,...) then just do so, admins.)

I now have read the introduction and first chapter (and part of the second), and they feel quite like an opinion piece thus far. Not much useable recommendations at this point. Sure, some of the things he brings up might help at later points, but with only the things provided thus far I have no way to actually check their usefulness or reliability, and I remember having encountered the opposite opinion of pretty much anything he claims before.

For example, he suggests to delve into anything one can find about the entity one wants to evoke and get mentally obsessed with it and the religion it belongs to as best one can in order to develop a connection with it even before one attempts any evocation of it.
For one, so far I quite prefer to do my rituals whenever I feel in the mood of doing them, so preparing for them days/weeks in advance would mean quite a change to my approach.
And also, yeah, my skepticism kicking in again, but how are you to be without expectations about e.g. which shape an entity would take, if you have read everything ever written about it?
But I see also quite a few benefits of the approach, so not throwing that out of the window. And I might also want to keep some of the methods in mind he describes for developing that connection beforehand.

Or the claim that entities would depend on the practitioners connection to them in order to manifest. Who knows, but I know that I have also heard the opposite before.

And especially his approach of evocation as causing spirits to do one's bidding doesn't click with me at all. Sure there are things that I want and I would be glad if spirits would help me with some of them, but I really don't feel like ordering around any entity.

What I do like is his explanation of the effect that traditional ritual openings like the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram are to have on one's mindset and how one should rather find out what works for bringing one into that intended mindset instead of just doing something for the sake of being told that it's necessary. I mean, I have tried some of those before and while I learnt a bit about myself from my psychological reactions to them, those were certainly not the ones what they were intended to cause. Well, hoping to find a method that does work for me...

I also like his balanced elaboration on the benefits and disadvantages of banishing, and that he didn't really treat it as banishing the entity but rather as dispersing the energies it left. In my past tries I hardly ever banished anything (well, those were rather invocations or rites of devotion anyway), but I can understand his explanation why in some situations one might want to do a banishing.

10
Not an esoteric book, but a doctoral thesis. But since the topic of runes might be of interest to some of you I decided to write a few lines about it here.

This book collects and discusses a wide range of literature, mainly Old Norse and Latin, that mentions the names of the runes in one way or another or alludes to them. This includes of course the rune poems, but also less elaborate lists of rune names, as well as poetry that uses metaphors describing runic characters in order to conceal either their sound value or their meaning. It ranges from the middle ages up until the 18th century.

It is therefore a worthwhile summary of a major part of the traditional associations attached to the runes.
Due to the fact that most of the literary sources available are from Skandinavia, most of it however only concerns the 16 runes found in the younger futhark. For the other 8, later inventions, and even for some of the 16, only very limited information can be found, but that is due to the sources available.

I found most of the author's conclusions and translations to be reasonable and well-thought-out. However, I did find a few smallish mistakes in her translations from Old Norse and Latin, or at least parts that could need further justification.

For example, she always translates grafseiðr (which often appears in metaphors for the fé-rune) as "coalfish", although - as she actually mentions in the beginning I think - it's a kenning meaning "snake". She does so even in her translation of a bilingual (Old Norse/Latin) text where it was rendered "vipera" in the Latin. The kenning can be understood to literally mean something like "burrow-coalfish" (or "burrow-charm", depending on which of the two homonyme words seiðr you take to be meant) but since it's far from clear that the actual species of coalfish was meant there some further elaboration would have been helpful.

Nevertheless, a huge compendium of information, and I think I might consult it from time to time again.

This is scientific literature, but I think it's written in a way that also a general public can understand.

The book can be downloaded for free here: http://fondosdigitales.us.es/tesis/tesis/548/the-significance-of-the-rune-names-evidence-from-the-anglo-saxon-and-nordic-sources/
albeit split into many PDFs (which you could merge using e.g. PDF24).

11
Reading / Review: Dastur Adam Daniels - First Step Toward Ahriman
« on: October 13, 2017, 11:07:01 am »
Well, if this section is for "favorite books" then this thread might be wrong here. But I suppose I could give some reviews on books I read related to the LHP. And I would be interested in such reviews by other users here so I suppose I'll just start in this fashion.

The last such book I read was "First Step Toward Ahriman" by Adam Daniels, the founder of the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, a kind of initiatory school combining the philosophy of the western LHP with Zoroastrian mythology and practices derived from Tantra.

That book is the basic text they give to their novices (it's also available for the general public, though, and many of its texts can also be found online).
It's a complilation of three other books of the author. And it's really a mixed bag.
It's about 300 pages long, but with such a big font size that I read it in just 2 days.

It starts with a huge section narrating the Zoroastrian mythology from the perspective of Ahriman.
Nice to read, but well, it's in the nature of mythology, but a lot seems really random. It could need some exegesis, so to speak. Probably the reader is either expected to make up their own interpretations, or to listen to those by the group (some rather interesting ones can be found on their YT-channel). Well, considering the target audience that's nothing I should complain about I guess.

Then there are a few lists on the mythological characters relevant to Ahrimanism. Helpful. Although I don't necessarily agree with all their incorporations of Hindu deities. Yes, Zoroastrianism can be seen as inverse Hinduism in quite some aspects, and Ahrimanism as inverse Zoroastrianims then would of course fit well to Hinduism. Still don't see why I should combine Vedic deity-concepts with tantric practices.

Then follow some excerpts from the Al-Jiwah and later the 19 Enochian Keys. Neither something that I hold much interest in.

Between those there are two more interesting sections: Hymns/Prayers, and Philosophy.
The hymns and prayers are well-written for the most part and shed some further light on several of the many mythological characters listed before. If one was interested in working with a whole pantheon of deities then this would be really helpful.
The philosophy part contains nothing really new for me, but it is well-written and agreeable.

The last part of the book is what I had the highest expectations on - a curriculum on initiatory rituals for the duration of 1 year (not one different ritual for every day, but for example one for night 1-5, then one for night 6-15, etc.).
However, a huge part of the practices there seem to be directed at people coming from a Christian background and still clinging to that morality, as a help for them to get themselves out of that.
I may consider myself a beginner in spiritual matters (or maybe simply blind on my third eye), but nevertheless even I had already done quite a bunch of the practices suggested  before, e.g. simple breathing exercises, masturbating before one's altar, dedicating the different parts of one's body to Ahriman (admittedly, that idea I got from one of their videos I think), visualizations, several self-reflection meditations,...
A major section of these rituals also consists of invocations to Enochian demons, which, as mentioned before, I'm not really interested in.

Nevertheless, I would maybe do at least part of that curriculum as, on one hand, it really is helpful to have clear instructions what to do if just to form a habit of practicing rituals on any regular basis, and on the other hand, there are some practices included that I do see quite some worth in doing and that might profit from being done in something like the order suggested.

However, every ritual is to be begun by reciting one and the same nightly prayer. Not that this would be an issue in and of itself, but it's over 3 pages long and written in a style that I really can't relate to. It's basically an inversion of a prayer taken from the Avesta, but done in such a sloppy manner that I wonder whether it's because English is not my native language or whether actually quite a few sentences don't even make sense grammatically. And some of entities mentioned in it are referred to by a different name that can't be found anywhere else the book with no reason given (e.g. Indar/Indra, Naunghaithyn/Nanshait, I suppose).
You can find the text of that prayer here on page 20-23 in another publication by the author: https://churchofahriman.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/worshipping-the-devil.pdf
I would prefer basically any other hymn or prayer published by them to use instead, and they have some fairly pretty ones indeed.

Also, I rarely read a book with so many typos. Some even changed the meaning in ways that were obviously not intended.

So, not sure what to make of that. Probably I'm just not really the target audience, but well, why not? I'm a devil-worshipper who likes calling his deity Ahriman (among several other names) and who wants to get more spiritual. How doesn't that fit?

12
Lounge / Hi :)
« on: August 28, 2017, 05:36:28 pm »
Hi,

I'm new here!

Some of you may know me from religiousforums.com where I use the same user name.

In case you don't, some general infos:
I'm a pantheistic Satanist, a transguy, in my mid-twenties, and I live in Germany.


Since I noticed that this forum has become a tad more lifely I thought I might just join the fun!

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