Tag Archives: new age

It is not your fault

There is a harrowing feature of New Age thinking which is a spin-off of the idea that you design your universe in your head. The concept touted in the Kybalion is that if the universe is mind and you are mind, then you create your universe with your thoughts.  You can be anything you want to be if you visualise and think positively.

But the converse of this is also true – if there is something wrong in your universe New Age thought is that it is because you put it there.

A psychologist friend of mine once said that while he rather liked New Age people, he did notice that there was a strong element of self-blame amongst them. When trauma counselling he had to overcome the belief that they were somehow responsible for the terrible things that happened to them.

No-one wants to be raped

One woman, who had been raped by her boyfriend, could not accept that she did not cause the problem by unconsciously choosing such a person in the first place.

She told him: “If I am the author of my own story, I must have chosen him to be in my life.  It is my negative thinking that created him.”

New Agers will apply that concept to other people and turn themselves into victim shamers. A poor person is only that way because they are not positive. They could leave that situation if they choose – they do not desire it enough.

Westcott appeared to be visualising everyone around him dying – including himself

This concept manifests in the judgement of some significant magicians who died in poverty or terrible illnesses. The idea is that they could not have been good magicians if they had such terrible lives. Had Wynn Westcott been better at visualising his family would not have killed themselves and he would not have died of Bright’s Disease. If Samuel Mathers had been a good magician, he would not have always been poor and survived the Spanish flu epidemic.

Like many things New Age, it is all propped up by a little bit of truth surrounded by overly simplistic thinking which ultimately drags down the whole idea. It is true that some people are so limited in their thinking that they cannot escape the patterns they have created for themselves. People do pick the wrong people in relations (normally due to a poor relationship with their parents). While it is true that visualisation is part of magic it is NOT the main game, but one of many limited techniques.

Bloody Kybalion

One of my first problems with the Kybalion, which annoyed my BOTA seniors, was the system depends on it all being about you. If my universe is the creation of my thinking, then other people are not involved.

If a murderer enters my life, it is due to MY visualisation and not his. This narcissistic view of the universe encourages you to only care for yourself. Other people, if they exist, are just bit players, but they are centre stage. But if everyone is visualising then somehow all these narcissistic worldviews must mesh together into a model which provides everyone with what they want.

But it doesn’t. If there is a lottery for a million dollars, there will only be one winner and many hopeful, positive thinkers. What is more, the winner is unlikely to be a positive person who knew they were going to win.

No-one asks to be raped, wants to be murdered, shot by police or die in a fire.

So what goes wrong?

The universe is not an expression of one human mind but that of the One Thing. The objectives of the One Thing are to learn about itself. Within its big created universe it built a humanity program in which it could experiment with stories involving more abstract qualities within itself like love, hate, war, online-shopping etc.

Each human has been given a story to live out with specific events which must happen for the One Thing to understand that point.

What is important to understand here is that the One Thing is doing this to itself. There is not a single thing you have experienced in your life which is not the One Thing experiencing it. Equally, there is nothing which could bring about these experiences in your life without some coordination from the One Thing. Since you are part of the One Thing, you are doing this to yourself to learn something. Once you have learnt that lesson, you may, or may not move on from it.

The easiest way for this story to happen is to be born into a family, country or social group. No New Age visualiser can claim that they were visualising on the astral and were responsible for their family.  Your first acts as a child are to adapt to that environment. So, a poor person’s attitudes are not negative thinking, but an evolution, or adaption to the situation they find themselves. It enables them to survive the terrible circumstances in which they find themselves.

That family will arrive with all the psychological baggage and genetic illnesses and pre-dispositions of its ancestors.  Something else that the child can do nothing about other than live through it and adapt.

Stories are not entirely written by you

On top of this, the child must resolve the story that the One Thing wants to learn in that life.

However, that does not mean that a person cannot use magic or visualisation to escape that life. There are many “rags to riches” stories where that happens. All of them require a person to fight their way out of their social status and DNA. But such stories are not for everyone. Some stories involve making the best of a bad situation; other stories include living your life no matter what it throws at you.

One of the things I have noticed about magicians is that all the good ones have had interesting lives. Even those who have had successful muggle lives (family, job, mortgage) have interesting stories beneath the surface.  Mathers might not have been that successful as a human or as a money maker, but he certainly lived. Aleister Crowley was a spendthrift, sexist, racist, bastard but no-one can deny that he had a life packed with exciting events and stories.

The sort of life I am describing is not entirely deterministic. Your response to those situations are what interests the One Thing.  A bad thing might happen to you which you choose to handle in a way that resolves it better. A person who deals with her rapist by facing him in court might lose, but her choice to take him on might help her deal with the pain and prevent her attacker doing it to someone else.

However, it does mean that the Kybalion is wrong. Bad things do happen to good people because the evolution of humanity and the divine spirit depend on it.

The One Thing is doing it to itself

But there is also an important social side to all this. If harming others is the One Thing inflicting pain on itself, doing “good” is also the One Thing helping itself.  When you help another person with their story, you are effectively helping yourself.  When you receive help from another, you are receiving it from the Universe.

If you don’t receive support from the One Thing, then chances are your story is to sort it out on your own and you have the ability and resources to fix the situation. For the same reason, you cannot judge another person for resolving their story in a way or failing.

The Magician is a specialist

The other question then is what is the role of the magician in this story? A magician is a specialist who uses spiritual forces and rules to create a change in the pattern or the story. They are there for when all else “rational” has failed. When the doctor or police can’t or will not help, when a situation needs to see the bigger picture or to call in gods and spirits.

A magician is no more important than anyone else in the story they are just the One Thing brings in more specialised functions. Not every story needs a Gandalf any more than it needs an Achilles. In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was vital, in the Iliad he would have been useless.

A magician has their own story. It generally starts with initiation, balancing, contact with higher forces, testing and then service. During that process, a lot of shit will get thrown at them because it is part of their training. If nothing happened, then there would be no magic rituals to try out and nothing to learn.

Either way, the stuff which gets thrown at you, it may not be your fault.

Drawing down the spirits – review

61fKAfQqsML._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Drawing down the spirits, by Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera is an interesting book which shows much more than the practical techniques of “spirit possession.” It reveals a lot about modern paganism and its problems with mythic reality.

The book came recommended to me because I was interested in beefing up my system of working with what in the Western Mystery Tradition we call “contacts.”   The writers come from the Haitian Tradition and the Northern Tradition which is much more hands on than many of the Western Mystery Tradition feels comfortable with.

The book is packed full of real, practical advice and techniques and explains the processes and above all the levels of spirit possession from the most basic god form work familiar to many in the Western Tradition, to Channelling (or contact work), to the full possession work called “horsing.”  Horsing, most of the time, is when the person has their own consciousness switched off and is unaware of what is happening.

Fraud spirits

The book handles the issue of spirit frauds, either genuine or malefic rather well. Since I have seen both in play I feel it is a subject not particularly well handled in other books. Within my own tradition there is tendency to allow channellers to create unprovable fantastic worlds (normally in the channellers’ own past lives) which lead no-where and are expected to be taken literally.  However, these people do believe in what they are doing. The person who channelled a dolphin spirit who claimed to be acting as spokespeople for aliens really did believe in what she was doing. Others, do it for the cash.

All this information made the book purchase valuable and necessary for anyone interested in this line of spirit research.

Smells like teen  spirits

But what Filan and Kaldera also describe are a few things which are less pleasant and beg a few questions which are not properly answered by this book.  The first issue is “what are the nature of the spirits you channel?” The book has given a good idea of the levels but is rather hard on those beings which are not, in a Western sense lower astral. The spirits in this book are more human and very often shitheads.  They appear to have the power to take people over and do not seem to care what happens to them. In fact, some of the cases in this book read like a spiritual rape where the victim tries to justify the event after the act by blaming themselves.

What appears to be lacking is any sense of control, or even a desire to have any.  If you are a horse apparently can expect to be taken over at a moment’s notice if the spirit feels it has something to say.

Your spirits are shitheads, sir

These gods also have human tendencies and prejudices which you would have expected Gods in particular to have sorted out.

One story that really got on my tits was the fact that one god could not handle the fact that his “horse” had a sex change and basically rejected her.  While it is true that the gods are not the sweetness and light that New Agers want, they only become shitheads when they are perceived through human eyes.  In this case I think you have to look to psychology to provide a few answers as to why the Gods behave the way they do when they jump behind the steering wheel of a human conscious.  Some of the more unpleasant reactions that some of the horses in this book can be explained in this way. Note that I am not saying that horsing is a sign of mental illness (quite the opposite) but that some of the actions of the gods are the unconscious projections of their horses.

It also does not help that some of the Gods being channelled were made up or medieval literary inventions. The technique does not require the being horsed to be “real” in fact one of the cautionary stories was the case of a woman who channelled a manipulative being based around the god form of Sulu from Star Trek.  The moral of that story was not that he was a fictional character, but because the horse and her group gave him too much.

New Age Spirits

The authors do a better job than I would about being objective as they provide case studies for how it works. It was the case studies that I felt the most emotional response to.  Many were written by people who had replaced their name with something more New Age or Native American Indian. While there is nothing wrong with this, the fact that there were no Simons, Janes or Mathews made you wonder if you were headed into a New Age ghetto.  Sure enough, some of these case studies are particularly flaky with spiritual nativity, poor discrimination, coupled with absolute trust and a desperate need for mother or father figures.

Control in this system is lacking. Little in the way of spiritual safety mechanisms in place, no purification or consecrations and there is a strong emphasis on allowing such things to take place in large groups of people which the book describes as the Community.  This is probably the author’s background with Voodoo fete’s which are essentially a party where the gods show up. I have never been to one, but I can imagine a party is a good place to get raw astral energy to power up a decent manifestation while the participants are semi-tranced out. However, from a magical point of view you have to be very careful who you invite. The authors talk about people getting drunk, fighting with the Gods, being disrespectful and the question has to be why the fuck where they in that party in the first place? You are going to get a bag of mixed energies which the poor god will be using.  I have seen a ritual tip and go very very dark because of the antics of one person, imagine what you would see if you have lots of people? But apparently this big party where a lot of gods show up is a thing, which again is something I can’t get.

Why this method of spirit work?

The other thing which is not clear from the book is why, if the Gods are generally such shitheads, do they bother showing up at all and why would anyone accept them as Gods?  And also what is the quality of the information, healing or other information they are imparting.  The book seems to suggest that the spirits seem to spend most of their time just “being gods” in the space and psychically having “huge auras.” Sometimes they do healing and other times they just tell people off. But the book is silent about the quality of the information.  Information is handy.  It can be checked out and tested. It does not matter if it comes from a god or a dead person.

Telling off is less useful, particularly if it comes through the channel of another human’s unconscious.  Once a contact being channelled by my teacher berated me for doing something I had not done and told me off for not doing something else it had asked. The problem was that I had done what I was told and forgot to tell the teacher I had done it. The other thing was based on an untrue rumour which the teacher believed.  No god would have made those mistakes.

Is it like this really?

The people I know who use contacts, channelling and medium work and give advice I respect are extremely controlled about their work. They also do not take it as passively as most of the case studies in this book. That does not make them wrong, or producing material which is second rate.  But it does mean that they probably would have had the same response I had to some of the case studies in this book. Like me they would probably nod at the advice and the techniques, but cringe at the application.

Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession

·  Paperback: 352 pages

·  Publisher: Destiny Books (April 13, 2009)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 159477269X

·  ISBN-13: 978-1594772696

·  Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches