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Young, Female, Thelemite | Babalon and Me, Part 1

There are so many areas of politics that do not allow the female body to be seen, let alone worshipped, or her spirit honoured without some sort of advisory warning (#FreeTheNipple anyone?). So imagine an even smaller world within pagan and occult circles where such matters are seen equally, so long as it adheres to the guidelines set by modern beauty politics; light objectification of the female body (only ever between skinny and fat, never the inbetweens or “skinny-fat” like myself), European beauty standards on all levels of looks and personality (Isis is favoured because she is a mother, but make sure to cut out any major traits that simulate her with Egypt and Africa, and stick with lightening her skin tone, and definitely no Sekhmet because she’s wild and clearly “black”). But like most modern spiritual paths and religions, honouring the female, and obviously honouring myself, is slowly becoming accepted and expected. People are slowly coming to understand the true notion of duality, in nature, ourselves and in spiritual beings (deities, elements, nature etc). With the way people are being influenced daily it will be a while before a large number of us actually put duality into practice. So Babalon then? Where does she fit into my life? And how open can I be about my love for her? Let me think.

Babalon is Our Lady. She is a spirit, a force, an energy etc. something limitless and outside of time. Think of her as the female version of “God”. His equal, his counterpart, himself as a woman, the calm at the base of a fire, and the fuel at the same time. She is everything. She is in everything. She is half of one. In my head she represents the inner animalism and desire of the psyche. Think of the Thoth tarot, Atu XI Lust, that is her. She rides on the back of the seven-headed beast from Revelations (you can totally be a Christian Thelemite, trust me it’s a lot easier than you think), holding her Cup (there are many connotations of what the cup symbolises, but we shall stick with the womb and creation). She is the culmination of all human behaviour, good and bad, and she is freedom personified. See why she’s so highly celebrated amongst Thelemites?

If you remind yourself of Liber AL vel Legis, with the popular verse “there is no god but man,” one could easily assimilate the notion that if God is around, inside and outside of us, then so are other beings like Babalon. Babalon is, to me anyway, the personification of our psyches’ regardless of gender. She captures the Zeitgeist of ritual, and that warm and electric feeling when you’re on your own honouring yourself. She is that sacred place centred on the body, the yoni, that fire that draws on the linga.

My early awakening around who god was, and how it was to be perceived often centred around the pagan notion of the goddess —hence why the gods were ever present, my brain was clearly trying to teach me a model to apply equally later on. For years I could never connect myself with the goddess properly (according to the popular guidelines of separating humans from gods), but I had always been lucky in honouring her in my own private way. To me understanding the goddess meant understanding that I was also a goddess, a concept at the time that seemed kind of comforting and yet so otherworldly. I did not like the idea of separating genders nor separating the gods from who I was. Whilst most pagans would dance around a flowery circle screaming and singing the name of various goddesses, I was practising kundalini yoga by myself, I was teaching myself how to be more of a woman, and I was also enjoying loving myself. I wasn’t part of the group and I knew deep down that for the rest of my life I was never going to be. I learned to love myself by understanding the goddess and god.

But to add another theory, whilst women have a cup (with which we must fill or exercise often), men also have half of that mentally. How can you honour the god by ignoring that side of yourself? Same as how can you honour the goddess if you ignore that side too? Remember, Nuit cannot function without Hadit, and vice versa. (Just a theory guys, at this stage in my two year Thelemic career I am bound to fuck up!) Maybe then, that’s the reason why I’m such a weird kind of woman, on a quest to find love. I know it sounds strange or super juvenile but I want a linga to join my yoni someday, but for now Babalon is reminding me that I already have that push and that confidence I need to open up and love myself, by myself or with a partner. Bearing in mind Babalon is not all about sex or sexual activity, but more about the desires and the knowledge, and the freedoms that you wish to know, from the inside.

Imagine my surprise, after falling in love with Thelema when all of my “unconventional/clearly-not-part-of-the-circle-gang” practices were celebrated and allowed regardless of ethnicity and gender. Sure there’s Crowley and his annoying habit of being once being human (he’s a dead human now folks) with his likes and dislikes, his contradictory racism, and his secret love of painting black prostitutes when frequenting America (as far as I know only one painting remains out of the collection that he did), but there is more to Thelema than just the man who reminded us of this path. (Background information: Crowley didn’t quite invent Thelema, as it’s always been there for centuries, but he was responsible for ironing out the kinks and tying up loose ends). It’s such a lovely notion to think that even though I am “out-of-the-loop” within Thelemic circles, that some of my friends do remind me that I have Babalon inside too (you know who are, and I love you for that too). I have fallen for something that I see myself in, even if it’s under the surface.

Thelema has solidified my personal growth, whether it be through Liber AL vel Legis, Liber Oz or honouring Hadit and Nuit, or the other many things out there. Speaking with all kinds of women from the Thelemic world I have found two modes of thought: 1) Your gender doesn’t matter so much, Her inspiration lives within everyone and she reminds us of that drive to keep pursuing our dreams and desires, and 2) Even though you don’t fit current ideals, Balalon is there to be worshipped in all Her forms, regardless of her popular images. Honour her by honouring yourself. I know I definitely don’t fit Old Æon beauty ideals, let alone political ones, but within the Current flow I know I am Babalon, she is me, we are god, and so are you.

In nomine Babalon. As above, so below.

Sy

Babalon

Babalon – MisterChuck tagged me in this photo I was so pleased. I don’t feel left out within Thelema – not too much anyway.


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Hiding Magick in Plain Sight, Through the Power of Nature and the Self

There have been numerous attempts at reconnecting with nature, and seeing nature as part of our physicality/psyche, especially when understanding the self and the power of knowledge by allowing our own nature to teach us. The unfortunate rise of dominant religions have forced millions of old religious ideologies to disappear, only to be brought back, more predominantly during the Industrial Revolution. With physics, biology, philosophy and medicine developing into something far greater, and the ongoing feud between religion and science, only a famous few sought the power of Nature in times of need, creativity and devotion. Some people, as I will detail in another essay, hid their ‘pagan and hermetic’ philosophies’ in plain sight, going as far back as medieval Britain, the Renaissance and the period of the Enlightenment. A few poets took a particular interest in writing about Nature as a separate entity, with an emotional tie to every individual who ever lived. William Wordsworth is one prominent writer who often described nature as his lover and teacher, and as I will detail below, his judge. Seeing nature for what is, seeking the emotional power one perceives from it, allowed people to realise their own ambitions once again, as we will see.

It became evident during the Nineteenth Century that people should live regimented lives, according to the government, especially in the UK. This was a time of the Industrial Revolution, and people from working class, or poorer backgrounds were at the forefront of building and maintaining an empire held up by them, for the ruling classes. For a group of artists from all over Europe, and the Americas, came an influx of genius through art, music and poetry. This period is known as the Enlightenment, based on the philosophical wonders of mans’ re-connection to Nature. Nature was vast, and could over rule anyone by reminding them that man did not have control. One example comes from The Prelude, by Wordsworth, where the narrator reflects on a time where Nature was all powerful when he was hoping to laze about relaxing:

'One summer evening (led by her) I found
          A little boat tied to a willow tree
          Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
          Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in             360
          Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
          And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
          Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
          Leaving behind her still, on either side,
          Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
          Until they melted all into one track
          Of sparkling light.'

This short passage, also very well known, details the act of taking a boat out from the shore. This boat does not belong to the narrator, but small amount of guilt he feels does not bother him at all. You could say he had the intention of bringing it back, thus “borrowing” it, and also suggest he knew he had the pangs of guilt, but just didn’t care. You can interpret it in many ways, but you can agree he felt naughty. The idea of being “led by her” is the idea of Nature leading him to the shore, and out to view the stars (mentioned from the next line onwards), because he is drawn to her. Later, his awe and guilt get the better of him, and in a way so does Nature:

‘She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
          I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
          And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
          Went heaving through the water like a swan;
          When, from behind that craggy steep till then
          The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
          As if with voluntary power instinct,
          Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,              380
          And growing still in stature the grim shape
          Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
          For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
          And measured motion like a living thing,
          Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
          And through the silent water stole my way
          Back to the covert of the willow tree;
          There in her mooring-place I left my bark,--
          And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
          And serious mood; but after I had seen                     390
          That spectacle, for many days, my brain
          Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
          Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
          There hung a darkness, call it solitude
          Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
          Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
          Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
          But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
          Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
          By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.’

As you have just read, the power Nature has over the emotions of this young narrator caused him to flee back to the shore and run home. He is haunted by the image of the rocky hill, as if it knew what he had done. The narrator details how Nature can peer right into his soul, and pull out emotions from differing ends of the spectrum, as lust and fear/paranoia. Funny enough, the next stanza beings with, ‘Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!’ – Nature has power, and it’s a matter of recognising it, and working with it, either by science (predicting the weather etc.) or spiritually (by symbolism and philosophy).

Whilst most households during this time were predominantly Christian, this poem reflects the worship and love affair the narrator has with Nature as God. As most Romantics and the Enlightened, found the old classical philosophies about life, death and Nature incredibly inspirational. This is partly why so many classical works have remained today, as there is a valuable and shared truth behind the idea of living a life where you have total control. These ideologies were shared freely from master to student, ensuring the student would later become the master. This idea had caused problems during the destruction and adopted ideals of the pagan world in favour of controlling old religions under one, or several, titles. By taking away the basic rights to individualism, or living will, the modern religions allowed themselves the power of controlling mankind under one shared belief in an all supreme deity, who would/should be far greater than Nature. This idea of “controlling the masses” had become warped, as it was no longer about working together to defeat an enemy or entertainment, it was about actually controlling what people thought, how and who they had to worship (be it God or a priest), and the notion that thinking outside of the box was a wrong. Man slowly became disconnected to nature, and went on living without much hindrance to it, unless it was spoken of with a Christian translation – like I said, feigning the idea the Nature was weaker, and under total control by God.

Referring back to the understanding of the poem, and if you get a chance to read that passage (details and link below), the narrator makes a note of how Nature was, and still is, a part of his human consciousness, or psyche. The fact that a craggy hill, which doesn’t do much besides lay still and erode, has the metaphorical ability to have consciousness and peer into the narrator’s soul, suggests we humans share something with Nature. This thing can be interpreted as magick. As the narrator insists throughout the poem, he sees Nature as a temple, the lover, the teacher and as a Universal deity. Understanding then, that if the Universe (personification of the supreme deity) is a vital part of your psyche, it must then mean that we have the ability to work with, and be part of Nature because we are born with it within. It is tapping into that magick and allowing ego to teach us how to live with it, which causes so much panic and fear in the controlling environment. As long as Nature allows us to think and feel for ourselves, we will ascend from a primitive base to the stage of master.

Sy Calaelen

I will go into further details about how understanding magick, and how to use it at a later date. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay – it is only a small part of something I have been working on for some time now.

The Prelude’ – William Wordsworth, Bartleby.com (scroll down to line 357, beginning with ‘One summer evening’)

William Wordsworth


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Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Polarity

Lethe

Lethe (Photo credit: Sasha Chaitow)

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” — The Kybalion.

This is by far one of my favourite principles, because of its simplicity and complexity of duality, polarity and living your life through paradoxical means. This principle does not embody the idea of opposing factors that aren’t fully connected, but rather that these opposites need each other to function. They balance one another out, so in a way they are identical in nature, as mentioned above.

Exempli gratia, black and white. For the magician, black and white have highly significant connotations to ritual or qabalah. They are never seen as separate poles, as each physical pillar holds complex symbols that cannot be charged without the other. You can’t work one kind of magick, without being taught how to work another kind, you need both. The same goes for understanding both light and dark energies, as they are both needed to be understood in order to fully work one or the other. It’s lovely spending your whole life wanting nothing but the light, but you have had to experience the dark at some point in order to fully experience the light, or vice versa.

Think of polarity as a paradox: how can you truly indicate where happiness stops and anger begins? You can argue that in order to feel a shift from one emotion to the other, there is a halfway point, but there isn’t a true indicator of how and when you physically change. You merely stop yourself laughing, and then head down the other end of the pole, to anger, and vice versa. You are still on the metaphorical pole.

The principle itself presents the idea that instead of separating one thing from the other, you must realise and accept that they are in fact made of the same stuff, and they live coherently with one another. This is the beauty of old ideals, before the rise of modern religions separated good and evil. The night is always darkest before the dawn is one quotation I’ve grown up remembering. Wherever one element is, its polar (pole) opposite isn’t far away.

One way to put this into a magickal context, at least for my own study over the last decade comes from the idea of discipline. I have dedicated my life to living, and in order to do so I’ve had to make a lot of choices I wouldn’t normally like to think about doing. When I first started practicing I was doing the odd spell here and there, without really committing myself to a regular regime, and nor did I fully understand the implications of what I was doing. I was 11/12 years old after all. It took me another year, when I was 13 to stop practising spells and spend the year studying and writing. After that, I made it a personal mission to spend at least 50% of my time studying witchcraft, and 50% practising it. The benefits were amazing, and it was all down to be able to understand the physical nature of spiritual truth, and experiencing spiritual connectedness by understanding magick. I’ve stuck to that plan my whole magickal life, so you can imagine my shock when I came across the Kybalion and read this principle.

I guess all I can say about this axiom is, don’t spend your time trying to separate or runaway from something that seems wrong, especially as a lot of pagans are quick to judge those who follow “apparently” darker paths. You may need to experience the dark side once in a while in order to reap the benefits of the light. At the same time, practice and study, even when you don’t want to. If you put in the effort during those hard times, it will save you having to catch up later on, and you will be more blessed. Its polarity + common sense + discipline = ultimate flexibility.

In LVX and NOX, 93s

Past posts in the series:

I had a huge break as so much was going on at the time, and then I lost the rest of the  posts I was hoping to edit and publish. All will open in new windows.

Hermeticism and Me | The Hermetic Principles – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Mentalism – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Correspondence – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Vibration – September 2012


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Liber Resh, Exercise and Feeling Good

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Im sure I’ve published my current routine for each day? If I have, meh, it’s been edited a tiny bit since. I developed this format in order to keep in concordance of my Will. It might help if you develop your own regimen for the sake of practice, discipline and spiritual awareness. Hopefully it will be okay.

Daily Routine for Days Off

Dawn
🔹Perform first Resh or first Adoration – 5 minutes

Midday
🔹Perform second Resh or second Adoration – 5 minutes
🔹Core workout/core yoga routine – 10–30 minutes
🔹Sun salutation/Warrior sequence – 10–30 minutes

🔸End midday session with Kundalini meditation and/or mantra – 10-30 minutes

Sunset
🔹Third Resh or third Adoration – 5 minutes

🔸End sunset session with meditation and/or mantra

Bedtime
🔺Perform fourth Adoration 4 or wait until midnight – 5 minutes

Midnight
🔻If no bedtime adoration is performed then complete the cycle with the fourth Resh – 5 minutes

Working/Study Days

Dawn
🔹First Adoration – 5 minutes

Midday
🔹Second Adoration – 5 minutes

Sunset
🔹Third Adoration – 5 minutes

🔸End session with mantra and LBRP – 10–30 minutes

Bedtime
🔹Fourth Adoration – 5 minutes

My yoga routines are pretty simple, but luckily I can look up a sequence or two on YouTube and get my trainer involved. Other times I just learn whatever routines I can when I go to an hour session at the gym. I have a lot of books and magazines that cover various areas of yoga, so remembering why, how and what benefits are available per asana is easy to come by.

I have two main core workouts that are focused on my back and balance. I also adopted the following “Before Shower Exercise” to continue to push the blood flow around my body.

50 jumping jacks
5 push-ups
20 crunches
20 mountain climbers
30 second plank

After you perform Resh, ideally your body should send you into that phase of meditation. It’s mentioned in Liber ABA that after each adoration, you are supposed to ground yourself. For me the urge is a bright and positive feeling so I ground by meditation and exercise.

You just feel great once you enter that phase of mind. I think performing Resh has also helped me lose weight — but I think that’s because my solitary regimen goes hand in hand with exercise, and a healthy diet.

Some folks have said that once you perform Resh properly two things happen, 1) “You can say goodbye to a normal sleep pattern” mentioned by Mr Vamp, and 2) It becomes second nature.

Enjoy the Tara Stiles Core Strength video here.

In LVX 93s x


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Inspired by John St. John | 1 Aug 2013

DAY ONE – THURSDAY 01/08/2013
Lughnadsadh and night of the Feast of the Stars

05:21 Morning Resh
Performed Resh at dawn, and realised I had another ten minutes before my alarm would go off. I sat on the bed in half lotus and performed a silent Mul mantra (check out Maya Fiennes video here). I finished on time feeling a lot more awake. I find performing either Resh or the dawn adoration and stretching really wakes me up to start the day. Everything seems calm and still. Time to get Resh for work and leave the house.

13:06 Midday Resh
Managed to perform the Resh in the staff toilets. Weird, I know, but with the job I have at the moment I don’t have the flexibility to just perform anywhere – patients need assistance all the time. No meditation or anything.

15:30 Finished Work and Training
Finished work for the day and felt damn hungry; in serious need for tofu, pasta and chilli. Grabbed a bag of jalapeños!

16:13 Kundalini Routine
I felt both tired and inspired to practice a yoga sequence, promising myself I would have a mug of chai and eventually have an early evening nap. Ended up practicing a normal warrior variation, then fire breath to open my body properly. Went to bed.

21:55 Failed the Evening Resh
I missed the Resh, but performed the normal adoration outside in the garden just to keep things in flow. I am quite tired, but I think it’s due to my work pattern. It really wipes me out at the best if times and I have to run around for fourteen-fifteen hours tomorrow. The next Resh is after one – set alarm.

23:07 Far too Tired
I performed the midnight adoration and climbed into bed. Need to save energy for work tomorrow; one horrible profession for sure.


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The Tree of Life | Israel Regardie

Tree1

‘The Tree of Life – An Illustrated Study in Magick’

Published: 1932

3rd Edition: 2011

By far one of my favourite books written by Regardie. He really takes the student into account and does his upmost best to educate green minds. Some of the concepts within the book are already familiar to me, others presented in a manner that made you really aware of unknown or misunderstood forces around you. This book deepens the mind so much, or at least it did me, I have had to read the book again! This time making even more notes than before.  This book is wonderful. If you own the other books I have reviewed, including one title I won’t ‘How Make and Use Talismans’ you will be surprised by how much you learn from this one man. If there is any book I would recommend to anyone first it would be this one just to kick-start your Regardie education into Magick, Hermetic Qabalah and Alchemy.

This book is fairly thick, similar to ‘A Garden of Pomegranates’ but full of astounding knowledge, but the gift Regardie has is his writing. The expressive language he uses really draws the reader in, similar to the style of Game of Thrones author G. R. R. Martin – he just sucks you in, and before you know it you’ve read most of part one. Regardie talks briefly about the difference between magick, mysticism and witchcraft, and also includes his theory of “black magick” which is a theory I fully support. There is information on deity, and how to explore them with psychology and magick, and many other subjects expected of any magician. His theorising is explored in a manner that is ideal in this day and age; lot’s of precision, and I don’t think he knew how amazing he was.

I thoroughly enjoyed this title. Lots of people have enjoyed this book too.

Mind blowing

My rating: ★★★★★

tree2


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The Middle Pillar | Israel Regardie

midd1

‘The Middle Pillar – The Balance Between Mind and Magic’

Published: 1938

3rd Edition: 1970

 

This book puts a lot of emphasis on the meaning of magick, similar to Crowley’s theory from Book 4, and how our bodies and minds need to be clear of clutter in order to manipulate it at its best. Regardie goes into detail about psychology, fads within the world of magick and how to avoid them as a student and lots practical tips to start the process of allowing the body to start afresh, and connect with the divine. Before you learn how to perform the Middle Pillar exercise, he takes you through a few rituals and methods so you can really appreciate the ritual itself.

This book became personal for me, especially within the first few chapters of part one titled, ‘The Middle Pillar’, where I actually started questioning what I believe and what I hope to gain as a student. I have spoken to others who own the book and they have told me how good it is too. Mr. Vamp recommended this title to me and I must say how much I cherish it. Another friend told me has bought three copies in total as his precious two copies don’t look very neat anymore; a well loved book. Now, this book deals with the psychological aspects of magick, especially with Jung’s theories, and that can seem daunting to folks who aren’t familiar with these theories, but one friend did say she read this book and got the gist early on, even though I recommended this book to her back in January.

Regardie manages to be on point, honest and very blunt about his ideas, which leads you to questioning your beliefs and the systems available, even today; clearly a book written well ahead of its time.

My rating: ★★★★☆

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