By Anthony Tyler
In today’s society, “magic” and “religion” have become loaded words. From a scientific perspective, they have become akin to fairy-tales, folklore, and psychological simplicity. Those who find the value in it are sometimes treated with a condescending nature, or politely asked how they could put some much merit into “blind faith.” While it’s true that at times it does misplace and mis-interpret the idea of faith, considering religion and magic (or mysticism, as they will be referred to together from here on out for scholastic reasons) a psychological crutch is not only incredibly conceited, but also incredibly illogical and irrational.
The mind of the modern, science-exclusive person, paints as many broad strokes in ideology as the mysticism it critiques, and today the theories of the Big Bang and even Darwinism and Relativity are indeed contested due to their scientific discrepancies. This is not to say that they are entirely untrue, but that they are merely incomplete in their current representations.
Some may scoff at the idea, but there is a great deal of philosophy (most notably David Hume) that strongly argues how the idea of “empiricism” (empirical deduction in science) cannot be a truly objective form of investigation. This is not meant to discredit the value of empirical thought, but rather to equate ideas of mysticism and science through the common denominator of theory–nothing is set in stone, and so all is subject to change. After all, the data may be accurate, but human error in translation of the data will be ever-pervasive.
The problem here is that “Ideas” have been compartmentalized into a million different names. What started out simply as “Philosophy” in ancient societies has now become religion, politics, science, psychology, medicine, et cetera–not even counting all the secular schools of thought within these topics. The ideas of human progress must once again be reunited under one banner. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, the important part is that not a single piece of data is excluded from the process–all must be taken into account, and filtered through the context of two ways of action:
Helping life flourish
Helping life diminish
This is a fundamental truth of the Earth and the life she carries, as demonstrated by the classical thought-experiment of watching a lion, for instance, stalk its prey so that it may feed its cubs later. If the lion, in this case, were stalking its prey to rape and murder them, this would be an evident example of #2.
Mysticism is such a difficult field to enter into from a research-perspective because its ideas are always tossing around concrete resolutions that were developed to contain doublespeak–Mysticism is allegorical/analogical thought, and without the knowledge of the allegory, the ideas held about the mystical/religious principles are incomplete–this is the equation of symbolism and the context of its knowledge. This is why a person cannot equate one specific deity or entity to “Good” and “Evil” because the deity is only half of the equation–when considering “God” only as a monotheistic deity, the allegory that this image was meant to evoke has become lost, and what is left is merely and incomplete concept.
Likewise, there are ideas like “the Devil.” While this could upset a lot of people’s understandings here: just because a person is a Luciferian does not mean that they do things like sacrifice virgins, drink blood, and have orgies in the name of evil. To briefly explain this before moving on, the allegory that the image of Lucifer represents in Christianity serves an entirely different purpose to the pupil than what Lucifer represents to an actual Luciferian.
To a Luciferian, Lucifer is not considered a Christian “Satanic Devil” but a “Light Bringer” synonymous with the archetype that the Greek titan Promeutheus as well represents. The archetype of the Light Bringer (Light Bringer being what Lucifer literally translates to) is meant to represent a bringer of truth, knowledge, and wisdom, thus becoming two totally separate entities in their function, despite sharing symbolism. This is not to say that the Satan/Lucifer of Catholicism is something that anyone should ever consider “worshipping” because this would be an entirely separate archetype represented by a Luciferian’s representation of the Light Bringer, which is an inherently positive thing to the Luciferian.
(More information on this concept can be read in Part 8 of this series.)
What follows in this 8-part article series “Beginner’s Guide to Metaphysics,” will be a brief, connective roadmap between the recurring ideologies of the surviving schools of mysticism in order to bring to discussion the second half of mysticism as a whole–its allegory. This allegory is what occultists, mystics, and scholars alike consider the “Old Religion” or “Prisca Theologia,” which is described as the recurring, underlying and fundamental truths that can be found in all forms of mysticism throughout human history. In fact, the idea of this Prisca Theologia is the actual definition of what is considered “the Occult,” and those considering the Occult to have a negative connotation have yet to breach one of the barriers to understanding metaphysics.
The important thing to remember from here on out, is that the choice in religion/mysticism was never meant to be either “Right” or “wrong” in and of themselves, only their interpretations can be bent around an individual’s good or evil wills. A dogmatic person will, of course, vehemently disagree with this, but progress has never been made through dogma, and in order to empirically assess the body of metaphysics from a scientific viewpoint, they all must be considered from the same objective viewpoint, with good and evil separated from the data and left in the realm of human emotion.
Perhaps a disappointment to some, a beginner’s guide to metaphysics does not come with any answers. The beginning of metaphysics is not finding hidden truths about the world or yourself–that comes later. The real beginning is learning to ask the right questions. True to this idea, the following analysis focuses on the mindset that each ideology is aimed to cultivate within an individual, and what types of questions that these mindsets are aimed to pose.
Eastern Mysticism — Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism
Eastern Mysticism can be considered as three major schools of thought, more or less: Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Their precursor, generally speaking, was the ancient Indian mysticism “Jainism,” which is the origin of the Swastika as a symbol of the union with the Cycle of Life, and is one of the oldest recorded religions on the planet. Jainism quickly evolved, and developed under the variety of Eastern metaphysics that is with society today. Like most ideologies, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism tend to break off into a variety of interpretations; and in the case of Buddhism, for instance, it was developed as a protest to the “religious flare” that Hinduism brought with its variety of gods under different human incarnations, and ritualism.
To the original Buddhists, the rituals and symbols of the Veda (Hindus) was a convolution of the mental faculties, and that a deeper form of metaphysic asceticism was required in order to truly understand reality. As the Hindus sought to understand the microcosm of human psychology in relation to the macrocosm of the cosmos, Buddhists attempted to do the exact opposite by analyzing the macrocosm of the cosmos (and human society) in order to gain a deeper understanding of the self. Of course, this is a bit of a generalization as well, since both philosophies focused on both aspects; but to explain this a step further: while Hinduism used their theology and symbolism in allegory to the experience, the Buddhists tended to perceive the human experience as allegory for the divine.
Meanwhile, in China, ancient metaphysicists like Lao-Tze took these ideas of the microcosm and macrocosm to an entirely different, perhaps more applicable level. Using an asceticism likened to Buddhism, and a mystical, selfless awareness likened to Hinduism, Taoism can perhaps be considered the most pragmatic of the metaphysics, producing such works as the I-Ching, which serves as a geometric codex to understand and decipher the nature of the Tao (reality, so to speak), and can be seen in full right here.
All these discussed forms of mysticism were heavily contingent upon the idea of reincarnation as a spiritual-evolutionary progress through the illusions of the dualism between the physical and metaphysical, the “Veil of Maya” in Buddhism. It was taught that energy created cannot be destroyed, only recycled, and so did the cognizant soul perspective’s present moment continue to be recycled through life experiences, until the individual shed the confines of its karmic limitations, on its path towards “enlightenment.” To the Eastern mystics, karma was seen as sort of physical limitation to the mental faculties, impeding a person’s deeper understanding of themselves and the universe, in order to achieve a state of metaphysical transcendence. This state of transcendence is generally considered as an overall integration into the “Tao” or the “divine essence” in all things.
On a final note in this section, it is a common misconception that Eastern mystics did not have traditions of “Heaven” and “Hell,” or “angels” and “demons,” and there is basically no form of mysticism that does not involve supernatural entities and varying metaphysical states of consciousness. To the East, this is exactly what Heaven and Hell were: states of consciousness that occurred during and after physical incarnation. A person had the choice between Heaven and Hell at all times in the present moment, and whether they realized it or not, they were always making the decision between the two. Eastern Mysticism made the effort to train the thought processes toward divine potential and away from human illusion. In this respect, states of karmic thought-process were considered a determinant factor between Heaven and Hell, a notion that Dr. Stanislav Grof has put 50 years of psychiatric research into through his ideas of “Condensed Experience System” (CoEx Systems).
All in all, Eastern Metaphysics can be considered the mindset that requires cultivation during times of spiritual famine. A man bereft of his amenities would be forced to find the value in asceticism if he wanted to prosper; a man bereft of love and affection would be forced to find these things within himself, alone, before he could discover anything more; and a man with the turbulent wind of restless thoughts would only find peace and solace in his discipline of emptying his mind, so that he may place new and better ideas within it.
Paganism, Voodoo and Native American Mysticism
Paganism, Voodoo, and the spirituality of Native Americans are put in the same category in this part of the series not to generalize them as completely the same, but because so much of the cause and effect within the mysticisms are the same, and unite under the same method of spirituality: witchcraft.
Witchcraft, from the anthropological definition, is a spiritual belief in the presence of Nature itself, very generally speaking. Witchcraft was developed as peasant religions during times of cultural and philosophical discrimination, and because of this, witches developed an intimate and observation-based connection between themselves, the world around them, and the metaphysical world of “spirits” that connected them.
Witchcraft in the West had been around long before the Catholic church, and because of this, it was considered one of its primary targets–as well, because of the Church’s detest for Witchcraft, it is one of the first times in recorded history that the ideology becomes more of a recorded social philosophy. Up until that point, Witchcraft (Paganism, in this case) had been more of a collection of ideas that different people pursued in very different ways, for very different reasons. There was never any set gods or goddesses and witchcraft perceived the god of individual worship to be dependent on the individual–because it was meant to be a reflection of the individual’s higher self, something akin to Plato’s “ideal forms.”
Spirits were seen in everything everywhere, because they were the divinity in all things–and the capacity for all things to be engaged with (magick). Those who practice Witchcraft and Voodoo alike, considered the ability of magick to be an engagement between their spirit and the spirit within the object. In consideration of “magick,” it is an endlessly convoluted term, and has as many broad applications as the term “science.”
Magick from a historical point of view involves knowledge of plant medicines and poisons for “potions,” an understanding of occult knowledge/symbolism to any varying degree, a manipulative charisma that could practically “charm” people, and understandings of psychology and things like hypnotism. Beyond that, there is plenty of argument for extra-sensory perceptions as well, like clairvoyance, precognition, astral travel, telepathy, and communion with metaphysical entities to a varying physical degree–but for brevity, it will be left at that.
Voodoo, which was born out of the juxtaposed African culture in slave society, can be seen as a conjugation of orthodox Catholicism and African tribal shamanism, by using the Christian explanations of angels and demons, et cetera, to map out their shamanistic traditions. In an attempt to generalize here, both African and Native American (including Mesoamerican) mysticism can be seen under the same context as the origins of pagan witchcraft (although it is undeniable that there was a trickle effect of the Mystery Initiations and their esoteric knowledge into peasant-oriented witchcraft– see Part VI for more details).
Witchcraft, being the anthropological definitions of the mysticism of the Pagans, the Voodoo, and the Native Americans, is characterized as a peasant religion, based on the observation of nature, and the integration of its patterns into human life on a personal and social level. This is enacted by a variety of symbolism and ritual that is predominantly associated with shamanism. However, it cannot be denied that all forms of witchcraft can and were used for nefarious activities, as black sabbaths and black magick have been a recurring theme throughout all of human mysticism. To the adepts of witchcraft, the fields of study also involved various modes of alchemy, astrology, and numerology, depending on cultural context of these ideas…