The Secret Teachings of All Ages Part 3: Serapis and Odin

A super quick post on Hall’s overview of the Asar-Hapi Mysteries and the Odinic Mysteries – they’re short in the actual text, and are given here in outline, perhaps for future reference, though largely just because I don’t want to miss anything. Note the repetitions between Mysteries, Hall emphasizes this too…

Asar-Hapi’s true nature was only revealed to those who underwent the rituals of the Serapic cultus. Hall quickly explains that no accounts of these rituals/rites exist, and yet an analysis of the deity can reveal enough. Serapis self describes:

A god I am such as I show thee,

The Starry Heavens are my head, my trunk the sea,

Earth forms my feet, mine ears the air supplies,

The Sun’s far-darting, brilliant rays, mine eyes.”

This deity – to me at least – can be read as another form of nature-as-deity. Serapis was a name for the sun in ancient Egypt, and so, this can be seen as a form of nature/sun worship. Serapis actually has minor connections to Jewish mysticism, Saraph meaning ‘to blaze out’ or ‘to blaze up’. “The Jews designated one of their hierarchies of spiritual beings, Seraphim.” p59.

The most common theory with regards to the name Serapis, is that it traces its roots from the compound Osiris-Apis – and so Serapis was the name given to the name of the dead Apis, or sacred bull of Egypt – “the soul which escaped from the body at death but was enmeshed with the form during physical life was designated Serapis.” – p59

Serapis: The Sacred Bull, The Sun in Taurus, The Soul of Osiris, The Sacred Serpent and The Retiring of the Bull.

Labyrinths were symbolic of the involvements and illusions of the lower world through which wanders the soul of man in its search for truth. In the labyrinth dwells the lower animal man with the head of the bull, who seeks to destroy the soul entangled in the maze of worldly ignorance.” – p62-63

The common reading of this – as Plato’s allegory of the cave – is found consistently throughout occult texts. The ‘lower’ world, rung or plane of existence acting as an illusory world of comforts and symbolism. As someone who very much dislikes transcendence, I believe these planes should be folded into one another and the illusions on the Outside of the Cave, should/already are immanent to the ones inside – it’s just that through reason and rationality, the split becomes apparent for men in the realm of their perception. Or; the cave’s a usual way to visualize illusory structures, but an extremely useless way of explaining that actuality of such existences.

I have little more to say on Serapis, he’s one of the many ‘singular’ deities Hall mentions, who have not-so-interesting theologies due to their inherent lack of/loss of history, alongside there being a subtle repetition in a few of these thus far – an underlying meaning, perhaps?

So, onto the Odinic Mysteries – that last section was dry.

The 12 Drottars who presided over the Odinic Mysteries evidently personified the 12 holy and ineffable names of Odin. Their rituals mimicked much of the Greeks, Persians and Brahmins.

Mythology is nearly always the ritual and the symbolism of a Mystery school.” – p65

And so the supreme All-Father whose regent was Odin. Wherein the universe was fashioned from the boyd of Ymir, the hoarfrost giant. Formed in the chaos of the clouds into which the primordial frost giants and flame giants had hurled snow and fire. Odin, Vili and Ve slew Ymir and formed the world. From Ymir’s various member the different parts of Nature were formed.

Odin established order and caused (odd wording from Hall here) a wonderful palace, called Asgard, to be built on the top of a mountain. On this mountain also was Valhalla, the place of the slain where the eternal fights and feasts happened. Balder was Odin’s son, and was betrayed by Loki, whom caused Hothr to shoot him with a mistletoe arrow. The Gods gathered to find a method to ressurect this spirir of eternal life and youth – and so the Odinic Mysteries were established.

Repetitions abound…

These mysteries were given in crypts and caves, the chambers, 9 in number, represented the 9 Worlds of the Mysteries. To gain admission one had to raise Balder from the dead. Honestly, this Mystery, alike others, is quite banal – Secrets from the Gods, secret society, ritual practice, access to secret knowledge…

The Secret Teachings of All Ages Part 2: Mysteries, Hyperstition and Abraxas

Once the Christian church reached its position of world power it destroyed basically everything pertaining to any existence of the Gnostic cultus. This cycle of destruction is seen time and time again, those who’ve reached a level of seriousness and stability realize that their efforts could easily be thwarted by their beginnings (See: Academia). Anyway, these Gnostics interpreted Christian Mysteries according to pagan symbolism. Once again, taught to a small, select group and concealed from the muck.

Simon Magus is supposedly the founder of Gnosticism;

Everything with which the enthusiasts of the early Christian Church might not agree they declared to be inspired by the Devil.” – p53

An early form of ‘they’ thought as it’s seen within contemporary society, that which does not cohere to our aims is clearly the work of evil and is deserved of a punch and no platform from which to speak. One key fact about Simon Magus however, is that even his enemies conceded that he had mysteries and supernatural powers – like the Russians admitting the U.S. flag is on the moon. The superiority of Christian power of pagan/Gnosticism was maintained when St. Peter ordered the demons which Simon Magus controlled to drop him as he ascended to heaven – they did so.

Of the universal Aeons [periods, planes, or cycles of creative and created life in substance and space, celestial creatures] there are two shoots, without beginning or end, springing from one Root, which is the power invisible, inapprehensible silence [Bythos]. Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, [is manifested] from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things.” – p55

Hell, Deleuze and Guattari almost want to be sued for plagiarism here, twin shoots, give me the lobster pincers please! These shoots, in their ‘unification’ manifest a middle distance (or middle), a temporality without beginning or end. A manifestation as the result of a positive and negative principle – the pleroma – the point of equilibrium. Out of which was “individualized the Demiurgus, the immortal mortal, to whom we are responsible for our physical existence and the suffering we must go through in connection with it. In the Gnostic system, three pairs of opposites, called Syzygies, emanated from the Eternal One.” – p55

There’s a six (three pairs) system with regard to the Aeons of Simon Magus’ Gnosticism.

Mind (Nous) – Thought (Epinoia)

Voice (Phone) – Name (Onoma)

Reason (Logismos) – Reflection (Enthumesis)

In their unification came the Eternal Flame, came for the Angels who formed the lower worlds through the direction of the Demiurgus. (See Blavatsky for more.)

Anyways, this system was divided into the Syrian Cult and the Alexandrian Cult. The Formed was predominantly dualist and the latter pantheistic.

The Alexandrian Cult is where it all starts to get very…interesting.

An outgrowth of the philosophical deductions of a clever Egyptian Christian, Basilides by name, who claimed to have received his instructions from the Apostle Matthew…with Neo-Platonic inclinations…emanations as being the logical connection between the irreconcilable opposites Absolute Spirit and Absolute Substance. – Basilides inculcated Egyptian Hermeticism, Oriental occultism, Chaldean astrology, and Persian philosophy in his followers,” – p56

To him is attributed the formulation of that peculiar concept of the Deity which carries the name Abraxas” -p56.

A rather heavy handed sentence here from Hall, only to state that Basilides formed Abraxas – ‘the concept of the deity’ hey Hall, strange way to put it, and a rather banal view of manifestations. Many of us may know – and Hall states this, whilst glancing at Celtic knowledge – the word Abraxas has great numerological power, the letters when added = 365. According to Basilides the powers of the universe were divided into 365. Out first Qabbalistical appellation, Abraxas

I will, of course expound in great detail upon Qabbalah later on, but for now let us continue…

One group of the Gnostics was of the opinion that the Demiurgus was the cause of all misery and was an evil creature, who by building this lower world had separated the soul of men from truth by encasing them in mortal vehicles.” – p57

Now it’s getting good. Ah yes, the ‘mortal vehicles’, the ego, the human security system. The grand cage of the flesh locking presentation into representation, that’s a little slack, for that is down the the workings of the mind and functions of conscious, but the metaphor stands. The dice roll of humanity, a complete lock in into material, into matter, and the processes work through matter…the outside processes work through matter, let them in.

After the death of Basilides, Valentinus became the leading inspiration of the Gnostic movement. He still further complicated the system of Gnostic philosophy by adding infinitely to the details. Though the fragments are few are far between, and the Gnostic system is a little archaic for my tastes, however:

Even today there are evidences of Gnostic philosophy in the modern world, but they bear other names and their true origin is not suspected.” – p58

And now, I simply must…

A Note on Hyperstition:

What is hyperstition?

“hyperstitions act as catalysts, engendering further (and faster) change and subversion. Describing the effect of very real cultural anxieties about the future, hyperstitions refer to exponentially accelerating social transformations. 

Hype actually makes things happen and uses belief as a positive power. Just because it’s not ‘real’ now, doesn’t mean it won’t be real at some point in the future. And once it’s real, in a sense, it’s always been” – Hyperstition

Let’s deconstruct some Nick Land and get at the route, because ultimately, if you’d like to know why ‘occultism’ – whatever that means – ‘works’…whatever that means, then you need to grasp hyperstition. I imagine it has actually had many roughly synonymous names throughout history, cultural propagation, transcendental tradition, cultural temporalities etc…hyperstition gets to its nuts and bolts though.

What is concealed (the Occult) is an alien order of time, which betrays itself through ‘coincidences’, ‘synchronicities’ and similar indications of an intelligent arrangement of fate. An example is the cabbalistic pattern occulted in ordinary languages – a pattern that cannot emerge without eroding itself, since the generalized (human) understanding and deliberated usage of letter-clusters as numerical units would shut down the channel of ‘coincidence’ (alien information). It is only because people use words without numerizing them, that they remain open as conduits for something else. To dissolve the screen that hides such things (and by hiding them, enables them to continue), is to fuse with the source of the signal and liquidate the world.” – Land (here)

Go on then, I’ll drag this paragraph apart for you.

What is concealed (the Occult) is an alien order of time, which betrays itself through ‘coincidences’, ‘synchronicities’ and similar indications of an intelligent arrangement of fate.

Not all that tough for those caught under the spell of Kantianism. But, and I imagine my description would be a little too practical/pragmatic for Land, but hey, I gotta get you kids deterritorialized somehow. Time and space, the two a priori means for experience, for perspective (to put it very simply). The way in which you – literally – view time and space is via only your own means, your eyeballs…which are connected to your brain, your own machinery, and as such, the presentation you get of the world is a representation. That is the ‘real’ of the world has to be filtered through your system before you get to ‘interpret’ it, as such, what you’re getting is a ‘vision’ and ‘experience’ of time and space (spatio-temporality) in some sense, but it is only the one that your machinery will allow.

And so, what is concealed (the Occult) is an alien order of time – what is more ‘alien’ that the Outside of your machinery, wherein time and space (though time’s where it gets more interesting in my opinion) act not within the bounds of your fleshy, human-machine lock-in. Crawling back into the cave yet? No? Good. So what of these ‘coincidences’. Well, we might as well call them time-slippage or Occultist-slips, indications of an underlying process greater than oneself, though ‘greatness’ here shouldn’t be thought of in the human sense of ‘great’.

An example is the cabbalistic pattern occulted in ordinary languages – a pattern that cannot emerge without eroding itself, since the generalized (human) understanding and deliberated usage of letter-clusters as numerical units would shut down the channel of ‘coincidence’ (alien information)”

Land is talking of the Cabbalisitic system of numerical reduction here, or: digit-sum reduction.

>He said, “Sir, you speak blaspheme! You are no Kabbalist! You don’t even pronounce the word correctly — it is Kahb- bah-‘law! Kahb-bah-‘law! What you teach is not Kabbalah! It is.. .it is…”

The poor mans face turned bright red and his whole body began to shake as he searched his mind for a word fowl [sic] enough to describe my work.

It is — it is — Chicken! Chicken Kahb-bah-‘law!” 

t was instantly obvious to everyone in the room that he was painfully embarrassed at the ill-chosen and infantile words that blurted mindlessly out of his mouth. People start- ed to chuckle. He then became so flustered that he spat upon the floor and said, “You and your teachings merit only spit! Spit!” and then he stormed out of the hall.

As I am vowed to interpret every phenomenon as a direct communication from God to my soul, I recognized this awful slobbering man as an angel of the Lord, sent to reveal to me the name of the spiritual science that would forever cling to my name. That night in meditation I examined his message Qabalistically. T

he Hebrew word for phlegm or spittle is IT— (KICh), and the word for merit is 71i (NE). To my great joy, the phrase merit spit,” IT— HJ, enumerates 1 to the number 93, one of the holiest of numbers. Number 93 relates not only to the divine concepts of Love and Will, but also to the great secret Word by which we triumph over death. I then looked down at my notes to discover that the very same letters arranged in the very same order rendered in English characters the word IT 2 nj (Chi KEN). – The Chicken Kabalah

Here you can see how in a very practical sense, one can interpret the world via Kabalist means. But what the hell has that got to do with ‘alien’ time?Most commentators interpret Kant here to be indicating why the principles of mathematics, which have to do with pure space and time, are applicable to the appearances: the appearances can only be represented “through the same synthesis as that through which space and time in general are determined” (A161/B202). – hereSo yes, mathematics has its intrinsic links to…things, and may offer up some oddities in relation to that which may be(?) behind the curtain. Or perhaps, mathematics just helps us interpret the writing on the wall better? (Enough breadcrumbs for you!)

It is only because people use words without numerizing them, that they remain open as conduits for something else. To dissolve the screen that hides such things (and by hiding them, enables them to continue), is to fuse with the source of the signal and liquidate the world.”

Land (for me) here is actually channeling some Deleuze and Guattari, the numerical system can be viewed as the plane of immanence and each intensity firing off is a conduit for a line of flight, pure numerics sit as placeholders for intensity, often quite clear intensity. Modes of desire, strata and organ(ic)s cover the numeric intensity with a wash of all-too-human Oedipal malaise.

Hyperstition is a positive feedback circuit including culture as a component. It can be defined as the experimental (techno-)science of self-fulfilling prophecies. Superstitions are merely false beliefs, but hyperstitions – by their very existence as ideas – function causally to bring about their own reality. Capitalist economics is extremely sensitive to hyperstition, where confidence acts as an effective tonic, and inversely. The (fictional) idea of Cyberspace contributed to the influx of investment that rapidly converted it into a technosocial reality.

Abrahamic Monotheism is also highly potent as a hyperstitional engine. By treating Jerusalem as a holy city with a special world-historic destiny, for example, it has ensured the cultural and political investment that makes this assertion into a truth. Hyperstition is thus able, under ‘favorable’ circumstances whose exact nature requires further investigation, to transmute lies into truths.

Hyperstition can thus be understood, on the side of the subject, as a nonlinear complication of epistemology, based upon the sensitivity of the object to its postulation (although this is quite distinct from the subjectivistic or postmodern stance that dissolves the independent reality of the object into cognitive or semiotic structures). The hyperstitional object is no mere figment of ‘social constuction’, but it is in a very real way ‘conjured’ into being by the approach taken to it.” – Land (here)

Culture as a component is clear here, and perhaps I’ll play nice and not make you wrestle for the meaning you so crave…Oedipally addicted wretches! All these cultures I speak of exist as a ‘reality’ of some ‘form’, the group hyped superstition in relation to a mass belief is that which causes the birth of a quasi-reality, you cannot ignore the murmurs of a million believers, as much as their belief itself cannot be ignored. Something springs up. The engines of belief, the motors of tempo-cultural potency. Abraxas can be if you believe him to be, and as such the archaic Occulted alien modes of skewing the world to your will are often the more powerful, for their systems, motors and engines have had far more space and time to play with.

Cast for Crowley and you’ll find pithy hedonism ramped up to 11…worthless. Cast for Abraxas and you’ll find the limitrophe of the Outside…he’s been there a while.

I’ll end it here for this one.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages Part 1: Ancient Mysteries

We begin here with a section on Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies which have influenced modern masonic symbolism – what a heavy sentence. In reality, this section goes into the deep currents running back from the ancients. I will add in here another little helpful piece of Michel Serres’ philosophy, his analogy of the handkerchief and time. Wherein, if one is to map a grid onto a handkerchief, and understand that the grid is time, points equidistant…years, months, minutes etc represented by say a square, then when one folds the handkerchief points from what we conceive as the ‘past’ and points from what we conceive as the ‘future’ meet. And so these currents running from the ancients are in someways always already here, deep metaphysical structures of being itself, temporally jumping to and fro, and in the process being masked a new within the eternal return. Lucretian Atomism – for instance – ‘becomes’ non-linear dynamics, yet those ‘dynamics’ were always there…hidden in a Heideggerian sense.

Thoughtlessness is almost synonymous with childishness, while thoughtfulness is symbolic of maturity” – p39

This quote in relation to the pagan doctrine of splitting those who could appreciate the deeper mysteries of life, and those who could note (the larger majority). Those in the former camp were revealed the esoteric teachings, and those in the latter the exoteric. Spiritual vs literal. Hall notes that in the process of interpretation processes and forces were personified into gods and goddesses – to be wise is to recognize that all prayer and devotion is in relation to the spirit(uality) beneath the symbolic. There was such fraternities which were known as the Mysteries,

Plato, an initiate of one of these sacred orders, was severely criticized because in his writings he revealed to the public many of the secret philosophic principles of the Mysteries.” – p40

Hall cuts this short, but I’ll give you a little helping hand,

…our mysteries had a very real meaning: he that has been purified and initiated shall dwell with the gods” – Phaedo

One need think of the Myth of Er – which is bad translation, and should really read ‘the account or story of Er, for Plato took this story as a factual account – within which it is made clear that death is not the end, but only the beginning of another part of the journey.

Plato tells us that beyond this ephemeral and imperfect existence here below, there is another Ideal world of Archetypes, where the original, the true, the beautiful Pattern of things exists for evermore. Poets and philosophers for millennia have pondered and discussed his conception. It is clear to me where Plato found his ‘Ideas’; it was clear to those who were initiated into the Mysteries among his contemporaries too. Plato had drunk of the potion in the Temple of Eleusis and had spent the night seeing the great Vision.” – The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries p29-30

Hall begins to draw from other historical texts the idea that with the Mysteries came the idea of immanence, a divine immanence, that under all things – such as civilization and advancement – was the sublimest truths, that these structures only acted as a veil of mystery.

But the Mysteries too – as with all things – met their ‘end’,

With the decline of virtue, which has preceded the destruction of every nation of history, the Mysteries became perverted.” – p40

Virtue too, became perverted. A narcissistic illusion of virtue, wherein virtue becomes the false mask of what supposedly means to be ‘good’. A western, toxic notion of good as a display of goodness, kindness and altruism, as opposed to something greater and more steeped in reality. Not that those things are not beneficial, only their transparency makes it clear they can be little other than simulacra of virtue.

Man has worshiped and revered things as symbolic of the invisible, omnipresent, indescribable Thing, concerning which he could discover practically nothing.” – p41

Deleuzoguattarians are grinning right now, the ‘indescribable Thing’ is always prescient and no amount of representation will get you closer to it, you will have to target the process of the Thing itself to even care for a glimpse. I say too, that the contemporary western mode of virtue too, is little more than the representation of virtue, an illusory form of desire created by the Organs of society as a means of control.

The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have fundamental knowledge of Nature and her laws.” – p41

I could of course mention Gnon here, but fundamental knowledge of Gnon would be a paradox – the paradox alluded to is that fundamental knowledge of nature is the fundamental knowledge that one cannot gain fundamental knowledge, Gnon avoids allowing such knowledge.

At last we get to the Sun. The worship of which played an important role in early Pagan Mysteries. Indicating – according to Hall – the probability of their Atlantean origin. For the people of Atlantis were sun worshipers. This put a new spin on the whole ‘mythos’ of the CCRU back when I read it. In that, if we were to take Atlantean and Lemurian as supposed opposites – though it’s not that binary – this would imply that the work of the CCRU in relation to the Numogram was wholeheartedly dark, and of darkness – and yet, one still feels that perhaps it is because the lock-in of the sun casts Oedipal rays, and so, for those seeking exit, darkness is always first priority.

The Mysteries, in short, were an establishment organized to assist man in reawakening his spiritual powers, which due to lust and degeneracy, lay asleep within his soul.

Now let’s hit up some Druids. Drui meaning ‘men of the oak trees’ according to Max Muller, drawing attention to the fact that the forest Gods of the Greeks were called dryades.

Their power over the people was unquestioned, and there were instances in which armies, about to attack each other, sheathed their swords when ordered to do so by the white-robed Druids.” – p43

Mediators between Gods and men, Druids have a deep understanding of nature and her laws.

The proximity of the British Isles to the lost Atlantis may account for the sun worship which plays an important part in the rituals of Druidism.” – p44

It makes complete sense for Druids to worship the sun of course – at least to a latter extent – for nature is beholden to the sun, and as such the primacy of Druidic worship is nothing without the rays of the sun.

In order to reach the exalted position of Arch-Druid, or spiritual head of the organization, it was necessary for a priest to pass through the six successive degrees of Druidic Order.” – p45

Which is funny, because John Michael Greer said he literally just had to show up…not telling us everything, ‘ey John?

Anyways, in terms of its complexities Druidism is fairly simple. Three worlds, transmigration from one to the other, the below of misery, the above of happiness and this present state. Good and evil are balanced – there’s little extrapolation here as to what these are in terms of Druidism – and man is free to reject or choose either. There are three objects of ‘metempsychosis’ too, to collect into the soul the properties of all being, acquire knowledge of all things and to get power to conquer evil…there’s also three kinds of knowledge: the name of each thing, its cause and its influence (Kant runs deeper.) Darkness grows less and lightness increases. Druidism is strangely optimistic, and I cannot see why? Unfortunately, due to the history of the Druids being lacking this section is very bare bones – there’s an undercurrent of resurrection, yet it’s all quite vague and I cannot do it justice, nor does it interest me as much as other paths. I’ll leave it to Greer to expound on Druidism proper.

This part’s a little shorter than I intended, unfortunately, Hall gives very little in these two sections for one to really go into in much depth

The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Part 0: Beginnings

So, I’ve been wanting to get back into ‘routine’ blogging for a while, I had this sort of intense run of writing in ’17 which was great, at the time I had a many focuses. There was a reading of House of Leaves which I stopped and deleted as it would actually ruin the book for others, there was my TSPDT series, which I intend to continue…I just need to get more organized, and there was of course the initial Accelerationist stuff. This has all petered out a little and I look at bloggers such as Xenogoth with scorn, I wish I could be more attentive. But my inherent nature is that I need projects with clear guidelines. That’s not to say I wont digress – I will – only, if I leave myself to wait for something to come to me, nothing will happen. Some people can wait for creativity, others have to drag it out screaming from whence it lay.

Now, before I explain the project here, I will just add that I am still working on Z/Acc stuff, when I say working on, I mean doing thorough amounts of research. Z is a tough line between collapse and Acc which is very finicky. Also working on my Accelerationist thesis at the moment, so I’m busy. But basically, I allocate 4 nights a week to thesis study, 1 night to Z and 1 night to occultism. The remaining night is either for me to get drunk, wind down or eat a heavy meal.

So, what’s this project? Well, I intend on lucidly writing a close reading of Manly P Hall‘s The Secret Teachings of All Ages. This book is often cited as an encyclopedic occultist masterpiece, it’s both the history and the philosophy of occultism written by an advanced practitioner. It’s also commonly seen as a great starting place for a novice. Not a beginner mind you. If you’re still ‘in doubt’ with respect to ‘Occultism’ (whatever that means to you) I highly recommend picking up a copy of Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising (PDF) and doing some of the exercises from it for 3-4 weeks, and then picking up a copy of Alan Chapman’s Advanced Magick for Beginners and doing those exercises day by day. For anyone engrossed in Occultism wondering why I recommend these two western ‘chaos-leaning’ texts, well, quite simply they’re very accessible for the average Joe, at least the average reader of this blog.

I guess for me to take myself seriously on something – and this is a recent epiphany – I have to non-narcissisticly – make my intentions public. This both acts as a means to follow through with my created debts and also acts as a quick stripper of embarrassment. That’s right old high school friends I’m into magick now. But legitimately, I’ve found that one of the first hurdles to ‘expanding one’s mind/perspective’ is the overcoming of embarrassment, of losing credibility etc. So this blog series will act both as a ‘scholarly’ (blergh!) exercise, a weekly meditation on Occultism, inspiration for others to take the initial ‘dip’ (Though, if you do intend to get ‘into’ Occultism, I advise going the whole way or nothing, taking a dip can be dangerous.) and also a chance for to simply blog routinely again.

A note on ‘Magusitus’, give this piece a read, make sure you understand it at don’t fall into the pitfalls of ‘being magickally stuck’. Treatment for the I’m-so-powerful-look-at-me-Occultist:


LAUGHTER: Stop taking things so seriously. A damn good dose of Discordianism

COUNSELLING: To put things into perspective. Reframing techniques (used in NLP.)

ASK THE QUESTION: Are you a Cosmic Shmuck?.

EGO MAGICK: Sort those demons out! If you have any personality disorders when you start magickal work, expect them to be amplified by the work over the years. Best deal with them using psychological magicks before you embark on serious magickal journeying.

MEDITATION: Without regular exercise of self discipline and ego dissolution, ego inflation may occur – magickal work does tend to inflate the ego, especially if you don’t banish effectively.

Also, just as a very quick aside, I’ve always had trouble internalizing that which I don’t work with, I have to write about something to truly understand it – and this is a book that needs study. Let’s begin.


Museum Hermeticum Reformatum Et Amplificatum

Let’s start with the title. The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Not so secret any more, hey Manly! Well, it’s certainly a pre-internet clickbait title if you ask me. A compendium of secrets, who could resist. With that said, it begs an early question. What happens to Occultism – Occult meaning hidden – in an age when ‘teachings’ and knowledge are so easily accessible? Actually very little. John Michael Greer has actually commented on this, stating that it was a worry throughout Occult circles as to what would happen if the general public got their hands on these teachings. They of course worried it would be a kids with dynamite type scenario, when in actuality, Occultism takes a lot of work, a lot of hard, disciplined, daily rigorous work…at least if you want to get beyond the point of gimmicks, basic sigils and minor will stuff. And so, yes we can all read the secrets, but it takes a keen, tenacious and downright spiritually obsessive eye to read between even just some of the lines. Needless to say, Hall’s book still achieved its aims to some extent:

“The greatest knowledge of all time should be available to the twentieth century not only in the one shilling editions of the Bohn Library in small type and shabby binding, but in a book that would be a monument, not merely a coffin. John Henry Nash agreed with me.” – Secret Teachings

The book opens with this dedication:

This book is dedicated to the Rational Soul of the World.

You can see already Hall thinks and writes like a contemporary continental, capitalizing all that needs its own. With that said, behind Hall’s dry witticism here, there’s an importance…at least as I see it. The ‘Rational Soul’ is a state of being for Hall. This will come as no surprise to many of you, but to those who may be taking their first trembling steps into the world-of-doubt, then to attend to the notion that there is a ‘Rational Soul’ is to also attend to the idea that there is most certainly other forms of souls, spiritual, machinic, black, dead…who knows, but the possibility of otherness is forthwith, and yet, once the rationality is removed what of ‘the Soul’?

After the initial preface we come across the ‘Preface to the Diamond Jubilee Edition’, within it this strange quote from Hall:

“It was apparent that materialism was in complete control of the economic structure, the final objective of which was for the individual to become part of a system providing economic security at the expense of the human soul, mind and body.”

The latter parts here are of little originality (now), but the former sentence, of materialism is somewhat unique. Materialism as a form of control. In an email I received from my online-friend Amy Ireland, wherein we were discussing time, she stated that it was – to paraphrase – ‘material that was living through us.’ And this is what happens when you take Kantian idealism to its limit. The souls of humans bereft of all cosmic worth, and they bow to the material, allow it to seep and enter into them – virulent materialism in cahoots with techonomic forces.

the ageless truths of life – have usually been clothed in shabby garments.” – MPH

This quote is reminiscent of Couliano’s writing (in Eros and Magic in the Renaissance – or this paper) with regard to advertising acting as a form of magical spell cast over society, the truth is throughout and in all things. One wonders if hours spend musing over intricacies of an airline pamphlet could reveal some cosmic truths, the truth, splayed throughout modernity’s shivering intensities, tacked onto pithy desires as an afterthought.

“I have sincerely endeavored to refrain from haphazard metaphysical speculation,” – MPH

I haven’t.

To the introduction…

“The superiority of any state or substance over another is determined by philosophy.” (p13)

Note: All pages references are from the 2003 Tarcher/Penguin edition, unless stated otherwise.

And so Hall begins with a metaphilosophical quip relating to the determination of philosophy to value its own inherent self-worth. For the state/substance dynamic was in some sense born from philosophy and is thus controlled by philosophy in relation to valuation. What Hall calls the ‘index of priority’ (p13). Halls’s philosophy is one of manifestations, relations, causes and nature, his mission is to seek out the a priori interconnection and truth of/behind these. In fact hear on page 13, Hall very cheekily lists altering definitions of philosophy one after another, reeling them off, so to speak.

“Convincing evidence of the increasing superficiality of modern scientific and philosophic thought is its persistent drift towards materialism.”

Perhaps, later down the line I’ll introduce here some of my own readings of materialism (via Kant, D&G and Land of course) but for now, we’ll leave Hall to the archaic notion of material and non-material. He seems ignorant of any immanence here.

“Man’s status in the natural world is determined – by the quality of his thinking.” – (p15)

The Rational Soul previously spoken of returns here, hidden away as such a person whose thinking, knowledge and study is of bad quality, is insincere, is ignorant, and Hall accepts that to have lacking quality in one’s thoughts is to be but a man, and that, for Hall it seems, is not a great thing. The elevation of one’s intellectual faculties to the intrinsic study of the ‘divine realities’ makes of man a demigod. Hall here does the same for ‘God’ as he does for philosophy, listing off a few pre-socratic variations of God and World. The most important for Occultism – in my opinion – would be the Heraclitean notion of eternal change and flux.

“John Reuchlin said of Pythagoras that he taught nothing of his disciples before the discipline of silence, silence being the first rudiment of contemplation.” (p16)

The importance of silence cannot be overstated, especially now – forgive the cliche – of all eras. Not only must one take silence seriously, but one must understand that to be silent is to allow inner reflection, connection and contemplation to come forth without hurdle (at least as much as possible). Not only this, one must understand that to be silent after an act of magick is to make not the ritual narcissistic, nor proof that one has ‘Become a Grand Wizard/Seer’ – silence is the avoidance of arrogance and ignorance. You’re sitting attached to some device, some machine, some external apparatus of noise. This is not a luddite disconnection, not any anti-tech rhetoric, no. One can be silent and think in a machinic manner, or think of machines if they wish. Only silence will bring you an originality of thought, else your mind is tainted by a third party symbolic limb. In fact, for a further understanding of silence and noise in this sense, I highly recommend Michel Serres’ The Parasite, or see here:

“Noise in French means “strife” (cf. chercher noise, “kick up a fuss,” “look for a fight”); bruit is “noise” — in two senses: auditory noise (static) and noise in information theory (turbulence) [see Serres, Genesis 141]. For Serres, noise serves as the “third man” (the parasite: the unwelcome guest) in all communication. (In French, bruit parasite is static or interference.)”

Now, after this Hall begins to sort of smash through Greek reading’s of God, philosophy and life at high speed, these are sort of prerequisite nuggets of information to be extrapolated on latter, when they’re more involved. Hall notes here the doctrines of the Cyrenaics: “All that is actually known concerning any object or condition is the feeling which it awakens in man’s own nature.” (p20) As you can see, Kant is probably going to play a large role here with respect to my reading of Hall. The dynamics of Kantian representation, phenomena, noumena and the thing-in-itself play a high role with regard to Occultism. “The end of pleasant emotion is pleasure; the end of harsh emotion, grief; the end of mean emotion, nothing. – Pleasure, furthermore, is limited wholly to the moment; now is the only time.” 

Halls section on Greek philosophy takes a sad turn: “But Greek philosophy had passed the zenith of its splendor; the mass of humanity was awakening to the importance of physical life and physical phenomena. The emphasis upon earthly affairs which began to assert itself later reached maturity of expression in twentieth century materialism and commercialism, even though Neo-Platonism was to intervene and many centuries pass before this emphasis took definite form.” (p24) At least, a sad turn for Hall. The peak of Greek life, which was surpassed, seems to be for Hall a moment in time wherein the culture took a turn from the divine, to the material. And though the Neo-Platonism of Ptolemy attempted a return, the cards were dealt with respect to a strict cultural adherence to earth, physicality and human affairs. Hall marks the death of Boethius as the clear end to the Greek school of philosophy.

Hall dedicates a short paragraph to Kant: “Dr W.J.Durant sums up Kant’s philosophy in the concise statement that he rescued mind from matter. The mind Kant conceived to be the selector and coordinator of all perceptions, which in turn are the result of sensations grouping themselves around some external object. (p29). Is it these ‘objects’ (inclusive of processes etc.) that we are grasping for? That Hall and co wish to ‘find’? In some sense, I believe so.

Hall continues here through German Idealists, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel etc. Now, I wont extrapolate on these as Hall’s remarks are more or less a very brief overview of their beliefs largely was clarity with respect to a history of philosophy. However, he then turns to Schopenhauer, who as far as I’m concerned is of strict importance here and so I’ll make a couple of notes:

“The true subject of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy is the will; the object of his philosophy is the elevation of the mind to the point where it is capable of controlling the will. – The will is the tireless cause of manifestation and every part of Nature the product of the will. – The entire intellectual and emotional constitutions of man are subservient to the will and are largely concerned with the effort to justify the dictates of the will. Thus the mind creates elaborate systems of thought simply to prove the necessity of the thing willed.” – (p30-31)

If we juxtapose Hall’s reading of Schopenhauer here with two classic readings of what ‘magick’ is, we’ll find some similarities, and perhaps reasons as to why the introduction is focused with philosophy:

“Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” — Aleister Crowley

“Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will“– Dion Fortune

Is Schopenhauer’s ‘will’ and the Will of Crowley and Fortune the same? There may be an argument to say there is a difference, and yet I cannot find one. Schopenhauer is important here for me as it in some way ‘justifies’ – not that I needed justification to do so – my assimilation of continental philosophy more thoroughly into this domain. I know not whether Schopenhauer ever wrote of magick, occultism or practices for the control of the will…at least in the practical manner of Crowley and Fortune, yet one could say that Schopenhauer’s metaphysics are the circuitry of Occultism, from which we may draw in other readings and findings and begin to build systems.

Thus far Hall has made little favourable remarks with regard to any of the aforementioned philosophers, and then all of a sudden:

“Henri Bergson, the intuitionalist, undoubtedly the greatest living French philosopher, presents a theory of mystic anti-intellectualism founded upon the premise of creative evolution. His rapid rise to popularity is due to his appeal to the finer sentiments in human nature, which rebel against the hopelessness and helplessness of materialistic science and realistic philosophy. Bergson sees God as life continually struggling against the limitations of matter.” – (p33)

All of a sudden Hall calls forth and explicitly states his adoration of Bergson. A philosopher who despite his importance to Deleuze, I don’t actually know very well at all. (I have Land to thank for that.) And yet this section is left as and island, adrift and odd. Out of nowhere springs some direction, and then alas we fall back into historical analysis of philosophy. Must remember to pick up a copy of Creative Evolution, one must at least try and see the breadcrumbs when they are there.

Hall finishes up his tracing of sequential philosophic thought in a hasty manner, it seems apparent that those whose philosophy is directly linked to the Cartesian is of little interest to Hall. And Hall now gives us an idea as to why we must first understand philosophy:

“Hence he who would fathom the depths of philosophic thought must familiarize himself with the teachings of those initiated priests designated as the first custodians of divine revelation.” – (p36)

“Thales, Pythagoras, and Plato in their philosophic wanderings contacted many distant cults and brought back the lore of Egypt and the inscrutable Orient.” – (p33)

And now we’re getting somewhere,

“The Mysteries were secret societies, binding their initiates to inviolable secrecy, and avenging with death the betrayal of their sacred trusts. – Symbolism is the language of the Mysteries; in fact it is the language not only of mysticism and philosophy but of all Nature, for every law and power active in the universal procedure is manifested to the limited sense perceptions of man through the medium of symbol. Every form existing in the diversified sphere of being is symbolic of the divine activity by which it is produced.” – (p37)

See, told you Kant would be important.

And so here I finish up this first part of my reading, little to say here if I’m quite honest, just enough stuff to keep you wondering. A few bits you’ll need to know, but ultimately this is a primer for the likes of that which is to come. If you wish to follow along, feel free to grab and copy and comment or post your own readings etc. From here on in the readings are less analytical and more subjective with regard to Hall’s heavily researched studies of the Ancient Mysteries etc. And so the thoughts that come from me, on Hall’s readings, will from now on be a little more unique than the above text.

Hope you enjoy.