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Lecture #5 given by XtalMag on April 8, 2007 in the English Club in Moscow.
Lecture 1: Multiple Realities
"There is more to this world
than we see with our eyes.
There is more to this world
than we touch with our hands"
A few words on terminology. We human beings are chained to words. If I think my interpretation or definition of a particular word is right, and that of another person is wrong, then I am ready to fight him and kill him. Take Christendom for instance. Many Christians believe that we consist of two parts: body and soul (or spirit, soul and spirit being synonymous). Other Christians believe that we are made of three parts: body, soul, and spirit—trichotomy instead of dichotomy—and that a clear distinction must be made between the soul and the spirit. The latter maintain that a verse in the New Testament supports them. Of course these days Christians don’t seem to fight physically anymore, but they still do fight verbally. From what I have observed, these two groups of Christians are not willing to reconcile. They hold to their own meanings of words instead of try and understand that maybe they all refer to the same reality when they say "soul" or "spirit". But the Reality doesn’t speak English. It does not know about the problems of all these people. The thing is, the universe is much more complicated than our limited human language is (it’s not hard to see), that’s why the dilemma.
So sorcerers are referring to the reality, to the multiple realities, to the realities of sorcery instead of trying to render strict definitions and develop a beautiful logical structure. Philosophers have been doing this for millennia, but sorcerers don't. And sometimes the habitual words which meanings are familiar to you will be confusing in this context.
Definition of sorcery. At various times don Juan, Carlos Castaneda’s teacher, attempted to name his knowledge. He felt that the most appropriate name was nagualism, but that the term was too obscure. Calling it simply "knowledge" made it too vague, and to call it "witchcraft" was debasing. "The mastery of intent" was too abstract, and "the search for total freedom" too long and metaphorical. Finally, because he was unable to find a more appropriate name, he called it "sorcery", although he admitted it was not really accurate.
"From where the average man stands," don Juan said, "sorcery is nonsense or an ominous mystery beyond his reach. And he is right—not because this is a fact, but because the average man lacks the energy to deal with sorcery."
Sorcery in Castaneda’s (Don Juan’s) teaching is not incantations and hocus-pocus, but the freedom to perceive not only the world taken for granted, but everything else that is humanly possible. Not rabbits out of hat, not David Copperfield, not Harry Potter.
1. Parallel worlds. Multiple realities.
Who does usually give the reports of having been to the other worlds, to the dark side, to the twilight realm, of having seen the visions? Usually these are religious people, addicts, sometimes people of art, etc. A poet said:
We sometimes catch a window
A glimpse of what's beyond
Was it just imagination
Stringing us along?
More things than are dreamed about
Unseen and unexplained
We suspend our disbelief
And we are entertained
Poets often mention these experiences in their works, that probably means some of them actually have them.
We live in the age of information and as we see, there is no lack of shamans, shams, ESP persons, superenlightened gurus, superholy priests, supersmart scientists, and other holier-than-thou’s these days. Everyone preaches his own kind of special reality, his own interpretation of paradise, his own unique metaphysical truth. We have to question ourselves if we want to study all these: what is our goal? Just mental curiosity? If we are to quench our curiosity, to titillate our imagination, one life is not enough. The mankind has accumulated so much knowledge we can never dig it out. Power rests on the kind of knowledge one holds. What is the sense of knowing things that are useless? The goal of the sorcerers is to practically discover new worlds, new realities. This world appears really annoying to an average person (to me, at least). The formula "live, work, die" is terribly, extremely depressing. Or, there’s another definition of happiness: a true man has to give birth to a child, plant a tree, and build a house in his lifetime. This sounds boring to death. We human beings have nearly infinite resources, unthinkable capabilities we are not aware of. It is a shame if we die without using them. Like millionaires who have millions in their bank accounts but live on bread and water alone. But that’s what the absolute majority does.
Did you ever use narcotic drugs? Those visions you experienced were not multiple realities. Just hallucinations, that’s all. The play of sick poisoned mind. People with mental diseases experience those visions, too. What are the criteria in telling hallucinations from the real experience of other worlds? There’s only one criterion: controllability of your experience.
I had some sick conditions when I was small and had some serious diseases. Maybe those visions were a kind of other realities, but because their nature is extremely unstable, sorcerers are not interested in them. Same goes to narcotic conditions. What is the difference between a crazy person and a sorcerer? Seemingly very small: both see and experience some weird realities that ordinary people usually don’t. However, the tremendous difference is that a crazy person (or an addict or an otherwise sick person) does not and cannot control or use that reality, whereas a sorcerer can. That is the major difference. What is not multiple realities: fantasies, lunacy, hallucinations, impressions, thoughts, ideas, fiction, etc.
2. Brief superficial review of few religious doctrines, metaphysical teachings & money‑loving shams.
a. India: the oldest roots of spirituality in the world.
The most ancient sorcery practices were registered in India. (Maybe Egypt could compete, but we don’t have surviving Egyptian religions or practices today, so the Indian tradition is richer anyway—there we have many written testimonies, holy scriptures, whose contents and practices survived to the date). The most ancient scripture on Earth is Rig-Veda. It mentions some forms of yoga. Yoga in different forms had been practiced in India since time immemorial. One of the major fundamental writings of Yoga is famous Yoga-Sutras by Patanjali (created some 1500 years after Rig-Veda). It’s very compact and it describes the very essence of the human nature. It outlines the main obstacles on the way of becoming a sorcerer. The goal of Patanjali is "the cessation of mental fluctuations" (chittavritti nirodha). The obstacles that Castaneda later on would summarize in an extremely condensed way are simply the "the internal dialogue". Of course in Indian tradition things are a bit more complicated: they’re digging pretty deep and they figure that one has to still many different aspects of the human psyche—the soul, in order to release the latent psychic powers. Here we come to this main obstacle: the inner (internal) monologue (dialogue). What do you do every minute in your life, even as you sleep? Breathe, yes, but you also THINK. Your mind is like a car with broken brakes that cannot stop. Weird, right? The mind is supposed to be our obedient instrument; instead, it became our tyrant. It seems that we cannot stop it. Try it, and you’ll see. But there are means to stop it (in Patanjali’s tradition there’s much more to stop in our psyche, but still it could be summarized simply as "the inner monologue"). The process of stopping all the manifestations of the soul is generally referred to as meditation. The Hindu tribes discovered this principle millennia ago: still your soul completely, and tremendous psychic powers will start to get released and manifested. They called these "miraculous" powers Siddhi and the ones possessing them—the Siddha. Siddhi is typically defined as "a magical or spiritual power for the control of self, others and the forces of nature." The siddhis described by occultists and yogis are in actuality supernormal perceptual states available to all human beings. These are absolutely natural abilities that can be explained in highly rational terms. Subjectively, perception of other realities takes place; objectively, some magical or spiritual powers are manifested. These are two sides of the same coin. These rare people, the ones that to different extents stilled their inner monologue and other psychological manifestations and so attained to some unusual supernatural powers, have always been either feared or worshipped (or both) by ordinary people.
The Tao caused the creation of the universe.
The Tao is the energy that flows through all life.
The Tao surrounds everyone in the form of nature.
Everyone must observe and reflect on nature to find enlightenment.
An adherent’s goal is to become one with the Tao.
Everything in the universe is the Tao.
The many gods are manifestations of the one Tao.
Everything is cyclical.
Each person must nurture the Tao or 3 bodily energies (Jing, Ch’i, Shen) through activities such as exercise and meditation.
One should be prudent and think before acting.
People are inherently good.
Follow the art of wu wei: let nature take its course.
Dao De Jin, the central scripture of Taoism, is the second translated book in history (after the Bible). Its author is Lao Tzu. Its central ideas (except for the ones with moralistic implications) are very similar to the ones of Castaneda's teaching.
Sri Aurobindo. A great philosopher, revolutionist, yogi, and poet who lived in the first half of 20th century in India. Among his major books: "The Life Divine" and "The Synthesis of Yoga". He had studied all the schools of yoga and came up with a more effective synthesis that he called "Integral yoga".
He sought the help of Vishnu Lele, a yogi. The yogi accepted Sri Aurobindo and offered to initiate him into silence. "Sit down, close your eyes. You will see thoughts entering your mind from outside. Refuse them entry," he said to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo did so and found Lele's words to be true. He could, after considerable effort, reject the thoughts. In three days, Sri Aurobindo succeeded in establishing silence in his mind. To Lele this was unbelievable, since success in such an experiment would normally be achieved only after a number of years.
One day when a cyclone was raging, Mother (his coworker) went to his room to shut the windows so that rain water would not come in and spoil the room. To her utter amazement she found neither the raging wind nor the rain had found entry into the Master's room. She found him sitting at his table next to a window lost in writing as if there was no storm outside.
The main point of his method is basically the same: classical yogic meditation.
Mircea Eliade. Romanian historian, philosopher, theorist of religion, and literary critic of 20th century. I don’t know of any evidences that he himself attained to some siddhi, but he did write many brilliant books studying the Indian philosophy and spiritual practices. 2 great books are "Yoga, Immortality and Freedom" and "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy". He also shows how siddhi have been attained to by way of meditation, throughout history.
b. Occidental teachings.
The principal difference of the 2 major religion blocks: among all the religious & esoteric traditions of the world’s history we can differentiate the two major groups: 1) monotheistic and 2) sorcery disciplines. The former sets a deity as the center, the focus, and the means of attaining to the divine state, whereas the latter set the individual human capabilities alone as the center and the means of releasing the hidden psychic powers. Among the former are such as Zoroastrianism, Brahmanism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Among the latter are such as Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese traditional religion, Hinduism (arguably), Maya religion, shamanism, and various African, American and Polynesian beliefs of animism.
In every religion or tradition we have some outstanding persons (sorcerers) who actually reached the goal of sorcery. But we know only about the few famous ones. Gautama Siddhartha, Mahavira, Jesus, etc.
Israel & Christianity. The religions of Judaism and Christianity stand apart from most of the other religions due to their unique statements of exclusivity of their God and the way of salvation. The multitude of modern Christian sects and denominations, however, have little or nothing to do with the Bible—the original Holy Scripture of Judaism & Christianity. The reasons of this exclusivity can be traced in the Old Testament.
Abraham was a wild man in Mesopotamia desert who held some primitive beliefs. One day suddenly the spirit (or God) manifested himself to him and lead him out of Mesopotamia into Palestine, revealing some strange things about the Unique God who alone had to be worshipped—a brand new idea in primitive shepherds’ community. Abraham, without full realization of it, eventually became the founder of the great new monotheistic religion. The episode of Elohim with 2 angels visiting his tent deserves some attention. There are no analogies in other world religions to show a unique god of the universe who would do something like that—walk into a tent with a mortal man and eat a calf with him. Maybe Krishna could be compared to it, but he is openly called just one of the incarnations of the Brahman, not his unique and absolute representative in history, as the Bible does.
G. H. Pember. All these books by the leading Christian authors provide us with opponents view, which itself is valuable. One party of a controversy would never admit the power of its enemy unless that power is very real and actual, and being aware of it is crucial to survival of the former party. An opponent’s view always deserves some consideration. In this particular case the two confronting parties are Christianity and Sorcery, the confrontation owing to many of their original premises, especially the main premise of Christianity "Worship your One and Only God". "Earth’s earliest ages". G. H. Pember says exactly the same thing in his book: asceticism and quieting one’s soul brings about the release of tremendous unthinkable supernatural powers in man. Examples of supernatural events are brought, too. Sorcerers use the techniques even of "the enemy"—just like during wars the opponents send industrial spies into each others' territory to investigate the state-of-the-art technologies. This happened during World War II. This physical example applies to the spiritual realm, too.
Alexander Men—"Magic vs. 1 God". In his book (vol. 2 of 6) A. Men describes the same 2 parallel lines in history: the line of belief in the 1 God and the line of releasing one’s own latent psychic powers. He provides the cases of demonstration of paranormal powers by shamans, as evidenced by scientists who witnessed them. A devout Christian, A. Men supports the reality of sorcery and traces its origins back to the ancient religions of animism and nature worship and studies its influence on the subsequent civilizations and the world religions.
Confrontation with sorcery.
In the Old Testament, one of the commands of God to Israel is "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live". The main point of the Old Testament teaching is that anything else men might worship or appreciate more than the Elohim is disgusting, considered to be the main sin. The Bible strongly stresses the necessity of reaching the divine state by obeying the God alone, by complete dependence on Him and His commandments. This is diametrically opposed to the contents of the majority of the sorcery disciplines where both the means and the goal is highest independence possible. The purpose of sorcery is only an absolute freedom, and manifestation of the "supernatural" powers is just an intermediate goal.
Old Testament prophets—same siddhi!
However, it is somewhat strange to see that actually in the Old Testament the same siddhi are described. The incredible power of Samson, the signs that Israelite priests produced in response to the priests of Baal (lighting up the wet woods). The budding rod of Abraham. Elijah commanding wild beasts (a bear) to kill people. These are just the few examples of what is found in much greater abundance in the Vedas and later writings of various religions in India. The Christian miracles continued in the common era, too. We cannot disregard the many writings of the Fathers of the church and other hallowed saints (e. g., the abundant Orthodox hagiography). This indicates that both the Christian way of prayer and the eastern way of meditation, although seemingly different, lead to the analogical results. What is in common between them? Obviously, quieting the soul. Hence, the conclusion: any possible way of putting one’s soul, the psychological part, to rest, releases the paranormal powers and the ability to travel in other available realities. Severely condemned in Xnity<—> mildly condemned in the East.
Apostle Paul is considered the main author in the New Testament because he created the most logical and elaborate theory and practice of the spiritual path. Apostle Peter wrote about him in NT, "his words are sometimes hard to comprehend". Evidently, Paul did travel to the neighboring worlds because unusual things were visibly manifested through him and witnessed by many. These include healing, prediction, resistivity to snake venom. He ventured into some other reality at the moment of his conversion (when the bright light blinded him and he heard a voice, but the people around did not witness the same); later in Arabian desert when the spirit was teaching him directly; on the roof of a house when he was in trance and saw a vision of unclean animals.
During the middle ages (aka Dark ages) the Catholic church in the occidental world locked the occult knowledge of all kinds from the majority, because this knowledge would undermine the authority of Catholicism. So we see all the witches stakes for many centuries—the seekers of spiritual knowledge and freedom had to pay the price of their lives. Equally the Christian and the-non Christian seekers, because their knowledge was equally dangerous to the church. So whenever anyone attained to any esoteric liberating knowledge, and much more—to the explicit siddhi, the "supernatural" powers, he was gotten hold of and burned asap.
The Chinese Christian author who became widely influential in the 20th century. As he studied the Bible, he tried to refrain from the traditional and conventional human views that had become part of the establishment religion and deviated from the original meanings in the Bible, and to reevaluate the scripture from the point of view of actual spiritual experiences stated therein. He wasn’t a philosopher or a theologian, he was a practitioner. For example, he rediscovered some universal spiritual laws in the New Testament such as the law of life and the law of death (1 John)—in their scientific meaning, as the laws acting spontaneously, not depending of arbitrary benevolence of God, but rather depending on the individual practice of the believer alone.
c. Dark ages’ end.
New age. The mixture grows.
Crowd vs. seekers. Even though the dark ages are over now, there is still the controversy between the "normal" social-based religious people which make up the majority, and the seekers of freedom through various spiritual / awareness-heightening / meditation techniques which make up the minority. (That doesn’t mean something is wrong with the holy scriptures, the wrong thing is that no one actually does what they prescribe). The witch hunt is on, only not so much physical anymore. Just check out the news about what the Pravoslavnaya "Church" is doing in Russia these days (particularly about the mandatory "Pravoslavny" education in Russian schools, in spite of the Constitution of Russia). Any anti-pravoslavny speaking is silenced today in mass media and internet in this country.
When the dark ages were over, the threat to the practitioners’ life was over. The persecution diminished, although not suddenly. As the human society gained more freedom and as the mass media improved, the access to the ancient secrets of opening up the alternative realities improved. But it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that the complete picture of the world’s main spiritual disciplines synthesis became possible.
Poltergeist: Rosenheim. Spirits—lecture. Gurdjieff. Crowley. The mixture grows. Judge not lest ye be judged yourself. Check everything with your own experience! "New age".
North American Indians sorcery. Castaneda’s teaching.
The spiritual practices of American Indians remain, perhaps, the most hidden from the western world. Much of the contents of archeological written findings have been proven to be just legends. Probably this owes to the fact that their civilization was destroyed twice – in early second millennium by less developed invading tribes, and beginning from the mid-second millennium – by Spanish Conquistadors. In the 20th century Aldous Huxley ("Doors of Perception", "Heaven and Hell"), Carlos Castaneda and some others attempted to rediscover their sorcery practices for public at large.
Castaneda—anthropologist from UCLA—met a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan Matus in 1960. Castaneda's experiences with Don Juan inspired the works for which he is known. Castaneda's works contain descriptions of paranormal or magical experiences, several psychological techniques, Toltec magic rituals, and shamanism. Carlos Castaneda's works have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. For his third book, Journey to Ixtlan, he received his doctorate degree in 1970 in UCLA.
First two "stoned" books. Drugs as kick start. Trihexyphenidyl.
Don Juan taught him sorcery for 13 years, following several directions, or disciplines. Stopping the mind—hardest task. Incantations (Cabbala) in pop-culture vs. self-transformation. => Warrior's path. (Similar constructs: Xnity etc.) The first and foremost was destroying the feeling of self-importance. Very Christian! He also taught him not-doing – somewhat like Wu-Wei in Tao. Not doing the things we do in the daily life helps disrupting the routines, the unchanging view of the world. Because the basic premise of Don Juan’s sorcery is that there is a multitude of worlds right in front of us, but we cannot interact with them because of the lack of energy and thus our fixation on this one and only world of our daily life. The two major arts he taught him were the art of stalking and the art of dreaming. The point of the former one is to stalk yourself—look at yourself as if you’re someone else, evaluate your own patterns of behavior, and keep doing it to the extent you can actually change your personality, your character at will. If you consider it more closely, you will realize that this is analogical to what the New Testament calls "losing the soul-life" and "renewing of the mind". Losing self-importance and looking at yourself critically seem to constitute the core of many religions. The Bible explains that we have to lose our soul-life because it is sinful, united with our flesh where Satan dwells, and it cannot please the Lord the way it is. And then as we pray to the Lord, our mind gets renewed by His mind, we have his thoughts instead of our sinful thoughts, his feelings instead of our sinful feelings etc. The sorcerers’ explanation, of course, doesn’t have all these theistic principles (not even close to it); however, the mechanism itself is very similar.
The art of dreaming is the art of controlling your dreams and thus passing from ordinary dreams into some other real worlds. This one is probably the most accessible sorcery technique these days, because it does not take years of religious training, fasting, prayers, meditation, asanas, pranayamas, etc. All it takes is a bit of concentration and an effort of our will to either realize the moment of falling asleep or starting to see our hands during sleep. Then an amazing thing happens: the dream is no longer a dream, instead, the dreamer ends up in a very real world that has nothing to do with a usual dream where things change and where nothing is controlled. In the lucid dream, on the contrary, the dreamer is able of controlling the surroundings. Like I said in the beginning, this is a major character trait of sorcery: you’re in control instead of being controlled. If you never experienced the lucid dream, you might think I’m a fool speaking all that nonsense. But the moment you try it for yourself and succeed, it changes your life drastically. For many people it becomes the shock of life and the initiation to sorcery. You actually get an indisputable proof that the other worlds exist, right there before your eyes.
This practice is not new either: it was known in ancient times as part of Tibetan Dream Yoga and Dzogchen.
Osho Rajneesh. Castaneda's & Osho's teachings—many analogies.
Osho lived in India in the 20th century. He collected the cream of all oriental teachings throughout the history (he was almost the same smart as Sri Aurobindo or Watchman Nee) and taught it to a great multitude of people. He stated many times that he was not creating any new religion or a new movement, although many considered it the case. He did that because he rebelled against the traditional religious systems of modern India that gradually became callous, rigid, corrupt, and united with the worldly system and politics—just like all other religions of today—and they could hardly bring enlightenment to anyone. He actually went back to the source (like Sri Aurobindo, Watchman Nee, or Carlos Castaneda) and tried to revive the classical yogic practices without the sophistication of the ancient scriptures. Probably the only thing he invented was dynamic meditations—he taught that one does not necessarily have to sit in asana and do pranayma at a given time of the day, turning meditation into a dead ritual. He maintained that meditation must happen every minute of our lives. Similar to what NT says, "pray unceasingly". Instead, the vast majority of Christians today prays only before food and twice a week in their meetings.
The place among philosophical schools.
Sorcerers are usually not concerned with philosophy because philosophies are rarely practical. However, some points of Castaneda's teaching and some of existentialism seem to overlap (death as an adviser, personal responsibility, will over reason). It's easier to state which philosophy is NOT sorcery. Not ethical, political, "good and bad" philosophies. Branches: ontology, not theology or ethics. Philosophers throughout the history seem to never hit the point of sorcery, but some came very close to it. The philosophical schools that were not centered on morality, the good and the evil, or the politics, advanced further in this direction.
d. Modern day soup. Crooks & shams, but wtf, even those could be real paths!
3. SUMMARY: The synthesis of practices.
The path with the heart.
Concentration vs. unfocusing.
STOPPING THE INTERNAL DIALOGUE.
4. Too much theory & philosophy vs. sheer practice. The point of Zen: SHUT UP AND TAKE ACTION!
Lecture 2: Sorcery vs. the Bible
On 12th of November I briefly described some major world religions and spiritual disciplines with a view to outline their key practices that lead to perception of multiple realities and manifestation of the psychic powers in man. My main conclusion was that the core of every such practice is quieting one's soul. The techniques differ, but their essence remains.
Tonight I will draw some comparisons between the two great spiritual disciplines of the world history that I mentioned the last time: the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of sorcery, the latter as viewed by Carlos Castaneda and other similar authors.1. Teachings of the Bible
The Bible is the absolute bestseller of all times; it is the first translated book in history (translated into nearly all the languages of the Earth), and the one published the most. Its circulation has been the largest ever. It's a shame if we never familiarize ourselves with the Book #1. At a first glance, the style of the Bible, especially of the Old Testament, looks extremely boring for reading.
God: "Whew! I just created a 24 hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth." Angel: "What are you going to do now?" God: "Boy, I'm tired, let's just call it a day."
However, if we take the time and read it, some amazing things about our human nature and possibilities hidden in us human beings can be found. Many different groups of people take the Bible as a foundation for their special kind of activities, each their own, many different ones, no matter how funny those are. The Bible is like crude oil: you could extract many different fractions of precious substances out of it. And find justification for nearly any kind of deeds there, depending on how you interpret the Bible—from loving all people to killing all people.
We have been influenced by TV so much we have a settled popular image of nearly anything in our brain. Whenever we hear "Satan" or "Lucifer", if we are religious, we think of someone utterly bad and extremely negative. If we are not religious, we think of something like Frank Zappa sang in his song "Titties and Beer":
then I heard this noise
The devil smiley in ICQ is typical, too. We would need to get rid of all these funny concepts (mostly stemming from Catholic and Orthodox myths and fairytales) if we are to understand the Bible and sorcery.
Somehow pride crept into his chest and he came to think of himself as nearly a one equal to the Creator. Here we face the name for the original sin: Pride. (This topic would be later evolved in the New Testament by an expansive teaching of losing the soul-life, one's pride, ambition).
"Once by the Pacific" by Robert Frost
The shattered water made a misty din.
I think Robert Frost is talking about this period of time: right before the rebellion of Lucifer. This self-exaltation eventually caused his fall from the emerald mountain straight down to the earth: one third of the angels found his views reasonable enough and joined him in his rebellion, had war with God's loyal angels, but eventually were all thrown headlong down to earth. Since then Lucifer was called Satan, the Adversary.
After the re-creation, God planted the garden of Eden. Adam—if he was an actual man, he had to possess a tremendous supernatural power & knowledge to rule the Earth and name all the animals!
More information about the fallen angels is contained in the books of Genesis and Enoch (the latter one—non-canonical, but wtf?) According to the Bible, the sources of sorcery can be traced from Satan and his angels. It was the fallen angels in the book of Enoch who first acquainted the humans with sorcery.
In spite of the strict prohibition of god to people of Izrael to use any kind of magic, the sorcery practices became widely spread in Izrael long before the common era. We know this because in many books of the Old Testament god reproaches Izrael for using the help of soothsayers, diviners, charmers, enchanters, etc. There is an interesting fact about this: often when these sorcerers are mentioned in both Old and New Testament, it says that they were gentiles—not Jewish. They came from the many kinds of tribes surrounding Izrael in Palestine—Babylonian, Assyrian, Philistinian, etc. And those nations were polytheistic in their majority. Even when one deity was worshipped by those nations, it did not have an absolute exclusive status, like Elohim, the god of Jews, did. Rather, even those "central" gods (Like Artemis, Moloch, Baal, Ashtoreth, and others) were parts of larger pantheons of gods—another indication that sorcery practices grow on the more fertile ground of polytheism rather than monotheism which in principle is very intolerant toward any magical practices. Here again is the controversy of these two major kinds of spiritual traditions—the monotheistic (here represented by Judaism), and the polytheistic one.
In the New Testament, the emphasis seems to shift from the physical to the spiritual side of things. While in the Old Testament sometimes the sorcery could be worked seemingly by plain volition of god and no participation of humans, in the New Testament these cases are more rare, and the "miracles" are mostly worked by people themselves. This can be explained by the fact that in the OT the spirit of God was never in men, it was just on men. Whereas in the NT the spirit of god is in people, allowing them to exercise it and perform the paranormal actions. Jesus performs about the same miracles as in the Old Testament, but his message changes from "eye for an eye" to "love your enemy". The message of NT with a view to reaching the paranormal powers becomes more clear to us: the key is quieting the soul. Although unlike sorcery, this method in the NT does have a considerable moralistic constituent. Obviously, the Mountain Sermon in Matt. 5 is a way to quiet one's soul. The key words in the process are meek, poor, afflicted, pure in heart, etc.—a Christian is supposed to become all of this. Here we can see the major principle common to both sorcery and Christianity: still your soul. According to 1 Thes. 5, our soul has three parts: mind, emotion, and will. Therefore, all three parts must be quieted in order to have the psychic powers in us released.
Teacher asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Vovochka's picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent. "Don't you know? The Flight to Egypt!" was his reply. Pointing at each figure, the teacher said, "That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. But who's the fourth person?" "Can't you see, that's Pontius – the PILOT!"
Jesus and his disciples did many paranormal acts such as healing, prediction, casting out demons (in the terms of sorcery, disconnecting a person from the inorganic being inhabiting his body). It wasn't always helpful for the person in question: once apostle Paul exorcised a spirit of prophecy from a man. So that man lost his ability and probably all his income. Disciples even killed people w/o physical contact, with the power of the spirit alone (the case of Ananias and his wife in Acts).
A little girl became restless as the preacher's sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, "Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?"
2. Sorcery teachings
I will mainly focus on the teaching of Carlos Castaneda. In his books, written in the 20th century, he claims that he received lessons from a Yaqui Indian sorcerer, Don Juan, and that the tradition he was initiated to is thousands of years long. He refers to this tradition of sorcery as Toltec knowledge.
Vovochka watched his father, a pastor, write a sermon. "How do you know what to say?" he asked. "Why, God tells me." "Oh, then how come you keep crossing things out?"
Back to the original sin, the pride: losing self-importance and looking at yourself critically seem to constitute the core of many religions. The Bible explains that we have to lose our soul-life because it is sinful, united with our flesh where Satan dwells, and it cannot please the Lord the way it is. And then as we pray to the Lord, our mind gets renewed by His mind, we have his thoughts instead of our sinful thoughts, his feelings instead of our sinful feelings etc. The sorcerers’ explanation, of course, doesn’t have all these theistic principles (not even close to it); however, the mechanism itself is very similar.3. The comparison
a. Similarities: i. It seems that both within the biblical teaching and the sorcery humans often receive the knowledge and/or the ability to perform acts of sorcery through the spiritual beings (called angels and demons in the Bible, and spirits and allies or inorganic beings in the books of Castaneda). Of course Christians are condemned if they receive help from any other spirit than the Lord's.
ii. Impeccability <–> being perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.
Impeccability has to do with responsibility for one's own actions. A sorcerer makes decisions before any actual action. As he makes them, he assumes complete responsibility for the outcome of his planned actions. If he dies as a result of his actions, that was his lack of impeccability. In the world of the ordinary people, their word can be easily altered, but the fact of their imminent death can not. In the world of sorcerers, on the contrary, their words never change. Their decisions, once made, stay intact for ever. But their death can be postponed and changed, unlike in the world of ordinary men. The Christian term "Being perfect" implies praying to the Lord, concentrating on his person, and asking for that quality from him, instead of self-improvement. Any self-improvement is condemned in the NT teaching.iii. Losing self-importance <–> losing the soul-life.
Don Juan had his disciple lose his self-importance by harsh methods. He mocked him and put him in the situations where CC lost his face totally. But the key procedure for reaching any quality in sorcery is shifting perception. Whenever perception shifts to other realities, we stop being ourselves in a sense, and lose our false ego. Again: this is not psychology or morality, it's rather a scientific process. There is cause and there is effect. In the Bible the principle is analogical: only this key process is called "touching the human spirit" or "exercising the spirit" or "contacting the Lord". Both true Christians and true sorcerers try to simplify things as much as possible. Whenever a sorcerer shifts his perception, three things happen: 1) he comes in contact with other realities, 2) people around may observe him performing some paranormal acts, and 3) he stops being himself, e.g. he loses the feeling of self-importance, self-pity, and becomes ruthless and detached. Same goes to the Christians. Whenever a Christian prays (contacts his human spirit), three things happen: 1) he comes in contact with the Lord the Spirit, 2) people around may observe him performing some paranormal acts, and 3) he stops being himself, e.g. he loses his pride, greediness, etc. and becomes calm, merciful, obedient to the Lord, etc.iv. Unbending intent <–> praying unceasingly.
The point here is the same in all religions, in any kind of business, in any kind of human activity: if you want to obtain any result, you have to try hard, try your best, exert to the maximum. A disciple of sorcery learns to repeat any action persistently, applying his will to it. And once the unbending intent is worked out, it can be applied to anything.
There is also a corporate aspect in sorcery, although not nearly as strong as in Christianity. In the Bible, the Body of Christ is instrumental and indispensable for reaching the ultimate goal of the Christians. In sorcery, however, it may or may not be necessary. In Castaneda's books we see groups of sorcerers who helped each other energetically and then left this Earth all together in one energetic strike, which was their ultimate goal.vi. The ultimate goal: to burn in the fire from within and become a pure conscious energetic form <–> to be glorified (raptured) by the Lord and receive the new glorious body.
After a life of struggle, a sorcerer can have his physical body lit up with awareness and change it into a body of energy. CC claims to have seen how the group of his teacher left our world in this manner. Then they became agile energetic creatures, very much like allies that they contact, with their capacities enormously higher than those of the limited physical body. This aspiration can be found in all religions of the world, including Christianity. Apostle Paul speaks about glorification of the human body of the overcoming Christians in the end of time. Also, in the Old Testament Enoch and Elijah were taken up in a similar manner. Today's Christians call it "rapture". Some Christian drivers have funny stickers on car bumpers in America: IN CASE OF RAPTURE, THIS CAR WILL BE UNMANNED. According to the NT, at the second coming of the Lord the chosen believers will receive the new body (obviously, energetic, not of gross matter) and be taken up to the Lord's throne.b. Differences: i. Sorcerers may or may not admit the existence of God, but they don't care too much about it. ii. Sorcerers never preach anything to anyone. If ordinary people ever want to build a bridge with the world of sorcery, they would have to do it (I'm not preaching, I'm practicing my English here ;-)
iii. Christians emphasize salvation of many (although there is a personal aspect of working out your own salvation), and the sorcerers emphasize personal "salvation" (although there is a minor aspect of helping your fellow sorcerers—I mentioned that).
And one more anecdote in the end.
Lecture 3: Lucid Dreaming
We spend one third of our lives without any use for the country, economics, society, or family, and without much use for ourselves either. What a waste! Even if you are going to live some ninety years, as many as thirty of them will be spent in that useless state. You know what I am talking about. It's sleeping.
The term "Lucid Dreams" was introduced in 1913 by Van Eeden, a Dutch psychotherapist, to denote a kind of sleep where the sleeper fully realizes the fact that he is asleep. Although the phenomenon itself had been known much earlier, he had to rediscover many points because at that time (late 19th – early 20th century) the knowledge of Indian religions was just beginning to reach the Western world. What's worse, there was no Internet around.
Tibetan Dream Yoga
There were various other references to lucid dreaming in history around that time, including one in the twelfth century by the Spanish sufi, Ibn El-Arabi, and another a century after that, where St. Thomas Aquinas mentions the subject briefly. Neither of them were that detailed though, and the next significant mention does not come before the nineteenth century. The reason of this long gap is that the Dark Ages, as I mentioned in my 1st lecture, suppressed and punished any spiritual search for centuries.
2nd Gate (utilizing the dreaming body): One is able to wake up from one dream world into another at will. Realized when one is able to isolate an inorganic being and follow it to the realm of Inorganic Beings. Also, one is able to fall asleep without losing consciousness.
3rd Gate (traveling): Arrived at when one dreams of looking at his own physical body sleeping. Realized when the dreaming and physical bodies become one. Crossed when one is able to control the Dreaming Emissary.
4th Gate (Seeing): One is able to perceive the energetic essence of every dream item, fall asleep in a dream, in the same position in which one has gone to sleep. Also, one wakes up in this reality, only not in the physical but in the energy body. At this stage the dreamer actually becomes the sorcerer—he mingles the waking world and the astral plane and becomes a master at handling his energy body. Many of such people become legendary; these are the ones that myths and legends are later told about.
All the authors writing about this phenomenon seem to fall under 1 category out of the 2: 1st, practicing this for a sheer self-indulging experiment. All such books begin with the opening words like "do you want to expand your world of daily life? do you want your wildest dreams come true? do you want to be able to fly across the sky like a superman from the famous movie? would you like to have sex with the movie star you adore?" etc. There has been a boom of such literature in recent years now that all the pioneers such as R. Monroe had gone ahead and researched this unexplored realm. The second category is comprised by such disciplines as Tibetan Buddhism and the teaching of Castaneda. They are not so much in indulging one's self; instead, they realize that lucid dreaming is not the goal—but a stepping stone toward reaching spiritual freedom, developing the body of energy, and resolving the matters of life and death.
What are the spiritual benefits of this practice?
My own experience of initiation into the out-of-the body experience: in 1996 I didn't read any esoteric literature (except maybe volume 1 by Castaneda, and a few chapters from the New Testament, but they don't mention lucid dreams). One day my friend Lyosha the satanist gave me a book by Stephen LaBerge to read. It was on the lucid dreams. I just flipped through the pages and didn't understand much. I have to say that at that time I didn't take alcohol (except maybe a beer once every 2 weeks) and didn't smoke (I never smoked), neither did I ever take any narcotic drugs. The night after reading that book I woke up because someone turned on the light in the corridor (the door to the corridor had this frosted glass pane). I sat on my bed, angry at whoever turned on the light, and was going to stand up and go turn it off. And then a horrible something attacked me from the door. It was big, black, and massive. I experienced the moment of sheer terror and the sharp realization "I am going to die NOW". The next thing I know—I am waking up in my bed, again, just the same! but there is no light in the corridor. Then I had hard time falling asleep again. I was shaken by fear. Now I can't explain this away in rational terms, but in the morning I remembered clearly that there was also another consequence of events: I was woken up not because of the light in the corridor, but because in my sleep I began to feel that someone heavy was sitting on my bed next to my legs. Although there were absolutely no persons available who could possibly do that. The continuation in this line of events was similar: wake up, attack, wake up again. It seems like there were 2 of me experiencing different scenarios in two separate time tunnels. For some 2 weeks afterwards I was afraid to sleep. That was scary. If I had read any of the books I mentioned I would have known that I didn't have to be scared, instead, I had to just look that creature in the face calmly and talk to me. According to these authors, this action has a therapeutical effect upon waking.
Hush now don't you cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You're lying safe in bed
It was all a bad dream
Spinning in your head
Your mind tricked you to feel the pain
Of someone close to you leaving the game of life
So here it is, another chance
Wide awake you face the day
Your dream is over...or has it just begun?
There's a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run to in the night
Relax child, you were there
But only didn't realize it and you were scared
It's a place where you will learn
To face your fears, retrace the years
And ride the whims of your mind
Commanding in another world
Suddenly, you hear and see
This magic new dimension
I-will be watching over you
I-am gonna help you see it through
I-will protect you in the night
I-am smiling next to you...in silent lucidity
If you open your mind for me
You won't rely on open eyes to see
The walls you built within
Come tumbling down, and a new world will begin
Living twice at once you learn
You’re safe from pain in the dream domain
A soul set free to fly
A round trip journey in your head
Master of illusion, can you realize
Your dream's alive, you can be the guide but...
Visualize your dream
Record it in the present tense
If you persist in your efforts
You can achieve dream control
Lecture 4: SPIRITS
Throughout the history of mankind there has been multitude of reports of people seeing some beings that others couldn't see, contacting them in all kinds of ways, and employing them. We just cannot dismiss those thousands of instances. There must be some actual real events behind those reports. In fact, there were so many of them that in our time we are facing a great confusion of terminology concerning these "other beings": spirits, ghosts, gods, specters, phantoms, apparitions, vampires, banshees, elves, poltergeist, etc.
(I think a small parenthesis is appropriate here. The thing is, all I'm saying in my lectures is not supposed to be a declaration of some sort of an absolute truth in any way. My lectures are not sermons. I don't have any goal to convince anyone about anything. I'd say, my main goal is oral practice of English. It also helps overcome and improve my personality because naturally I'm self-conscious. I am convinced that any truth can only be subjective.
I'll begin with a very brief review of the attitude toward the world of the spirits along the timeline of human history.
1) Spirits in main religions & mythologies
In India people worshipped "gods" or "semi-gods" since the ancient times. Vedas prescribe different type of offerings to those semi-gods. Bhagavad-Gita (which was created thousands of years after the oldest Vedas) says, "In the beginning of creation the Lord of all creatures created generations of men and semi-gods…" This is a clearer indication of creating the spirits than in the Bible. Who are these semi-gods? they are not the Supreme God, and yet we cannot see them. So they fall under my vast general category of "spirits".
b. Greek mythology
Although we have all the gods, satires, nymphs, and naiads here, it's much harder to separate human fantasy from real facts of existence of these supernatural beings in this case, because Greek mythology doesn't give us any spiritual practices. It only describes the unthinkable feats of Olympic gods without much connection to real life. That's why it's mythology, not a religion, and not a system of spiritual practice. So for me, Greek mythology is only useful in a way of comparison with other world's disciplines. Because I believe that by comparing several spiritual traditions and finding the things common between them, one can actually find the practical way of attaining to all the valuables appraised in these traditions by getting behind the veil of myths, the cloak of useless fables.
The most ancient and wide-spread system of practices of contacting the world of spirits is shamanism. It exists with nearly all of native tribes of the earth, in all five continents, since the time immemorial. Unlike Greek mythology, this realm of human knowledge is highly practical. One of the best books on the world's shamanism is by Mircea Eliade, "Shamanism: The Techniques of Ecstasy". Typically in nearly every tribe outside of the so-called "civilized world" there is a shaman (healer, sorcerer – these sometimes being different persons, and sometimes the same one performing all these functions) who is responsible for contacting with the spiritual world for the purposes of healing his fellow mates, saving them from the evil spirits, predicting the events such as rich or poor harvest for the current year, etc. It is widely believed that a great part of the spirits are those of the ancestors of the tribe, and another part – beings of higher order like demons and gods of nature. In his book, Eliade gives definition of a shaman: the one who is a professional in techniques of ecstasy—ecstasy not in its common sense, but in the scientific sense of outside-of-itself, such as in the New Testament:
The characteristics of a shaman differ all over the world, but some remain unchanged and can be found, for example, with Siberian shamans, South American shamans, and Indonesian shamans even these days. These are the following items: a shaman must go through the initiation of a sort. This initiation is basically the process or the sign of how the spirits mark the person out, spot him, show him as their possible conductor. Many initiations must have such elements as diseases (often epilepsy), raving, passing out, and even near-to-death conditions.
A friend of mine named Oleg told me a number of years ago how in his hometown, Schyokino, Tula region, a guy called Yura was thought to be possessed. He was this type of feeble-minded person who is usually kept in special schools for retarded people. It wasn't Mongolian syndrome though. He was often seen raving, yelling at no one in particular, and drooling. Some local Christians tried to exorcise the demon, but to no avail of course. Christians these days are not like those two thousand years ago. The interesting part is that Yura was once seen walking in a peculiar fashion on a staircase. His body actually leaned far backward as he walked up the stairs, defying gravity. If there was a shaman in Schyokino, I'm sure he would've helped out.
I knew some other Christians who told me that demon possession mainly occurs in uncivilized areas of the world, where there are tribes with their almost primitive way of life, and often along water courses because these beings are said to dwell in water.
d. Judaism & Christianity
i. Fallen angels.
The Bible begins with the story of God creating his helpers, the angels. Then at some point in time one third of the angels became corrupt and was cast from heaven down to Earth; this part is later referred to as "Satan and his angels" in the Bible. If we discard the fairy-tales ideas of angels being all white, fuzzy, human-like. having wings and a halo, then we might question ourselves: what are they like then? From several passages in the Bible we can see that angels have no physical bodies. For example, Jesus was asked, "Suppose this woman had 7 husbands in this life. Whose wife she would be in the heavens when she dies?" Jesus answered something like, "You fools, that's the most stupid question I ever heard. Spirits of men DO NOT marry after they depart, instead, they abide in a sort of angelic state. And angels NEVER marry". Of course here Jesus referred to the normal condition—he must have read the book of Enoch and known what happened after Adam's creation and before the great flood and Noah's ark. Then the angels actually married earthly women.
Demons are the spirits of men and semi-angelic bastard beings who drowned in the flood. (See my Lecture 2).
iii. G.H. Pember. The Fox house.
The straight Christianity condemns any use of any spirits except the one and only Spirit of Jesus Christ. They say any other spirits are evil without exception, and only the spirit of JC is good.
e. European mythology
Myths of Europe stem mostly from Christian and Gnostic traditions, often heavily distorted by cultural influences.
i. Incubus & succubus
This mythological notion of spirits copulating with humans comes, most probably, from the same events described in the book of Enoch.
ii. Fairytales. Human imagination.
Myths grow on the ground of actual events, but eventually they become so distorted by artful imagination of the writers (especially when the stories were handed down orally from generation to generation) it's hard to see what exactly was based on real events, and what was added later to make it sound better or more exciting. That's how all the imaginary beings came into being—dragons, elves, fairies, goblins, etc.
If you would like to know more about the unreal beings, check out "Gallery of Imaginary Beings" by J.L. Borges. I'm interested in the real ones, not in the fruits of imagination.
2. Spirits in modern teachings
a. Theosophical Society
As the Indian religions were getting known to the masses in the western world in the late 19th century, a Theosophical Society was founded by colonel Olcott and Helen Blavatsky, a russian. She was said to be a crook and fraud by many; however, she performed some documented miracles in New York during meetings of the Society. She said the spirits of three Indian mahatmas, or spirits of enlightened persons of the past, possessed her.
b. C. Castaneda
To my opinion, there is no moralistic constituent in his books whatsoever. There are no "angels" or "demons". To refer to the spiritual beings, he first uses the word "allies"—that's how the sorcerers of antiquity called them, and this concept later on proved to be disastrous for many of them because those beings were but pure energy, not anybody's allies or enemies. Before Conquista, those sorcerers believed that having an ally at hand and being able to command him to some extent would surely save them from the oppressors. This notion turned out to be erroneous, and the majority of those sorcerers has been exterminated by the Spanish conquerors along with the ordinary Indians. The sorcerers of today, according to CC, prefer to call them simply "inorganic beings", to avoid that blunder of the ancient sorcerers. This name is more neutral. One characteristic feature of his books is that CC has a purely pragmatic approach to the issue (See my Lecture 1) (pragmatic meaning enabling to travel in inconceivable other worlds vs. the pragmatism of the ancient sorcerers who were aimed at using their sorcery to gain more riches and power). Allies, or inorganic beings, probably fall under the same category as demons in NT—their characteristics are often similar.
Man's double: whenever a sorcerer becomes professed at dreaming (See my Lecture 3), he develops the powerful body of energy, or double. With it, he can do things such as teleportation, flying, etc. However, some rare people have the strong double by virtue of their birth, not practice. When the double of such people manifests itself, we have the cases of poltergeist (see Fox House above). Such was the case of CC's aunt: she troubled and scared her household at nights with her body of energy (Vol. 10).
c. R. Monroe & his institute. Traveling to the world of the dead.
Robert Monroe (See my Lecture 3) and his coworkers, through their practice of lucid dreaming, contacted the spiritual beings in different realms, or planes: the multiple realms of real worlds existing for any lucid dreamer, very similar to those described by CC, especially in his Vol. 9; in this world (the world of our daily life); and in the realm of the dead where they contacted various deceased persons. So here's the
d. Relation with lucid dreaming:
When we are in our physical bodies, we can only contact the physical realm. And when we are in our bodies of energy that we can attain to through various practices, we can contact the spiritual realm, or the realm of energy, which is, according to the ones who traveled there, is infinitely greater than the physical one.
So, based on all the abovementioned, we may come up with the
e. Rough general classification:
i. "Fallen angels", or gods
3. The practice
Now, all theory aside, how can we practically get into contact with any of those buddies today? It seems to me that there is only one shortcut to that:
a. Stopping the internal dialogue
i. Use darkness: in the dark, there are no identifiable clues for the mind, and the internal dialogue quenches easily.
— All three can be practiced in any of the parks in our city at night. If you would like to, I could take you to such trip and try to be your guide. But you would probably have to bring some big diapers with you ;-) Because the things you might witness can be scary.
Lecture 5: Matrix Movie: Practical Magic
In this lecture besides using my own ideas I borrowed the ideas of James L. Ford, Ph.D. and of many other reviewers found through the Internet. The explanation of the final battle in the final movie of the trilogy is my own (it appears transparent though, given that you are acquainted with the New Testament).
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