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Alchemical Fraudulence and Skepticism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.consciousness.mysticism
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Alchemical Fraudulence and Skepticism
Date: 28 Feb 1998 18:49:37 -0800


[most omitted per restrictive elist policies]

my point was that 
.... one of the more important results of the Work
is orientation.  knowing the fact of impending death is not the
same as the knowledge obtained in the Art, which is of a more
gnostic (comprehension and insight) than intellectual character.

the seeing can assist the blind more adequately than can the
blind, those ashore more swiftly and surely provide respite
from the watery deep, and it is exactly the wolf (fraud) in
sheep's (alchemist's) clothing about which I was concerned.

I have come to the tentative conclusion that there ARE means
of skeptically discerning the frauds from the adepti, and 
I presume those who show little concern about arriving at
procedures whereby this discernment may be carried out by 
the individual (not in some sort of Authoritative Review and 
Endorsement process) are either not developed of compassion
and an incentive to advance the Art or ought be questioned
strongly in suspicion of fraudulence themselves.

I am as yet not persuaded that "instructional processes" (that
is, social instruction and tutelage) are sufficient for anything
but rudimentary initiation.  without leaving the instructor's biases
and limitations behind, students are typically hamstringed and
blindered by ignorance and prejudice.

I aim toward some general means
of beginning the Work which will allow evasion of traps and tar
babies we can make known to the interested.  I feel that there are
many who have sincere dedication to the Work and yet are eventually
persuaded to abandon the quest for that which they feel they are
more capable of achieving based on the outlandish claims of a great
number of (possibly well-meaning but mistaken) mystics.

re seeing the cosmos as an expression of the divine:
the way by which I came to a similar perspective within the
magical community was in reflection of what is called 'the Oath
of the Abyss' (Crowley's description).  this apparently has come
to mean that one regards all phenomena surrounding one as the
expression and instruction of the divine ('God' if you like).

there is a tremendous value in this monotheistic experience 
and, since I have some trek with it by virtue of my dedication,
I would mention that my formulation of Wizardry as a scientific
endeavor includes this precise presumption (that only diligent,
sincere and sometimes brutal honesty are required for progress 
to take place regardless of circumstance).

# > I have wondered about any extant signposts, orientation
# > devices or guides to distinguish those who are almost certainly
# > frauds from those who are setting about to achieve or even to
# > demonstrate the results, sometimes in the role of instructor or
# > mentor.  it is valuable to know how to keep from being deceived.

it is not my dilemma, though I had to run the gauntlet of this
problem in my initial encounters with the occult world.  in part
I would spare what I feel are unnecessary macho initiatory,
Darwinian, obscurations from the Art for the purposes of moving
it into the 21st century.  I don't think that the fraudulence
is of value outside certain circles and is best left behind in
favor of appreciating the depth and complexity of the Art without
having to suffer fools who will abuse it.

...critical thinking is,
in too many mystical endeavors, overlooked as a facet of basics, 
thus letting in the beast of religious and political obscurantism 
for the purpose of deceit.

...this critical approach can be learned
and does not appear to come naturally to the bulk of those who
survive the indoctrination known as 'modern education'.


...self-discovery can be spoilt if too much is dictated
from the onset, though I don't think it permanently so ruined.  the
obstacle of knowledge obtained from one's predecessors must be
overcome in the process of coming to know oneself (this latter
knowledge can never be revealed except oneself to oneself, even
if such a revelation can be facilitated by an adept).

the sacred cannot ever be defaced, as I know it.  it can surely
be misunderstood, slandered, and forgotten.  this is the fear
of the traditional and fundamentalist.  as I am from a more
Eastern persuasion where the Mysteries are concerned, I 
find satire and ridicule of the sacred to be imperative to 
personal development.  omitting this we quickly construct idols
that become our masters and are hopelessly lost in mazes of
emotional adulation.

I would characterize the sacredness which must be protected from
exposure as 'idols' and have learned to avoid or dismiss these
"Mysteries" (I don't even agree they are this as they can be so
exposed) as mistaken impressions of that which defies expression.

re taking on oneself the 'mission' of revealing frauds:
as a solitary effort is a wasted effort.  the various
"Skeptics" who parade about attempting to 'debunk' the psychic
world become, by virtue of their specialization and lack of
open-mindedness, just another fanatic cult resisting change.
I am talking more about pointing out deception where it is
seen on a routine and/or casual basis, providing examples of
critical thought for the purposes of flushing it out, etc.

# > having some means of weeding out charlatans seems to me an 
# > important achievement for those who value accuracy and the 
# > proper representation of the Mysteries to the world.

the rejection (and the misunderstanding or obscuration by a host 
of those who are ostensibly involved with them) of the Mysteries
creates a dark glass, twisting their imagery into ridiculous 
caricatures of their true beauty.  I cannot truthfully agree that 
what I have seen to date constitutes a 'good presentation' of 
the Mysteries by my standards, no.  that they have immense and 
inherent value is why I care about how they are described and 

I'm not really concerned for myself here, though it may at first
appear this way.  I have found the number of obstacles to the
experience of and exposure to the Mysteries to be heinous, and
largely unnecessary but maintained on account of ignorance and
cold-heartedness (akin to the 'Social Darwinist' mentality of
the Satanists, of whose number I consider myself a member, btw).

I agree that the PRIMARY focus ought be on the Work.  my comments
and queries have been in part to point out that "the Work" is by
no means an easy object to get into direct view, and trying to
identify others who are doing this Work might be even more difficult,
on account of the benefits awarded those who successfully deceive
their fellows.  

discerning the fraud from the Work is the first significant step 
by the dedicated, and the more assistance people are given to
accomplish this the better, as I see it.  there are strong forces
at work to prevent such propensities from developing, and I don't
consider them to be aligned to the alchemical Task or the virtues
of Illuminism as I (probably barely) understand it.

fair examination of data takes place within any sincere attempt
at understanding the cosmos.  we are constrained by the biases
and limitations of our current perspective and this cannot be
avoided, but the data can (esp. in physical sciences) be shared
and examined by a great many.  its internal correlate is less
often seen by anyone but the ruthlessly self-observant.

'getting to the truth' within the occult arts and sciences, is not
an achievement of obtaining to a Correct Perspective which can
then be communicated.  it is an experience ineffable to direct
expression and yet available to metaphor and symbolism.

...Truth cannot ever be
"validated" in the sense of a certainty, and it is perhaps
more accurate to speak of US as this Truth rather than something
else which we may come to comprehend or apprehend.

...the social realm is an important
one and that Orders can be very valuable crysalisses of growth (at
times despite the limitations placed before aspirants within them).

nagasiva re filtering out guides to arrive at less risky sources: 
# > it seems to me that the main filtration is by character.  we are
# > more than likely going to find that the 'illumined' exhibit certain
# > signs of their internal transmutation, yes?  if so, then can we
# > begin to examine what these signs are, since they are preliminary
# > indicators of those who are more likely to achieve the Work?

if the discernment cannot take place on account of our lack of
a sufficiently sensitive mechanism, then this mechanism must
be improved prior to that examination taking place.  in the case
of recognizing traits of illumination I think that single-pointed
focus of a sustained and regular frequency ("meditation") is of
inestimable value, as is the study of psychology (Jungian, some
transpersonal), philosophy, historical deception, and the
undertaking of as complete a critical internal review as possible.

if there is some other reason we are prevented of discernment,
then changing these conditions (relocation, changing objects of
observation, etc.) is one alternative.

re why it is valuable to look for signs of illumination in others:
in order to locate sources of esoteric experience and knowledge
from which we may glean.  often such people can merely refer us
to items of substance which appear to reflect our character, 
thus providing an incredible personal service without taking a
great deal of time or effort and saving us a tremendous amount
of the same.

assuming that one can recognize motivation is not so valuable as
attempting to discern certain qualities (like patience, breadth of
knowledge, open-mindedness, compassion) within those with whom we
may have contact if we are setting about looking for a guide.

how to accomplish a transmutation within a laboratory: 
by associating firmly and resolutely those things with chemical
objects and processes, continuously intending that the internal
and the external, being of One Substance, would experience the
same transmutations.

# >  > > ...the difficulty in assessing the results of alchemy is that
# >  > > a great deal of the Art is strictly explainable and
# >  > > reproduceable by modern chemistry standards.  this does not
# >  > > mean that *all* of the Art is so reproduceable or authentic,
# >  > > however, especially when it begins to include fantastic results.

so much of it is metaphorical and these metaphors, to my
knowledge, cannot be extended to the ends, externally, which the
alchemists of old would like to claim, except through trickery or
processes too advanced to have obtained during their time.

-- (emailed replies may be posted); 408/2-666-SLUG       FUCK

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