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Caveat Emptor or Solve et Coagula?

To: (Occult Elist)
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: (O) Caveat Emptor or Solve et Coagula?
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 22:23:09 -0700 (PDT)

49980413 aa2 Hail Satan!  (originating in darkpaths-l elist)

Clifford Hartleigh Low :
# Most of the Occult elists are not primarily for the 
# education of those beginning to explore the supernatural. It was
# formed primarily for an intellectual, if not always academic, 
# exploration of the black arts and dark spirituality. They exist 
# to fill out the knowledge of those who have done some reading and 
# exploration, and provide underexplored directions for the experts 
# looking for something new. 

besides being a very good introduction to Darkpaths and Malefica elists,
perhaps among others, I think you are emphasizing a very interesting
point about the relation to 'beginning magical/spiritual studies'
that 'black arts' may have.

typically it is very amusing that just about everywhere on the
spectrum of exploration there are individuals who have more or
less stopped their own progress, seized on that which they had
found, and called it 'the Advanced Materials'.  

many engaged in traditional, perhaps 'white light', pursuits 
explain mystical and 'divine agent' workings to be the Most 
Important and 'black arts' to be 'the dabblings of over-eager 
and rebellious children'.  even Crowley wasn't immune with
his comments about that which doesn't have something to do 
with the Holy Guardian Angel being "black magic".

there are some instructors on witchcraft and more strictly
ceremonial affairs who introduce the tame, beneficial rites
of prayer and healing as "beginning studies" and characterize
'grey' or 'darker' (usually selfish or curse/demon-oriented) 
activities as 'possibly interesting to the advanced 
practitioner but not recommended at this time'.

however, as Haramullah, in his amusingly meaningful essay 
on "kathulu kreechurz" and the "Elders of Ordur and Kaos" has
explained(*), it appears that the rites themselves, whether
they are black or white, orderly- or chaotically-based, are

harmful to the mage in direct proportion to the preparation
she may have received at the hands of society and/or hir

that is, it is really impossible to fix, once and for all,
the status of "Advanced" or "Beginning" to any set style or
type of ritual endeavor, however horrendous or seemingly
benign it may appear to us to be.  in fact we have to look,
like when considering the results of a psychedelic event,
at the SET and SETTING of the proceedings -- how the individual
has been shaped and what she is likely to need in order to
balance hirself out from a broader perspective.

sometimes those who have been heavily conditioned by the
Masters of Order (Aristotle, for example, or Confucius) are
actually the best suited for wrathful or discombobulating
rituals of immense power.  they have prepared themselves
for the kickback by a kind of 'immunity' almost comparable
to a 'karmic armor', with which they may survive the blast.

this may be as true for those who have been conditioned by
Anton Robert Wilson, Timothy Leary or Aleister Crowley (who
may be the Masters of Kaos) but in reverse.  it may be such
people who are best suited to gain from the type of rites
that are considered 'orthodox' or common in today's academy.

# Experienced people who prioritize these topics tend to prefer 
# that dabblers and novices explore the breadth of religion 
# and occultism before exploring the darker forms. 

I personally find it tedious for an individual to come into
any specialized forum and begin asking general questions.  it
is like someone going into a high-particle physics elist and
asking basic questions on light diffraction or what the
"real" composition of a molecule may be.  if they are placed
in the context of a philosophic inquiry that arises from a
depth of knowledge and intends to broaden the fundamental
potentialities of the field that is one thing.  if it is an
abject call for remedial education then it becomes disrespectful.

# The context of the darker forms somewhat depend upon what 
# has come before and things they contrast against. 

DO they?  I think that this is subject to debate, and, while
it appears to be a popular notion across the spectrum of at
least mysticism, I feel that it is important to question its
accuracy.  more and more students are bombarded with media
conditioning supporting the outmoded and biased notions of
deities and angels and ethics which many of us feel is well-
described as 'light-based'.  this includes a type of anthropo-
centrism, a biocentrism, often an androcentrism, and a silly
emphasis on 'creation' as if this was not somehow fused with
destruction.  is it so difficult to understand why beginning
students would be ill-served by sending them to the orthodox
for preparation to enter into 'advanced black magick studies'?
I know that I would not have appreciated such a reception.

also, isn't saying that the darker forms depend on the lighter
alot like saying that Satan depends on Jehovah?  isn't it a
limited and dualistic perspective that doesn't hold up to the
dark flame of truth?

# More importantly the exploration of dark magic and devotionary 
# activities can be destructive to people without a strongly 
# established personality, a stable and mature psychological 
# makeup, and the breadth experience and intellect needed to 
# prepare a person for the accomidation of explosive experiences 
# and ideas.

I contend that ALL magical and religious activities are dangerous
in this way, and that it is only COVERED OVER in the orthodox and
happy happy joy joy fraternities.  there is a subtle, coercive,
and (perhaps unintended but nonetheless pervasive) co-opting
result from engaging organizations and relationships associated
with these fields, and, as perhaps Regardie was alluding to in
his recommendation that the beginning magical student undergo
psychoanalysis prior to practicing, only those who have the will
and foresight will survive the experience without becoming either
the slave of the slave-gods or the pawn of more ingenius pontifs.

what the beginner needs to hear is not to go to the orthodox for
seduction into the cult of the Diseased and Dying God, but certain
self-bolstering practices that will protect hir against ALL forms
of mystical and magical domination (things like a rigorous study
of fraudulence, confidence games, cult dynamics, a comfort with
the use of critical analysis, the suspension of disbelief, *the
return to it afterward*, and the ability to discern between fact
and opinion -- the latter explained well in one or more of the
alt.atheism FAQs).  

in short, what is needed by the beginner is an introduction on
the efficient and tactful use of SCIENCE within the fields of
magick and mysticism -- something which authors like Crowley
have paid lip service to and touched upon but typically left 
to the student to flounder over, possibly in order to have one
over on them himself before they were past his post ;>).

# is the most elemental and undramatic occult literature 
# and rites which can have unhealthy effects for those not quite 
# ready for them. We then have to rely on the instincts of the 
# younger audience, or if all else fails, their superstitions 
# to protect them (and us) from a host of complications.

superstitions make poor blinds.  it is one thing to put into
writ a horrendous falsity to cover for a taboo rite of
emancipation (an example which comes to mind is the comment by
Crowley that he sacrificed hundreds of children when his
apparent implication was that he was engaging masturbatory
magick rites and thereby 'sacrificing the sperm').  it is
quite another to encourage or just to ignore the belief in
imaginary or fictitious evils that one's audience may have on
the basis that 'they aren't old enough to know the truth'.

# Generation after generation, the Sorceror's Apprentice will 
# keep opening the book and getting neck deep in misery... but 
# there is a difference between repairable damage, and someone's 
# spirit and mind being hopelessly and permanently maimed. 

let's get serious.  how many people have you EVER heard about
or, preferrably, known personally, whose "spirit and mind were
hopelessly and permanently maimed" by virtue of engaging the
dark arts??  will the number fit on one hand?  a finger?  I
don't know any, personally, and find it quite difficult, to 
say the least, to substantiate this.  it sounds to me like the
exhortations made against playing records backwards or playing
dungeons and dragons or taking drugs.  c'mon, who do you think
you're fooling?  correct me if you think I'm in error here,
explain in some detail what your knowledge of the subject is.

# Responsible occultists will let the world do the culling, and 
# minimize the bodycount from overeager teenagers taking 
# everything too literally-- except the warnings. 

that isn't my job.  there are too many parental idiots out there
trying to 'preserve the sanctity of the innocent' (usually through 
deception, lies, coverups, and when that doesn't work, by making 
laws against the activity).  I don't believe it is on the whole 
valuable for the teens or for society.  let people find out what 
they want to, provide what warnings and/or disclaimers on the 
corpus you like, and then get the hell out of my way. ;>

# It is also in self-interest... "teen satanic vampire murder cults" 
# make us look pretty bad on the teevee news. :-)

it is not my job to try to craft the image of darksiders or Satanists.
if there is a conservative element out there spinning the propaganda
to put heat on controversial religious activities then I say we ought
not to capitulate to it under any circumstances.  publish a high
volume of "advanced" material (labelled as such if you like), place
it at the disposal of all comers, and then let them make the decision
as to what will work for them and what won't.  doubling over because
the Christian weenies don't like my black robes is stupid.

# To the young... CAVEAT EMPTOR... 
# ...and if you don't know what that means, you probably don't 
# belong here.

I say ignore him.  *I* didn't know for sure what it meant, though I
had a good idea and I just LOOKED UP THE DAMN WORD.  educate yourself
and avoid asking stupid questions.  lurk a long time if you are a
newbie and seek out basic files before asking questions in specialized
forums.  don't let the scarey stories and hints of oh so far beyond
your present security level fool you.  the consciousness you save may 
be your own. 

# Such are my opinions; take them as you will.

ditto.  thanks for making these forums available to all.

[(*) Haramullah's excellent essay is preserved in sensaround for you at:

    _Kathulu Majik: Luvkrafting the Roles of Modern Uccultizm_ ]

blessed beast!
nocTifer:  ---
TOKUS-COE Office: 408/2-666-SLUG --- Emergency Contraception:18005849911

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