Archive for January, 2013

Reflection on Performing the Middle Pillar Ritual

January 31, 2013

So this is the thing. I’ve been reading about fringe, esoteric and occult traditions – from anthroposophy to Zoroastrianism – for twenty years. I’m also a professional historian of medicine and philosopher, versed in ideas like the anima, archaeus, pneuma, vital force, chi, prana, Od, orgone, etc, etc…But here’s the rub – I have no experience as a practicing healer or occultist.

The opportunity arose this week to finally change that fact and I took it. In truth, the opportunity was always there and I never seized it…

The Middle Pillar is a really basic magic ritual – it is derived from Qabalah with a western spin by way of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; And particularly, more recently (since 1938), by way of Israel Regardie. It’s a simple process – a combination of breathing, visualization, and incantation (chanting). But it’s a process!

So much of occult ritual and ceremony has been written about and rendered into theory, but its practice is what is key. However much one tries to distinguish or unify these paths and their philosophies – they are all, by virtue of the universality of practice, one. Too much reading, intellectualizing, and thinking – these are, as in life, dangerous. They take away from the too often forgotten fact of life – that it is lived, experienced, inhabited.

All these occult traditions are, in a way, about presence and mindfulness. About being, moment to moment. The theory and contemplation are fine, but they can only really add details and depth to doing. True gnosis comes from habit, and even then it is a real effort to grow and find “enlightenment”. Time and energy are required.

The Middle Pillar reminded me of this – of the existential essence of the esoteric. I step onto a path armed with a deep body of knowledge – but in order to move forward, it may be as much a question of forgetting than of knowing.

As I suspected long ago when writing about vitalism and its history – all is breath. As we breathe, so do we live. And create…

This is, beyond all the complexities of history, terminology, and theory, all we need to know (nous).


January 30, 2013


Trafalgar No.2

January 30, 2013


Holy F@%k, William Burroughs Was Into Lemurs

January 29, 2013

See here.

“Our Diamond Queen”

January 28, 2013


Recurring Dream

January 28, 2013

Hoping that my blog readers (such that they are) can help me with some dream deconstruction:

It begins with the beauty of nature – life is simply a stunning incomprehensible fact. Present. Everywhere. Wonderful. It’s the verdant green of Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Then I notice it’s not so ideal. It’s flawed. There are signs of the hand of man – in this case some oil tanks, a chain-link fence, some crappy little sheet-metal buildings. An industrial site on an otherwise uninhabited little island as I sail by.

A sudden scene change; I’m in the suburbs or a small town with my two long time male friends – A & R – both big guys. One – R – is a Leo – the life of the party type. He’s a sensualist, full of passion and joie de vivre. The other – A – is the angry man. A guy that’s always wearing a mask – he’s a comedian and glib performer who always needs an audience and entourage, but who I often see as deeply lonely. They are my advisers in this context – just being supportive, being guys, and hanging out.

The dream is always about girl trouble – they know I don’t necessarily struggle with girls but am always after the wrong girl. They marvel that I can have a wide choice, but I always focus on the one who is…Not right.

Why? She’s the man-eater; a stunning but aging blonde who knows she’s hot and doesn’t need a man. She has a kind of “male” approach – a stable of boyfriends, guys always coming and going, but never settling into a monogamous dynamic.

I know this and I don’t care – I’m like a moth to a flame. My friends marvel at my perseverance – my attempts to charm her. They know she likes me, but they also know she knows I like her – and to her it’s a game. For me too, in a way; In the back of my mind I get it – and am OK with the chase, but still sometimes let it (her) eat me up. They think it’s pretty amusing and are always just saying: “Don’t worry about it. You have other options.” But I have a harder time always just being playful and light about it. There’s too much of the Byronic romantic in me.

A scene shift again. There are some children in a little house – actually out in front of a house, playing – particularly a little girl (I’m not sure if this is always a part of the dream). She’s hurt herself – twisted her ankle. We’re all bachelors and not exactly warm, fuzzy types so we’re not sure how to react. They stand back, concerned but distant. That’s my inclination too, at first. I wonder if her parents are around…

But then I just crouch down and say hello. I look at her leg – it’s swollen. She tries to get up and grimaces. I turn and say to my friends “maybe she should see a doctor.” They’re disinterested.

Suddenly, I just pick her up in my arms. This is a totally unusual thing for me to do. I’m generally somewhat indifferent to children and little girls even more. They seem so small and fragile. Anyway, I pick her up and give her a big hug. She smiles. She hugs me back, tightly. I am suddenly filled with joy – almost to the point of tears. This is, without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful, pure and lovely experiences of my life. Transcendental – yet so simple. I put her down and she runs off, apparently feeling fine.

The scene shifts again. Now I’m alone and looking into the water. Underwater. There’s a sort of diving bird there. A cormorant. It plunges down to grab a fish – and spears through it. Suddenly, the fish almost explodes. Gets eviscerated. The viscera then transform into…Puppies?? Totally weird, especially since I think that this fish was to be food for the bird’s young. I think about life; How we idealize animals and nature. But even the cute ones (like rodents and, yes, even puppies) can end up as someone else’s dinner.

Shift again, to a living room. Talking with my two friends about “the girl” again. They’re amazed. In the know, somehow, that this has all happened before…

I get up and leave…Drive away (even racing away from A who is following in another car). At one point I’m driving crazily, quickly backing up along a winding road. The car flips. I get out, not hurt, but feeling silly. I think that driving is an interesting thing to be doing in a dream for me, since I’ve only recently started driving regularly. Then it hits me…I’m dreaming!! Not only that, but it’s a recurring dream. I realize I’ve had this dream, or at least parts of it (my friends, hanging out, talking about the girl trouble) before. I literally try and climb up out of it…Up a staircase from some basement. All along, I am repeating to my friend – “It’s a recurring dream A!” over and over as I go up the stairs. I get to the top of the stairs and there’s a door. I open it. A man, his face and features not visible, is standing there in the doorway. I awake with a start, aware I’ve been talking – even kind of yelping – in my sleep.

N.B. When I got up I still felt very powerfully that this was a recurring (and in my notebook I initially wrote “recurrent” in every instance) dream I’ve been having for some time, but never recall much after waking. So I grabbed a pen and furiously wrote this all down.


January 27, 2013



January 26, 2013

“Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being.”

Carl Jung

From Adelaide Bry and Marjorie Bair, Visualization: Directing the Movies of Your Mind (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 18.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,209 other followers