Occultism continued & concluded
Scientology 1.0.0 – part 21
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.” — Rod Serling
This is the last segment about the occult. There is an add-on blurb about such things as sex magic and spiritualism. If you’re interested, click here or go to the menu at the top right of this page.
The mystic and occult way
Henosis is the Greek word for “mystical oneness,” “union,” or “unity.” It is the whole point of mysticism and the brass ring of all spiritual quests, but it is not necessarily the goal of occultism. As mentioned, the mystic route to henosis, which uses occult technology (actually, it’s the other way around; occultism uses mystic technology), is usually only achievable by those rare few who are both courageous and pure of heart enough to get there. Occult technology, however, is available to literally anybody with enough smarts and, more importantly, imagination to use it for just about anything. Too often, however, the motivation for an occultist is just plain distraction.
That last part is why I’d say the occult gets so tricky. Just because one is bored with normal life doesn’t mean they can just go traipsing off willy-nilly into the shadow mind and expect to become a magician, just like that. Sadly, this is possibly why the occult is so appealing to certain types because, like drugs, it just looks easy. In fact, diving into either magic or drugs rather than dealing with day-to-day life or seeking more difficult methods of discovery, such as a good education, is a bit of a problem. It’s understandable, though, life can get very boring.
Still, the occult could be a step in the right direction. There is, though, for all prospective occultists, the great challenge, and it is actually a challenge, described in the famous Nietzsche quote, “When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you.” You could interpret this as a warning too, because the average soul doesn’t always have the tools to go alone into the unknown, hidden parts of the mind and face the dragons that live there. But then Nietzsche also said, “My abyss speaks; I have turned my ultimate depth into light!” This means that if you can properly confront (challenge) the darkest demons that lie in the depths of your mind long enough to slay them, you may be able to see your way through to that light.
The gateway to the mystic experience, true illumination, is guarded by the devil-fiends of and in our own minds. No amount of denial, posturing, drug use, propitiation, pretend sacrifice, or other performative nonsense will dispel these awful spirits. Frankly, if one doesn’t honestly and courageously tackle and dispel these “psychic” entities, there’s no moving forward to the wonders waiting on the other side for mystics. Or true occultists, for that matter, although their goals are usually different, as as described in The Wild Mind part XI.
The acceptable level of today’s ethics, combined with the common degrees of intellectual dishonesty, automatically hinders progress in that direction. Even so, it is not impossible for most people to rise to the challenge of the occult, or even mystical, way and win on through, provided they are willing to get themselves in good order first.
To be aware, or not to be aware
Man has not been merely aware (all living things are aware, so far as I know; possibly all matter and energy are aware too; who knows). Man has also been aware that he is aware, which, in a way, I suppose, opened Pandora’s box, psychically speaking. With awareness comes the possibility of awareness of unawareness, which leads to worrying about nonexistence (yikes). The ability to think includes propositional ideation; possible futures can be imagined, and if one can do that, then the body’s death, the only thing certain in everybody’s future (for now), can be readily imagined and thus be the cause of some anxiety. Paralysingly so for what seems to be an increasing number of souls, if the recent tragic response to Covid-19 is any indicator.
The idea that one can just, one day, “wink out and that’s that” is often just too fantastic to be believed. Those whose minds are badly troubled, materialists for instance, seem to know this fact all too well and are often tormented by fears and horrors they can’t name. These are the sorts that endlessly demand more and more powerful government, such as Republicans and Democrats usually do, or join murderously dangerous cults like the Republicanists or the Democraticists, and suchlike. The ever-growing numbers of the fearful among us demand state protection from life itself. Shame, really.
However, it’s not just death that can be triggered but everything associated with it: panic, dread, loss, and so on, so it’s no surprise that rage, fear, grief, and worse, get so muddled with the occult, because it’s that polarity thing again which I mentioned in The Wild Mind, Part X. One can simply place attention on one end of a pole—love (the opposite of fear or even indifference, say, or apathy)—and, magic!, create love instead of the other stuff. On the other hand, like a muscle, as soon as you exercise the imagination, the whole mind gets beefed up; whatever you’re working to imagine becomes more real. Sure, you’re trying to conjure up visions of wonder and goodness at one end of the pole, but your ability to conjure up all your personal hellhounds at the other end may increase too. Controlling which part of your mind gets all the energy—the higher daemons or the lower demons—would be a great skill.
As a bona fide occultist, one is not reducing things, as is so often necessary in science1, but increasing them instead. This is why any unnecessary baggage the magician carries ought to be discarded before embarking on the occult “grand tour” of the infinitudes. Especially if he or she is concerned about death or anything else, because everything in his or her mind will intensify, become augmented, and possibly push him or her to the brink of madness. Looking over the literature, this has apparently happened a lot. The going crazy bit, I mean.
Allaying all fear of death, indeed, even cheerfully accepting its inevitability as well as its mystery, is something of a prerequisite before plunging into worlds beyond this one using the myriad of tools taught in occult praxis. The same is true for the mundane, the prosaic: cheerfully enjoying the good things that are just plain old normal, such as doing the dishes or bills, is another requirement. Boredom must be banished, and banished under one’s own steam, not with stimulants or anything else. The wonders of the “worlds beyond” are really for those who are free of all boredom or neurosis, not for those who are fleeing “the normal,” the mundane, the everyday.
Not surprisingly, though, people carrying trunk loads of mis-emotion (“emotional dis-regulation” in pop psychology lingo) and all the bucketfuls of misbehaviour that inevitably go with them are almost always among the first to leap into these particular dimensions, so frustrated are they with “dull” everyday life. Understandable, really.
As I’m saying, the occult is not a thing for those who can’t handle normalcy, such as neurotics, possibly about one in every five of us, or the perpetually depressed, fearful, or sad, another one in every five (according to US statistics of psychiatric drug use). Another fifth, maybe, are bad actors, and they’re going to do what they’re going to do. That leaves about 40% of the population with a chance at being successful with it at this moment. A chance at the beyond, where it can do good, I mean. Given that about 4/5 of the remaining 40% are mainly busy making a living and making the world function properly, thank goodness, only a small percentage of people have a real shot.
As for the psychopaths, estimated to be between 1 and 3% of the population (between 80 and 240 million people), you can count on these sorts for sure jumping straight on into the occult if they find out about it. Luckily, most of them have no real success because they so often lack the aesthetics necessary to do anything.2 If one has no real feel for beauty, then the occult is mostly a closed door (the real Hannibal Lecters are usually total slobs, trust me). Besides, they’re already in the place where their minds are a private hell, leaving them mostly either helpless or easily detectable. Still, there are always those true nutjobs who have rather considerable ability in the occult arena.
Of course, I’m sort of pulling these numbers out of a hat (hopefully I’m not too guilty of the second part of Rex Stout’s quote, “There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up”), but they ought to be in the ballpark.
Guardian of the Threshold
In Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Zanoni, there is a malevolent being that embodies the sum of all the darkness, trauma, and error an individual has accumulated throughout the many lives he or she has lived. Psychologically, it is the great contest in which the soul has to win against the lower passions seated in the physical body. According to Mr. Bulwer-Lytton’s description, the Dweller on the Threshold is an “elemental,” a being or force that can be physically manifested by occult means, and that appears before the neophyte just as they are about to enter the mysterious realm, which endeavours to shake their resolve with threats of unknown hazards if they are not fully prepared.
In Rudolf Steiner’s play The Guardian of the Threshold (the third play of a tetralogy of “mystery dramas”3), the appearance of the Guardian is linked with Lucifer and Ahriman (the evil spirit in the doctrine of Zoroastrianism, the opponent of Ahura Mazda, the Creator). Mr. Steiner explains that the meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold in those dramas was meant to show that a person (man or woman) who had made the soul “clairvoyant” (knowledge beyond normal sensory perception, per Steiner) must go back and forth across that threshold to know how to be in the spiritual world on the other side as well as in the physical world on this side.
The Guardian could also be the cherubim that guard the Tree of Life in the Garden with spinning flaming swords or what, in Scientology 1.0.0, is called “the wall of fire.”4
Gaining this kind of clairvoyance will give one the ability to resolve all upset and trauma in the soul, thereby regaining the skill to traverse all of one’s lives with as much ease as drinking tea. This is possibly the most relevant ability to be achieved with Scientology processing, whether one believes in the past lives referred to by Bulwer-Lytton or not. (Despite what many might say, belief is not a prerequisite to doing any sort of dianetic or scientology therapy, the same way it does not require belief to walk down a road; it’s just not relevant in any way. In fact, sometimes, ‘belief,” as in conviction of one thing or another, can get in the way. It’s decision that counts, the decision to get better.)
The situation is this: as we find ourselves from moment to moment, we are, in the final analysis, the sum of all that we have experienced and done. Getting oneself straight with the Guardian is to get all this experience and action sorted out. A key to this is to tell the tale (to one’s therapist, or oneself) and tell it right.
Once this is done, all future experiences and actions are decided by telling and creating stories without interference from past upsets. Or, at least, less interference.
Man is “he who tells stories,” and the key thing is imagination. One might also call this story-telling “creating,” “theorising,” “hypothesising,” or “postulating.”
The quote at the top of this article is the opening to a famous American TV show. However, don’t let the frivolousness of the medium mislead; this is about as deep and important as things get.
In the same way that evolution is the source of change in nature, imagination is the source of change in human culture and society.
Today, however, imagination is synonymous with the word “unreal.”
“Sophisticated” people think that the imagination is, at best, something that is fanciful, unrealistic, or, in a word, useless (unless it is used for marketing, propaganda, or entertainment). At worst, imagination, as taught in schools, is thought to be a hazardous source of error. We expect children to suffer from it, but luckily, we have modern education to stamp it out of them. The sooner, the better.
“No, honey, Santa isn’t real; he’s a lie told by evil capitalists to get people to buy junk.” And, “No tooth fairy in this home, no no!”5 Growing up in the homes of thoroughly modern parents usually entails becoming more submissive to authority, which necessitates adhering to whatever beige realities the state and other would-be demagogues trying to rule society at the time are pushing.
But I get why this happens; change is scary. It already happens in nature all the time, which is bad enough. Why, oh why, would anybody add to all the confusion?
Since “change” is as basic as “create” in Natural Law, there’s no avoiding it. The only way to prevent people from making changes is to kill them off, usually starting with the artists (or, if you’re Pol Pot, people wearing glasses). Short of that, teach everyone that the imagination is frivolous. And always, always teach that things like the occult are basic nonsense and should be avoided by sensible people.
The imagination and dreams are the actual keys to mental health. After examining and resolving all personal pain and trauma and cleaning up one’s personal history to the point of being, if not a fully autonomous and responsible (independent) human being, at least not so easily “triggered” (in pop-psychology parlance) by everyday events, the imagination can be harnessed to take the would-be seeker to the level of self-development that will make of them the Sovereign Individual the world has so long anticipated. At the end of the day, it’s how one imagines reality without disregarding Natural Law that determines how successfully one can live with it—reality, I mean. Just as when things are too unreal, one won’t get better, when one needs everything to be really “real” to get better, one isn’t going to get very far either. That’s a heck of a balancing job, though.
Anyway, literally every idea that changed the world for the better was the product of somebody’s imagination. Or theory, hypothesis, or postulate—depending on how you’re going about imagining. But where did this “image” come from? This has got to be the world’s greatest mystery.
And that’s occultism.
At least since the 11th century, the occult has been viewed with great suspicion because of its inherently destabilising nature, being that its various practices inevitably produced unexpected and unpredictable change, such as new technologies, which often look like disruption and disorder to all forms of authoritarianism (until they cotton on how to use them against their own people). It is from magic, myth, religion, and everything else that we got alchemy, and it is from alchemy plus philosophy that we get modern science, hence the shocking and radical technological transformations in society of the past 300—500 years.
Then there was a popular upsurge of interest in occultism towards the end of the 19th century. But this revival, over the course of about thirty or forty years, fell into disrepute, as mentioned, because of a plethora of out-and-out grifters claiming esoteric occult knowledge and, by using simple mechanical illusions, relieving many a credulous naïf of their purses and wallets (séances used to get blown up regularly by the professional illusionist Mr. Houdini, who, quite rightly, despised charlatans).
Then came 1950 and my father’s arrival on the scene. By that time, the occult was hopelessly confused, wrecked, and wholly disreputable in most quarters of polite society.
But there is a lot to the occult, a lot; it’s just that if one were a true occultist, they’d know not to be sloppy with it. There is no real danger in mysticism except that the student so often fails. On the other hand, the occult can be quite dicey in the wrong hands, not just for the practitioners but also for those around them.
Even so, the key aspect of true occult practice is to “break on through to that other side,” as the poet genius Jim Morrison opines. The problem he had, though, is that, like nearly all his contemporaries, he didn’t take any of it seriously enough, and maybe that’s what killed him. Technically, this might be called being glib,6 a true pandemic today, although of the mental sort.
Being that within all occult practices there are the bread crumbs of a way through the dark forest, it is no wonder certain other people, wishing for man to be easily controlled forever, work so hard to deride it, nullify it, or make it appear a threat (“satanic cults!”). More to the point, though, is that occultism, like all technologies, is a double-edged sword and can be used for good as well as bad, and some of these detractors know this only too well.
So, the occult has been pushed to the dusty shelves of our “dark” past, where only fools and the outcasts of society “believe” in it. Or people whose main goal is to get out of being responsible for themselves so they can do what they call their “will” without feeling guilty. Well, that’s fine, but I’d say that occultism will need a sort of renaissance to keep scientism and materialism from taking over all of Western thought.
At the end of the day, though, for most of us, we would be better off just getting cleaned up with therapy and trained in ethics and reason (philosophy) and not even bothering with this stuff, at least for now. Maybe when enough of us have put in the hard work, the occult can be practiced more effectively.
The hard work? The Dweller on the Threshold will need to be confronted, and the mundane and prosaic ought to become magical. If one cannot find the magic in the everyday, then investigating the worlds beyond that reality can be a hazardous undertaking to be sure.
At the end of the day, though, if one can, then they should seek out the “more” we all know is really “just over there.” The sooner the better.
1 Science is reductive in that it breaks things down into their basic components in order to study the generalities of reality, while things like art and the occult concentrate on particulars and, often, how to enlarge them, blow them up bigger than life. Two ways to get at the truth.
2 This could be hotly debated, but psychopaths are in a well-worn groove, and although many psychopaths can be seen to be engaging in aesthetics, they’re usually stuck in habitual behaviours devoid of beauty except for what is programmed in them (which isn’t actually beauty at all; psychopaths are more like machines than regular people).
3 Similar to miracle plays or mystery plays. Mystery plays were performed by members of trade guilds in Europe from the 13th century, in churches or later on wagons or temporary stages along a route, frequently introducing apocryphal and satirical elements into their presentations.
4 This, of course, could be hotly debated by Scientologists who got involved in the ‘60s and later, as by this time the connexion between Scientology and other religions was no longer discussed.
5 I make no case against convincing children that these things aren’t objectively real. Rather, I advocate for involving them in the game and, later, when they’re a little older, demonstrating the critical importance of the spirit of play.
6 Glibness is similar to literalism in that the student can appear to understand words but can’t seem to translate them into correct and useful actions or behaviours.
2 responses to “The Wild Mind – Part XIV”
I’m really enjoying your articles, thanks for the time you put into this!
I’ve always thought that imagination is the most enjoyable activity there is.
Furthering one’s ability to imagine & helping others do the same is the most
worthwhile activity there is.
I was lucky to play in rock bands when I was young. I learned how to play by ear,
improvise & jam with other musicians. It was so much fun, pushed my creativity &
taught me that the best life I could envision would be lived like a jam session.
I got caught up in the hampster wheel, making a living & other circumstances.
I know that I need to keep my “artistic” vision of life alive, to keep myself alive.
Thanks again for breathing life into these ideas!
I commented & forgot to check a couple of boxes below.