Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford of The Baptist’s Head and Open Enlightenment were kind enough to answer several questions I put to them.
Did you formulate the Core Practice techniques immediately after attaining the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel [K&C], or did it follow your successful crossing of the Abyss?
ALAN: I attained the K&C using a free-form ritual technique, but I came to develop a simpler method based on Father Thomas Keating’s centred prayer as I persisted in invoking the HGA through the years.
The bare-bones Core Practice described in Alan’s essay bears a strong resemblance to vipassana meditation, and Duncan has mentioned a long-standing interest in Buddhism. In your work, each of you pay homage to Daniel Ingram and his fantastic work. At what point did you pick up the links between wisdom traditions and decide to adopt vipassana into your regular practice? Continue reading
CHAOS NEVER DIED. Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology (like the shadows before Babylon), the original undifferentiated oneness-of-being still radiates serene as the black pennants of Assassins, random & perpetually intoxicated.
Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons: its masks are crystallizations of its own facelessness, like clouds.
Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard. Continue reading
A spiritual path is, among other things, a way of seeing the world. That is to say, a spiritual path is a way of understanding or interpreting our relationships with the many things, events, people, and places in the world. In most cases, the path will be expressed or configured by a logic of correspondences. In accord with this logic, the appearance of a certain animal, or plant, or weather event, or whatever, signifies realities beyond itself. Similarly, every spiritual path will have meditations, rituals, techniques, practices, and so on, designed to help the practitioner recognise those signs and read the messages they convey.
The co-ordinates of the correspondences will vary in accord with language, culture, climate, geography, and other factors. They can grow ever more complicated and intricate, in order to accommodate an ever growing range of things and events in an ever-changing world. The associations of the four classical elements to cardinal directions, colours, ritual objects, seasons of the year, times of day, and so on, are well known examples. Yet the logic of correspondence can appear in things as simple as children’s rhymes. The game of counting crows: “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy,” and so on, is also a logic of magical correspondences. Continue reading
Secrecy is a necessary adjunct to the performance of magick but its use should be carefully considered since ad hoc secrecy cheapens any subject to which it is applied.
–Ray Sherwin, The Theatre of Magick
Privacy, in this day and age, seems a luxury so absurd that it barely warrants attention, yet in group workings or when one is a part of an order, such secrecy may be called for. Typically it’s quite sensible, with restrictions about identifying members of the group, though the group may also be secretive about the details of the rituals and sometimes even of the training system employed.
However maintaining secrecy merely for the sake of appearing “mysterious” to the “uninitiated” tends to out, and the glamour will be revealed for what it is and with nothing more behind it confidence will be lost. Continue reading
Most people become interested in magick because they want to change some aspect of their lives, want to gain a greater sense of control in the world around them. Most people don’t seem to succeed.
It’s all well and good to be a juggernaut on the astral plane, defending the world from various nasties and sharing astral juice with your fellow warriors after a good night’s work, but seriously.
Objective results are the proof of magic, all else is mysticism.
–Peter Carroll, Liber Kaos
It sounds flip, but it’s true. Continue reading