Monday, December 27, 2010

Beyond Differerences

Celebrating unity in diversity through music and dance. With amazing performances from Bali, India, the Philippines, and other Asian countries.

Basbasan Nawa!

Alban Arthan

I just started the Bardic Grade course of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) last month and just appropriately, my first druidic High Day celebration is Yule.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I couldn't find time to do the ritual outside so I just thought of creating a small stone circle inside my room. I know, druids-in-stonehenges is a disproven stereotype. But I really just wanted to try this idea.

Having done so much rituals in the past - from prim-and-proper Kabbalistic ceremonies to wild-and-freeform Santeria rituals, I find the OBOD solitary ceremonies a bit too simplistic and "mundane" for my taste. But then, I'm probably just putting too much attention on the outer form. OBOD druidry involves a lot of meditation and no-BS/no-jargon inner working, and those are probably what I've been missing recently.

Of all winter solstice celebrations I've done, this is probably the simplest yet most introspective.

Thank goodness for pre-written rituals.

 Grounding food: Queso de bola and my favorite tinapay.

Basbasan Nawa!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Druidly Hallows

"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
-- Albus Dumbledore

This latest Harry Potter movie almost got me snoring in the theatre. But thanks to my love of symbolism and synchronicity, I at least found one thing in the movie that piqued my interest quite a bit: the symbol of the deathly hallows.

Incidentally I was learning about the cosmology of the Ár nDraíocht Féin druidic tradition[1], and one of the subjects I ran into was their concept of the Three Hallows: The Fire, the Well, and the Tree. These are symbols that correspond to the three worlds of their cosmology (the Upperworld, Middleworld, and Underworld) as well as the three groups of spirits that they worship (gods, nature spirits, and ancestors). Basically the Three Hallows embody the philosophies around which their rituals and beliefs revolve.

"In Druidic cosmology, we find that the center of the world has three parts: Well, Fire, and Sacred Tree...The center is not complete with only the tree, for while the tree grows high and is rooted deep, it cannot devour our sacrifices as the fire can, nor can it carry our voices to the depths of the earth as the well can..."

--Michael J. Dangler, ADF[2]

Each of these "druidly" hallows I think fits seamlessly into one of the components of the deathly hallows symbol: Fire is always represented as an upright triangle both in the alchemy of the West and in the tattvic symbols of the East. The Well can be perfectly represented as a circle, denoting not only its shape but also the meaning of infinite depth. The Tree, the axis mundi, is just right to be the vertical line in the center, uniting and conjoining the opposite worlds of fire and well.

In the image above, I colored each components to indicate their elemental correspondences (for me): fire for Fire, water for Well, and air - the harmonizing and uniting element - for Tree. I'd like to think that the entire symbol itself corresponds to Earth, which is the crystallization of these three elements.

Now I'm really not sure what I could make use of this for, but at least it gave me more lasting entertainment than that movie.

Censer, cauldron and willow branch as Fire, Well and Tree in my druidic altar.

Basbasan Nawa!

[1] The ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin) is the biggest druidic organization in the States, with a hard polytheistic theology and focusing on scholarly study of ancient Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European cultures and beliefs. It was founded by Isaac Bonewits in 1984.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Deal with Magical Attack

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

1. Shrug your shoulders in dismissal and heave out a sigh of boredom. There are a lot more worthwhile things to do than waste precious moments of your life on some loser who's got too much spare time in his hands. Let them waste their time on yours instead, and get on with your life with a smile. Indifference is power.

2. Avoid doing counter-spells as best as you can. Some occult practitioners tend to wallow in the romanticist and fantastical notion that someone has cast an evil spell on them, and that they have to make use of their magical powers to protect themselves. But the more you spend time on the enemy, the more you empower them and allow yourself to be a victim. In most cases, the perpetrator of the "malevolent spell" only serves as a catalyst, it is the victim who has been consumed by anger, hatred, fear or paranoia who actually ends up destroying himself. As the Buddha says: "Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts". Remember that shit can happen in everyday life whether you have been cursed or not. 

3. It's really more of a psychological battle than a magical one. Do not give the attacker the pleasure of believing that his spell had been successful. Avoid posting negative status messages on your Facebook. (e.g. "I feel sick today", "What a horrible day I had", etc). On the other hand, don't try too hard appear smug or unaffected. Some people aren't that naive.

4. Real magical curses do exist however, albeit not as frequent as most people think. In circumstances where it is necessary to cast a spell to banish the curse; whatever the method, modality or magical system used, the most important ingredient is absolute faith and confidence in the Higher Power, whatever you have chosen to conceive It to be (God/dess, orisha, the Self, Nameless-and-Ambiguous-Supreme-Cosmic-Being, etc.). Work your magic in perfect love and perfect trust as the Wiccans would put it, and then, like launching a guided missile, fire and forget.

5. It goes without saying that lashing out with an offensive counter-spell would only make things worse. And while protection, healing, and banishing spells can be helpful, it would be much more worthwhile to take out the root of the conflict itself. Banish the demons of misunderstanding and envy and invoke the gods of Wisdom and Logic, for yourself as well as your "opponent".

Basbasan Nawa!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hermetic Pathworking with Tarot

Focusing on the Pagan path now, I think that my days of summoning Goetic demons and communing with the wondrous angelic beings of the Enochian watchtowers are over (for now). However I couldn't help myself going back to the world of Hermetics from time to time. I feel that it fills a void in my Pagan spiritual practice in that it offers a more systematic approach in exploring the macrocosm - i.e, the worlds above and beyond the material, or the levels of consciousness beyond the normal waking state. While Paganism keeps me in awe with the world around me, Hermetic practices like pathworking keep me in awe with the worlds beyond.

The school of Hermetics offers a couple of cosmological diagrams (mental-maps) that help the mage traverse the otherworlds. Also, the tarot cards are seen as components of the Universe. One of the things I love to do with the tarot is lay them out on their appropriate places on these cosmic maps, contemplating on the significance of each card as they're being laid, and then meditating upon the completed diagram as a whole. It is not only remarkably enlightening, but also quite a fun thing to do - like solving a magical jigsaw puzzle. It is quite akin to creating mandalas.

Technically this can be done with any standard 78-piece deck, but for the images below I used the Tarot of Ceremonial Magic by Lon Milo Duquette. These are an ugly bunch of cards I should say, but they are just so wonderful to use since the important hermetic correspondences (Thelemic) are jam-packed into each card. I didn't have to flip through a book of correspondence tables and was able to complete the cosmo-diagrams with just a bit of rudimentary knowledge, thanks to the detailed attributions printed in each card.

The Enochian Watchtowers
The four watchtowers represent the immediate forces at work in the material plane. I placed my cardboard Table of Union to indicate the positions of each watchtower on the Tabula Recensa. The ace of each suit embodies the elements, while the four court cards represent the sub-elements. The rest of the cards of the minor arcana are assigned to a ruling planet and a decan of a zodiac sign, and are laid out in the Great Cross of each watchtower.

Watchtower of Water

Watchtower of Fire

Watchtower of Earth

Watchtower of Air

The Zodiac
Above the world of the elemental forces are the celestial spheres. The minor arcana, not including the court cards and the ace, are assigned to each sign of the zodiac. Each zodiac sign ,whcih comprises 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle (360 degrees) is assigned three trumps each, with each trump assigned to a decan (10degrees), as well as a ruling planet and a pair of Goetic spirits (for night and day),

Astrological arrangement of the Tarot, each of the 12 zodiac signs are assigned three cards of the Minor Arcana.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life
I tend to believe that while the Enochian watchtowers and the zodiac show the structure, the  the Tree of Life shows the process. In other words, the previous cosmological diagrams are maps, while the Tree of Life is a flowchart.

The World of Atziluth

The World of Briah
The World of Yetzirah

The World of Assiah

The Major Arcana laid on the paths of the Tree of Life, according to the correspondences of Thelema.

Basbasan Nawa!

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