Thoughts on Cyberlodges
Posted by <Aion> on Sunday March 05, @08:10PM
from the who-needs-to-rent-a-temple? dept.
The Cyberlodge of Autonomous Magi is the future.
But your holy place shall be untouched throughout the centuries, though with fire and sword it be burnt down & shattered, yet an invisible house there standeth, and shall stand until the fall of the Great Equinox…
— Liber Al Vel Legis, III:34
For millennia, legends, myths and tales have told of a transcendent Spirit World that shadows and interpenetrates our own: a magickal realm which those attuned to the otherworldly could tap into and receive spiritual information from; a realm where spirit journeys and spells and magickal meetings with eldrich entities could be consummated. We all know dozens of names for this Spirit World and every culture refers to it, from the realm of the Faerie to Amenta to the Bardos, or the 'Astral Plane;' the point is that every magickal group and movement postulates some sort of 'Otherworld' from which and through which magick can manifest. (Often the Otherworld is either a different vibration level, the gateway or identified with the land of the Dead or the ghostly realm, but we will leave that to the side for now.)
I knew in the early 1980s that the Internet was becoming became a significant tool for the spread of Gnosis or spiritual wisdom, but it wasn't until about ten years later, when I was doing a radio show on 'Global Ritualism,' that I truly grasped that it was becoming more than just a tool.
I was blathering on about the universality of all ritual, how the archetypes were once again emerging, and how rapid communication through the Internet and other telecommunications were erasing spiritual as well as physical barriers, creating an actual approximation of the 'group mind.' One caller, a computer engineer, called in and expressed in very non-occult language how the planetary system (Gaia) was awakening as humans interconnected with each other to an ever more frenetic degree. With our physical Internet systems we were laying the grid-matrix of a nervous system of Gaia. He felt we were literally creating a global neuro-circitry via modems and wires and computers. He did not mean this in a mystical way: it is happening as we speak. I then wondered at the effect this would have on the Group unconscious mind, the real arena of myths, gods and the Otherworld. He postulated that it would bring the group unconscious mind to consciousness, in fact would become the method of manifestation for the group mind; the doors to Faerie would swing open. This is beginning to happen.
What I'm trying in a fumbling manner to say is that we are on our way towards creating a method for facing and awakening the group unconscious mind.
The Internet is still in its infancy. It will be seen as a tinker toy in a few centuries, but primitive as it is, it forms a very real Otherworld that, while not being the 'Spirit World' of myth and magick, serves as a very real grey zone where the two can more readily interface. Combined with emerging nanotechnology, we will in fact be able to 'cause change in accordance with Will' in innumerable ways that are not even possible to contemplate now. We will be able to enter and leave the 'Spirit World' at will, and in fact create our own Zonules or Spheres of Reality. Websites are the very pale reflection of the full flowering of these 'Temporary Autonomous Reality Zones' on the Internet in decades to come. The beginnings — the seeds — of these Reality Zones, I'm convinced, are in the Circles, Orders, Lodges and Cabals of the Magickal scene today.
What is the Occult or Magickal path? For all of us, it is a unique experience. What few things we can all agree to, focus on powers and entities that are part and parcel of the 'Spirit World.' As the Internet and cybertechnology grows, so grows virtual reality, so grows our interface with the global matrix, so also — if this thinking is correct — we manifest the Spirit World here and Now. Thought travels across the world in a flash (You've got email!), bits and bytes become gold after being rearranged into 'software' and sold. This is magick. And it is only the beginning. This Spirit World and emerging cauldron of the Group Mind called 'Cyberspace' is a wondrous playground. Knowledge (and crap) is spreading and becoming available faster than we can even think. Millions of new subscribers, websites, email, programs, flooding into this pool within which all of us who are online swim. Splash!
Throughout the ages, to accomplish our Great Work — alone or in groups — we use ritual, trance, altered states, all to reach the transcendental state where communication with the spiritual becomes real: personal gnosis. To acquire this gnosis, we manipulate, open ourselves to, and enter the Spirit World. We get better at it, we lean more, we grow, or we don't. If we continue on this path, again, we are pushed into teaching. Most Occultists realize at some point in their ritual work that after learning, they then must teach. The longer you are about this business of gathering and practicing magick, the more this becomes true. Knowledge incurs responsibility. Awareness goads one to become more aware, to 'know' the divine (gnosis) further, and to share in communion with like minds. The farther we go, the more effect we have on others and on the world around us — don't we? Aren't all the great spiritual teachers and organizations (orders, sects, Lodges, etc.) judged by the quality and quantity of the effect their teachings have on helping members realize their True Wills? Aren't the best of these imbued with spiritual and magickal manna directly manifested by the people who are holding/passing on this wisdom?
Yet, how has this been done in history? At first, by word of mouth and gesture and image, then by written word and drawn images, then by printed word and mass-reproduced images. Each of these modes of communication widened the circle of the impact of teaching and learning gnosis or spiritual truth. Yet most every time a Mystery School or Order was truly established and working, it either remained very hidden, or was persecuted and destroyed. The world's established religions (with a few exceptions) will not brook the masses attaining Gnosis by other means than through their political apparatus.
During history, as Magical Orders and the passing on of Gnosis unfolded, the group-mind of the species was also growing. The Spirit World swelled with new gods, myths and symbols, and as cultures collided, so did various spirit worlds. Syncretism! Greek, Egyptian, African, Hindu. . . Archetypes and rites interpenetrated. A thousand examples could be given. As the spirit worlds and mythologies of the world's various belief systems clashes, warred, merged and spawned new Gnostic hybrids, the Magickal Orders, Circles, Temples and Lodges were the center of these shifts and ever-widening rippling centers of magickal and mystical transformation. Yet again, being physical gatherings in this very real world, they were subject to destruction and dispersion.
Now, the exchange of information has, suddenly and without conscious plan, leapt to a new level of being and belief; we have literally seen a New World come together before our eyes. This Cyberspace Spirit World is manifesting about us! Not wholly of Energy, and clearly not wholly of Matter, in fact it is a perfect interface for receiving and transmitting the Gnosis. Why? Because for the first time, anyone anywhere in the world (if they are online) has access to the accumulated Gnosis of the planet (at least that which can be communicated in other than a physical manner — for now!). The Cyber Circle or Cyber lodge thus has come into being, as a natural unfolding of all that has come to pass.
I was lucky enough to help create what is at least one of the first cyber lodges, and I can attest to the fact that it was mostly an accident on my part. This indicates to me that it is a natural birthing, a creation that has come to be by the flow of this evolution and not by any great discovery. This, then, is a sort of proof that Cyberspace is manifesting the Spirit World, that — if you like — the veil between the worlds is being pierced with electrons and psychic software.
A group of magickians and witches, after much discussion and ritual work, founded the Horus/Maat Lodge through meeting and then performing powerful rituals that invoked eldrich powers to earth on this planet in order to further species evolution. Soon after its founding, it was more or less forgotten. Yet, over the years, a few others and I knew it was but hibernating. It was as if it had been born too soon, because the basic ideals of the lodge, the way it was to form a place for many different people to interact, simply made no sense in terms of the time.
Then PCs became common. Then the Internet exploded. 20 years later I felt an urge, from my Guardian Angel if you will, to place the HML materials online so that others could have access to them: those few mutants who might be interested. It seemed absurd. Who would care? The HML was a lodge that didn't exist. It was simply a handful of papers and this psychic. . . thing! I put this off for many years; it seemed silly. But I could not let it go and, with great help from Frater NE and Soror Nema, I got the stuff up on the web, then kissed it goodbye and went off to do other things.
Then something happened. People began to come. People began to come and want to chat, discuss, do the rituals. People began to initiate themselves into the HML! We started a simple cc list; it grew. Fr. NE quickly hammered together an elist. Pow! We had 60 people on it. Then we started to synchronize rituals, something the HML still does. Cyberspace became the template for us to interface on the Astral or Spirit World, something that continues today. Our magickal results were shared. One of us, Frater Aurora Conari, made a website for these, our magickal diary entries.
What has happened? Suddenly I'm on the elist an hour a day?!
The HML became a functioning Cyberlodge, a fully running magickal order, maybe the first, that is wholly centered in cyberspace. This is tremendous freedom. We are not tied to matter in any way as a Lodge. Our members are all over the world. Our conversations have no limit, except that English is the default language. Membership is open to all who just take a moment to see what we are about. Those who do not flow with the magickal work we do, simply leave. The real Temple or Lodge is the shared symbol and universe of the participants. The greatest part of this is that this has been our goal for centuries: to 'Earth the Lodge of Spirit in Matter,' that which classical authors called 'the decent of Sophia' (wisdom).
So, where do we go from here? I certainly have no idea. I could not have even perceived of the current situation 30 years ago, and it is all doubling every seven years. The workings of a splintered unity becoming whole through every possible means is the guiding principle here. It is, in effect, the secret work of all Lodges. This is the birth of the Group Mind to consciousness, electrons its nascent nervous system. This is our Magnum Opus; it is happening on all levels, and — as it was before — the subtle levels effect manifestation on the grosser ones.
The work we accomplish in cyberspace will turn out to be pivotal in the evolution of Humanity, as long as it is accomplished with Love under Will and remains guided by Compassion.
The Will to Love is the Law to Live
Completed Full Moon in February 2000
AION, a.k.a. Denny Sargent, is a long-time surviving occultist, editor, author and teacher. Affiliations include Welsh Traditional Wicca, Grove of the Star & Snake, Adi-Nath Tantrika, Sakya Tibetan Buddhism (Tara Lineage), Q.B.L.H., Voxas Rimotae, and the S.S.S. He is one of the founders of the Horus/Maat Lodge (H.M.L.). He has published an ecological textbook and Global Ritualism, Myth & Magick Around the World (Llewellyn, 1994). His newest books include The Tao of Birth Days (Tuttle, July 2000) and The Magickal Garden (Andrews McMeel, April 2000). This last was co-written with his marvelous Shakti, Sophia, who has also authored many other titles. His long-standing obsessions are Sigils and also the Great Pan. He likes to create, swim, garden and Play. The last being the most important.
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
Re: Thoughts on Cyberlodges
by Frater M.S. on Tuesday March 14, @09:57AM
While the far-reaching aspects of this article are indeed valid, the thought of the Internet as some Akashic Record or pseudo-astral landscape bring out my cynical side. To quote Rollo Whitehead, “…if your astral plane disappears if I flick a switch, then it ain't really the astral plane!”
However, I do have great expectations for the future of the Internet. I will be watching its development closely. I hope that it continues to be a place where people can communicate freely with a world-wide audience. Communication is a precious gift and we should use it wisely.
Re: Thoughts on Cyberlodges
by Shedona~Babalon Chevalier on Saturday April 15, @06:34PM
But it does not disappear … it remains. Only your access to it is cut off when the switch is flicked.
Just like real life.
Gnosis ON … Gnosis OFF. Gnosis ON … Gnosis OFF. Turn out the light; turn up the Night.
Re: Thoughts on Cyberlodges
by Aion 131 on Sunday April 23, @11:29PM
….I like that!
Gnosis ON, Gnosis OFF—
or as the koan says:
“First there is no mountain, then there is….”
Re: Thoughts on Cyberlodges
by Patrick E. McCaffery on Friday March 09, @03:39AM
I have been a techno-junkie and multi-media developer for around five years now producing several websites and interactive cd-rom's, etc… I hold degrees in both computer science and multimedia technologies (said to fortify my ego and explain my standpoints) and I've found that newer modes of communication are as useful and as varied as the people who utilize them. Personally, I've found that new technology can produce similar emotional feelings during physical interaction that a new relationship brings. Sad possibly, but the effect is the same. Excitement towards new potential. Fear towards unexpected problems. But mostly appreciation for having a yet NEWER mode of communication and possible expression.
As far as the internet being a new paradigm of spiritual interaction..well..if you insist - I wont address the subject of your finding an unexpected “template for us to interface on the Astral or Spirit World” as that's purely personal and above reproach. I also believe that the Net may have true magikal capabilities if used correctly. But is this current situation of techno-reliance anything original?
I will mention firstly the mail system. Yes, snail mail has served for much of the aforementioned functionality for most of this country's history. And served well. When was the last time you mailed a letter written in your own handwriting? For some its been far too long. For others, it never happened. Certainly for the newer generations (im 28)the need for personal physical application to communication mediums, as art, (like actually writing characters) has vanished into a forest of mice and keyboards, chat rooms and yea - virtual lodges devoid of the hands touch or warming human voice. Let's not even mention Magikal operations via modem! (ooops I did).
Most of the qualities and superlatives directed towards the internet as a special new media delivery vehicle may have been appropriate description of a new (then) techno - revolution called the radio. New mass communication. All Rules apply. No hardware no access. Same for the t.v. Ditto the internet. You always need a box to play. One could say that as a mode of communication the internet has always been and may remain exoteric.
Indeed our newly found dependence in the smallish grey-white boxes surely effects us mentally and physically. After millions and billions of collective hours staring into the monitors across the world,plugged in, typing pixilated characters, surfing on mice. What will be the next physiological / spiritual stage of our natural evolutions? Check the local tabloids for images of small grey men issued from the great Abyss of space delivered via Flying Discs and we may have a clue. Aren't they just depictions of our own subconscious fear of mutating in order to more closely resemble and utilize our tools and environments?
Yes the internet is by far the fastest growing mass media vehicle…but what are its drawbacks? They are counted (or miscounted as it were)innumerable, just as the potential benefits are. This is not the first gigantic media forum, and certainly not the last. The internet defiantly has its place in the sun, but for how long? Hold your breath. The next big thing is right around the corner. Or under your bed…….;]