The Lesser Stone

posted by ceilede in occulture religioso on 3/5/2005 5:58 pm

I’ve recently been struck repeatedly about the head with the notion that magicians of the past have grossly overcomplicated the issue of Knowledge & Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel. K & C is something that happens naturally for the ever-progressing mystic. The whole idea of the HGA now is cowled in unnecessary mystery and confusing terms and concepts. In many ways I resent that our foremagicians have greedily obscured the process or encumbered it with so many complications.

Attaining the knowledge of and conversation with this aspect of human consciousness is not a complex process and not something you need dozens and dozens of rituals to experience. Willing it to happen and working the idea around in your head often jiggles something loose and builds to become more and more substantial. The HGA is intuition personified, the voice of your own ongoing gnosis bubbling up into the conscious mind, tempered with logic and rationality. This is the product of alchemical conjunction: the progeny of the Sun King and Moon Queen, the Child of the Philosophers, the Lesser Stone.

(If you’re hearing voices telling you that you can fly and that you should jump off the highest building in your area to prove it, seek medical care immediately.)

If you’ve never talked to a voice in your head though, why not try it? I think you’d be interested in the responses your own mind will give you to your questions. If you can’t hear the responses at first, don’t worry. Eventually you’ll begin to hear yourself replying with intuition and emotion “from the gut“. The more you listen to that voice, the more you will understand the truth of what I’m saying.

1.

in my limited understanding, a lot of this magical knowledge was occluded in the past so that a). the magicians would not be persecuted as heretics and witches in more conservative times, and so that b). people who were unstable or had evil intentions would not use the techniques in a manner that would fuck themselves or other people up. I guess that was the whole point of initiations and secret schools of magic, and brings up the whole other topic of just how safe it is to have magical knowledge as open to the public and uninitiated as it now is in the age of information. Granted modern culture is generaly a bit more tolerant of outre’ belief systems, and magic itself is currently being given a favored spot in the cultural imagination and literature (thanks in part to such books as the Harry Potter series, et al.). Also our culture is so insane and unbalanced and violent as it is that it no longer makes much difference whether someone drives themselves or others crazy (or to death). Capitalism does a good enough job of that already. Suicide rates are up, and mental hospitals are a big business, even without magic complicating the issue.

Something else to keep in mind that as we are now working from a sum total of magical knowledge, as opposed to scattered pieces picked up over a whole lifetime, and have almost instant access to that knowledge and conversation with others working with it, that many of the older magical complexities now seem fairly obvious and overstated. Especially in light of jungian archetypes and quantum theory, etc. post-post-modern science and psychology are painting a lot of these ancient ideas from a more readily understandable angle, so that even the layperson has at least a little understanding of “as above so below” (holograms) and the internal representation of personal asspects as archetypal godforms (Joseph Campbell’s hero with a thousand faces/ roleplaying video games).

So looking at the HGA as a personification of intuition, or as the voice of the subconscious becoming conscious of itself, does seem obvious, but perhaps wasn’t so easily expressable when the idea first was noticed by the early magicians and folk psychologists (as if there was a difference between the two). But now that it is, is framing it in terms of chatting with your guardian angel even necessary? at least personaly it is using the old magical terminologies that obfuscates the process into some strange spell that is not already occuring in all of us.

Comment by Janus — 3/5/2005 @ 7:25 pm

2.

With the more modern occult writers, the HGA seems to be referred to as one’s “guide” or “guides” fairly frequently these days. The concept of the HGA being a creature that you have to traverse the astral on a fraught and dangerous journey (possessing all the proper signs and correspondences) to meet seems like one of the Golden Dawn-style theatrical obfuscations that many of us just don’t have time for anymore.

The “personification of intuition” concept seems to make more sense, because personally, the smartass commentator that forms my mental peanut gallery is not exactly angelic; although it does often offer sudden insights, snappy comebacks and direct warnings on occasion and seems also to be the driving force that plucks the strings of my intuition when needed. In other words, it’s the interface between the unconscious and the conscious states.

Comment by Steph — 3/6/2005 @ 11:39 am

3.

If I recall correctly, Crowley himself said the term “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” was intentionally absurd in order to dissuade initiates from taking the jargon, symbology, and other trappings and regalia of the operation more seriously than the working itself; the sort of mistake that tends to lead to religious warfare.

Remember, “the map is not the territory.” But even more so, the compass, key and little designs of dragons and mermen swimming around whirlpools are not the map!

Comment by metachor — 3/6/2005 @ 5:18 pm

4.

I don’t know about Crowley’s take on the HGA, nor have I read many texts by ancient “masters”, mistranslated a couple times removed, because I hate to confuse myself any more than the world already does in general.

Besides which, any field of specialists cloaks itself in jargon, with the double purpose of simplifying communications between members and easy identification of outsiders. It’s almost unavoidable: if you’re going to study a new system, you’ll have to learn the jargon. Enter the Dummies books.

I personally agree with Steph’s description of a “peanut gallery” of the unconscious mind, adding commentary, warnings, and insights as the information comes together. Mine has a number of identifiable voices (those of my inner social circle), although they sometimes seem to speak in the past tense about current events, as if they were their (and my) dead spirits, freed from space-time constraints to send information to me Nth dimensionally, with the perspective of a lifetime lived…

Comment by Tar — 3/7/2005 @ 2:04 pm

5.

OMG…“Magick for Dummies”! I’m gonna make a frickin’ million!

Comment by lvx23 — 3/7/2005 @ 9:29 pm

6.

lvx…unfortunately there’s definitely Wicca For Dummies already and you’d lose ALL your credibility adding a destined-to-be-flufficized companion book :-)

Comment by Steph — 3/7/2005 @ 9:39 pm<

7.

All valid points, there is a load of superfluous dogma surrounding the HGA concept, but i think there is value in the essentials of the progression that crowley/thelema nicked from the yogis. According to that system the HGA stuff is a result of or is inexorably linked to raising ones energy to the tipareth/anahata centre, apparently awakening the higher self. In the western magical tradition this self seems to be invoked for guidance when needed while in the yogic i think the idea is to ‘be’ that self and accept the behavioural modifications that come with such an understanding. I agree with ceiledes definition of HGA as ‘the voice of your own ongoing gnosis’ but a lot of things point to there being a certain developmental stage where it truly starts to work. In my opinion Chaos magic seems to have lazily ditched transcendental goals entirely when it should just be pruning the dogma.

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 6:19 am<

8.

What it’s actually like…

I have knowledge and contact with my holy guardian angel.

This being could best be described as a small god, and often it is very hard to tell where she ends and god begins. Sometimes it seems like she can do just about everything that god can do (the nature of all angels in general) on a smaller scale (maybe).

Your HGA is completely essential to your development as a mystic. This being is actually always there, simply waiting for you to develop enough willpower + humor + perception + honor = quintessential-integrity before they will allow you to see and hear them (on a regular basis) and begin to teach you what they know (which will take lifetimes).

Everyone has an HGA already but relatively few people progress to being able to have explicit contact with them. This contact is what you should consider to be your first real ‘graduation’ to taking your steps beyond this universe. Without HGA K&C, true development as a mystic is really impossible - HGAs are the only doorway through which humans can evolve their way into archspace (heaven). There is no other possible way.

“The universe is designed in such a way that it is absolutely impossible to prove whether reality is finite or whether reality is infinite. Think carefully about this.”

Comment by Struck By Lightning — 3/8/2005 @ 7:00 am

9.

Could you share a bit about your method struck by lightning? How did you acheive this end? Saying true mysticism cant happen without a HGA seems flawed to me - what about shamanism and all the other traditions that dont embrace the concept?

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 7:27 am

10.

Actually, Shamanism does have the concept of HGAs also - their animal totems basically fulfill exactly that role and generally operate the same way. I think every single tradition has these “permanent guides” in one form or another.

Just my humble opinion. Correct me if you think I’m wrong.

http://www.animaltotem.com/

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/8/2005 @ 8:35 am<

11.

Struck by lightning, I think you need to rewrite your post in e-prime.

‘What it’s actually like…”

You make a lot of claims about the “is“-ness of the Universe. Try again without forms of the verb “to be” (is, are, &c.). And the “actuallys”, you seem to use that word a lot also. Try to be a bit more skeptical.

Crowley had a lot of choice words about the latin “esse” (to be) and it’s attendants in his The Soldier and the Hunchback: ! and ?. I suspect he would take your money, beat you soundly with his walking stick and fail to impart you any lasting knowledge.

“Your HGA is completely essential to your development as a mystic. This being is actually always there…”

I would prefer you leave my HGA out of it, thank you very much. She dislikes it when other people make claims to her existence.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 9:41 am

12.

From what ive read and heard spirit guides in the shamanic sphere are more or less ‘external’ to the shaman and the HGA [in western magical terms] is more actually part of you, the higher self [Jivatman] personified and interacted with as a seperate entity. On an empirical level it might be the same thing, but looking at the two traditions objectively i see a difference.

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 9:51 am

13.

Devo,

Right now at least two members of the Key23 community (LVX23 and myself) are taking an online course titled Crowley 101, with the mad sage Robert Anton Wilson, about the psychology and philosophy of Aleister Crowley and his workings.

As Crowley was perhaps solely responsible for the heavy role that the operation of the K&C of the HGA plays in the modern magickal “tradition” (at least the Thelemic portion of it) our first discussion revolved around our own personal feelings as to what “actually” happened when Crowley supposedly contacted his HGA, Aiwass, and received the Liber Al vel Legis (AKA The Book of the Law).

We were to read this article (presenting an alternate view of Crowley), and then to consider this question:

“Do you think it most useful to consider Magickal critters as angels, bodhisattvas, Egyptian gods, demons, Secret Chiefs of the Illuminati, pookahs, archetypes of the unconscious, extraterrestrials, all of the above, none of the above?

Why?

Cuss and discuss…. ”

Out of 113 course members, there were at least that many different answers. Everyone had their own opinion and pet theory as to what “actually” happens, whether these beings “are really” external or “are really” psychological altered states of consciousness.

It took us a week of discussion (and fortunately no cussing at all!) to reach the non-conclusion that we just have no idea how to answer that question.

It appears to this domesticated primate that perhaps the last tens of thousands of years have been spent hung-up and fighting increasingly bloodier wars over this very concern, and with no resolution in sight.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 10:03 am

14.

@ metachor

So, we can say that “Reality is True” but nothing we can ever say about Reality is actually True?

That’s just a classic cop-out that lets you think you are saying something clever when you are actually saying nothing at all.

If you really have nothing to say, why don’t you just STFU.

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/8/2005 @ 10:40 am

15.

Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post,

Thank you for putting me in my place.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to stay there.

It is not at all certain to me that “Reality” is True. I am perhaps slightly more certain that anything I have to say about it appears as my personal opinion, or at least as heavily colored by the metaphysical assumptions of my current models, philosophies and even the language or symbols that I use to express myself.

Beside being influenced by their particular cultural traditions, phenomena like the HGA and spirit totems are intensely personal and subjective experiences. Regardless of what nuomena these expressions refer to (whether external or internal) it appears to me to be a reasonable course of action to conduct our discussions in a manner that recognizes that what we say about them and what they “actually are” might be two entirely different things.

Certainly we can approximate experiences with our descriptions, but it side-steps a lot of battles over beliefs if we are clear that these appear as only approximations.

Which is part of what I took the original post to be about; that the terminology and concepts for experiences like the K&C of the HGA often replace the working itself with an unnecessarily confusing barrier of entry.

It seems that I have struck a nerve with you. I apologize for threatening your current neurolinguistic reality-tunnel.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 11:04 am

16.

I see your point - it all boils down to whatever model works for you and gets results, but what would occult people actually have to talk about if we fully accepted that truism?

However i would say some models are more useful than others - treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result [unless you can assimilate the belief that your minds power to create reality is absolute] that wouldnt be present if you believed the entity was objectively real. Someone who in ignorance believes the necromonicon is historically accurate will get amazing results, while a refined chaos magician working the mythos from a psychological perspective may fail to suspend their disbelief at a crucial moment and acheive nothing.

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 11:06 am

17.

it all boils down to whatever model works for you and gets results, but what would occult people actually have to talk about if we fully accepted that truism?

We could still talk about our personal models, the experiments we use to test those hypotheses, and our results; which seems like a foundation of the scientific method. I just suggest we refrain from attributing them to an “actual Reality” (reality IS this, or it IS NOT that).

treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result

This is an interesting hypothesis. What experiments could we do to verify or disprove it?

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 11:18 am

18.

@ metachor

Apology accepted.

I personally don’t think Struck By Lightning was trying to be heavy-handed here, though the language he chose may have made him come off that way for you.

My personal belief is that existence ‘exists’ so that the choices we make actually matter. If existence were not real or not true, then choices would be meaningless, wouldn’t they?

That being said, I also believe that objective reality (whatever that is) is illusory in the most fundamental way.

I won’t say anymore because I am straying off topic now and I am not being very clear either. I just want to let you know that my fundamentalism is under control (I think).

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/8/2005 @ 11:24 am

19.

Find an open minded novice and feed him or her the psychological model and supporting material [Jung, Quantum physics etc] and have them work the Goetia or something similar for a while. Find another and introduce them to an entity directly [some kind of conciousness altering substance is probably required] with the emphasis that said being is truly real and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. Compare their subjective experiences of workings & overall success rate. Theres probably a lot of other factors to consider, youd want to filter people with previous experiences of this kind of phenomenon etc.

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 11:40 am

20.

113 people in the Crowley course? Yikes! I’m glad (and now relieved) there’s only 20 in the counterculture class.

I hate to take us away from the insult banter with a new question, but –

To everyone, what were some of your experiences with the HGA (or its analogue) before formally encountering the concept?

Comment by Sasha — 3/8/2005 @ 11:43 am

21.

My personal belief is that existence ‘exists’ so that the choices we make actually matter. If existence were not real or not true, then choices would be meaningless, wouldn’t they?

That being said, I also believe that objective reality (whatever that is) is illusory in the most fundamental way.

When I said I am not certain that “Reality” is True, I meant this:

Reality seems, at best, to be merely my internal model of existence (whatever that is). That is the sense in which reality is said to be illusory: my internal models represent an approximation of external existence as formed by my particular nervous system and filtered by the peculiarities of my sensory organs. But I don’t have direct access to that external existence, but only to my internal models.

My choices are still meaningful, I just choose to recognize that I am basing my decisions off of consideration of my models of existence, and these models may (most likely!) not be accurate or contain the whole picture.

The terminology and beliefs which relate to the HGA are also a model of some existing experience. ceilede’s original post stated that this model may be more encumbering to someone working toward achieving this experience than they are a helpful roadmap. Struck by Lightening’s response seemed (to me) to say that this model is the One True model and any mystic foolish enough to use another model was doomed to failure.

Without HGA K&C, true development as a mystic is really impossible - HGAs are the only doorway through which humans can evolve their way into archspace (heaven). There is no other possible way.

I don’t even know what archspace/heaven refers to, though it appears possible in mind that we could replace every instance of HGA and K&C with something like “contacting your spirit totem” and the sentence might have equivalent meaning… and I would still have a difficult time swallowing it.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 11:46 am

22.

Find an open minded novice and feed him or her the psychological model and supporting material [Jung, Quantum physics etc] and have them work the Goetia or something similar for a while. Find another and introduce them to an entity directly [some kind of conciousness altering substance is probably required] with the emphasis that said being is truly real and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. Compare their subjective experiences of workings & overall success rate. Theres probably a lot of other factors to consider, youd want to filter people with previous experiences of this kind of phenomenon etc.

Devo,

I am not so sure this would work. Human consciousness is non-linear. By this, I mean that every person processes inputs in a different manner, due to having their own unique neuro-physiology and socio-pyschological loading.

It is possible that I could take subject A and they would always succeed no matter which model I fed them (psychological relativism or absolute belief), where I could take subject B and they would always fail no matter which model I fed them.

Likewise, I could take three people and feed them the exact same model and one would succeed spectacularly while the other produces nothing, and a third goes insane and commits suicide.

From this, I suspect that your hypothesis (“treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result”) may not be falsifiable, and is therefore not a valid scientific statement but a religious dogma instead.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 11:53 am

23.

To everyone, what were some of your experiences with the HGA (or its analogue) before formally encountering the concept?

Sasha, if you read my article about the Dream Quest posted here on Key23 a week or two back, I regularly encountered guru-like figures that explained to me how to become lucid within my dreams and how to take control of the dream environment and my psyche… long before I had ever heard of lucid dreaming and even further before I had ever read Crowley or heard of the HGA.

Since my exposure (to that mind virus), my continuing experiences of these guiding figures is not significantly different because I choose to state that, while the HGA model possibly refers to the same thing, I don’t need to rewrite my personal encounters in terms of someone else’s models and experiences. And so far it’s working out for me, though I haven’t yet written a Holy Book to “prove” my daemone to the world. (Sounds like a lot of EGO to me, to go that route).

And, yes, the Crowley 101 course is a bit crowded; sometimes confusing to keep track of all the faces. But it seems to be going well in its second week and I don’t think our swollen ranks will be a hinderance.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 12:07 pm

24.

Likewise, I could take three people and feed them the exact same model and one would succeed spectacularly while the other produces nothing, and a third goes insane and commits suicide.

That doesn’t mean there’s no discernable process at work here, just that the process is obscured. It seems that you would suggest that this leap, from the three sample people’s responses to understanding why each specific person responded the way they did, relies on their internal model and because of that is unknowable. Am I assessing this well? Do you feel the details of a specific internal model are so subjective that it cannot be evaluated?

Reality seems, at best, to be merely my internal model of existence (whatever that is). That is the sense in which reality is said to be illusory: my internal models represent an approximation of external existence as formed by my particular nervous system and filtered by the peculiarities of my sensory organs. But I don’t have direct access to that external existence, but only to my internal models.

This is a common stance (“these days”?) and maybe *the* common stance, and I share it. But to use the tired Matrix metaphor, people in the Matrix interpret the signals differently, but do you not allow that there could be those who can see the code itself and choose how to interpret it? Like self-aware metaparadigms…instead of how I see chaos-magic-like paradigm shifts, the hopeful remolding and rewording of the same “internal model“. I’m not saying I’m above anything, cause I’m not, but do you allow for the possibility? Lots of people don’t…and I get in trouble with them. ;) Or else, do you have any allowance for making the internal model more closely resemble the external world (relative to wherever one is at)?

Comment by Sasha — 3/8/2005 @ 12:47 pm

25.

I guess I haven’t mastered the quoting, so here it goes again. ;) I quote metachor both times:

Likewise, I could take three people and feed them the exact same model and one would succeed spectacularly while the other produces nothing, and a third goes insane and commits suicide.

That doesn’t mean there’s no discernable process at work here, just that the process is obscured. It seems that you would suggest that this leap, from the three sample people’s responses to understanding why each specific person responded the way they did, relies on their internal model and because of that is unknowable. Am I assessing this well? Do you feel the details of a specific internal model are so subjective that it cannot be evaluated?

Reality seems, at best, to be merely my internal model of existence (whatever that is). That is the sense in which reality is said to be illusory: my internal models represent an approximation of external existence as formed by my particular nervous system and filtered by the peculiarities of my sensory organs. But I don’t have direct access to that external existence, but only to my internal models.

This is a common stance (“these days”?) and maybe *the* common stance, and I share it. But to use the tired Matrix metaphor, people in the Matrix interpret the signals differently, but do you not allow that there could be those who can see the code itself and choose how to interpret it? Like self-aware metaparadigms…instead of how I see chaos-magic-like paradigm shifts, the hopeful remolding and rewording of the same “internal model”. I’m not saying I’m above anything, cause I’m not, but do you allow for the possibility? Lots of people don’t…and I get in trouble with them. ;) Or else, do you have any allowance for making the internal model more closely resemble the external world (relative to wherever one is at)?

Comment by Sasha — 3/8/2005 @ 12:50 pm

26.

The value of the formalized approach to the HGA could be said to be that it embodies a very dense and potentially powerful set of mythic constructs. It’s not just watching sunset and listening to your inner voice, or diligently cross-examining your goals and motivations. The formal approach - say that set forth by Crowley, GD, etc - is embedded and totally informed by magickal traditions and the psychological/exoteric complexes and “entities” that habituate that tradition. When you’re walking these same dark astral alleyways trod by many ritual magicians, you’re stepping into a very established mythic system. The experience is designed very explicitly to affect the initiate in such a way that they will see the archangels and confront Choronzon and have their entire universe shattered out of which they might arise renewed and bound to the will of their HGA.

The difference is like developing your own form of martial art at home versus training in an established system for 15 years. You might be able to adequately defend yourself with the former, but you’ll be much better at the latter. However, I’m not arguing that the OTO has the best approach to the HGA but, rather, that highly formalized mythic initiations tends to contain far greater amounts of astral currency. Just like eating mushrooms and tripping through the forest can be a powerful experience, but it’s likely a very different and perhaps far less grounded of an experience than going to Oaxaca and being initiated into the ritual Teonanctl tradition of the natives.

Comment by lvx23 — 3/8/2005 @ 1:25 pm

27.

Sasha,

As to the first quote, it seems like you are reading something into it that I did not intend.

Devo had stated the proposition: “treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result”

I proposed we treat this as if it were a scientific hypothesis and asked what experiment might provide evidence of its veracity.

Devo suggested we take a number of unexposed novices, and give one group the model that “entity contact” was psychological (i.e. an internal altered state of consciousness) and the other group the model that it “actually happened” as an external event.

In order to prove that hypothesis incorrect (in order to be a scientifically valid model, there must be some conceivable test that could possibly falsify a hypothesis) it would be necessary to show that: an individual loaded with the psychological model performed better than one using the objective existence model <b>because</b> that subject used the psych model.

However, my statement that you quoted was to the effect that the information processing of different individuals differs to the degree that it is possible one subject might succeed (or fail) regardless of the model they used.

If that is the case, as I suspect, then I currently do not see how the original hypothesis (“treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result”) could be shown to be false, and is therefor not a scientifically meaningful statement. Q.E.D.

I did not mean to imply that we could not attempt to understand the internal modeling process of human individuals, but only that we are individual enough that claims made stating that any one model is better than another are akin to religious dogma in my mind at this time because I can’t think of a way to prove or disprove such a claim. Perhaps in the future we will come to understand the human nervous system to such a degree that we can quantifiably demonstrate the absolute efficacy of holding certain beliefs. I suspect this will not happen.

But to use the tired Matrix metaphor, people in the Matrix interpret the signals differently, but do you not allow that there could be those who can see the code itself and choose how to interpret it? Like self-aware metaparadigms

Yes, I do allow this (haha, who am I to “allow” this, but anyway). I suspect that “seeing the code itself” is akin to being aware of the modeling process itself. Instead of acting based on our internal models of existence, we make higher-order meta-models, or models of how we make models. This could lead to a sort of metaprogramming whereby you could pick and choose to replace your first-order models (“models of existence”) as you see fit.

This is also the process whereby models come to closer approximate actual existence (relative to one’s individual point of view, of course). If anything, the scientific method, whose aim is a continual process of better approximating models toward actual existence, rests on a meta-model, i.e. on assumptions made as to how the modeling process occurs.

As Aleister Crowley said, in reference to the work of the A.’.A.’. and the Equinox, “We place no reliance On Virgin or Pigeon; Our method is Science, Our aim is Religion.”

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 1:48 pm

28.

I did not mean to imply that we could not attempt to understand the internal modeling process of human individuals, but only that we are individual enough that claims made stating that any one model is better than another are akin to religious dogma in my mind at this time because I can’t think of a way to prove or disprove such a claim. Perhaps in the future we will come to understand the human nervous system to such a degree that we can quantifiably demonstrate the absolute efficacy of holding certain beliefs. I suspect this will not happen.

That answers my question, I’m sorry I made you feel like you had to type out your previous comments again for me. Also, I think I we were using a different definition of the word model, one for temporary paradigm and one for overall worldview/realityview (’first-order model’, ‘internal model’). One for psychology vs. belief, and one for neuro-physiology and socio-pyschological loading. I’m sorry for confusing the issue.

This is also the process whereby models come to closer approximate actual existence (relative to one’s individual point of view, of course). If anything, the scientific method, whose aim is a continual process of better approximating models toward actual existence, rests on a meta-model, i.e. on assumptions made as to how the modeling process occurs.

I think this is a fabulous way of looking at it. Reasoning (in the incarnation of scientific method, mathematics, or perhaps the very basics of interpersonal communication/relation) is abstraction, is method, and while methodology can be used within confining circumstances, its native home and scale is the universal.

I’m all about relying on the scientific method for all my magical work. There too I run into a lot of resistance from other people, who I guess think science and magic don’t mix (whatever that means). But how do you remove methodology from any practice? It’s like on another board, where lvx32 didn’t want to go down the path (or in his words, the “trap“) of science explaining magic. He has more mature objections to it than the generalization I’ve just laid out, but for me it’s still another iteration of a misconception of methodology, and then wanting to divorce method from magic because of that misconception.

I think we’ve been on the same page about all this. I guess I’m just a victim of the theory we’ve laid out, that I’m responding to what I expected your position to be instead of what it really is. ;) And then, it’s hard enough to try to distill my own thoughts on the beyond while dodging the boss at work.

Comment by Sasha — 3/8/2005 @ 2:28 pm

29.

Sasha,

For definitions of “model” I am using my own personal connotation of standard definitions as they are used by cybernetics and systems science.

For “first-order models” I mean Model of the World, defined as: The information that an animal or robot has stored about the world around it. It thus serves to guide the system’s interaction with its environment.

For Model in general (which includes models of the world, and other higher-order “models about models”), there are a couple definitions in common parlance, of which I like: A system that stands for or represents another typically more comprehensive system, and a device, scheme, or procedure typically used in systems analysis to predict the consequences of a course of action; a model usually aspires to represent the real world (to the degree needed in analysis)–for example, a relation between some observed phenomena/.

It’s like on another board, where lvx32 didn’t want to go down the path (or in his words, the “trap“) of science explaining magic. He has more mature objections to it than the generalization I’ve just laid out, but for me it’s still another iteration of a misconception of methodology, and then wanting to divorce method from magic because of that misconception

I talked with lvx23 about this recently. As I understood his objection, and this is something with which I am inclined to agree, the scientific method often leads to a sort of reductionism, which is an approach to building descriptions of systems out of the descriptions of the subsystems that a system is composed of, and ignoring the relationships between them. This tends to lead to models which are highly compartmentalized and static, and altogether inappropriate for describing more elusive concepts like life, consciousness, spirituality and mysticism (to say nothing of magick!).

However, this is not a necessary outcome of applying the scientific method, as is evidenced by systems science which treats systems as complex and organic wholes, and is concerned more with relations than classifications.

I personally find descriptions of numinous and other mystical experiences which attribute some condition of “isness” to actual reality (“that was the voice of an angel, who you have to believe in, because he actually exists,” and it is usually a ‘he’) to be a symptom of creeping reductionism.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 3:33 pm

30.

RE: My little sermon

I apologize. I was trying to be supportive to the original article poster and I came across as sounding pretty egotistical instead.

I believe that using alchemical principles to simply develop your character and personality to the best of your ability is the key to success with an HGA experience. The metaphysical is naturally integral to all of that psyche development and doesn’t necessarily have to be considered to be something “special” or “extra”. Ceremony and ritual can be useful tools but I wouldn’t consider them to be essential for the more fundamental personal accomplishments, myself.

I don’t consider myself to have a highly perfected psyche, but I have accomplished certain breakthrough insights that have allowed me to have regular contact with my guardian angel. I also might add that the boundary between my own psyche and hers can become very blurred at times to the point where we are like a single being. Beyond that I won’t say more about whether an HGA is actually a “distinct being” or “part of my own soul” in some way because I don’t completely know the answer to that yet.

I humbly offer this to anyone who may find value in it. I have already probably said more than I intended and I will stop now for fear of exceeding my competence. Your own intuition should always do a better job than most of what you could get from me here, at the very least.

Comment by Struck By Lightning — 3/8/2005 @ 3:47 pm<

31.

Sasha said: lvx32 didn’t want to go down the path (or in his words, the “trap”) of science explaining magic.

Well, to clarify… I think that it’s a fine excerices to apply/extend scientific models to magick - I do it all the time and will continue to do so. However, I don’t feel that science can ever offer a complete explanation/reduction of magick and spirituality and consciousness. I think that science is like one lens in a binocular, and spirituality is the other. The only way you get the full picture with all of it’s depth and detail is to look through both lenses.

Assuming that science will eventually “prove” everything is merely a sympton of the materialism that’s been eroding spirit for the last 2000 years. Do I need a mathematical formula to prove to myself that I exist? Do I need it to prove to you? No. Experience satisfies that query, not mathematics.

Materialism often sacrifices experience for description, and meaning for explanation. Magick seeks in large part to lessen the confines of rule and law and raise the power of living and feeling.

Comment by lvx23 — 3/8/2005 @ 5:00 pm

32.

lvx23:

Then I’ll pose the same question I asked on UC – cannot science and magic be equivalent? In metaphor, why are magic and science two different lenses instead of one and the same?

Why do we divorce experience from description, and meaning from explanation, and relation from classification? I understand that it’s been done by others for quite a long time, but why do *we* do it? I ask myself this regularly as I read blogs like this.

At the same time, metachor says:

I suspect that your hypothesis may not be falsifiable, and is therefore not a valid scientific statement but a religious dogma instead.

Does this mean you two differ in opinion over this? Metachor seems to suggest a black and white picture here. Valid scientific method or religious dogma. He used someone’s base statement of experiential opinion, coopted it into scientific process, and spit it out rejected. The original experience may have had some usefulness, but within science it is barren. This is an attempt to quantify experience, to “prove” it. Do you agree or disagree with this outlook?

Comment by Sasha — 3/8/2005 @ 6:15 pm

33.

Sasha, thanks for pointing out the extreme weirdness of my comments.

Wow… looking back, I think I need to reassess where I am coming from. I certainly did not mean to “use someone’s base statement of experiential opinion, coopted it into scientific process, and spit it out rejected“… but in hindsight, it seems like I did!

While I was writing my comments for this original post I had adopted an intentionally “scientific” role, and an intolerantly extreme one, while at the same time arguing for less definition and more subjective experience. How I am conflicted!

I suspect that your hypothesis may not be falsifiable, and is therefore not a valid scientific statement but a religious dogma instead.

This sounds like the work of a jerk. I think I was only trying to shake people up into questioning their belief systems, but I came off as sounding like I am the final authority on what is or is not a valid belief.

I don’t see a hard line between scientific hypotheses and religious dogma, it is not at all black and white in my own mind. Unfortunately, the language of scientists and religious scholars (or zealots of both classes) does often seem black and white. I am too easily trapped in that dualism, and frankly I don’t like it.

I think the point I was trying to make this whole time, before I got carried away on an idealistic crusade, is that I do accept anecdotal experience, but it bothers me when people fail to differentiate their personal experiences from objective absolutes.

Comment by metachor — 3/8/2005 @ 7:01 pm

34.

Id agree now i overextended the conclusions derived from my personal experience in attempting to make the general statement, ‘treating entity contact as a psychological phenomenon is going to place limitations on any end result’. I dont think Metachor was trying to quantify my experience, or i didnt take it as such anyway.

Comment by devo — 3/8/2005 @ 7:03 pm

35.

@ metachor

Are you the notorious R.A.W.?

I read a lot of his work at one time and you sound an awful lot like him, to be frank. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find him enjoying a little chat on a board just like this one.

Even if Key23.Net is kind of an obscure place on the web, you might have got hear via the Disinfo.com item that linked to this article a few days ago. Disinfo.com is really well known and very much a potential lurking point for someone like R.A.W.

No need for you to answer, but I just couldn’t resist asking…your writing reminds me so much of him. ;)

R.A.W. → Robert Anton Wilson

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/8/2005 @ 8:43 pm

36.

Metachor is currently channelling the spirit of RAW via web diffusion. While they may share the same mind, they are incarnate in different vessels.

Comment by lvx23 — 3/9/2005 @ 2:01 am

37.

Oh, and key23 is not as obscure as you might think.

Comment by lvx23 — 3/9/2005 @ 2:06 am

38.

metachor said: However, this is not a necessary outcome of applying the scientific method, as is evidenced by systems science which treats systems as complex and organic wholes, and is concerned more with relations than classifications.

I personally find descriptions of numinous and other mystical experiences which attribute some condition of “isness” to actual reality (“that was the voice of an angel, who you have to believe in, because he actually exists,” and it is usually a ‘he’) to be a symptom of creeping reductionism.

I agree, and this reminds me of my analog/digital philosophy. It seems to me that many people (er, most people) process the world digitally. They choke their minds down, and consciously (and laboriously) *assess* every piece of information they receive, as much as they can manage. In metachor’s words, they “classify” and assign “is-ness” and reduce.

I consider the analog scheme to be superior and much more suited to magical work. You are bombarded by an analog stream of input and cannot chop it up into bits, but you can apply mutable frames to describe the data. You can group certian signals based on their relationships, and discard the frame when it stops being useful. Within the analog scheme you respond to information on the fly and based partially on intuition and practice, while digital processing requires standardized response and only after the input has been properly cataloged.

In this analog philosophy, the sensation of existence is focused on relation and experience and meaning (which metachor and lvx23 advocate), while incidentally not turning its back on scientific method.

(crraaaaap, I lost this post the first time, so…understandably, it suffered…ahh, providence)

Comment by Sasha — 3/9/2005 @ 2:49 am

39.

Struck By Lightning - damn good post. I think it would be very, very cool if you were willing to write up your Holy Guardian Angel experiences - what it’s like, how it works, how you got there (in some detail) as a practical guide for other people.

Perhaps something we could run on Key23?

Think about it. If you’re interested in sharing, I think a lot of people (myself included) would find it very illuminating.

Comment by Bastart — 3/9/2005 @ 3:48 am

40.

(er…sorry for all the apologies and errors, but in my last comment the second paragraph is also quotation from metachor)

Comment by Sasha — 3/9/2005 @ 11:49 am

41.

I guess I’ll try this again –

What were some people’s experiences with the HGA before formally encountering the concept as such?

Comment by Sasha — 3/9/2005 @ 3:52 pm

42.

I can’t exactly recall the first experience, five, ten, twenty-five years, maybe it’s always been there. More acutely aware in the last few years. I’ll try not to be too fluffy, but here it goes. Some moments few and far between others not so much. That perfect moment when the present reconciles the past in a glorious vision of the future, and I am the future perfected. This created a great sense of duality. Which I tried my best to express, with ideas like “ I’ve got one foot in the real world, one foot on the path of the shaman”. I’ve come to understand this as transitional, as this condition, prolonged, could not be healthy.

There were times when I would be distracted by life, and I felt empty, lost. I would try to imagine that feeling back again, to be able to see myself again with those eyes. Sometimes out of the blue, I would be struck with this most delicious state of being, crystallized, in all my shining glory, reminding me once again, of the man I ought to be. But there was more to it, it was as though there was vision behind the vision. A vision of humanity in this same state of grace. This is when It became important to me, to create myself anew, in this image. I don’t think it was a choice so much, as it was a survival impulse. I knew that what I was experiencing was mystic/magickal, I sought it out everywhere I could think of, Buddhism to Golden Dawn, Wicca. If there was a website for it, I was on it. I’d pick out the kernels and leave the husks, I didn’t know it at the time, but I was gradually fleshing out the man of my dreams. Then I discovered Chaos Magick. It hit me like a ton of bricks, I shied away at first, it was so brilliant. Within CM, I had first read the term 5th Aeon. I’ve gotten off track. Anyway, I’d read of Crowley’s communion with HGA, but that did really match up with anything I had known, or had it. It was the whole capital H G A that was throwing me. But, I seemed to be on the right track. I began to externalize the experience, identify with, aKnowledge and Communicate with. I became so utterly grateful for this relationship. There must be away. How can we make this relationship more symbiotic? Surely, this, that I’ve simply come to know as Friend, must have needs, requirements. Aha, this, the other half of the equation. The vision behind the vision. And this is about where I’m at today 03/09/05.

To those I know on this board, from another board. Thank you from the bottom of my little black heart. BTW, a disclaimer, I am completely nutz.

Comment by Resolver — 3/9/2005 @ 8:58 pm

43.

I’m echoing this from a comment I made on the “crashing the party” thread. It seems pertinent to this thread as well. Just trying to clarify some potential difficulties when discussing terms like HGA. I’m not defending Thelemites, just acknowledging some distinctions in terminology…

The term Holy Guardian Angel is heavily laden with connotations and associations, especially when read by Thelemites. We can suggest that it’s simply a symbol of getting in touch with your inner self - and this is fine, on some levels. Just understand that this is an insult of sorts to traditional magicians who’ve been spending 10+ years of their lives commited to an initiatory school designed to bring them to K&A.

It’s just like the term “Abyss”. We can relate to it in psychological terms as a break from sanity, a great trauma or challenge, etc… But to Thelemites it has a very specific meaning tied to rituals and symbols along a formalized initiatory path. So if you say “I crossed the Abyss last year” and there happens to be a Thelemite nearby, they are going to hold that to a set of assumptions about ranks, oaths, visions, etc specific to their system.

There’s a fine line between magick and psychology and it’s often peppered with semantic jags.

Comment by lvx23 — 3/9/2005 @ 9:54 pm

44.

Regarding much semantical conversation on this thread…

“…it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.”
- William Jefferson Blythe Clinton

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/10/2005 @ 5:57 am

45.

Question: How do I make ‘contact’ with my Holy Guardian Angel?

Answer: Practise.

Smile, I’m only kidding… ;)

Comment by Four Crows Nailed to a Wooden Post — 3/10/2005 @ 9:08 am

45.

To answer Sasha’s question:

My first experiences with the HGA were had shortly after moving from a place I loved dearly to a place I hated a lot. It started simply enough as a voice, not quite in my head, it spoke more with impressions and ideas than words. The voice I felt instinctively was internal, because it pushed me to improve myself in many areas of my life I began to associate it with the memory of an old friend. Personifying it in this way certainly started to ease the communications.

The lengthier conversations felt almost dreamlike, but, not quite, like the world around me was humming softly.

Eventually I started exploring paganism, and in some book it was mentioned that once you were in tune with nature or the goddess you would see or feel this all pervasive energy. That seemed to me to be very similar to the humming thing, so I assumed this must mean that it was actually external and was infact the goddess calling me to her fold.

In retrospect I should have noted that once I adopted this view the older personification started acting more and more lie my expectations of the goddess. Eventually I was just talking to a goddess who told me she had a secret name but that I could just call her J for now. The push continued for self improvement though this time it was tinged with spirituality and a feeling that I was bettering myself because I was in service of J.

Eventually I felt that pagaanism was a dead end for me, and I disliked feeling like I was in service to a god, since in many wys it ws resentment over that feeling that prompted me to leave catholicism in the first place. The result of this was the embracing of a totally selfish ideology,namely Modern Satanism.

It was participation in this that started to get me interested in ceremonial magick, though predictably I was only interested in diabolical imagery. Eventually I atattched to the fallen angel archetypes, I guess it was something more familiar than the secular humanist aspects of that paradigm. At this point I started to see myself as some sort of pagan/satanist hybrid. Three cheers for adolecent confusion.

Anyway, after becoming interested in like , Llewellyn style shamanism, I went on a vision quest where I was contacted by Azazel. At first I didn’t make the connection between the name and the fallen angel, instead I assumed it was a spirit guide. It took the form of a large black lion w/ flames for eyes. This force started pushing me heavily into practicing ceremonial magick and letting spirituality take a back seat.

It was through this interest in CM that I stumbled across the Azazel in The Book Of Enoch, and after a series of discussions decided it was the same dude.

I’d say now that believing that was more important than it being the case. Again the similarities between the personification of a past friend, and the J. escaped me.

At this point I had heard of the HGA but had no real idea what it was. Getting involved in a debate about eclecticism, some one said I sounded like a chaote. I had not ever heard this term, but was advised to look into Carroll, which I did. It was like a no duh, kind of thing, so much of it reflected my ideas and practices. Interestingly at this point Azazel went on extended hiattus.

Pursuit of Chaos Magic also drove me to wanting to learn about other paradigms so that I could ue them to increase my undrstanding and practice. I saw that basically getting to where I was w/ the satanic pagan idea was really just an inyuitive attempt to create a personalized paradigm from the others I had been involved with, and I wanted to further that.

At this point I started actively working with the idea of the HGA as presented by Carroll, but also being influenced by thelemic ideas about the HGA. Shortly after that it finally dawned on me that the HGA had been present since I was very young, mutating into forms that served the most function for where I needed to be in order to get me to who I wanted to be. It was essentially I though a part of me, the part that had never forgotten I was always perfect. Intuition pesonified, if you like, as it also knew where I needed to go in order to remember too.

Eventualy I got around to ritualizing this relationship and it was at this point tha a dam really burst, the result of that has been my current 144/tesseract/time magick ideas.

Comment by Samuel23 — 3/10/2005 @ 1:08 pm

46.

Phew! That’s exactly what I was looking for, thank you. Anyone else?

I’m not asking just for the shit of it, I think this is the most useful kind of work we can do in an environment like this. And if we’re so concerned with how newcomers respond to the site, this is most human, practical, insightful, and relatable face we can put on it.

Plus I’m doing a little research on the side. ;)

Comment by Sasha — 3/10/2005 @ 1:46 pm

47.

Eris is my HGA

Though I know her by a more personalized aspect of that godform.

We’ve been chatting for years, long before I first heard the term HGA (which to be completely honest was when this article was posted). I have always considered her more of a muse, or the high-priestess archetype, or my anima, or the ghost in the machine, though saying she’s a personification of my intuition probably comes closest to the role she generaly plays in my life (sharing secret knowledges, hidden insights, and mind-boggling inspirations). I would say we certainly have a knowledge and communication with each other, though I have no way to compare that to the more thelemic trappings of the experience.

Comment by Janus — 3/10/2005 @ 8:18 pm

48.

I will say this, and only this…

I was originally seeking absolute truth and doing a lot of alchemical psyche development related to this, just like anyone else would, when I “encountered” my guardian angel as a result of all of that work, in a totally indirect manner.

If your goal is to set off specifically to “find” your guardian angel first and foremost, then you are probably going to fail. Angels seem to be primarily interested in the choices that you make and precisely why you make them, so the testing ground of everyday life out there in ‘the world’ is where you should focus your energies. By this I mean that keeping yourself cloistered in some kind of secluded religio-social environment could easily do you more harm than good, and more open communities where active debate is encouraged and experienced individuals hang out (like Key23, for example) can be great places for picking up new insights and maintaining your motivation.

Comment by Struck By Lightning — 3/12/2005 @ 10:24 am