What is the ether…

Right after my post yesterday, I was asked what the ether was, and if I could explain it more.  When asked that question I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever explained it on here, even though I’ve used the term many times.  To me, the ether is glue that bonds, the energy that powers, and the gateway to all that we know.

First, in my system of belief and interpretation, the ether is what holds the soul.  Since there is no way to prove the soul exists, it really just comes down to processing the information that is available to you and choosing from there.  The information could be from belief in ghosts, earlier religious teachings, or even just a hunch you have.

I am a believer in the soul with a true will, so that makes me one of the most difficult kinds of Atmanists out there. (Note: I hate it when people make up words.  Atman(ist) is from the Liber Kaos p. 177)  Having this belief does make some forms of what I do more difficult, but it’s who I am.  As a part of this belief I find it necessary that the soul be something.  If a soul can haunt someone, reincarnate, ‘cross over’, or whatever different ideas that people believe in, there must be some form of cohesive energy that binds its composition.  What is this energy called?  Who knows.  The force?  The holy spirit?  Elmer’s glue?  I can’t say what it is because I have no idea of how such a thing would work.  So, I call it ether.

I don’t believe that it’s what makes up a soul; that it something entirely different.  I just believe that the ether is a force like any other that can interact with things.  For example: If you  tried to trap a soul/demon/ghost in a shoebox (I’ve seen sillier) I don’t think you’d really want to reach out with the same energy that something was made of.  What would happen?  Would it get stronger?  Be destroyed?  Add or remove some unplanned electricity into one of our happy little electronic devices and see what happens.  Now, grab it with a hand, a shoe, or let your cat smack it around for a while and it should survive the situation, even if it does have a couple of scratches.  Ether is what lets us interact with things on the ‘other side’, but like electricity, it can also be used to power what we do.

Some groups pray to a single god-form, others pray to a few or all of a pantheon of deities, and all of these are possible with Chaos (Kaos, whatever).  Some of us though can be deity-transient (using whichever god-form we find useful at the moment), create our own god-forms (Larry, god of the lawnmower), or be completely atheistic.  As an atheistic Chaote, my practice is designed to work with the forces that make things happen.  This, in my opinion, is controlled by the ether, the power source of magic.  Ether is typically manipulated with the subconscious implanting of intent, but there are rare times when it can be worked with directly.  They seem to happen more with time and practice, but it’s not always a sure thing when dealing with sorcery, shamanism, or ritualistic magic.  The times where it happens more often than not is during astral magic.

When I first started to do astral magic it was really an interesting experience.  It was a great compliment to the meditation I was already so fond of, so it came quite naturally to me.  The problem was that sometimes I would have uninvited guests in my astral travels.  Not another person travelling, or a Jehovah’s Witness banging on my astral door, but entities that can come in and out of things.  I became curious as to where they came from, so I started to try to figure it out.  Eventually I found the ether.  The source of it all.

It’s very hard to describe.  It’s like the energy and force that runs through all things wrapped up in a ubiquitous ball of powerful nothingness.  I know.  It makes no sense to me either.  If reality is an illusion, ether keeps the illusion intact.  If magic intervenes, ether is what guided it.  The astral is nothing more than a subset of the ether.  The ether itself breathes.  It has a rhythm.  It ebbs and flows like the tides in the sea.  It contains both the sacred and profane who try to move to what lies beyond it.

When I first started understanding it felt enlightening and liberating, but now I realize that it has just caused more questions, more to learn, and the realization that I know less than I did before when compared to the overall magnitude of things.  I can’t tell you how to get there, how to feel it, or how to experience it.  It’s not because I’m a greedy ass, it’s just because my work slowly gave me information that I could use.  Then connections were drawn, new hypotheses made and tested, etc.  Combine that with a couple of fortuitous finds, and I have my current understanding of things.

That understanding has changed and it will again.  It’s the nature of Chaos.  Half of the stuff on this blog (especially the older stuff) is total crap and out of date.  The experiences I had and the conclusions I drew were all accurate in my mind at the time of writing, but having grown and expanded my knowledge, I can see that a lot of it is very simple, rookie thinking about the entire situation.  That’s part of learning, so I leave the information alone to chronicle the journey.  The Servitors page (the most popular on the blog) may be an interesting read, but there is some information that is simply wrong (kind of).  Which parts?  I won’t tell unless I update it.  It’s quite the paradigm shit to my existing one.  If I do another, I will present it as an alternative and leave the original intact, as people seem to enjoy the simplicity that it offers.

So there is the ether completely unexplained in just over 1,000 words.  There is no big takeaway from this one, only that it’s the name I use for a number of forces and concepts that all seem interrelated to me.  As always, don’t believe it until you’ve tried it.

D.S.

There is a storm brewing in the distance…

A (sample) sigil as an iPad painting.

A (sample) sigil as an iPad painting. (Mine)

It’s odd.  My wife is a sensitive and I don’t really share that gift with her.  Once in a while there is something so strong, or so close to me that I can get a read off of it, but normally it’s just something that’s not a part of my life.  Now magic, that’s quite the different story.

Everybody seems to have their own definition of what the magical force is that seems to drive the entire universe in an esoteric way.  Even Christians have the Holy Spirit, which is a force very similar to others that so many believe in.  I decided to settle on ether (Æther is such a pain in the ass to type) because it rolls off the tongue and it’s not such a funky name that it feels awkward to say it in public.

Now that I’ve been into things for a while, I can get a good read of the currents and waves within the ether when it’s involved in my works. It’s there all the way from simple divination to some of the deep, dark work that I enjoy so much.  Lately there has been something in the ether that seems strange.  It’s a bit hard to describe, but it’s something not quite right.

Normally, to me, the ether has a natural ebb and flow to it.  At times it is stronger than usual, other times the tide seems to be out a bit.  It simply changes the methods and effort required to get the results you need.  The last few weeks there has been something turbulent, making it difficult to control, changing the strength of spells.  It doesn’t really matter the kind of spell, or the casting difficulty, they can fizzle or fire too hard without any way of controlling it.

This whole thing feels like the wind on the edge of a storm; very turbulent and very unpredictable.  Almost like a chaos within the chaos.  If you look at the nature of chaos,the math or the magic, variables are a big part of any type of prediction or success respectively.  The additional instability of the power source itself is quite possibly one of the worst variables I have every worked with.  It’s very unpredictable right now.

I’m not sure if this kind of thing is happening everywhere, but wherever I reach into the ether it is filled with instability.  I enjoy working with the ether stream directly.  I like to feel it move through my work.  I suppose I could build an item or two to help with things being so turbulent.  I could do something that would restrict the stream to its relative low point so I could work with a consistent minimum amount, making my work take a lot longer for the more complex ones.  I could also make something that works like a battery that would store what I need for later use.  I’m not even sure the last idea would work, and the ether always feels like such a living stream when I work with it, it would really be a shame to try to stifle it within a container of sorts.

My real hope is that things mellow out in the near future.  I’m already a bit timid trying to work things right now, but if they get more turbulent, who knows what it would be like.  You just have to ask yourself: If turns into a storm, do you want to buckle down inside of a safe shelter, or do you want to become Benjamin Franklin with his kite (yes, it’s a myth) and unlock more secrets than you knew could even exist.

I’m not sure if this is just the place where I pull from, but if it’s everywhere the turbulence is huge.  It just may be a passing storm that I’m getting the edge of, or it could hit straight on. The only way I’ll be able to tell is by reaching regularly and seeing what the ether holds.

–DS

Remember:  There is a Google+ community about these sorts of things.  Join us!

What a ride.

With this screwdriver bit set... I can take ap...

With this screwdriver bit set… I can take apart the universe (Photo credit: chrismetcalf)

I’ve been slacking a bit lately since I’m entirely hooked on Borderlands 2, especially now that I have my new video card.

What I have been doing is a bit of personal magic to tidy things up a bit in my own life.  A bit of Illumination here, a bit of evocation there, and even a litte bit of red.

Illumination magic is quite simple when performed on one’s self.  For me, it comes primarily from meditation, but once in a while there is outside source that gives you a little kick in the butt to help you down the road of illumination.

I’m still not out of the woods yet, but I’m right on the edge of being slapped with a bunch of drugs that would render me useless.  Not fun.  It would lead to disability because I would be entirely non-functional.  So, my Dr. and I are working the opposite direction and embracing my crazy and letting me go apeshit and just have a damn good time with it.  Odd.  He must be nutty as hell tool.  It’s either that or zombie mode.  No zombies.

I don’t really even need to point out that this concepts caused a LOT of meditation and thought on the subject, and I had to learn a lot about myself and the way I think and feel about everything.

So, if I’m going to run around like a lunatic I need to embrace the crazy and enjoy it to the point of it being the best part about me.  I don’t need to run nude down the street because I’m feeling really good, but I shouldn’t try and repress everything so deep that I can’t be who I want/need to be.  So I’ve been trying to wear the coat of this new me around, and it’s working quite well.  I have a good chunk of crazy to play with even though I’m at max dose on all my meds (one is even over max) so it’s a fun thing to play with, and it’s going quite well.  I’m not sure how this will go when the gates are let loose and all the water comes rushing out, but only time will tell that one.

My little hunk of red has just been screwing with peoples’ minds using the topic of the last post I did.  We have a really religious community here, so talk of anything but some form of Geebus is just not heard of.  I’ve been talking a little about my work with people and saying things like, “Advertising is nothing more than changing the reality of someone’s mind.  After an ad or two they want things they didn’t before; they know things they didn’t before; or even do things they didn’t before.  If you believe in all that weird esoteric stuff, it sounds like what those magic guys are trying to do.”

The few I’ve done this to just sit there for a moment and think.  Dead quiet.  Then they change the topic to something pointless to divert the conversation.

I enjoy popping belief bubbles.  I like people to question everything and ask every question.  The more I find out the less I know.  There is a concept within the book Chaos (the math, not the magic) that deals with the population of tigers and the variables that can be involved with it.  (my mind may be a bit fuzzy on this one)  It came to constantly diverging paths.  Every generation of tigers could produce a number of cubs, which could then produce x more cubs based on availability of quantity and gender of the previous batch.  Anyway, the pattern just kept spreading and spreading over time due to the variables involved.  To me, that’s how a lot of my knowledge of esoteric topics go.  Figuring out one thing presents two more things to learn, and so on.  Some may even fork 3 or more times.  All of this information cannot be understood by one person, nor can it be wrapped up in a nice, neat package that is correct in any way.  It’s convenient to think otherwise, but it just isn’t so.

If you haven’t yet; pop your own bubble.  It’ll be the hardest, most confusing thing you’ve ever done in your life.  Many times you’ll feel very spiritually alone in your pursuits, but there are oases out there where you can commune with like-minded people on your journey.  Just make sure that they are a passing part of your journey, not those who tend to wrap things in a box for you.

I always lie.

D.S.

Our daily exposure to magic…

"Remember - i before e, except in Budweis...

“Remember – i before e, except in Budweiser” – Happy FRISKY FRIDAY!!! (2929068862) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the Superbowl has now come and gone, and everybody can settle down with the results until next season.  Wether your favorite team won or lost, I thought it was an exciting and amazing show of athleticism and strength on both sides.  That said, let’s look at the really interesting side of the Superbowl: the commercials.

I didn’t find (most of) this year’s commercials as entertaining as ones from previous years, but they still are a perfect example of our daily exposure to magic.  The bulk of modern people wouldn’t consider commercials and other forms of advertising to be magic, but if you really look at the base of what both are trying to accomplish, and the way they are trying to do it, they are more alike than they are different.

I know different disciplines use tools that Chaotes can borrow from, but at the heart of Chaos is the understanding that the purpose of anything that we do is to implant an idea into the subconscious that will be executed without conscious involvement.  The same is true for advertising.  They don’t care, or even want you to think about one of their commercials when you are looking for a product, they want you to reach for it naturally, without thinking about why you’re even getting it.  ‘I need detergent, let’s get a box of Tide.’  Or at worst is something like: ‘I need a box of detergent, the new Purex crystals sound neat so I’ll try it.”  How many product names can you think of?  About  a gazillion is my guess.  There are products on the shelves that I won’t even try because ‘I don’t know anything about them.”  I’ve never bought or tried some of the items in a store, but if I am going to, the first thing I look for is a ‘known commodity’, a.k.a. a brand I’ve had good luck with on other products.

The main concept behind many of these commercials is ‘branding’.  Most of the commercials on the big game yesterday didn’t even try to sell you anything directly (0% APR car financing, etc.).  They just showed you things funny/neat/bizarre so they became new in your mind, and more easily slipped down into the subconscious, implanting it for non-conscious recognition in the future.  That’s not me relating it to Chaos, that’s just the name of the game.  Did you see all the Nike logos on every piece of equipment on the field?  Me neither.  They’re so heavily implanted that the subtile swoosh doesn’t do anything but reinforce the brand they work so hard to maintain.

Now, think about the concept of a sigil, a ritual, or even meditation for the purpose of spell casting.  You are simply trying to slip the information into your own subconscious so it can act without any conscious thought.  Instead of grabbing something off the shelf, you are just aiming that your astral/ethereal self/energy (or whatever you think it is) will make things happen that result in the final outcome.

They aim for automatic brand recognition and action results by the target, we aim for action results without source recognition by the target (mostly).

This concept of ‘branding’ and other tools within advertising are almost exact in their process to Chaos techniques that work incredibly well.  The vast majority of the population has no idea that these concepts are so closely linked.  It would either freak them out about advertising, or it would help legitimize magic as a valid discipline.  They may not be swayed in their religious/spiritual views about the evil/good nature of the practice, but perhaps it would be taken more seriously, and people would be more questioning of advertisements.  Or perhaps people would just call shenanigans and stay the way they are because it’s easier that way.  It would probably be that last one.

It makes me smile to know that people eat this stuff up like candy because it makes my job a lot easier.  When I design ads/commercials I just ‘brand’ the hell out of things and people turn to us without question.  Both of the national competitors in our area combined don’t do 1/3 the business we do.  Why?  Anywhere you look in this valley there is our logo.  The college, high school stadiums, every charity advertisement, news, print, boards, television, pre-movies ads, etc.  We even cut the ‘name’ portion off of our logo and simply use that symbol (a sigil?) on some campaigns.  For a period we had a board up with nothing but the symbol on a white background.  We received tons of compliments on it.

They were all moved towards us and only rarely do we advertise a specific product or service.  When we do, we have massive influxes from those promotions.

It’s a pretty well ‘branded’ company, no?  We’ve even reduced our standard branding statements into a single sigil (like the Nike swoosh) that represents everything that we have implanted into our customers’ minds.  To me that’s magic, and it’s awesome.  I love to watch us do it and I love to see it on a national level.  I’m a sucker for it.  That kind of thing just works too well.

D.S.

The cards are just so unbelievable sometimes…

English: Tarot cards. Français : Jeu de tarot....

English: Tarot cards. Français : Jeu de tarot. Différences avec l’image originale : Isolation du sujet : Arrière-plan blanc Élargissement de l’image (plus d’espace autour) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been using tarot cards for quite a while now, and I have become accustomed to using and interpreting them.  They give me an incredible insight into many different topics, and are about the only diving tool that I have any faith in at all.  Despite this comfort and familiarity with them, sometimes they just astound me in ways I never thought possible.

When I was asking the cards about the topics in my previous post, it said one of the most important things I could do lay in my continuing and increasing of my writings.  I know that many of you do not know me on a personal level, but the writings aren’t usually a big deal for me.  Unless it’s something strange, I can read it (or discover it) and that’s it, so the slowing of my writings have become no big deal in my mind.  I was just writing down information that I knew anyway.

At the recommendation of the cards I began writing many of the things I have learned in recent times down to see if I could draw any new connections within the information, which is one of the bonuses that I do get from writing.  I’ve been writing almost every evening for the past few weeks, just purging all of the recent information I have onto paper (yes, paper).

Then it hit me.  My memory started to wane.  My short-term memory has gone to complete garbage.  Earlier in the week I received a text that a friend was coming to get me, replied to him, and about a half-hour later someone in the office said that my friend had been waiting outside the office for quite a while.  I know it only takes him about 5 minutes to get here, but when I asked him why he didn’t tell me he was coming he looked really confused.  I had no recollection of having received the text, or having sent a reply at all.  Nothing.  If I didn’t see the reply on my own phone I would have thought he was kidding.  It turns out that this is not the only isolated incident.

All of a sudden this is becoming a severe problem.  My short-term memory has gone to crap and my mid-term memory seems to be slipping a bit.  I had a med tweak not too long ago, so I’m pretty sure it has to do with that.  My hands shake, I can’t stay awake at work, and now I have to write everything down or I’ll forget it in a matter of minutes.

This is exactly what the cards were talking about.  Some of the big-time information that I have learned was committed to paper, and when I look at them now, they are like someone else wrote them. Weeks of information and insight would have been lost, and possibly not recovered.  I may have to become one of those crazy guys that is always talking into a micro recorder.

I’m fairly confident that switching back to my old medication routine (or a completely different set) will set everything on a solid path, but acting on the information given to me by the cards saved me from some serious loss of my studies.  Many of these little revelations lead to big ones later, and to have lost them would have been a shame.

If you use the tarot, listen well.  They can tell you more than you think.

D.S.

I guess it’s a family thing…

English: Séance conducted by John Beattie, Bri...

English: Séance conducted by John Beattie, Bristol, England, 1872 from the Eugène Rochas Papers held at the American Philosophical Society Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I keep our beliefs and practices very private because of the nature of where we live and the nature of who we need to interact with.  We haven’t had any of our esoteric conversations around our daughter either.  We decided not to push her into anything as far as religion and spiritual belief is concerned.  The problem is that last night our entire plan when to crap.

My father asked her if she wanted to go into our bedroom and get her tablet (spoiled nerd) and she said she didn’t want to because there was a ghost.  We all just looked at each other.  He then asked her what she said back as a question: “There’s a ghost in there?”  “Yeah.  Mama’s tablet.”  She then ran off to the living room and stole my wife’s Nook.

My dad doesn’t believe in the same things we do, nor does he even have any idea of the direction our beliefs have gone, but he was even silent for a few moments.  I think we all asked each other where she learned that word, and none of us could come up with an answer at all.  TV at our house consists almost entirely of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse until she goes down for her nap/sleep.

Obviously she learned the word somewhere, but she used it entirely in context and knew what she was seeing/feeling.  At 2 1/2 years old, there isn’t much that can be done to explain what is going on, or even give her anything to do if one gets a bit rowdy with her.  Even her mother has tried to suppress her gift for so long that she has a hard time handling things for herself.

We agreed last night to just listen to her when she describes things of that nature, and as she grows older we’ll introduce her into some of the concepts that are involved with the process.  We’ll teach her to be proud of who she is, but appropriateness in handling it since it scares the living piss out of other people when you’re different in any way.  It scares them worse when you experience things entirely outside of their belief system.  Religious groups tend to have a set boundary of where things can go before it’s just too far to fit within the structure.  Then they yell ‘Heresy!’ or some other such crap and you’re ostracized.

Despite the freedoms given to us in this country, having different beliefs (especially ones that scare others) can still cause issues within your peers, and we all know that kids are some of the most cruel creatures on the face of the planet.  I will have to teach her not to be ashamed of who she is, but that there appropriate times to let people know who you are, and when to just play the game.  It sucks that she will have to do that, but sadly that’s the way things work, even in modern America; more so when you live in a small, religious community.

Of course, this could all just the imagination of a child and no big deal, but since she could have inherited this from her mother, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Chaos is everywhere whether you like it or not.

D.S.

The new mission is here…

New year's resolutions

New year’s resolutions (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

Even though a lot of us don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and even mock others for making them, just talking about (not?) making them can get us thinking about things we need to change or do.  While I resolved to not make a resolution, I did start thinking about how big my magic to-do list has gotten in the past few months.  Between the holiday season, work, and Civilization 5 I have been neglecting my practice a bit.  While it’s a regular topic of conversation, actionable ideas and projects have just fallen by the wayside.

My wife gave me a nice calligraphy set for Christmas which I have been using to practice my Theban, but I don’t really consider that to be spiritual work, it’s more personal art with a magical flare.  Spiritual work for me involves reading, meditation, and practice of my trade.  Reading is always a part of me, even during the holiday season, but it was just reading some Grimoires and writing for the fun of it.  Serious work involves me paying heavy attention and taking notes.

The notes are worthless after I take them, they just implant things into my brain.  I got through college with a 3.753 GPA because of my ability to absorb information.  I did every scrap of homework, and wrote everything I could during the lecture.  Before my next exam I would write down key points from those notes and throw it all out.  I wouldn’t need them ever again.  No studying previous materials for a cumulative final, total recall on my statistics from two years prior in a logistics class, and I still use my calculus and statistics in our demographics studies here at work.

That’s what I aim for when I’m exposed to new materials within the magical world too.  I want total recall at any given moment from any source I’ve ever read.  I know I don’t quite have the ability to go that far, but full recollection from the important ones and conceptual recollection from the others is well within reason in my perception.

I ramble like this in person too.

Back to my original subject: I haven’t been getting anything done except a bit of pondering over past experience and trying to draw lines between some of the existing dots.  Nothing big has come up; just a to-do list of crap I need to learn, do, and experiment with.  The biggest thing I need to figure out is the transferral of terrestrial magic into the ether.  I need to take it with me to see what it does when it’s out in the wild.  That will be the first step towards learning to properly cast within the ether.  Rather that just think I’m casting, as with all my magic, I need to have things confirmed and tested.  The imagination is too strong to rely on such esoteric things.  If not, you could just be yelling ‘pew pew pew’ in your own mind as something shows you exactly how ineffective you really are.

Astral magic will be an interesting concept for me to explore.  The astral removes all the constraints that limit us in the physical world, and things like fireballs flying out of your ass become possible, but only within the astral.  The part I’m interested in is protection while in the astral (some ugly things can learn out there) and how spells within the astral can be used to affect the physical world.  If the origin of the magic has no physical boundaries, does it maintain that freedom as it transfers into the physical, or does it get to keep all/some of those freedoms as it passes over?  The spiritual embodiment of a person that appears in the astral, while their body exists in the physical world, could be interesting to manipulate to see the effect it can have.  If you blow an ass fireball at their astral self what would it do to their physical body?  Something mental?  A blow to their spirituality?  Nothing?

It’s those kinds of questions that I want to start answering in my work.  Obviously the ass fireball is quite the facetious example, but I’ve always used ‘blowing a fireball out of your ass’ as an example of the reasonable physical limitations of magic.  Sure, the odds are technically there, but making it actually happen is quite a different story, and hopefully not the focus of anyone who considers themselves a serious practitioner of anything.

As with all questions that are asked, many questions must be answered before those can be explored, and the testing of those hypotheses will only lead to more questions and testing.  For me to take magic seriously I have to approach it with the part of my mind that enjoys both the scientific method and statistics.  The scientific method gives us a model to question and test our hypotheses in a structured way, while statistical assumptions can be used on background information that we don’t have, and can accommodate (reasonably) concepts such as faith and other information we simply can’t (or don’t yet) know.  Statistics can also help us understand how the magic formulas that Peter Carroll provide can be applied in actual application.  We can apply our assumptions, confidence levels, standard deviations, outliers, and other things that help us make sense out of what we do.  While all things are Chaos, and Chaos is in all things, we rely on faith to blow the final fireball, and for some (me especially) that faith comes from knowledge.  It sounds a bit backwards, but it’s what works for me.

If people knew the extent to which they were exposed to magic every day they would probably crawl in a hole and cry.  Perhaps that would be a good topic for another post.

–D.S.