One Heretic Taoist’s reflection on Taoism in the West: Or, I know what you did last summer.

BodyDao

 

 

In the course of its long history, Daoism has been transmitted and adapted variously beyond China. Deeply embedded in Chinese language and culture, its ritual and communal practices have generally been less adaptable, but Daode jing thought, tales of immortals, and the various longevity and meditation techniques have found eager audiences. Especially Daoist thought and long life practices have spread in several East Asian countries, notably Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.
In the West, too, the best known and most widespread aspect is Daoist thought; many concepts and maxims of the Daode jing have made their way into American and European culture. Much less well known and embedded in a different social milieu is the transmission of Daoist temples and ritual structures. Many remain within the framework of Chinese immigrants, but some organizations also attract Western devotees.
Most recent is the Western adaptation of Daoist-inspired health practices and meditations. Following in the wake of increased health awareness and the popularity of yoga and Buddhist meditation, Daoist associations, centers, and masters are becoming popular. However, not all of them are properly speaking Daoist; rather, they often focus on qigong and taijiquan in exclusion of Mystical and Magical Practices.

Just as different aspects of Daoism have attracted different audiences in East Asia over the
millennia, so the modern transmission of the religion to the West matches a variety of interests and works in multiple social contexts. Most generally one can say that philosophical or literati Daoism was attractive first of all to missionaries and later to the intellectual elite. It offered a different way of looking at the world, proposed new principles of life, and encouraged a change of attitude toward the world. Today it is seen as opening a balance to the American (and Western) tendencies toward uncontrolled growth, environmental exploitation, corporate greed, and political corruption. Small is beautiful, and most happiness can be found in a simple life.
Organized Daoism with its priestly hierarchy, religious scriptures, and devotional practices, on the other hand, fosters a sense of connection to the gods, community integration, as well as ritual services of protection, purification, blessings, and exorcism. It came to the West with Chinese immigrants and in close connection with Chinese popular religion and has remained for the most part an ethnically based organization, housed in inner-city temples and supported by local residents.

Longevity Daoism, with its exercises, meditations, diets, and fengshui, has only been available in the West for a few decades. It appeals to well-situated, health-conscious people who are concerned with personal well-being, business success, and environmental protection( you know, Those People 😉 ). They often come to the practices for health reasons—be it recovery after an accident, weakness due to chronic disease, increased signs of aging, or the wish to reduce body stress exerted by contact sports, hard martial arts, or power yoga. Typically practitioners begin by looking for merely physical benefits, but then develop a sense of qi flowing in the body and gain an empowerment of a completely different sort. While many stop there, some move on to inquire more deeply into the conceptual and historical background of the practices and thus encounter Daoism.
From there, some go on to advanced training in internal alchemy and more spiritual techniques whose ultimate goal is complete health leading to immortality.

Daoist thought in the West is represented first and foremost in the Daode jing, the best-known representative of Daoism wherever it appears. In the West, it attracted first attention through a translation into Latin by Jesuit missionaries, presented to the British Royal Society in 1788. This rendition hoped to show that the mysteries of the Christian faith were known to the ancient Chinese, matching Dao with God, like logos conveying the triple sense of supreme being,reason, and word ( a mistake to say the lest, and has muddied the waters about trying to give a grasp on what in the nine hells the Dao is, ever since).
The first English translation by James Legge (1831-1905) appeared in 1891. It, too, attempted to impose Christian theology onto the Chinese text. This changed in the course of the twentieth century, so that by the end of World War II a number of translations and interpretation had appeared that attempted to read the text in its own right and do justice to Chinese thinking. By now, there are over 300 English translations of the text and its concepts have made major inroads into Western societies. The dominant mode of apperception is individual and personal; people appreciate the philosophy as it helps them to change their own thinking and their way of being in the world. Unlike in China, where the text has always also had a strong public dimension, there are very few political concerns associated with the Daode jing in the West( I believe this could change the face of our current political arena, if a few candidates running for the highest office in the land adopted some of the wisdom found in the lines).

Popular Daode jing ideas in the west tend to involve four distinct areas of application: the Western tendency toward action and progress (Work,Work,Work till you drop!); the importance of reducing stress(Fuck I need a vacation); the reversal of come common cultural and ethical values(If I get Tattoo 35, does it still pissoff my parents?); and concerns for the environment and social harmony (Peace, Pot and Microdot). Balancing the Western push for increased consumption, the need to always have more, always get new things, and always acquire bigger objects, is the essential idea of the text to “know when it is enough.” This means that there is a level of material wealth and internal satisfaction that requires one to go along with the present and let go of advancement and progress.

Having reached this point, an increase in consumption, a rise in position, or a multiplication of wealth will add nothing further to one’s community status or internal well-being. On the contrary, it will create complications and various kinds of difficulties that are entirely unnecessary and make one feel worse, not better. This latter concept in the Daode jing is expressed as the “continuous alternation of yin and yang.” Understanding the world as moving in an ongoing flow of rise and fall, increase and decline, people can make wise decisions. Too much growth will result in reduction; a period of calmness and apparent stagnation is the beginning of a new surge of energy. There cannot always be nothing but growth; nature requires moves in all directions, up and down, rise and decline, come and go.

Even Aleister Crowley threw his hat in the ring when it came to the study of Taoism…

“From 1908 to 1918, the Tao Teh King was my continual study. I constantly
recommended it to my friends as the supreme masterpiece of initiated wisdom,
and I was as constantly disappointed when they declared that it did not impress
them, especially as my preliminary descriptions of the book had aroused their
keenest interest. I thus came to see that the fault lay with Legge’s
translation, and I felt myself impelled to undertake the task of
presenting Lao Tze in language informed by the sympathetic understanding which
initiation and spiritual experience had conferred on me. During my Great
Magical Retirement on Aesopus Island in the Hudson River during the summer of
1918, I set myself to this work, but I discovered immediately that I was
totally incompetent. I therefore appealed to an Adept named Amalantrah, with
whom I was at that time in almost daily communion.( Amalantrah
appears to be an astral being. Crowley’s Amalantrah working with Rodey Minor
and others does not settle the question of Amalantrah being physical or
incorporeal. This consultation took the form of ritual questioning of a spirit,
and attendant visions of which the ‘codex’ would be one.) He came readily to
my aid and exhibited to me a codex of the original, which conveyed to me with
absolute certitude the exact significance of the text.I was able to divine
without hesitation or doubt the precise manner in which Legge had been
deceived. He had translated the Chinese with singular fidelity, yet in almost
every verse the interpretation was altogether misleading. There was no need to
refer to the text from the point of view of scholarship. I had merely to
paraphrase his translation in the light of actual knowledge of the true
significance of the terms employed. Anyone who cares to take the trouble to
compare the two versions will be astounded to see how slight a remodeling of a
paragraph is sufficient to disperse the obstinate obscurity of prejudice,
and let loose a fountain and a flood of living light, to kindle the gnarled
prose of stolid scholarship into the burgeoning blossom of lyrical flame.”- (THE TAO TEH KING (LIBER CLVII) A New Translation By KO YUEN (ALEISTER CROWLEY) THE EQUINOX (Volume III, No. VIII.)

I will talk more on Taoism’s influence on Western thought and occultism as time permits, but I believe this is a good enough start for now.

Stay gold folks.

Sources: Clarke, J. J. 2000. The Tao of the West: Western Transformation of Taoist Thought.

Komjathy, Louis. 2004. “Tracing the Contours of Daoism in North America.”

livia Kohn,1999. “Introducing Daoism”

Crowley,-The Equinox Vol III

 

Use The Force, Luke! : Casting Magick Circles with Chi and other Blasphemies

 

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“There was a somewhat wild horse tied up and left by its owner in a narrow alleyway. All who came upon it pondered and debated how to pass without getting kicked. One tried running past and was subsequently tumbled to the ground, still not able to get beyond. Another tried jumping over the horse’s legs as it kicked wildly and derived the same result. Yet another attempted to pass through the horse’s legs but got trampled by the down kicks of the horse’s hooves. Meanwhile a crowd assembled and debated vociferously as to how to go about passing by the horse with many theories being postured and no one else having the courage to take any action. Finally, a young girl toward the back of the crowd noticed Master Kung on his ox riding up to the alley from the main street. She hollered to the crowd, “Here is Master Kung: he’ll know how to get past!” Master Kung peered down at the crowd and the horse from the corner, assessed the situation, smiled slightly, and then rode down to the next alley to continue on his way. “(THE CROWDED ALLEY: A Parable by Chuang Tzu, Retold by Michael Hofius)

In Taoist thought the story above is an action of the Art known as Wu Wei or, acting without acting, which means to take actions which don’t disturb the natural order of things, Human or Spirit, Demon or God. When working magick from this principle, one goes with the river instead of swimming against the current. This does not mean to turn the other cheek by becoming a victim and letting life have its way with you. This means being proactive in the Art, working with the order of things, watching the way the current flows, putting a rock here or there to divert the stream, but never blocking the river, and ending problems by not creating them in the first place. By working the Art in this manner you can gain true insight into events all-round you; in the west this is called synchronicity. Synchronicity is a word coined by Carl Jung to describe the temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events. It was a principle that he felt compassed his concept of the collective unconscious, in that it was descriptive of a governing force that underlay the whole of human experience. Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were due not merely to chance, but instead potentially reflected the manifestation of coincident events or circumstances consequent to this current, this river so to speak. Jung spoke of synchronicity as being an “acausal connecting principle” (i.e. a pattern of connection that is not explained by causality).So let the Horse be Angry, and just takes the Alley that presents itself to you. So what does this have to do with the price of tea in china? Well in Magick, just like in life, timing is key, from Moon phases to Astrological correspondences things work best if you’re on point with the universe depending on what you’re trying to do at any given time. But you can often throw timing out with the bathwater if you just get creative with your application of summoning or travel. We will get back to this a little later, but I just wanted to bring the concept to your attention so that I don’t sound completely mad when I get deeper on the subject.

For those of you the have never heard of it before, Taoist Inner Alchemy or Neidan – a term often used synonymously with Qigong – is the Taoist art and science of gathering, storing and circulating the energies of the human body. In Inner Alchemy, our human body becomes a laboratory in which the Three Treasures of Jing, Qi, and Shen are cultivated, for the purpose of improving physical, emotional and mental health; and, ultimately, merging with the Tao, i.e. Becoming an Immortal. Oddly enough this is also the end goal of the Left Hand Path, and the similarities don’t end there for these two traditions, but now is not the time to talk of such apples and oranges, just know that when I refer to Taoist work and Lucferian Ideals of becoming your own god, I am basically talking about the same thing, but this is my own point of view not any official dogma. The first thing I’d like to cover is something called the tan T’ian or Dantian translated as “elixir field”, “sea of qi”, in the Japanese tradition it would be referred to as the “hara”. For now I will mainly cover the Lower dantian,it is found below the navel (about three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel)but will talk about the Middle and Upper Dantian at the end of this work. Find this point with your fingers, see if you can close your eyes and breath into this place within yourself, for the Tan T’ian is your main power “battery” and all of the work that you do from now on in this book will come from or return to this place of balance.
Once a day, in the Morning or Evening (What time “feels” right for you) if you had a deep connection to the Tao what time would you chose? If you can’t even conceive of what I’m talking about, fake it .Did you pick a time? good ,you just preformed Wu-Wei!)I’d like for you to sit or stand with your spine straight, put your tongue up onto the upper palate and practice breathing into the Tan T’ian for 15 minutes. Just see the air coming into your bellybutton as you inhale, then back out as you exhale. No special breath, just easy in and out, in through the nose and out through the mouth (or just use the nose if it is easier for you). Now if you already Meditate, and I hope you do (hint, Hint)you can just add the Tan T’ian Meditation to your daily practice, I need you to “know” where this place is in your body so that any of the other work in this book will make a bit of sense to you. Please do this for one week, or put this book down now and go fishing, come back after you caught something and start again.
After the week is up, if you can find your Tan-T’ian without even thinking about it, move on to the next practice, if not give it another week, what can it hurt? You might even find you truly like the meditation and end up doing it for the rest of your days! So now we are going to move on to some simple circle casting, but in a way that is hardly ever written about, you see in prison you don’t have much room to move once the cell is locked, this also comes in handy if you have a small apartment and you want to throw a circle down with little muss and fuss.

1. Stand in the middle of the room you what to cast the circle in, take a Horseman’s stance (see photo) Say the name of the God, Demon or Angel of your choice (you have a favorite, pick one that speaks to you) <Opening Word>1.
2. Clear your mind put your tongue up onto the upper palate and starts to breathe in and out of your Tan T’ian for around 2 minutes.
3. Now for the fun part, close your eyes and “see” your Tan T’ian as a glowing red ball of fire right behind your navel, stay and breath with it for about 2 minutes
4. When you breathe into the ball of fire see it contract and hold your breath for the count of 3, when you exhale, see it expand and flare up, just like you blew on a campfire. Do not breathe back in for a count of 3.
5. Keep doing #4,but after about 15 sec each time you hold your breath do it for a count of 4,then 5,then 6…..till you can no longer stand it.when doing the out breath hold keep it at a 3 count.
6. When you reach a certain point and the ball of flame is burning like a small sun (you will know when you get there, I promise)draw in a full breath and hold for a 10 count or more, see the ball contract and turn Bright white, then push out while you exhale from you Tan T’ian. See in your mind’s eye the ball expand until it reaches the walls and ceiling of the chamber < the circle or the sphere>2.
7. Now Hold this Vision of the flaming sphere around you and Say “I seal this Sphere in the name of_________!” Use the entity that you opened the rite with. Keep the Sphere up for as long as you can, or for 5 minutes, whichever comes along first, Breath slowly and let the focus of your eyes go, keep your attention on your tan T’ian, trust me, this helps. < the main body of work>
8. When you start to fatigue, Inhale deeply into your Tan T’ian, and at the same time pull and shrink the ball of flame back into your center, hold for a count of five, then say the name of the Entity you opened with.<closing word>
9. Now this is the tricky part, put your right hand over your left ,bring them to your center over your navel and spiral them together 6 times counterclockwise out to the edge of your Tan T’ian, Then spiral clockwise 9 times in toward the navel (see Photo)see and feel the Chi gathering back into your cinnabar field.
This is a very simple Circle casting that can be done quite complexly with a bit of spit and application of the gray matter in your skull pan. After you have tried this for about a week, when casting out the Sphere from your center, try pushing it out at all sides like a ring instead of a Sphere, almost like a ring of Saturn with you as the central body. A circle cast this way is not a thin line going around the circumference, more like a bubble ring, or toroidal bubble, an underwater vortex ring where an air bubble occupies the core of the vortex, forming a ring shape. The ring of air as well as the nearby water spins poloidally as it travels through the water, much like a flexible bracelet might spin when it is rolled on to a person’s arm. The faster the bubble ring spins the more stable it becomes. Bubble rings and smoke rings are both examples of vortex rings—the physics of which is still under active study in fluid dynamics. You can also create a number of bubble vortex rings by pushing out a sphere from your center, then pushing out a ring with your sphere still up. By doing this you give yourself a container of chi to make multiple rings within, then if you spin them around your axis you can cause a critical velocity that, when released, makes for one hell of a banishing ritual. For many purposes a ring vortex may be approximated as having a vortex-core of small cross-section. However a simple theoretical solution, called Hill’s spherical vortex, is known in which the vortices is distributed within a sphere (the internal symmetry of the flow is however still annular). Such a structure or an electromagnetic equivalent has been suggested as an explanation for the internal structure of ball lightning. So by using your own Chi or the Chi of the earth, moon, stars or Aunt manila you can power your vortex ring to do some very amazing things. I should warn you, this type of work will drain you if you don’t collect the Chi back into the Tan T’ian, and also it may be a good Idea to pull Chi from something around you and cycle it threw your Micro-cosmic Orbit when making many Rings and Spheres. “What is a Micro-cosmic Orbit, Vincent?” “You make my Brain hurt when I think about this stuff and then everything goes all pear-shaped, Vincent!”….I know, this is a lot of odd dense material, just bear with me and I will cover everything in due time.

The Microcosmic Orbit is one of the most well-known of qigong practices based in the Eight Meridians. Much like the Chakra system of Yoga, our energy circulates naturally along this pathway, moving from the perineum up along the spinal column, and then down along the center-line of the front of our torso, back to the area of the lower Dantian. This circuit – along with our grosser levels of physical functioning – is “fed” via the umbilical cord. Most generally, the purpose of the Microcosmic Orbit practice is to create a continuous circular energetic loop between two distinct meridians: the Ren (Conception Vessel) and the Du (Governing Vessel). In Ancient times this exercise was called “driving boat along the river” for the channels resemble rivers, and to drive a boat along the river, the river must have enough water, i.e. Chi (or Qi). Practicing the MO we always put our tongue up onto the upper palate, just like in the previous exercises, thus enclosing both channels and encouraging constant energy circulation along the Microcosmic Orbit.
The Practice of the Microcosmic Orbit.

1. The first steps are to still the body, calm the mind, and regulate the breath. Sit, stand in Horseman’s stance or lay on your back, in a quiet place, eyes half closed. If you are sitting, your spine should be upright, with your feet flat on the floor, sitting forward enough so your Privates are off the chair(the same goes for the ladies ,just let it hang free), You may also use full or Half Lotus if your legs can bend that way.
2. Focus your attention on your Tan T’ian, and visualize a small ball of energy, a ball of golden light, bright like the sun. Maintain the attention on the Tan T’ian until you feel the Chi build in the ball. This could be heat, or just a sensation of it being there.

3. Begin abdominal breathing. Just inhale through your nose and your abdomen expands, not your chest. It is the way babies breathe. Exhale through your slightly opened mouth, keeping your tongue touching your palate just behind your upper front teeth.

4. Inhale and visualize or imagine this small ball of Chi passing down from the Tan ’T’ian, past the Hui Yin, up through the coccyx. Then see the Chi ball rising up to the Ming Men and then to where the ribs meet the spine, then going through this area and right on up to the back of the head, where it joins the neck.

5. Then visualize or imagine this Chi ball in the center of your brain, taking in Chi through the Bai Hui point on the top of your head. Spiral the Chi ball 6 times counterclockwise, starting in the middle of your brain then moving out to the edge of your skull, Bring it back in clockwise 9 times, just like you did at the naval in the last practice.

6. Next, focus your attention on the Yin Tang point between and just above the eyebrows and draw energy into the ball of Chi from this point as the ball passes and goes to the roof of your mouth and the tip of your tongue. You will feel a tingling sensation where your tongue and palate meet. This ends your inhalation.

7. I want you to work with this Chi for a few minutes, See how it feels, taste it. Look slowly to the left and then to the right of the room you are in. Does anything look different? Notice everything is slightly sharper in focus, but at the same time you may see Auras on things you’ve never noticed before. Now let the Chi sink down through the palate and tongue (which you still have pressed onto your palate), into the throat, and then to the heart. Taking a breath or two while the Chi is in your mouth can help you focus on the ball.
8. Now take a Breath, see the Chi ball grow brighter then Exhale and send more Chi from your mouth down to your heart. From the heart, draw it down through your solar plexus, past your navel, and down into the lower Tan T’ian, where Chi gathers and mixes, in the Cinnabar Field. Then begin another cycle.
9. Once you have done between 6 and 12 cycles, bring the Chi back to the Tan T’ian, Spiral it as I have shown you and store it there.
As you can see, and feel, this is a very powerful practice and is the base of ALL Taoist Inner alchemy, once you get a feel for chi and how it works in the body you can do all kinds of amazing things, charge objects, take and give energy from people places and things, and in advanced work, heal or harm with it. How does it help with Conjuration, you may ask? Well let me give you an example ,say you are calling a spirit of Mercury ,and you know that the color correspondence of Mercury is Orange, then you can change the color of the Chi you project to Orange, that way you are more in line with Mercury, an Even more powerful of a use, do the M.O. Meditation within the day and Hour of Mercury, then Draw the energy of Mercury into your Tan T’ian for use in summoning or just to become more witty and well-spoken for an hour or two. I use these three practices extensively in all of my work, so please work on these meditations for at least a month before moving on to the other practices that I may talk about. Six months is a much better foundation, but I know you are all quite impatient with the big dance/ball/ orgy coming up in your life. But I need you to KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt what Chi feels like running through your Ren (Conception Vessel) and the Du (Governing Vessel) for the rest of the system to work. If not, then just turn the computer off and go Bowling, then come back and start again.

Stay Gold Folks…..

Copyright-Vincent Piazza 2015

 

Creating Destiny from the dung-heap: One Magician’s return to the Bell,Book and Candle.

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“I have come back, I have come back from a pit of pimps and whores! Ladies and gentlemen, I’m making this up on the spot so bear with me. I have come back need a wash behind the ear, is there logic in a tear? Who has rolled my stone away? Must I come back another day. I have come back to dance upon a broken toe. It is ulysses’ home to roost – the pro-chance a little juiced. I have come back, I have come back to look upon this apollen pall, and not there is to say my friends, say fuck you all, you all. In my beer you dropped your cigarette, don’t you have the least regret?“ –  a night in the life of jimmy reardon

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been quite sometime since I’ve sat down to write to you all, so if I am a bit rusty, must excuse me. You see, a short time ago my life as it stood upon it’s ears and toes, complacently fell apart. All at once, loss of the job, broken relationships and some poor business choices lead to a downward spiral of dizzying proportions. As a Magician and practitioner of the Art, my first reflex was spell work to fix the issues in my life. When it comes problems, working the Art is about forming one’s fate rather than being bound by it, but sometimes fate has a better lesson up it’s sleeve.

The principle behind fate and the knowledge necessary to change it comes from the fact that Man may be a group animal, but at heart he is still an individual; and learning to stand alone, when all others are joining groups just so they can “belong,” is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. This goes double for Witches and Magicians, in fact, It is so important that a practitioner thinks for him or herself, and does not just
conform to belong, that by not doing so we have seen some of the worst atrocities
in the world carried out. Not because people necessarily believed in everything they were doing, but because they were just following the group.Think Hitler, Pol Pot, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Shoko Asahara and Charles Manson… all grand and powerful Magi. We must learn to leave the groups we belong to and stand alone, before we become the thing we most despise. It doesn’t mean socially isolating ourselves ( although I for one am quite guilty of such and the Hermit is known and addictive to most of use), just not throwing
ourselves head first into belonging, without first investigating what it means to you (and the rest of us) to belong, and what it will mean for you and for others, if you are forced out. You must investigate this, or you can get drunk and go bang a few hookers and forget I said anything.

As Magicians, we just can’t seem to be honest with people or be loyal to them, can we? It’s always about Ego and the next big spell working to amaze our peers and get facebook likes. Just when we think we can trust an Adapt, they let us down.
And let’s face it; most of us are pretty good at letting people down.
But as individuals who belong to the group called homo sapiens, we must try to find a way to be loyal to the people who aren’t the Master Magicians that we think we are, whoever they are, to support them, give love, guidance and compassion, and not falter in our
friendship and mentorship. That is what it is to be a true member of the group – not
some temporary relationship with some people from workings on the Left Hand Path, High Magic Lodge or some Witch’s coven. It’s time to start thinking outside our little groups and facebook clicks and thinking of the impact we are having on the big group. Us instead of them.

I watched as one group of Magi trashed the name of any other practitioner who associated with an event that allowed a speaker who’s ideology didn’t match with their own agendas. As a group that I was once a Leader of pulled down the founding member and trashed his name, dragging him threw the mud and tossing him out with the trash.

But life is like that, isn’t it? We’re not all “perfect,” and in fact, none of us are, or ever will be. Perfection does not exist, except as opinion. And the practice of magic only makes things bigger and more intense, less perfect and more Ego driven. Every-time we spin the wheel in our own favor, someone else is taking it up the ass dry with no Vaseline.

It is incredible the pressure we put ourselves under isn’t it? We all want to put on a public face. We want people to think we are one type of person, usually an upstanding (morally admirable) member of the community. Even in traditionally Amoral communities like Satanists and Magicians (and yes, I lump them together here, and point to Aleister Crowley and the OTO as my example, the Beast would shake his head in shame at some of the moral crusades a few folks from his organization have went on) There is always he who is more righteous then thee.

So, what lessons have I learned from my semi retirement from the field of the Art Magical?

(a) If you think it is wrong it probably is, so if your going to do wrong, know it, own it and be a fucking beast at it.
(b) If you worry it might be wrong, it probably is, but no one is paying attention because they are too busy playing pokemon Go.
(c) If someone else says it’s wrong, go back to A.
(d) Right action is always right, but…..
(e) Guilt is a waste of a precious life.

Thank you for attending this vomit of words. I am back motherfuckers and hope you enjoy my insipid drivel, if not, well, why in the nine hells are you still reading this? Go Bowling or something, why don’t you?

Stay Gold folks…..till next time.

 

 

Taoism and the Left Hand Path (the first 12 pages of my talk for the LHP Consortium )

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Hello ladies and gentleman, welcome to the first 12 pages of my presentation on Taoism and the left hand path, that was supposed to have been given at the International LHP Consortium. I was sadly not able to attend, but thought I’d post this here for those who might be interested in what I would have droned on about for 30 mins or more.

 

My name is Vincent Piazza, and I will be your guide and master of ceremonies on this trip from west to east. I believe it is best to start my talk defining what the Left hand Path is, or at least how it is perceived in the current parlance of western occultism.
The best description that I’ve come across of a practitioner of the LHP has been given to us by Dr. Stephen Flowers in his well written and legendary text, Lords of the Left Hand Path. I shall summarize now…
To start with, his criteria for being considered a Lord of the Left Hand Path are Deification of the Self, and Antinomianism.

In his own words:
“The first criterion will be seen to have four distinct elements:
Self-deification – attainment of an enlightened (or awakened), independently existing intellect and its relative immortality.
Individualism – the enlightened intellect is that of an individual, not a collective body.
Initiation – the enlightenment and strength of essence necessary for the desired state of evolution of self are attained by means of stages created by the will of the magician, not because he or she was ‘divine’ to begin with
Magic – practitioners of the left-hand path see themselves as using their own wills in a rationally intuited system or spiritual technology designed to cause the universe around them to conform to their self-willed pattern
The second criterion, antinomianism, states that practitioners think of themselves as ‘going against the grain’ of their culturally conditioned and conventional norms of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. True Lords of the Left-hand Path will have the spiritual courage to identify himself with the cultural norms of ‘evil’. There will be an embracing of the symbols of … whatever quality the conventional culture fears and loathes.”

 
Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Who in their right mind would want to take such a dangers path full of uncertain gain and the certainty to become a social outcast? Let’s try and answer the question, shall we?
For Example, Modern Satanism is, in the West, essentially what one certain form of Tantrism is in the East, i.e. the primary form of anti-nomian religious and moral dissent from mainstream herd practice. This is characterized in BOTH by a preference for the physical and material over the purely spiritual; physical pleasures over physical denial, and the fully acceptable use of magic for selfish worldly purposes. This pretty much describes those elements common to the “Left Hand Path” in both Western (LaVeyan, Setian, Theistic, Gnostic, Zen-Baptist..Ok, I made the last one up, but if they don’t exist, they do now.  ) and Eastern (Tantric) usage of that term today. So clearly the Left-hand Path encompasses both Modern Satanism and one (or even a few if we bring the Red Hat Taoists in to the mix) of the forms of Tantrism.

 
Tantrism can be found in Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist varieties. Hindu Tantric practice is generally divided amoung two paths; The Vamamarga (or vamacara or vamachara) or “Left Hand Path” or red tantra and the Dakshinachara or “RightHand Path” or white tantra. The most obvious but not the only distinction between these two is that LHP Tantra involves actual sexual practice as part of its rituals while RHP tantra uses non-sexual yoga practices instead. It is interesting to note that in common usage in India today, the term “Tantra” has come to mean “black magic” while in the West that term has come to refer to hippie-like “sacred sex” yoga classes. Experts say both interpretations cloud the full picture of what Tantra is fully about, and I agree completely that new interpretations are needed, but we must work with what we have.

 

There is little question that Tantra (both Buddhist and Hindu) arose in part as an anti-nomian revolt against restrictive mainstream Vedic, Buddhist and even Muslim morality. So those who would say it has nothing to do with taboo-breaking are quite obviously wrong. Taoist forms of Tantra are much more sexual and dare I say pragmatical then the Buddhist and Hindu forms, as the primary purpose behind Taoist Tantra is the transformation of sexual energy into healing energy and vitality, resulting in better health and potential immortality. The primary Taoist technique to achieve these healing effects is called the inward orgasm (in-jaculation), whereby the orgasmic energy rises up the spine, stimulating the endocrine glands, energy systems, nervous system, and organs. Taoists teach that an inner orgasm (in-jaculation) stimulates life and vitality, while the outer orgasm (e-jaculation) brings death or loss of health and vitality. An in-jaculation is the most effective tool for transforming a physical orgasm into an energetic orgasm. Of course, there are even higher levels of orgasm as well, including a soul-level, total-being orgasm.Hindu Tantra and Taoist Tantra are each an ancient form of sacred sexuality. Also, in both traditions, sexuality is practiced in a spiritual context. Nevertheless, the differences are very distinct. For example, Hindu Tantra uses more ceremony and ritual, while Taoism is more scientific and focuses on the body, its meridians, and energy systems. Hindu Tantra is an art, while Taoist Tantra is a science (and when you strip away the Jade Rabbits and Red Cocks, Very Left Hand Path).

 
Let’s turn back to the West for a moment, shall we?

Prior to LaVey, not many occultists running around in funny hats and applying the term “Left-Hand Path” to their work or to anyone else in a positive way in the West. As far as I can find, the term first appears as a perjorative in Western literature in Helena Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrines” of 1888 in which she uses it as a blanket term for bad-guy, I dress-in-black-and-eat-babies, selfish, materialistic, evil black magicians.Blavatsky postulated that from the days of Atlantis there have been evil adepts of the Left-Hand Path who used their Black Magic for self-serving,materialistic and destructive purposes as contrasted with their opponents, the adepts of the Right-Hand Path who only pursue alturistic magic for the betterment of others (much like the Democrats and Republicans see themselves today). She obviously picked up (and partly misunderstood) the term “Left-hand Path” during her long study in India because the term does not appear in her earlier work, “Isis Unveiled” at all. In subsequent writings, Blavatsky’s disciples have specifically made this moralistic judgmental error in understanding of the basis of Vamacara or Left-hand Path segment of Tantrism.

 

 
it is pretty safe to assume that LaVey read Blavatsky and rejected almost all of her philosophy even to the point of recognizing himself and his outlook as the villain of her cosmology. When she shuddered about selfish Black Magician of the Left-hand Path, LaVey probably smiled, stroked his goatee, and recognized himself in that role. This was apparently the extent of Tantrism’s influence on the Satanic Bible and LaVey’s other works, since LaVey never mentioned it ( He was much to busy wearing Fedoras and fucking movie stars, so who could blame him?). But even badly filtered through Blavatsky’s misinterpretation, the essential truth of what the Left Hand Path is all about was recognizable to Lavey: indulgence instead of abstinence, pleasure instead of pain, selfishness instead of altruism, flesh instead of spirit.But, while Vamachara Tantra and Modern Satanism are both Left Hand Path, there is an essential difference between the two that keeps Tantra from being strictly speaking, “Satanic.” Modern Satanism expects its adherents to be their own gods without any need for personal instruction or permission from any guru to be a “Satanist.” Vamachara Tantra however is not so individualistic and, in fact, strictly requires its initiates to study under the tutelage of a Tantrik guru. Tantra teaches that performance of the rites of Vamachara without the oversight of a guru will not only be ineffectual but warns that it might even be dangerous. So while both Vamachara Tantra and Modern Satanism are both LHP, Tantra cannot truly be said to be “Satanic” per se in the sense that Satanists use the term.

 

 
So, The purpose of the LHP is the unfoldment of a higher consciousness,To become as a God, Goddess, or an Immortal. We do this in order that we may obtain a better understanding of cosmic law, and how to break it. This is how the great work is looked upon by most of the Left Hand Path. Those on the Right Hand Path often look at it as a trip back into the all-powerful Supreme Creator who is concerned with and involved in macrocosmic (universal) as well as microcosmic (individual) matters.This subsumption into the ALL can be brought about by an individual’s efforts and faculties to serve in conformity with the Will of this Supreme Creator.These two Ideas on what the Great Work is may blur and shift depending on who you ask, and what funny Hat they may have on at the time. Eliphas Levi, one of the first modern “ceremonial magicians”, defined the Great Work thus:

 

“The magnum opus is pre-eminently the creation of man by himself, that is, the full and complete conquest which he can make of his faculties and his future; it is pre-eminently the perfect emancipation of his will.”
The modern incarnation of the Golden Dawn defines the Great Work as “a term borrowed from alchemy’s magnum opus. Refers to the path of human spiritual evolution, growth and illumination, which is the goal of ceremonial magic.”
And then we have The Great Work within Thelema,who say it is the process of attaining Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel and learning and accomplishing one’s True Will.
According to my old friend Don Webb, the Great Work on the Left Hand Path is a quest for Sovereignty. It seeks four types of rulership:
• Rulership of the Inner World
• Rulership of the Outer World
• Royal Power in the Outer World
• Royal Power in the Inner World
He then tells us that the basis of the Left Hand Path is that humans are but machines, but may in potential become gods. That statement alone sums it up,When this higher consciousness and Immortality take form in action, we shall develop more skill in applying our knowledge of cosmic law to the solution of every-day problems.No Longer Robot,but acting as if we are Gods, we become Immortal. To succeed in this understanding we must learn how to control and direct a force which, although it is occult, is really “hidden in plain sight,” inasmuch as everything in our environment is a manifestation of it. The first step toward gaining the knowledge which shall enable us to control and direct this power is to learn that although many names have been given to it, all these names are attempts
to describe a single reality.More than 5000 years ago, the ancient Chinese Taoists came to the understanding that everything is composed of the same energetic substance, which they called Qi (pronounced “chee”). These ancient masters observed that there is a oneness and wholeness in all existence and that everything is energetically
interconnected as one body.

 

 
This brings us to Taoism, ladies and gentlemen, the meat and potatoes of my talk. As the consciousness of the early Chinese moved from superstitious defensiveness to volitional empowerment, people began to realize that direct action was more effective than religious ritual in influencing events. In early China this option of personal assertion as a response to unfolding circumstances first appeared in The Book of Changes, the I Ching. Its essential subject was the interplay between a constantly changing world and a self-conscious individual who was seeking options within these shifting circumstances. How was such a person to act within perpetual change and uncertainty, between what is and what will be? The obvious answer was to anticipate the changes by attempting to read the movement of circumstances, and then change them, avoid them, or be prepared for them. For a culture closely connected to the soil and the rhythms of the seasons, the Chinese became aware that all changes were linked to the ordered change of natural processes. Changes were not random or meaningless; they were bound by the character of the world itself and could be read in the images and rhythms of Nature. Human nature was part of Nature. Together the two rose and fell in patterns and cycles of growth and decay, birth and death. The similarities between inner and outer movement were noticeable and clear. The I Ching measured these movements so they could be harmonized with each other. But it also measured something else. The insight that defined individual volition became the first conscious separation between inner self and outer circumstances. The spiritual integrity of all being was consequently divided, and the magical wholeness of a solely religious existence was fractured by the effort to control events directly. Attention shifted from passive ritual toward active influence.

 

 

Although The Book of Changes recorded and then described this newly emerging relationship between the inner and the outer, it did not offer a resolution to the resulting split that now divided the sense of spiritual oneness.
A more sophisticated thinking was required to resolve this dichotomy.

In the structure of the I Ching and within its underlying assumptions was the resolution.  The tradition that evolved from the I Ching held that two interactive elements influenced events. The first was the great force of circumstances, the universal principle that pervaded everything. This omnipresence was soft and nurturing but it was also hard and unfailing, both an energy of creative generosity and an inflexibility of order that was determined by the integrity of itself. Although immediate and obvious, this principle was also beyond thought and knowing. Because it was beyond words it was simply called the Way, the Tao. The second element was the virtue-power of individual character, the Te.

 

Itcould be reached through tsowang, ”sitting with blank mind,”² by finding ”the mind within the mind,” or hsin tsung, the still place in the center of consciousness that was somehow connected to the Tao through the oneness of the inner and the outer. Now, One of the concepts that exists on the left-hand path is the idea of going against nature.

 

The same thought appears in Tantra and the Qabalah (including the Qlippoth) ,to raise the Kundalini or combine with Kether, you must walk backwards to the time when the universe was void or Ain.The Right and Left Hands of magic both have ways of going about this, and although the end goal is different,the methods and technology is often the same thing with a different colored robe on.As a Taoist and a LHP magician I see things from a more “Flowing with the water” point of view then most of my peers. The end result of the Left Hand Path is Immortality,or Divinity,and that means becoming less human,not more.when we tend to immure ourselves to the human contortion and push against what is coming at us from the void, we have a tendency to become sad,lost and all the more mortal then ever before.But,if we stand still and let stream flow around us,and watch the way currents and ripples happen in our lives,we can see just the right step to move sideways and progress along our way. In my Work it’s all about using the flow of Qi (power,Magic,Prana,The Force,pick one,go home and re-think your life :)  )in the most subtle way,the small step,the pebble that moves mountains.Sometimes this pebble needs to be Adversarial, thrown forward against the stream to make a ripple ahead of me causing strife that brings much needed change.At others,I must turn and skip my rock with the current,letting it become a spiral that creates life,feeds the fish of my stream with the energy that my intention stirs .As long as I stand firm, and move from side to side,the dead trees and bloated Cow carcasses that come my way can be avoided. I also believe that both the goals of Taoism and the LHP are the same. You just can’t get around the subject of Immortality in Daoism and if you put a group of adversarial Art workers in the same room for any length of time, someone is going to bring up Godhood.

 

 

Traditionally, as I’ve brought up earlier and in the Hindu usage the Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path have precisely the same goal: union with divinity .The difference is the polar opposite approaches, denial vs transgression. .When you talk about it from a Daoist point of view,the RHP idea of becoming one with god is thrown out the window and then stood on it’s head because the only goal of Daoism is the actual attainment of Immortality.Most,if not all of the Gods,spiritual beings and Immortals in the Daoist canon were once mortal.Each Immortal was just an average Joe or Jane till they learned Self-cultivation and spiritual powers. How,you may ask?.By eating Herbs and Plants at the right times and places,using metal and mineral to make a pill,Internal alchemy or a visit from a God, Goddess or Immortal, who decide to give the lucky sucker Immortality for some great task he or she preformed. The LHP has yet to find it’s sea legs when it comes to an agreement on how to go about Godhood,and what to do with it once you’ve obtained it.But the oldest system on the subject known to man,Daoism,has had it down cold for thousands of years.They break it down in to three types….

 

 

Earthly Immortals=these guys and gals live life to the hilt,look young till they kick the bucket and at the end of their lifespan,around 100 years or so,will choose when they want to push up the daisies and do so in peace.Most go to a mountain,put wax in their nose and ears,and watch the Dao do it’s thing…but some stay in town and teach or take care of their families.

Corpse-Freed Immortals=Sometimes those Earth bound Immortals in the mountains figure out how to walk away from their bodies after death and no longer have to be reborn,by finding the trick of it from long meditation, and said wax plugs,they can go to any plane of existence they fancy.
Heavenly Immortals=This is the Brass Ring,the full Monty,the best of the brightest.Often it is said they mount up on a Crane or Dragon and rise to the big blue ( or Jade) castle in the sky,staying young and powerful forever more.Heavenly Immortal are usually minted into gods at some time and given a Portfolio to watch over (the God of Luck,Prostitutes,String Cheese…you name it)
But how do I become one,you may ask, with your Inverted pentagrams and calling of demons? well Master Ling,the teacher of Stuart Alve Olson,said it best I believe..”If you want to be an Immortal,Stop doing all the mortal things you do!”
Let’s back track for a moment and look at the forefathers of modern Taoism, shall we?
Tradition has assigned the origin of Taoism to Lao Tzu, a mysterious sage who may have been born in 604 B.C. or 597 B.C. or perhaps in 571 B.C., at Ch’u Jen or Ch’en or K’uhsien. he may have been born somewhere else at some other time, or perhaps not at all. The most basic information about Lao Tzu is either missing or is so mixed with contradiction or fancy that it argues against his existence. One of the more credible stories has him Keeper of the Archives of the Chou court in 374 B.C., but this date does not coincide with the traditional time of his birth or with the conversations he reportedly had with Confucius, who by this time would have been dead for about a hundred years. Another curiosity in the traditional Lao Tzu story has to do with his Ears. Almost all depictions of the Buddha, whether in India, Thailand, or China, show him with large or long-lobed ears. That Lao Tzu should also be long-lobed is more than a coincidence, a clear effort to connect Taoism and Buddhism. Did Taoism affect the image of the Buddha or did later Buddhists influence the story of Lao Tzu? And who the fuck cares? The likely answer is that the influence of Buddhism in China from the first century on- ward retroactively altered the story of Lao Tzu, making the details of his life even more elusive. The various stories about Lao Tzu usually agree, however, that he become disillusioned with Chinese society, said fuck this shit, and at age 90, 160 or 200 years he disappeared into the western wilderness after presenting to the last gatekeeper of the Middle Kingdom a written record of his wisdom. Later, when Buddhism arrived in China, the Chinese recognized this Indian teaching as a simplified version of Taoism, concluding that it had been taught to the western barbarians by Lao Tzu himself.

 
To make things even more pear shaped when it comes to Taoism, Chuang Tzu, the second most important figure in Taoism, is almost as enigmatic as Lao Tzu. The only historical reference to him is a brief description by Ssu-ma Ch’ien (145P-89? B.C.) in the Shih chi, or Records of the Historian¹ The scant details of his life have been so mixed with legend that he is more a character of fiction than fact. And, as with the Lao Tzu, there is no way of knowing whether the work attributed to Chuang Tzu is the creation of one person or the compilation of a number of thinkers. Chuang Tzu’s life is traditionally set at 369-286 B.C. or perhaps 350-320 B.C., although he might have died as late as 275 B.C. He may have been a contemporary of the Confucian teacher Meng-tse, known as Mencius (372?-289? B.C.), but there is such a paucity of information about Chuang Tzu that by Zeus’s nut sac he could have been hanging out with the Greeks and had the role of adviser to Alexander the Great, who defeated the Medes and Persians in 335 B.C.. scholars can only assume he existed. Since he is presently a part of Taoist consciousness it is easier to talk about him as if he existed than if he did not, which says something about the way historical figures can be created out of the thinnest of shadows (I’m looking at you Jesus, now get off that cross, we need the wood). Scholarship, quite rightly, gives more attention to the writings than the writer.

 
The Cambridge scholars seem to agree that the aphoristic stories, the playful humor, and the brilliant logic of the Chuang Tzu have sharpened and elaborated the wisdom of the Lao Tzu. Furthermore, its style has lightened the sobriety of Taoism and has continued to shift it away from words, conventions, and systems. But a critical reading of the Chuang Tzu provides no evidence that its author was or authors were even aware of a Lao Tzu or the writing attributed to him. In the body of literature that is assumed to be authentic, the Chuang Tzu neither refers to the Old Master nor quotes from him. Several similar phrases are used that could have come from the Lao Tzu, but they could also have come from the body of oral tradition that would have been widely available at the time. Not only is there no definitive Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu, there is no definitive link between the writings attributed to them. The possibility exists that the Chuang Tzu was a refinement and an amplification of the Lao Tzu, but it is more likely that the work is from an independent and parallel group of writers or thinkers whose ideas were later linked to the Lao Tzu by those who were trying retroactively to make sense of a style of thinking that was later known as Taoism. Indeed, if there was no actual character known as Lao Tzu, this may account for the failure of the Chuang Tzu to mention him. Even without Lao Tzu, however, why would the Chuang Tzu make no allusion to this earlier body of writing that was apparently of such seminal importance to Taoism? No one knows, and no one fucking cares.

 
That’s right folks, the two most holy books of Taoism could have been written by fictional masters of misdirection, and for 10,000 years no one has given a shit. Why? Because the words within those two books speck to a part of ourselves that goes beyond logic, they make sense to the gut, not the head. By using the gut or your Hot Cognition, you can make sense of the senseless, and stop caring if the senseless doesn’t make sense.
What I’m talking about here are two tightly linked concepts: the first is wu-wei ( pronounced ooo-way) and the second is de (pronounced duh, as in “no duh moooom”) Wu-wei literally translates into English as “no trying” or “no doing”, but before you light up a joint and grab a bag of funniesyns, let me tell you that it in fact refers to the dynamic, effortless and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. When in the state of wu-wei the Taoist feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating the next Picaso, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing their entire world into harmonious line with their will. For a person in wu-wei, effective change and the warping of the fabric of reality ( I.E. Magick, you can add a K here if you like, I don’t mind) follows as automatically as the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of the macarania ( well perhaps not, but you can fill the song pick in your head.) …….

The rest may be posted at a later date if folks ask for it, but this is enough for now, Just not in the mood to edit the rest of it, and I’m a lazy bastard these days.

Stay Gold folks…

 

 

Taoism and the Left Hand Path (the first 12 pages of my talk for the LHP Consortium ) was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Saving the World one Wizard at a time: Selfishness, Morality, Universal Love and the Occult community

oklvm

 

 

If you want to get at the plain truth, 

Forget about right and wrong.

 For the conflict between right and wrong, 

Is the sickness of the human mind.

 

It is most revealing how differently people react to the above passage in the occult world! Some declare it beautiful, wonderful, profoundly wise and most helpful. Others declare it horrible, evil, psychopathic and most destructive. The moment you say anything about “transcending morality” the hero comes riding in on his big white horse screaming shame, shame on you for not trying to save the downtrodden, the dispossessed and those poor (fill in the blank here) people. Call me evil, or bent if you like, but I tend to feel that morality itself— “principles of morality”, that is—was a major cause of suffering, since it only weakened that natural goodness in us which would spontaneously manifest itself if not interfered with or commanded by moral principles or moral law. There has been much talk in the occult community as of late about Fascism, Racism, Morals and Ethics when it comes to an occult practitioner and who he or she associates with.  One day, Lao tse chided Confucius for “bringing great confusion” (should I say “confucian”?) to the human race by his moralistic teachings. He said “Stop going around advertising goodness and duty, and people will regain love of their fellows”. I have to agree with the Old man,There is, perhaps, a vital difference between transcending morality and denying or rejecting it. To reject morality is, in a way, to be involved with it. the Taoist ideal is not so much to feel that we shouldn’t be moral (which is, of course, a kind of morality of its own), but rather to be independent, free, unentangled with moral “principles”

 

-In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention
to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches of the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing they were “doing
their duty”. They loved each other and did not know that this was “love of neighbor”. They deceived no one, yet they did not know they were “men to be trusted”. They were reliable and did not know that this was “good faith”.
They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history. -Chuangtse

 

The moment we puff out our chests and start judging others for being less moral then ourselves, we create a History that we must strive to write at all costs, “Look at me, I’m so much better then you, I fight for Good, Morality and the World at large, look how shiny my cape is!” This becomes unsustainable, and once you add the huge Ego of your garden variety Occult practitioner, things go down hill very quickly. The Taoist Yang Chu was reputed to have said, “I would not sacrifice one single hair of my head even to save the entire human race!”

 

Just think of it! Not a single hair to save the entire human race! I find this statement absolutely beautiful! I cannot tell you with what joy, satisfaction, and utter relief I read it. I once expressed this sentiment to a fellow magician who asked in genuine astonishment, “Why? Do you believe the world would be better off if everyone acted selfishly rather than unselfishly?” Of course I don’t believe this. Of course I prefer universal love to total selfishness. Who in his right mind wouldn’t? Then why do I love Yang Chu’s statement so much? Sounds pretty inconsistent, doesn’t it?

 

Well, it isn’t. Let me explain.

 

In the first place there is a vast difference between loving a proposition and believing it. What I love is Yang Chu’s beautifully honest expression of this sentiment (in contrast to the usual hypocritical moralizing about unselfishness).  The fact is that the loss of a single hair is not even painful and represents absolutely no sacrifice whatever.I don’t think that Yang Chu was literally worried by the thought of losing a hair. He went to this extreme in order to express a principle. What is this principle? Is it really that one should be selfish? If I thought this, I
would consider it just as ridiculous as the idea that one shouldn’t be selfish. I believe that what he was really objecting to was the idea that we should apply moral criteria to the question of selfishness.  I believe that the statement of Yang Chu will do far more good in this world from the actual point of view of helping us liberate our natural unselfishness than the opposite course of preaching universal love.

 

This is quite hard for most RHP magi to swallow, but lives deeply in the bowels of the LHP and is being debated heartily to this day.The point is this. If I should feel like being helpful to others, then I might indeed sacrifice considerably more than a hair of my head. I would then do so of my own accord without being told by others that I should do so. And if I should not feel disposed to being helpful, then no amount of reason or morality or being told that I should will in any way increase my desire to be helpful and will not in effect lead me to sacrifice even one hair of my head. In other words, there is absolutely no point in telling another person what he should do. If he already wants to, it is superfluous (nay, maybe even harmful), and if he doesn’t, it is useless. I think this is what Yang Chu was really saying. His statement sounds more like a simple declaration of independence then an ethical plea for selfishness, and I enjoy using it to make other occultists cry ( see my other posts in this blog, I often refer to myself as an asshole, there is good reason for this, so please try to keep up. ).

 

There are those Occultists who believe that selfishness is the natural state of man and that it is social influences such as religion and education which “train” a man into the superior state of unselfishness. But there are those who believe the very opposite and would say that at birth our natures contain as much (if not more) unselfishness as selfishness and that the very process of trying to educate unselfishness only serves to cripple it and prevent it from growing, which it would naturally do if let alone. It seems that this is also part of Yang Chu’s message, and this was made quite explicit by later Taoists in such statements as “Give up advertising things like goodness and duty, and people will regain love of their fellows.”

 

there is a difference between morality and moral fanaticism, a distinction should be made between selfishness and what might aptly be called selfish fanaticism. Repugnance to Violence might be called a moral principle, but pushing this to the extreme of all Violence is wrong in any circumstance would certainly be called fanaticism even by most moralists.There is a form of Taoist ethical philosophy that I try to follow ( and sometimes fail horribly at) which might be characterized as “letting things go their own way, not interfering, not imposing one’s will on nature, letting things happen of their own accord, not trying to reform the world, not trying to “improve” the world, but simply accepting things as they come.” This philosophy is intensely irritating to many Magicians, as well as “activists” who believe this is the worse course possible and is in fact responsible for most of the evils in the world. They would say that the last thing we should do is to let things go their own way; if we do that, things will go terribly! It is up to us to prevent the bad things in the world from happening! I cannot think of any philosophy more irritating to someone on a moral crusade than some good old Taoism! Indeed, many will say that Taoism is the perfect philosophy for the “purely selfish individual who has everything he wants in life and to hell with the others!”
In opposition to the activists, the Taoist quietly points out (or sometimes loudly points out) that the trouble with activism is that people who go forth trying to “improve” the world—even those with the best intentions (at least on a conscious level!) —usually “fuck up” matters, and only succeed in making things even worse than they already are. The Taoist sage reminds us, for example, that revolutions often establish even worse tyrannies than they overthrow.  I tend to live and let live rather than interfere with the world’s affairs. I am not fanatically committed to any doctrine of noninterference; it’s just that I usually don’t like to interfere. As for Magi who love to busy and bustle and meddle
about and who constantly interfere in other folks ways and paths, I don’t interfere with them either—I also let them go their own way, doff my hat and wish him the best of luck….

 

Stay Gold everyone…..

 

Saving the World one Wizard at a time: Selfishness, Morality, Universal Love and the Occult community was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Fantastic Black Magic Sex Secrets of the Zen Baptists Monks Revealed!

 

ZEN NEVER DIED, it just smells that way. Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology (like the shadows before Babylon), the original undifferentiated oneness-of-being still radiates serene as the black pennants of Satanist Soccer moms, random & perpetually intoxicated.Zen comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & enochian dogs : its masks are crystallization’s of its own facelessness, like clouds.Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Sex been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard, and the Gods don’t give a shit about your football team. No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of sex, invented words of disgust for your molecular love,mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions.There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin–your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream,urgent as the blueness of sky, or the dead churlishness of a Mantis Bride killing it’s mate.
To shed all the illusory rights & hesitations of history demands the economy of some legendary Stone Age, a time before time–sages not teachers, shamans not priests, bards not lords, hunters not police, gatherers of paleolithic laziness, gentle as blood, going naked for a sign or painted as birds, poised on the wave of explicit presence,reading Tarot at the moment of autoerotique asphyxiation, the clockless now ever of the Tao. Ceremonial Magicians cast burning glances at anything or anyone capable of bearing witness to their condition,their fever of lux et voluptas, as Warlocks of the IIV degree have sex with manikins in honor of Anton Lavey.
I am awake only in what I love & desire to the point of terror, Taoism, Zen, Demonology and Teratology, the scientific study of congenital abnormalities and abnormal formations –everything else is just shrouded smoking Mirrors, Big Mac anesthesia, shit-for-brains, sub-reptilian ennui of Neilson family pipe dreams, banal censorship & useless pain.Zen Monks and Taoists act as spies, saboteurs, criminals of amour fuckyourmother, neither selfless nor selfish, accessible as children, mannered as barbarians,like drunken dwarves high on DMT chafed with obsessions but not controlled by them, underemployed and underestimated, sensually deranged, wolf angels, God Killers,mirrors for contemplation, eyes like flowers, pirates of all signs & meanings.

 

 

Here we are crawling the cracks between walls of Satanism, Christianity and Paganism, state school & factory, all the paranoid american dreams cut by your mother into bite size pieces. Cut off from the Occult community by feral nostalgia, side by side with Traditional witchcraft and Thai Occultism, Animist Sorcery and Sacred Botany and Goetic Greek Revival,we tunnel after lost words, imaginary books.The last possible deed is that which defines perception itself, an invisible golden calf that connects us:illegal fucking in the Graveyards of the New Age. If I were to kiss you here they’d call it an act of Magick, as the Greatest Zen Sex Magician of all time once wrote between a young monsoon’s Mons Veneris:

 

 

even if Buddha himself kneeled at my deathbed
he wouldn’t be worth shit

self other right wrong wasting your life arguing
you’re happy really you are happy

forget what the masters wrote truth’s a razor
each instant sitting here you and I being here

no masters only you the master is you
wonderful no? a beautiful woman’s hot vagina’s full of love
I’ve given up trying to put out the fire of my body

if you don’t break rules you’re an ass not human
women start us passion comes and goes until death

I love taking my new girl blind Mori on a spring picnic
I love seeing her exquisite free face its moist sexual heat shine

your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh
green distances of your blindness

how is my hand like Mori’s?
it’s her freedom I love when I’m sick she makes me hard
fingers lips rove everywhere bring my followers joy

I’m whole as long as I hear you singing
then emptiness when you stop

a woman is enlightenment when you’re with her and the red thread
of both your passions flares inside you and you see

I remember one quiet afternoon she fished out my cock
bent over played with it in her mouth for at least an hour

for us no difference between reading eating singing
making love not one thing or the other

once while she was cooking I kneeled put my head between her warm dark legs
up her skirt kissed and licked and sucked her until she came

she’d play with it almost anywhere day and night
touch it with the deepest part of herself

and the nights inside you rocking
smelling the odor of your thighs is everything

I think of your death think of us touching
my head quiet in your lap  –Ikkyu

 

 

So those are the Fantastic Black Magic Sex Secrets of the Zen Baptists Monks, use them wisely, and with care.

Stay Gold folks…

 

Sources:

Ikkyu: Crow With No Mouth: 15th Century Zen Master by Stephen Berg

CHAOS: THE BROADSHEETS OF ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHISM: Hakim Bey

 

Fantastic Black Magic Sex Secrets of the Zen Baptists Monks Revealed! was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Wu: The female sorceress, witch and shaman in ancient China

 

 

Quin Yin and the Lotus

 

 

The strong pattern of female shamans in eastern Asia has been erased from the history that most people know. Yet women predominated in shamanism of ancient China, Japan, and Korea, and have persisted into modern times in eastern Siberia, Korea, Manchuria, Okinawa, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Today I’d like to talk about the female shaman and sorceress in China’s earliest written Taoist records.

Old sources show the Wu performing invocation, divination, dream interpretation, healing, exorcism, driving off evil spirits, and performing ecstatic rain dances. Dramatic descriptions recount the powers of the wu in their ecstasies: “they could become invisible, they slashed themselves with knives and swords, cut their tongues, swallowed swords, and spat fire, were carried off on a cloud that shone as if with lightning. The female
wu danced whirling dances, spoke the language of spirits, and around them objects rose it the air and knocked together.” [Eliade, 454, citing DeGroot, The Religious System of China , VI, 1212]

 

The character for wu depicts shamans dancing around a pillar, or the long sleeves of a shaman’s robe swirling as she dances. Some archaic Da Chuan forms show hands making an offering which is received from above. Possibly the oldest glyph from which the wu character arose represents a quadant of the directions (sifang), and was also influenced by a glyph meaning “dance,” showing a person with outstretched arms in long sleeves. Ancient oracle bone inscriptions use wu most frequently in relation to spirit sacrifices and for calls to “bring the wu.” One Shang oracle bone was inscribed, “divination, the wu proclaims…” Another mentions a group of nine wu who did a ritual dance before sacrifices. [Boileau, 350, 355-6] Other inscriptions refer to the female shamans Yang, Fang, and Fan performing rain-making ceremonies. The oldest Chinese dictionary,Shuowen Jiezi ,equates wu with zhu, a ritual invocator, and with ling, “spiritual, divine.” It underlines the female signification of wu : “ wu is a zhu
(invoker or priest), a woman who is able to render [herself] invisible, and with dance to invoke gods to come down. The character symbolizes the appearance of a person dancing with two sleeves.” [Erickson, 52. Another translation of this passage runs, “An Invoker. A woman who can serve the invisible, and by posturing bring down the spirits. Depicts a person with two sleeves posturing.”

The Shouwen also refers to “an inspired shaman serving the spirits with jade.”

Another word with the sound wu (but written with a different character) means “to dance.” The relationship of these two words has been much discussed, since dance looms large in descriptions of the wu.

The shamanic character wu also appears in many compound words, combined with other radicals signifying “woman,” old woman,” “male,” “spirit” and “immortal.” The wu radical also acts as meaning-signifier in the characters for, “male shaman,” for “yarrow” (whose stalks were and are used in divination with the I Ching), and in the most archaic form of the character yi , “doctor” (and here the “shaman” radical was later replaced by that of “wine,” indicating a shift away from ritual to medicaments and alchemy ).

 

The title Wu also figures in legendary place-names. “Snake Wu mountain” (you don’t have to be Fellini to figure out where that came from) appears in the ancient Shanhai Jing as the home of the shamanic goddess Xi Wangmu. This book also says that wu live on Mount Divinepower, “where the hundred drugs are to be found.” Another passage describes them as possessing the herb of immortalitity.  Real place-names survive too: the celebrated Mount Wu, dwelling of the Divine Woman, and the famous Wu Gorge of the Yangtze. Written histories about the archaic Xia-Yin times focus on the powers of shamanic kings like Yao, Shun, and Yü. “It was said that Shun was the first person to journey to the sky, and he was taught by the daughter of his predecessor, Yao.” [Eva Wong, Online] Reading through these masculinizing lines, we deduce that a woman was the first to attain shamanic flight. Elsewhere this female precedence is clearly stated: “The emperor Yao’s daughters, Nü Ying and O Huang, revealed to Shun the art of flying ‘like a bird’.”  this explains further that the daughters of Yao came to his aid during his ordeals—imposed by cruel parents—in a deep well and in a high granary. As Granet summarized it,

“Shun knew what awaited him in the granary and the well: he asked advice from his wives, the daughters of Yao. If he descended to the ground without accident, it was because they taught him the Art (Gong) of the Bird ; if he came out of the earth, it was that they had taught him the Art of the Dragon. We even know that Shun succeeded in these magical feats by dressing in the robes of Bird Work (Gong) or those of the Dragon.”[Granet, 127]

 

The word gong is the same as in chigong and kungfu; it “designates magic, all its techniques, from Alchemy to Dance, have been taught from a goddess or female Witch/Spirit to a male Wu.I’ve found the commentary on Sima Tian saying that the daughters of Yao taught their husband Shun the Art of the Bird. Yet another source says that in his ordeal of the well, the two sisters advised him, “Take off your clothes and put on the Dragon work; [that is how] you will get out of it.” [Granet, 346-47, n. 693] Most Chinese literature dwells on the exploits of Shun and ignores the two shamanic sisters who married him. But they were remembered in much later times in southern Hunan, where they had a temple, and peaks were named after them. By the 9th century they were synchronized with the ancient river goddess known as the Lady of the Xiang. [Schafer 1973: 86-87, 50, 176]

 

Although she does not seem to have been called a wu, the best-known female ritualist of Shang times deserves a mention. Fu Hao personally inscribed oracle bones and presided over divinations and other rituals. Her personal seal shows a woman making ritual offerings to spirits. Tortoise shells inscribed with the characters “prepared by Fu Hao” prove her status as an important diviner. Married to the king, Fu Hao was also his best general. Her tomb is the richest Shang find ever discovered. It was filled with a massive collection of bronze offering vessels, half of them inscribed with her name, including the colossal Si Mu Wu ding. Hundreds of jade vessels and thousands of other treasures were found in her grave. [http://history.cultural-china.com/en/48History10355.html] Among them were “small bronze mirrors and knives” not found in other burials, and little jades with possible ritual functions. Sarah Nelson remarks, “While no evidence points to [the king] Wu Ding performing ecstatic rituals, perhaps Lady Hao was the shaman.” [Nelson, 160]

 

Jade objects were important in ritual and witchcraft. The Zhouli says, “Blue Jade Bi to worship the heaven, Yellow Jade Cong to worship the earth.” (Cong is pronounced tsoong.) Commentators say that the circular bi and the squared cylindrical cong symbolized Heaven and Earth. The cong has an extremely long history, going back to the neolithic Liangzhu culture (circa 3300 BCE), and replicas persist into the Song dynasty. But while great emphasis is placed on the emperor and his ceremonial acts as Son of Heaven, little attention has been given to the ancient queens who are mentioned as keepers of the cong ( I would love to know more about these queens, so if anyone has any info, stop by and leave a message at the beep)

The cong is said to be a shaman’s tool that ‘encapsulates the principal elements of the shamanistic cosmology.’
[Nelson, 137, quoting Chang 1994a: 66] and I currently carry one around my neck, consecrated by the White Goddess and three pole stars.

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Eva Wong, a Professor of Taoist studies and adept that I greatly admire and respect, highlights the wu women as healers. “We are told that, in the healing ceremony, the shamaness grasped a green snake in her right hand and a red snake in her left hand and climbed into the mountains to gather the herbs that would restore life and health to a sick or dying person.” Wong explains the central importance of dancing and singing in the rainmaking ceremony:

 

“The Chinese word for spirit (ling ) consists of three radicals: one meaning rain, another (showing three mouths) chanting, and the third, shaman.” [Wong, Online] This word ling is used for shamans in the Nine Songs of Chu. The
Liji (Book of Rites) referred to the ceremonial dances called yue ; they combined music and movement with regalia: “shields, axes, feathers, and oxtails.”

 

The Lushi chunqiu described the harmonizing and unifying power that arose from these rites. As Dallas McCurley explains, “throughout the cosmos, everything both resonated and responded to other resonations… that if one strikes a bell of a particular note, all other bells of that same note, regardless of octave, will resonate.” [McCurley, 142]

The Chinese used sounding stones and chimes in ceremonies. “When I knock on the musical stones, the hundred animals all dance.” [Karlgren 1946: 258, in Nelson, 114] Many scholars see Chinese shamanism as underlying what developed into Taoism. [Schipper, 6] The Taoist word for ecstasy ,kuei-ju, “coming in of a spirit,” was derived from shamanic possession: “For it was said of a sorceress in trance and speaking in the name of a shen: ‘this body is that of the sorceress, but the spirit is that of the god.” (The word shen is ungendered in Chinese.)

The wu prepared herself to receive divinity by purifying herself with perfumed water, putting on ceremonial robes, and making offerings. Then, “with a flower in her hand, she mimed her journey by a dance accompanied by music and songs, to the sound of drums and flutes, until she fell exhausted. This was the moment of the presence of the god who answered through her mouth.” [H. Maspero, in Eliade, 453] One of the oldest, comprehensive descriptions of the wu appears in the 3rd century BCE Guoyü:
“Anciently, men and spirits did not intermingle. At that time there were certain persons who were so perspicacious, single-minded, and reverential that their understanding enabled them to make meaningful collation of what lies above and below, and their insight to illumine what is distant and profound. Therefore the spirits would descend upon them. The possessors of such powers were, if men, called [xi] (shamans), and, if women, wu (shamanesses).

It is they who supervised the positions of the spirits at the ceremonies, sacrificed to them, and otherwise handled religious matters. As a consequence, the spheres of the divine and the profane were kept distinct. The spirits sent down blessings on the people, and accepted from them their offerings. There were no natural calamities.”

 

Later, says this old classic, the divine and profane became intermixed, causing misfortune, so that the communication between Heaven and Earth had to be cut. This lost connection to the divine world is an extremely widespread theme. [See Anne Solomon (1997) on the San in South Africa, where the primeval connection is lost between animals and humans, not heaven and earth.] The above translation of the Guoyü neatly reverses the primary gendering of wu as female, using English words that imply that the word “shaman” is masculine and only secondarily applies to women (“shamaness,” “shamanka.”) But in Chinese, the more ancient character wu is incorporated as a signifier into the word xi , demonstrating that the explicitly masculine term is derived from the feminine, and not vice versa. However, not long after the Guoyü was written, we find the authors of the Zhouli
regendering the concept, as “male wu” and “female wu. This is not a well accepted idea in our male dominated western society , yet as a Left Hand Path practitioner, I feel the Yin and female Wu should be brought to light once more. We are born of Goddess, shall learn and die at her feet. Indonesian conceptions of the wu retained a strong female stamp: “Such was the force of tradition in respect to the basic femininity of the shaman, that male shamans in the Far East often impersonated women…. The shamans of Central and Southern Asia, called tuan-kung
and nan-wu [“male-wu”], are men disguised as women… The male shamans (shih-wu) of Kuangtung in the eighteenth century impersonated beautiful girls (Li T’iao-yüan, op. cit., 1.5). Doré observes that the possessed boys of Amoy, with whom he was familiar, were occupied by female spirits…” [Schafer 1951: 159] In modern parlance these would be gay or trans shamans….

But, that is for another time, and a different post. I hope you enjoyed my musings and ramblings, I plan on writing more on this in the future as my studies progress, but my Chinese is still at kindergarten level, so such studies are slow going. I leave you with a Poem from the Yun zhong jun, where the female and male shamans sing and dance, arrayed in magnificent robes and perfumes:
“See the priestesses (ling),

how skilled and lovely,

Whirling and dipping like birds in flight Unfolding the words in time to the dancing,

Pitch and beat all in perfect accord!

The spirits, descending, darken the sun.”[Erickson, 53]

 

Stay Gold everyone……

Art- Quan Yin and the Lotus- copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza

 

Sources:
Wu Ancient Female Shamans of Ancient China© 2011 Max Dashu
Edward H. Schafer, “Ritual Exposure in Ancient China.”
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
, Vol. 14, No. 1/2 (Jun., 1951), pp. 130-184 Published by: Harvard-Yenching Institute ____________
The Divine Woman: Dragon Ladies and Rain Maidens
. San Francisco: North Point, 1980 (1973)

Susan N. Erickson, “ ‘Twirling Their Long Sleeves, They Dance Again and Again…: Jade Plaque Sleeve Dancers of the Western Han Dynasty.”
 http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/granet_marcel/A10_danses_et_legendes/danses_legendes.doc Eliade, Mircea,Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy , Princeton

Eva Wong,Teaching the Tao: Readings from the Taoist Spiritual Tradition. Boston: Shambala, 1997 Karen Laughlin and Eva Wong, “Feminism in Taoism,” in Feminism and World Religions , ed. Arvind Sharma and Katherine Young, SUNY Press, 1999 Eva Wong,The Shambala Guide to Taoism. Online:http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-1-57062-169-7.cfm?
Dallas McCurley, “Performing Patterns: Numinous Relations in Shang and Zhou China.”TDR, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Autumn, 2005), MIT Press, pp. 135-156

Schipper, Kristofer,The Taoist Body . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983

Anne Solomon, “The myth of ritual origins? Ethnography, mythology, and interpretation of San rock art.”
South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1997 Online: http://www.antiquityofman.com/Solomon_myth_ritual.html

Wu: The female sorceress, witch and shaman in ancient China was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand