Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 70, Illuminatus! online reading group

Book mentioned at the beginning of Appendix Lamed. You can read it online. 

(This week: Appendix Lamed: The Tactics of Magick, pages 768-783).

The essay  on "The Tactics of Magick" seems to my mind  to be the most interesting item in the Appendices, and also one of the most challenging. I plan to read and re-read it this, trying to make sense of the bits that are obscure to me.

Two other RAW pieces that I plan to re-read this week will, I hope, cast light on the article: The chapter "Sexual Alchemy" in Email to the Universe, and the chapter "Mammary Metaphysics" in Coincidance.

Those books are likely to be in every well-stocked library of RAW, but the third piece I want to point to is "Serpent Power!" a RAW article on magick (with exercises) that I tracked down in 2011. (You can read how I found it and acquired it after reading about it in Cosmic Trigger 1.) The article is available as a PDF here.  When I bought it, the library sent me big TIFF files, and Bobby Campbell converted it into a PDF.

I'll work on this stuff, and then return, either here or in the comments.

(Next week: Appendix Yod, Operation Mindfuck, page 783, to page 796, end of Appendix Teth, Hagbard's Booklet.)


Anonymous said...

I doubt that behavior therapy produced any heterosexual behavior in gays that can't be explained away by the Hawthorn effect. The shocks worked a lot better than the food pellets.

I did the 4-gods thing for at least 30 days after my first reading of the trilogy and tried it again at least once more. It didn't seem to help, but I think that's me.

If magick at a distance does work, I would guess that quantum nonlocality has a lot to do with it.

Eric Wagner said...

I have never done the Egyptian gods procedure for forty days. It would prove easier today with the internet to look up the time for moonrise.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

"Serpent Power" asks the reader to carry out an exercise before reading the rest of the article, so I did the exercise last night and will try to read more of the article tonight, time permitting.

JCG said...

I am inclined to see the Tactics of Magick appendix as Wilson's work; however, I could be wrong. A truly enjoyable read, especially when you begin to unravel its Book of Lies-style of masking Tantric Reicheanism/ the sexual secret of magick. While the author plays coy about saying too much about "the magick theory of reality" (p.773), the other rhetorical strategy of attacking an invisible "rationalist"/"materialist" provides a clear angle for him to explain his "occult" preoccupations, 1) sorcery, and 2) self-transformation.

It is interesting to see the author lay out the mechanics of magick, which are premised on the fundamental assumption that realty is malleable, or, to use RAW's felicitous phrase: "reality is what you can get away with". The author's extrapolates upon this assumption by claiming that since subjectivity is programmable, humans should be self-programming, least they fall victim to someone else's reality. (What more, it is implied that self-programmers have a greater capacity for pleasure, health, happiness, and "occult" power.)

His mention of behavioral therapy and Reich in connection with magick are good indications of where Wilson picked up his psychologized approach to the work of Uncle Al, namely, via Regardie.

I am at a bit of a loss in his mention of the 5=6 formula, which he does three times (pp. 771, 774, 783). I understand it to be (at least in the GD system) the grade in which the title Adeptus Minor is granted and conversation with the HGA is initiated. In the appendix, though, it is described as a "magical theory". Going out on a limb here, I would say that the author is implying that the ontological chaos that undergirds all existence exceeds any and all the strictures placed upon it via one's concept of reality.

"The ancient tradition of magick" seems to be the manipulation of “primordial energy” (p.777) through sex, and Reich is singled out as a particularly illuminated theorist in this regard. I would like to hear how Wilson explicitly links Reich to Crowley, magick to orgones, or either pair to ontological chaos!

By the way, what did he mean that "the essential secret is sexual"? (p.772) Similarly, anyone have a clue as to what, exactly, “the central secret of all magick” is as revealed in the SSS Black Mass? (p.774)
(Going off his mention of "the vaginal rose, the phallic cross, the word of invocation, and the phenomenon of thought projection" I am led to believe this secret concerns the belief that sexual magick is the most effective means of sorcery (action at a distance) as well as "illumination" (self-programming).

“Very few readers of the Golden Bough have pierced Sir Prof. Dr. Frazer's veil of euphemism..” (p.780) Deciphering the message concerning Tantric Reicheanism in paragraph is exhausting, however, I previously never saw the “esoteric connotation” (mutual sexual gratification, or “69”) in the Sacred Chao before.

I think these lines are amongst the most important in the book, as they reveal the trilogy to be Discordian grimoire:

"This book, being part of the only serious conspiracy it describes— that is, part of Operation Mindfuck— has programmed the reader in ways that he or she will not understand for a period of months (or perhaps years). When that understanding is achieved, the real import of this appendix (and of the equation 5 = 6) will be clearer." (p.744)

Oz Fritz said...

To backtrack a bit: Appendix Cheth might get clarified further by looking at the commentary to The Chariot card in "The Book of Thoth." Also we see a connection from this Appendix to a passage in Appendix Lamed - from Cheth (p.768) "...should take heart. Once they do understand it, they will understand most of the mysteries of all schools of mysticism." And from Lamed (p.777)"Meditate on it (the Sacred Heart) deeply, child. You will find in it the essential of Catholicism - and the essential of all other religions."

I find it either ironic, coincidental, an example of the Law of Opposites or all of the above that Shea/Wilson give this direct explication of the mysteries on p. 777 as 777 = the number for the qabalistic dictionary by Crowley which serves as the key for the indirect implicate presentation of the mysteries throughout "Illuminatus!" Also that they give "the essential of all other religions" under the guise of Catholicism on p. 777, something Crowley would likely be adverse too as he was a sworn enemy of the institute of Catholicism, but not of its mysteries.

They reinforce this idea on p. 778 - "Puritans are essentially incapable of guessing what magick is all about. It can even be surely ventured that only those who have experienced true love, in the classic Albigensian or troubadour sense of that expression, are equipped to understand even the most clear-cut exposition of the mysteries.* ... * = This book has stated it as clearly as possible in a number of places ..."

The example given of Albigensian seems a part of Operation Mindfuck disinformation when taken literally as the Albigenses were a puritan cult that apparently had nothing to do with true love in the troubadour sense. When looked at qabalistically, Albigensian = Al + big + gensian. Al = one of the names and the key to the Book of the Law as well as a common nickname for Aleister Crowley; Al = aleph + lamed. Aleph = the Fool= the union of female/male energies and he transcendence of gender. Lamed = Justice = truth = the woman satisfied. Big = an attribute of the expansive morphology that accompanies the practice of theurgic magick. Genses reminds me of Genesis, also gensian adds to 179 which could refer to 1 = Kether arrived at by 79 (the union of Chokmah and Binah.) This hardly seems a "clear-cut exposition of the mysteries."

p. 771 " A selection of magick techniques which will offend the reason of no materialist can be found in Laura Archera Huxley's "You Are Not the Target" ( a powerful mantra, the title!)" - I use to experiment with exercises from this book and her excellent follow-up, "Between Heaven and Earth," both of which are available on Amazon for pennies or in the case of the latter, a penny. The emphasis on the title as a powerful mantra points to the exercise of the same name which essentially says that whenever someone gives you an irrationally hard time then the problem appears to be with the person spewing the invective and not you - you are not the target. The exercise suggests that you use the energy of the anger or whatever it is directed at you to consciously tense part of your body as a way to dissipate it. This seems particularly useful to artists or anyone that publicly expresses themselves who open themselves up to criticism. Somebunall criticism get so emotional and repetitive that it begins to sound like a fucking broken record, as for example Symonds' or Lachman's bios on Crowley or Greenfield's bio of Leary. All that can get done - thank the critics for the energy and remember that you are not the target, quite often easier said than done, but doing the exercise helps.

Oz Fritz said...

typos in my previous comment: first paragraph - should say "adverse to" not "adverse too."; last paragraph - should say " I used to" not "I use to."

JCG - your points are well taken. My understanding of the 5 = 6 formula is that it designates the transformation of the holistic, balanced human to godhead, whatever that means. It also gets illustrated as a pentagram = a hexagram. (p.778)"The pentagram ... always represents the fullest extension of the human psyche - the male human psyche in particular." The hexagram in its Star of David form, to my knowledge, represents the union of the microcosm with the macrocosm; also cognate with the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. (p.782) "The meaning of the hexagram - the female equivalent of the male pentagram - was explicated by Freud himself ..." I'm unfamiliar with this interpretation of the hexagram, but can see their point. Freud's explication of its meaning apparently doesn't exist, or is unknown to a google search nor do we see any indication of it in the book "Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition," so perhaps the appears another bit of O.M. I think you're absolutely right regarding "Illuminatus!" as a Discordian grimoire.

When they write "the essential secret is sexual," for me that indicates that sexual energy = spiritual energy as in raising the kundalini. The secret seeming more like how to use these energies rather than the efficaciousness of genital contact to instigate spooky action at a distance. That may be true, but also sets up a trap that sexual conquest automatically = good magick. That misplaced notion likely caused Crowley to fire Wilfred Smith from running his Agape Lodge when Smith set it up as a free sex love cult as parodied in "Stranger in a Strange Land."

I would have to read the SSS Black Mass section again to take a guess at what they mean by “the central secret of all magick” getting revealed and I don't remember what page it's on.

supergee - I agree that quantum nonlocality helps to explain magick.

Eric Wagner said...

Black Mass on pg 115 (5 x 23).

Oz Fritz said...

Thanks, Eric.

The exact phrase they use on p. 774 about the Rite of Shiva = “contains the central secret of all magick, very explicitly...;" taking the words "very explicitly" as a clue my guess places it in these lines from p. 119 toward the end of the Black Mass:

"Hadn't some nineteenth century anthropologist argued that cunt-worship was the earliest religion? He didn't even know this woman and yet he had an emotion beyond love: true reverence."

The second sentence recalls The Chariot (tarot)

I suggest this "central secret" gets reinforced by the first character we meet immediately after the Black Mass, The Reverend William Helmer. Reverend = reverence. William = Will I Am ( as fans of the Black-eyed Peas can tell you). Helmer = hel + mer; Hel = Old English derivation of both hell and hele (heal). To qabalists, hell = the physical space/time Universe. Hel also = a female character from Norse mythology, a daughter of Loki who presides over Hell. Mer = French for the sea - water being a feminine element. We find an analog of "Helmer" in ch. 38 of "The Book of Lies" part of which reads:

"Swear to hele all.
This is the mystery.
Mind is the traitor.
Slay mind.
Let the corpse of the mind lie unburied on the edge of the Great Sea!"

Looking at the phrase "contains the central secret of all magick" we get the qabalistic sentence: 8,17,25,85,155,156,196. I spoke about 156 earlier as denoting Babalon, a primary female archetype, or as Deleuze and Guatarri would say, a conceptual persona, of Crowley's pantheon. 156 coincides with the word "all" in the sentence further emphasizing the "central secret." The last number, usually the most significant in a qabalistic sentence, 196 = 14 squared; 14 = Daleth, The Empress (tarot) etc. 196 also = the crown, summit, point; and Mare Soph; Mare = sea (Latin); Soph = wisdom (Greek).

To further back up my guess - immediately after the "central secret" phrase they write, (p.774-775) "For instance, Miss Portinari ..." then suggest that she sees an image of a vagina when meditating on the Sacred Heart. I infer that the "disturbing second image" she sees in the meditation = a vagina because of what they say about the Sacred Heart image on p. 781.

Anonymous said...

Random Observations:

P. 772: “That the taboos against sexuality are still latent in our country…” They’ve become a lot more blatant of late.

--------: “We all know, for instance, that words are only arbitrary conventions with no intrinsic connections to the things they symbolize…” A basic premise of General Semantics.

P. 773: Compare the Yoga for Yahoos quote with this from Marcus Aurelius (VII, 11; Hays tr.): “What is this, fundamentally? What is its nature and substance, its reason for being? What is it doing in the world? How long is it here for?”

P. 774: “The magician is a self-programmer.” Yes, for the reasons stated.

P. 775: Piper Heidseck, sic for Piper-Heidsieck.

P. 778: Cao Dai.

P. 780: Ulysses, chapter 14: Could one of the Joycians explain this obscure reference?

P. 781: Donne’s poetry: “Loves Alchemie: and “A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day” are probably good places to start.

P. 783: William Heirens.

Anonymous said...

Chapter 14, "The Oxen of the Sun," is an extended parallel between the development of a fetus from conception to birth and the development of English literature. It includes a certain amount of wise-assing about birth control, which I assume is what the authors mean here.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Supergee writes that he has tried the four gods thing in the appendix twice, without much result, It seems to me that it is consistent with RAW's philosophy to approach magick with a sense of agnosticism, and to pay attention to your own results, and not just to received opinion.

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