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Monday, August 1, 2016

Cosmic Trigger reading group, Week 17!

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger

Welcome to week 17 of the RAWIllumination Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. This week, we cover 4 short chapters, beginning with Appearances and Disappearances (131 Hilaritas, And/Or 130) and finishing with Nikola Tesla, secular shaman. Wilson covers a lot of territory here, from the continuing travails of Timothy Leary to the lessons we can learn from our children, from the shamanic technique of near-death/rebirth to the question, once again, of extra-terrestrial communication. And so without further ado…

“It gets even spookier now.” And so begins Appearances and Disappearances, which begins with the appearance of a variety of messengers from God, the extraterrestrials etc., most of whom were nuts, in Bob’s estimation, and one of whom spent $380 (in 2016 dollars) taking Bob and Arlen out to dinner and then slipped him a grand (again, 2016 dollars) before leaving, never to be heard from again.

Quick cut back to Vacaville, where Bob and Tim discuss Giordano Bruno’s practice of Tantric Yoga. Bob assumes that Tim learned of this by reading Francis Yates—Tim counters that it was obvious from Bruno’s own writings—“Sex magic is always the first of the Secrets.” Tim tells Bob that he will be getting out of Prison soon, and then he disappears into the void of Terminal Island.

The Great Silence begins and great paranoia ensues as the rumor spreads that Leary is turning states evidence. Lot’s of wild rumors and speculations follow, and with Watergate thrown into the mix and soon pretty much everyone is beginning to believe that sombunall people in “the Government [are] Capable of Anything.”

A lesson in Karma introduces us once again to the special relationship between Bob and his children, in particular his youngest daughter Luna. Bob opens by noting that “Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children.” I have always loved this chapter, and here are a few of my favorite bits from it.

After detailing how he finally learned to actually hear his children and learn “a great deal from them,” Bob notes that his children went on to listen to him, and that their “mutual respect for each other grew by leaps and bounds.” Wilson goes on to claim that this is “the greatest result I have obtained from all of my occult explorations.”

He then goes on to recount how Luna taught him “the hardest lesson of all,” by refusing to take on any of the bad energy from a gang of black kids who had beaten and robbed her on her way home from school. “I stopped the wheel of Karma,” she tells him.

The only way to “stop the wheel,” Bob notes, “is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up bad energy and concentrating on the positive.” He references Gurdjieff and “the horror of the situation,” and notes that 13 year old Luna understood this better than he did, at 43, “with all my erudition and philosophy.”

Witchcraft recounts another parent/child story, this time involving Bob’s son Graham, roaming the wilds of Arizona with friends in April of 1974. While I have to wonder what RAW would think of the current generation of Helicopter Parents, the Author wisely uses this story of interstate “astral travel” as a stepping stone for a discussion of his “concerted effort to gain admission into as many shamanic schools as possible” which grew out of his effort to follow the edict of Aleister Crowley to engage with multiple gods and goddesses “so as not to fall into the error of monotheism.”

He notes that Uncle Aleister had love affairs with “Allah, Nuit, Pan, Kali, the Virgin Mary, and quite a few others,” and then drops that other lovely AC nugget — “Thank God I’m an atheist.”

All the while, the Skeptic continues to work with the notion that any experience with a “luminous being is probably subjective, barring any objective evidence, and possibly extraterrestrial when he finds himself seeing things that are happening hundred of miles away at the same time.

Nikola Tesla

In Nikola Tesla, secular shaman, Bob recounts the parallels between the “wild talents” (and their acquisition) of Nikola Tesla, Gopi Krishna, and certain tribal shamans. None of this sounds particularly fun, and here we are reading the account of someone who is undertaking this sort of thing on purpose!

Gopi Krishna

The Author also distills for us a formula — “near death plus ‘rebirth’ on a higher level” — which he finds in occult initiations of all types. He also notes the use of bringing the initiate into a “state of terror.”

Curiously, in a chapter ostensibly about Contact and Contactees, the Author then states that “Obviously, the first shamans had no teachers; they simply went through the illness-rebirth transition accidentally, as it were.” Whatever happened to extra-terrestrials? — Aha! One sentence later…”entities of superhuman nature,” assisting an initiation that may never end!

The Prognosticator then finishes the chapter with this nugget—“Obviously, the whole show shamanic process of near-death and rebirth on a higher level will become commonplace by the 1990s, if Leary is right and we have then both a Simulated Death pill and an Immortality pill.” I love his use of the word “obviously.” And the focus on a pill makes sense if we consider that statement from Cosmic Trigger 2 that Bob was taking a lot more acid in 1973 than he let on in Cosmic Trigger. Although I’m not so sure the average human would choose to go down that road regardless of the ease provided by a pill.

Okay — that’s it from me. Hopefully you can find a bit of controversy in these chapters and my commentary thereupon. And regardless — please comment, that what brings this old text to life!

Next week we begin on page 141 (Hilaritas!) with Other starry signals and finish with Dope and divinity. Until then, remember the Dog Star, rising and setting with our Sun.


Oz Fritz said...

Great clip from My Dinner With Andre. That film had a powerful effect on my when I first saw it oh so many years ago.

Coincidentally, I ran across this today in my Deleuze studies which seems relevant to the death/rebirth scenario:

"How can this game be related to the death instinct? No doubt in a sense close to that in which Miller, in his wonderful book on Rimbaud, says: 'I realized that I was free, that the death I'd gone through had liberated me,' It seems that the idea of a death instinct must be understood in terms of three paradoxical and complementary requirements: to give repetition an original, positive principle, but also an autonomous disguising power; and finally, to give it an immanent meaning in which terror is closely mingled with the movement of selection and freedom." - from "Repetition and Difference." The Miller quote is from "The Time of the Assassins."

p.132 - 133 The best account of the deal with the devil Leary made appears in "Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary by Joanna Harcourt-Smith (Joanna Leary) It seems an honest recollection of the events. I wrote a review of it here:
It's a very well done book. She is also of the opinion that Leary's brain had been messed with in the California Penal system.

michael said...

The section where RAW learns to listen to his 4 kids and their "Pop Orientalism" and then they start listening to him? It always moves me greatly. Esp after having the book, the foreshadowing in Luna being mugged by black kids on the way home from school is just heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Today, when I think of Dick Cheney or Trump (and a thousand others), I have two competing models in my model agnosticism to "deal with" this stuff:

-Luna's "stop the wheel of karma" by, as RAW wrote in italics "stop it inside yourself."

-Organic brain problems actuated by personal and historical accidents and "the horror of the situation", and Joyce's "nightmare of history", sociopathy, capital EFF Fear and the easiness of provoking the mass amygdala in the citizenry, etc: We keep getting these "leaders" for very complex reasons, and I don't know how to deal with it, except to revert to Luna's conception, which feels beautiful and "right" and just, good, true.

And yet: naive and leaving me with my materialism: how to do my part to "stop" this, which in turn seems ridiculously grandiose and again reverses polarity and has me turn back to Luna.

Dustin said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tripping Through The Bardo, as well. It was a fascinating perspective on Leary, and what went down with the situation. It seems to me that there is a lot that Leary left unsaid about this time. Curiously, one of his teaching at the time was "No more secrets."

I have attempted to remember to learn from my kids over the years. It "is" always good to be reminded. Stopping the Wheel of Karma reminds me of Wilson's "Those that live the Happiest are those that forgive the most." He,also, stressed forgiveness in "Maybe Logic" at a much more advance age.

I read an account, today, of Carl Jung living through a similar process of Death/Sickness followed by Rebirth. This central tenet of the Western Mystery Tradition
seems to be modernised by the 're-imprinting process that Wison suggests would be common place by the 1990's.

Oz Fritz said...

I still feel the idea of a pill works better as a metaphor than literally. "... the whole shamanic process of near-death and rebirth on a higher level..." {p.141) seems commonplace in certain circles in Northern Cali. This prognostication, viewed metaphorically (simulating death not necessarily with a literal pill), indicates a regular spiritual practice of any kind. Or call it a regular brain-change practice. Engagement of any meditative activity whatsoever opens a potential to simulate ego death and rebirth. This gets reinforced with repetition. The instruction here, as I read it - start or continue a regular practice.

Interesting sequence of caps in the last sentence of this week's assignment.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I like RAW's karmic lesson that you should change yourself, rather than seeking power to try to force change on everyone else.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

This section of Cosmic Trigger has always interested me because of the disdain RAW expresses for astrology and for literal belief in reincarnation. It's a skeptical side of him we don't always see.

Eric Wagner said...

I enjoyed Frances Yates' books.

I need to learn how to stop the wheel of karma. At present I find myself trying to use the music of Debussy, whom some claim once led the Priory of Sion (before Mike Johnson took over).

Pasternak also turned down his Nobel Prize.

Oz Fritz said...

Season 1 episode 14 of a new TV show called Limitless has a plot line of a person's consciousness getting uploaded to a computer for the sake of personal immortality. In the story, they're not that successful with it, but at least the idea is there.

In one or more books subsequent to CT - don't recall exactly where - RAW makes transparent the suggestion of a daily practice in a short essay extolling the benefits of doing it every day, whatever "it" my be.

Chas, to continue the discussion about whether RAW focused more on physical immortality or immortality of consciousness. I would say that both had priority at different times. And hazard a guess that he eventually spent more time expanding consciousness beyond the biological than he did trying to make his body live longer through health regimens, etc. To my knowledge, neither Wilson or Leary cryonically preserved any of their mortal coil although Leary hoaxed in a film that he had his head lopped off and frozen.

Leary states in the Game of Life that stage 14, the Hedonic Engineer has "The control of one's own physiology." Longevity and immortality research attempts to produce drugs or techniques to control that part of physiology that causes the body to die. The tarot card corresponding to that stage = Death. My interpretation recognizes this circuit as the one for physical immortality in the current body. Subsequent circuits and stages do involve immortality, but increasing go beyond the body; first with the tantric fusion of stage 15 that goes beyond the personal body finally reaching the 8th neuroatomic circuit (stages 22 - 24) that goes beyond biology entirely.

I read the comment that Wilson has Leary say of people getting stuck at the Hedonic Engineer stage as a comment on those who get hung up with the idea that physical immortality is the ONLY kind of immortality.

RAW's interest in immortal consciousness becomes evident through his life-long participation in Thelemic magick. As stated elsewhere, though not acknowledged as such, most or all of Crowley's program concerns surviving death as one major aspect. In one of his books, Lon Milo Duqette (like Wilson, a Crowley heir) relates an anecdote of someone commenting that he has started working with death. Duquette replies something to the effect, "I've never done anything else."

Dustin said...

Oz- Although my purpose was different, I read the description of stage 14 in The Game of Life a few times this past week. I was musing about how RAW suggest martial arts as a first circuit re-imprinting method, and Leary lists Karate as a stage 14 activation method. I'll have to read it again with your comment in mind.

RAW repeats Do It Every Day as a secret of the Illuminati in his introduction to Hyatt' s Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation.

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