Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer - An E-Book. Buy it here.

I am the author of Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer.

Confessions is sold in e-book form.

The diary includes secrets on how to use the salvia divinorum plant to perform such magic as how to kill at a distance, how to get into another person's thoughts, and how to communicate and negotiate with spirit entities from other worlds.

While there is a growing body of literature on the history and botany of salvia divinorum, we have seen nothing at all like this unique manuscript. This diary takes sorcery and psychic power to a new, unprecedented level.

The manuscript is 45 pages, with numerous hand-drawn illustrations, made by Brother Harmonius, himself.

Purchasers will receive an electronic pdf copy of Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer. The pdf file is about 1.5 megabytes.

Many of your colleagues in the entheogenic community know of this document, but there is only ONE PLACE where you can buy "Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer", and that is right here on Ebay!


Excerpt of Review of "Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer" 
on the Erowid Library:

Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer offers a new twist on the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover": it literally has no covers. It begins with a seven-page Prologue that lays out the context for the subsequent series of journal-style experience reports organized under "Ten Years of Mind Travel".

If one looks past the curious lack of book-like features (in addition to no covers, it also lacks a publisher name, publication date, conclusion, colophon, etc.), some irrelevant name-dropping, and the history and editorializing in the Prologue, Confessions reveals itself as an articulately written collection of experience reports with a smattering of illustrations scanned out of the author's notebooks.
(review by "spoon" on Erowid Library)

What others are saying about "Confessions of a Salvia Sorcerer":

  • "Quick relief for my salvia craving. Thanks!" - cmmays
  • "Good read'n. Thanks" - Don daCorn
  • "Super...unique" - Don Webb
  • "Interesting. Thanks!" - Frater LSD
  • "Groovy" - Fire Marshall Bill
  • "There was Maria Sabina, the bruja of mushrooms. There was Mestre Irineu, shaman of the ayahuasca. And now, there is Brother Harmonius, THE sorcerer of salvia." - Guanshamano
  • "The overall importance of this text is significant in that it is a pretty detailed description of one of many possible approaches with this new hallucinogenic plant." - Jonesy
  • "These confessions are good. Reading it right now...." - rOm

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tarot in Magic: an Introduction


This is Brother Harmonius, and we are here today to talk about the tarot and magic. The tarot deck that I am using is the one designed by Pamela Coleman Smith for Arthur Waite, and is sold as the Rider Tarot Deck.

The tarot has rightly been called a philosophical and psychological tool for exploring the unconscious. It has also been used as an oracle device to divine the future.

A lesser known use of the tarot is as a tool of magic, to make things happen in the world. Another way of saying that is it has been used for magic. The reason why the tarot can make magic lies in the Rule of Reciprocity, or the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, which states “as it is above, so it is below.” Or, “As above, so below.”

Now, what does that mean, really? What it means is that everything is happening in the context of a duality. There is an upper plane, and there is a lower plane. There is a spirit world, and there is a material world. There is an unconscious world, and there is a conscious world. These two extremes of nature are not independent from one another, but are, in fact, tied together or sympathetic to one another. What happens in the spirit world affects what happens in the material world. What happens in the world of the unconscious has reverberations in the conscious world.

The opposite is also true, that what happens in the material world has a sympathetic effect on what happens in the spirit world. What we do in the conscious world reflects back to the world of the unconscious.

The rule as stated explains how the tarot can be used as a divination tool, and also a psychological one to gain insight into the unconscious. After all, if we can look at a symbol in the material world, and it represents what is happening in the spiritual or unconscious world, then the tarot is a kind of telescope for looking beyond this world.

This is true when we draw a card without predetermination, otherwise called drawing a card at random. A card drawn at random has meaning because it is the culmination of all the events happening at this moment in time on the spirit level.

When we choose a specific card or set of cards in a predetermined sequence, however, we are doing exactly the opposite from seeing what will be; we are making a conscious decision about what is to be. Using the Law of Reciprocity, we are telling the universe, “This is what we want to happen.”

That is magic. It is flipping the maxim of “As above, so below” around to make things happen in the spirit world based upon what we are doing in the material world.

Now, when in the spirit world the dynamic equation of power is in favor of the good and orderly, that has a favorable effect on life on our world. When chaos and evil rule in the spirit world, it translates to insecurity, brutality, and poverty in our world. Likewise, we can turn that maxim around and cause good to rule in the heavens when we do good deeds here on earth. That is why it is important not to be too hung up on being rewarded for our good deeds, because the real consequences of our deeds happen on a much higher order of cause and effect. People naturally want to see their name up in lights when they do a good deed, but the best deeds are done without any recognition whatsoever.

Conversely, when we do an evil deed, the effect is to strengthen the forces of chaos and evil in the spirit world. It should be stated that I oppose evil, and if you think doing evil is a good thing, a fun thing, then there is something wrong with you. When you see evil and destruction as beautiful, it indicates a perversion, a sickness that needs to be healed, not glorified.

Let’s draw a card and look at it. Here we have the Two of Pentacles. It represents a transition between states of “have” and “have not.” On its own, it doesn’t say what state it is coming from, or moving to. We see the main character standing on one leg, but not for long, because it looks like he is about to land on the other foot. He is juggling two coins between a Moebius strip, an infinity sign or a figure-eight. This may represent a transition of fortune. In the background we see merchant galleons sailing turbulent waves, going up and down, representing the ups and downs of fortune.

If drawn as a divining tool this card could indicate we might expect a change in our fortune. But we could also consciously choose this card to contemplate upon, or in a magical ceremony in order to make change. We are thus telling the universe, “I want this in my future.”

A little bit about my own philosophy on handling cards. I do not put much stock in special handling instructions. I don’t see that cards need to be purified in salt, for instance. Also, my own belief is that you can never draw an incorrect card. Whether you over-shuffle the deck or under-shuffle the deck is of no consequence. Whether or not you draw randomly from the deck or draw from the top of the deck, the tarot will never be wrong. Every card you draw is the right card. This is because the sequence of things in the universe is exactly as it should be at the time. In fact, the tarot is only the most pictographic of symbols, but in fact every least thing and movement in the world is equally symbolic.

Finally, I never draw cards in reverse. I know that many experienced tarot readers do, but I do not. I don’t necessarily see that cards were meant to be understood in their opposite connotation by their orientation. I always shuffle and draw the cards right-side up, and have never perceived an incorrect or unjust reading from doing so.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Fairy Queen

The Fairy Queen

by Brother Harmonius

October 25, 2007

Some of my most meaningful psychedelic experiences have come with the aid of psilocybe mushrooms. I have taken many trips with the mushroom, and all of them good.

On one occasion I combined mushrooms with smoking salvia divinorum. I should get back to that event, because I saw the great matrix of humanity, was a member of that structure obliquely referred to in a Sub Rosa interview with visionary artist Alex Grey, among other places.

Another trip was conjoined by a woman friend inside my New York apartment. Two visions stood out from that experience, and what they had in common was that we saw them together. I don't think I'm overplaying their significance, even 10 years later. I hope that my estranged friend at least keeps that memory from our year together.

The visions were these: in the first, we told each other that we saw auras, not only auras of people--each other--but also around other things. It was a generally omnipresent yellow, or, as we more specifically described it, "Gatorade" colored halo.

The second shared vision seems more remarkable. "J" pointed to a bare area of my white wall, and said she saw a portal. Until then, the concept of the portal was rather obscure to me. However, I also saw the portal where she pointed. I will describe it.

The portal, as I saw it, was about two feet in diameter. It was something like a sphincter, without putting too crude a spin on it. The center was denser than the perimeter. Psychedelic imagery is a kind of overlay of geometric patterns, or sometimes it is as if the patterns are themselves infused into the objects of the visual field. This isn't exactly my vision, but it was as if the event-horizon of a black hole was located at a particular spot on my wall, and I could throw something through the vortex. Another metaphor would be water circling down a sink drain or toilet.

I relate these visions because they were achieved through the synergy of sacred imagination and psilocybe. All of my psilocybe journeys have been pleasant, and while I have never been a habitual user, I would have more adventures if availability and occasion permitted.

Which brings me to the visions I saw during my last mushroom trip. Very briefly, with eyes closed, and under a very small dose of what was probably one tiny mushroom (I have a very stingy brother) I saw the fairy queen.

Here is her description: first, her location was as remote as could be. She wasn't just in another part of the earth, and she wasn't just in another part of the galaxy (and who can be sure of such things?). She was in an altogether remote dimension, and no technology besides that gift of nature could have made her accessible. It did vaguely seem as though she were enclosed somewhere deep inside the earth. Imagine a grotto the walls of which are multicolored, like painted tiles. But not hard looking, it was as if she were in a vibrant royal chamber.

Her aspect was smiling. Not only did I not see her moving, but it was rather like looking at a still photograph. Her features were Asian. Her hair was jet, and short. She wore something like an ornate gold helmet. Her clothing was more like a kind of sequined chain mail. She was sitting. I had the impression afterward that she allowed me to see her. I was honored.

I could not stay. The vision receded, or I receded from her domain. The vision was all too short, but very intense. Though I was still under the spell of the mushroom I could not bring her back.

That vision was powerful enough that I sculpted a caricaturized model of my dear fairy queen, using an egg and polymer clay. The mushroom induced visions are often ephemeral and supercilious. Not so with this vision. I was very much out of body. It had a concreteness about it that left an indelible impression.

The fairy queen vision was true shamanist soul travel. It was deep and inner. What it taught me was that there are definite divisions that separate these worlds we are talking about. The fairy queen was not simply a human-like woman who happened to wear a different dress. Everything about her and the world she inhabited was of a different order. To be lost in such a world is to be cut off for all time from the human realm.

There are no roads leading in and out of the fairy kingdom. I wonder if she is only one of the beings in an altogether cut off land. The vision restored my faith in the continuation of spirit.


Storming Heaven

Storming Heaven

by Brother Harmonius

October 26, 2007

Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream, By Jay Stevens
Grove Press, New York - 1987 ISBN 0-8021-3587-0

Storming Heaven is a respectable piece of investigative journalism. Stevens keeps a lively pace, painting a sort of Last Supper fresco of the who’s who of psychedelica in its first forty years (1940s-80s) of what was a long, colorful journey.

This book of popular history will bring you back to those halcyon days of yore. Are we talking about the 1940s? The ‘50s? ‘60s or ‘70s and ‘80s? The fact is, LSD-25 predates the Baby Boomer. Unfortunately, like a pre-adolescent boy is to his girl counterpart society has not matured commensurate with LSD.

Stevens' chronicling style captures the key players from its discovery in the 1940s by Albert Hoffman, to R. Gordon Wasson on the trail of the Magic Mushroom in the Mountains of Mexico in the 1950s with, to the CIA’s nefarious secret dosings of American citizens under the approbation of MK Ultra. Stevens develops LSD’s biography in waves. Because the molecule is unable to speak for itself, psychedelic literature by Aldous Huxley and Anaïs Nin, Beat poets like Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady speak for it.

Rather than painting heroes and villains into separate cages, Stevens weaves them into a unified history, and at once a terrific tale. Everybody seems to either know or have some personal connection to everybody else. Storming Heaven is a thrilling read, like being a passenger on a Disneyland ride. Stevens as guide points out the spear-throwing natives, dangerous hippos rising from dark waters, as well as the rainbows in the waterfall. This adventure is way more entertaining than anything our school teachers would have allowed us to read.

While it is not directly compared to a Messiah, LSD has many things in common with Jesus Christ. They were both prodigal children. They touched many lives and attracted adherents, apostles and Pharisees. Ultimately, both were crucified, but lived on through their devotees. Post-war Twentieth Century has seen eras come and go, the Conservative ‘50s, the Jet Age, Flower Power, Hippies and Woodstock, LSD has outlived them all, and continues to evolve even now. There wasn’t an LSD age, it is more of an Epoch, and we are still within the early stages of the LSD Epoch. Just as the earliest Christianity had its evangelistic apostles, accusing Pharisees and Romans nailing martyrs to the cross, the Gospels and Apocrypha of the Psychedelic Epoch are just beginning to be written.

A Bike Ride in Basle

The molecule hasn’t changed at all chemically since Albert Hoffman’s famous bike ride on the wild side on April 19, 1943. Storming Heaven is an intense profile of the times that were a changin’, and the personalities who influenced such profound cultural change. “Alice Dee” was there, although she really takes a back seat in Storming Heaven to her advocates and enemies. Stevens imbues the molecule with anthropomorphosis, but we get to know its personality and foibles indirectly, by its associates.

Stevens applies a light brush to chemistry, but that isn’t really a weakness when you consider Storming Heaven as a kind of ethnography.

Nearing its 20’s, LSD fell in with a fateful crowd. Timothy Leary takes center stage, and not far behind him are Ken Kesey and Stanley Owsley. These figures were icons by any measure. LSD was a debutante, which found itself rubbing shoulders with people who were out to make names for themselves. If Leary, et. al, had genuine respect and admiration for LSD, they should have treated it more reverentially. Instead, she became an unwilling whore, maybe even a rape victim. Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, high society took advantage of what could not defend itself, and it was burned by the limelight.

Leary is the representative man in this portrait, the Saint of LSD where events and persons have some connection to him, even where the chapter is not explicitly about him. He proved to be an important catalyst to the psychedelic gestalt, like Vitruvian Man, his arms and legs outstretched and tangential to the last mid-century's most animated characters. Like Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, or the failed consciousness expansion retreats at the Hotel Catalina in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on the islands of Dominica and Antigua, with his tragic swan song at a Millbrook Estate in New York. There, amid palatial opulence evocative of a Maxwell Parish painting Leary might have succeeded had his flamboyant escapades not preceded the more reserved inner space experiments of his later years.

Too late to avoid his fate, though, and by now we are impressed with how everything LSD touches accedes to greatness. The scales of that greatness tip toward kings or villains. Hoffman, Wasson, Tom Wolf and the Grateful Dead seemed to be on good terms with the beast, but it consumed the likes of Owsley, Kesey, Leary, the Hell’s Angels, and ultimately Haight Ashbury itself. In fact, these sub-cultures were contrived because a truly supportive meta-culture never really existed. Though the shadow of pretense lingers, America long ago shed its mantle of enlightenment for one of capital conquest. More demonic influences than LSD overturned the Aquarian Age, which posed a threat to hegemony. Enlightenment was a threat to Vietnam, an enemy to a profitable police state. Enter G. Gordon Liddy, and every diabolical thing he stood for, The Age of Capricorn, whose Utopia smells like a New York subway. Yet, we feel sorry for Leary, when Liddy comes off as a well-spoken but red necked jerk.

I felt there was a nagging vacuum to the story, and it wasn’t until I finished Storming Heaven that I realized Stevens had totally left out the exploits of John C. Lilly, M.D. Lilly carried none of the Beats’ poetic free associations or counter-culture ideological cacophony. He was the respected neuroscientist whose 1972 “autobiography of inner space” Center of the Cyclone was a more honest documentary of transpersonal experience. Stevens might have provided a more balanced testimony by mentioning Lilly’s work, which was devoid of Leary’s hagiographic overtones.

Nevertheless, this book’s breadth sweeps the imagination away, each chapter is fresh without languishing in any one groove for too long. The remarkable personalities that tried it come from a diverse cross-section of society: Anaïs Nin, Leary, Huxley (on his death bed!), Kesey and his group, Metzner, Alpert. It seemed that LSD acquired the character traits of the last person who wrote about it. Hoffman wrote about it, and the CIA became interested. Nin wrote about it, and Hollywood became interested in it. Leary wrote about it, and Congress became interested in it. certain attributions depending on the last person using it. It represented either mind control or mind expansion.

Although published in 1987, Storming Heaven is remarkably timely. It ended just a decade or so before the popularization of the internet, at the cusp of new developments in chemical enlightenment. Terence McKenna had recently arrived on the scene, with his aboriginal “roots” style spirit molecule, DMT. Psychedelic evolved into a more Gaia-centered term, “entheogen” (spirit within), of which McKenna was a contemporary. The late Terence McKenna was regularly likened to Leary, but the botanical entheogens seemed to diverge away from Leary-ism, picking up where Carlos Castaneda left off by returning to the idealized shamanist and primitive animism of the aboriginal Americas. These were gods that had existed eons before the artificial ones of the Empire State came into service.

Final chapters have Stevens introduced to the designer drugs, like ketamine, 5 MEO DMT, Ecstasy, and the like, which I don’t pretend to have more than a passing knowledge about. These substances were the sophisticated urban counterparts of botanicals, developing on a parallel track with the backyard shaman. Designer drugs were to the entheogens what disco is to folk music, electronica and synthesizers to wooden flutes and hand-drums.

Though it might now be synonymous with Haight-Ashbury, hippies and rock & roll, that attribution was not always the case. LSD preceded the hippies and outlived them. Like a Pearl S. Buck character, it has survived a turbulent Cultural Revolution and seemingly oct-annual political mood swings. It has colored multiple dimensions of the modern landscape, from art to space exploration. I have heard it is only a slight exaggeration to say Silicon Valley was born of the LSD culture. Conservative reactionaries will always burden society with yet one more drug-witch-heretic bogey. FUD ("Fear Uncertainty Doubt) is an endemic manipulator.

As a society, the U.S. has less wisdom and tolerance for personal freedom than ever. Dark Ages policy makers and their lapdog media sensationalists ruin opportunities for legitimacy before they appear. War and fear mongering thrive as legitimate lifestyle choices. In America, the land of the free, one cannot legally commune with the spirit world by way of psychedelic substances. Yet, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela do enjoy those freedoms.


A Metamorphosis Metaphysical

A Metamorphosis Metaphysical

by Brother Harmonius

October 26, 2007

In Metamorphosis Kafka reflects, however unwittingly the inescapable economics of metaphysical law. Other critical analyses allude to this by pointing out the reciprocity of fortune between protagonist Gregor Samsa in opposition to his family.

The psychoanalyst Hellmuth Kaiser wrote from a psychoanalytical perspective, proposing that Kafka had a punishment wish. Be that as it may, throughout his short critical essay Kaiser refers to very plain transpositions that support my contention of a balance of metaphysical economy.1

The basis of this is a Kabbalistic principal of “as above, so below.”2 Role reversals and reversals of fortunes within the household are reflective of corresponding dynamic shifts happening on the ethereal plane.

The initial event, the turning into the physical insect, was not the entire metamorphosis, as Kaiser seems to understand it. There was an ongoing metamorphosis, of Gregor descending into bestiality, and the family members, father, mother and Grete Samsa rising from their dependence upon Gregor.

Grete, especially, can be seen like a butterfly, as her spirit metamorphosis happens before our eyes. This is especially indicated by the violin, which is a music of culture and ascension. Even its high notes suggest a skyward aspiration.

If the violin is symbolic of Grete’s spiritual ascent, Gregor’s slovenly eating habits are a clear indication that his corresponding metamorphosis is a descent, the finality of which is death (stagnation, cessation of growth). Gregor, as lowly bug (indeed, at some point he is no longer Gregor, but a non-entity) embraces bestiality. Grete attempts to uplift her older brother by cleaning his room, and preserving certain cultural reminders, but this doesn’t work.

In keeping with a law of metaphysical economy, one should not wonder that, just as one end of the scale tips downward so that the other may tilt upward, this is precisely the case in the Samsa household.


1 Hellmuth Kaiser, Kafka's Fantasy of Punishment (Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1931) “The son cannot put himself in the father's position without the father putting himself in the son's position,” and, “As we have already stated, the balance of power between father and son is reversed by means of the son's metamorphosis.”

2 C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniuntionis. (Bolingen Series XX, The Collected Works of C.G.Jung, Vol. 14. 1963) p. 17, “II. That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of One Thing.” The Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus (an unattributed translation in my electronic collection). Jung refers to Tabula Smaragdina, De alchemia, p.363, and also Tabula Smaragdina, Ruska, p. 2.


Plant sentience

Plant Sentience

A first lesson in botanical medicine

by Brother Harmonius

December 20, 2007

The specimens arrived in a crowded box in eleven-inch sections. Two were of large girth, the two largest with diameters of four and three inches. These would be relegated to internal medicines.

Two of the sections I had just received were nearly perfect tops, with that classical gentle round probe-end of San Pedro, but no more than two-and-one-half inches in diameter. These were potted forthwith in five-inch terracotta pots, with rich humus potting soil. These I call "external" medicines, because their power derived in their continued growing.

It is man's absurd arrogance that sentience is a fact only where communication is perceived. When the perceiving mechanism is so throttled in its normal state, as is the human's, it is the height of hegemony that we presume to know which species are of what worth in the earthly network.

I sliced through the calloused lower end of each of the two, and slightly placed them in the center of their pots, upright. I also pushed into the limbs of their pots a couple of other cactus (two species of selenicereus) and succulent species (crassula falcata), knowing their rooting systems would probably not interfere with each other.

My transplants are so often successful. Usually I pat myself on the back, and take great pride in my green thumb with houseplants. The two new transplants-now family members-looked smart sitting on a window table with southern exposure, crowded among a couple of Christmas cactus, and a previously transplanted Peruvian torch (trichocereus peruvianus). The torch was by now sufficiently rooted, and gave all the appearance of contentment in its adoptive home. Its three and four inch needles are wicked, and the seller referred to the variety as "macho."

Then it occurred to me, watching the cactus, the adapted peruvianus, the Christmas cactus, and the two new t. pachanoi medicine plants: Their success was a product of community. Not so much the community of myself and other humans of the house, but the botanical community. I faintly heard them sing, and the singing came from the older, more acclimated plants. The two new medicine plants listened attentively, being reassured by the sounds of happy plant life near by. I realized in a flash that the key to the successful transplant was the community building among several plants, and many, if at all possible.

Like new puppies that have arrived from abused circumstances into the loving embrace of a new family with lots of pets, these two sit cautiously back, unobtrusive and humbled by their scars. Sore, confused, sad, but not for long. They listen to the whispers of their new family.

The Christmas cacti sing a shrill contralto, like the chorus of a hundred castrati crickets. The peruvianus hums a monotonous baritone with a significance only it knows. There is also an amaryllis growing on the table, it notes long as its leaves, rising slowly and crashing like the surf. An ivy plant with tiny pointy leaves ti-teetely-ti, ti-teetely-ti. A curly lavender tucked into the shade of a lower shelf was reciting sonnets to itself, while donkey's tail succulent next to it crooned sonnets to the lavender.

This riotous orchestra, spontaneous and unpretentious as a playground of imagining school kids was as subtle as a hypnogogic reverie. I had not heard it before, but I heard it now. The fabric of psychedelic reality was just as opaque, but now slightly less transparent, such that the patterns behind the scenes revealed themselves to the ashen background of a cloudy December's day through the one window.

Now I became aware of the nuances in the dimensions of life. Like elephants and whales bellowing to other members of their groups in sub-sonic call and answer, like apes grunting simple acknowledgments that delineate the geographic perimeter of their wall-less cities, these plants sing and are sung to. Their species are different, so their music is disorganized. There is not central conductor, genetically tuned to produce pecking order of the group.


Entheology in Jung

Entheology in Jung

By Brother Harmonius

Jung was a psychologist, and not an entheologist, if such a discipline even exists. However, Jung's writing overflows with the concept of "the spirit within." While making oblique reference to entheogens, without having actually used the rather modern term, we find passages such as this one:
As to the special nature of these substances, bread is undoubtedly a food. There is a popular saying that wine "fortifies," though not in the sense as a food "sustains." It stimulates and "makes glad the heart of man" by virtue of a certain volatile substance which has always been called "spirit." It is thus, unlike innocuous water, an "inspiriting" drink, for a spirit or god dwells within it and produces the ecstasy of intoxication.1

And again,
But, however sensible he was of the care and labour lavished upon them, man could hardly fail to observe that these cultivated plants gew and flourished according to an inner law of their own, and that there was a power at work in them which he compared to his own life breath or inner spirit. Frazer has called this principal, not unjustly, the "corn spirit."2

The closest Jung names this quality is the "vegetation numen."3

Jung wrote this in his essay Transformational Symbolism and the Mass, which, psychologically speaking, puts the worshipper in communion with the Holy Ghost.

Frazer had much to say about the “corn spirit,”4 much of it in relation to sacrifice in agrarian societies, but also totem animals which embody the corn spirit.5

1 Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion: West and East (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1958) p253, par.384
2 Ibid p254, par.385
3 op. cit.
4 Sir James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1951) p.508 “THE CORN-SPIRIT SLAIN IN HIS HUMAN REPRESENTATIVE”
5 Ibid p.518 Ch. XLVIII: The Corn-Spirit As An Animal


Consciousness: A human franchise?

Consciousness: A human franchise?

by Brother Harmonius

An estranged friend thought my future should lie in the social services. She, knowing what is best for me, said I should get a Master’s degree in Social Work, and pursue a career at a community center.

Notwithstanding that I have no visceral interest in such a course of education or occupation, I said that what I really wanted to do was to study psychology, especially the psychology of religion, in the form of something I had just heard about called Transpersonal Psychology. From all its descriptions, this was what I really had a passion for, and perhaps I can now name that passion that has driven me all along, especially since my earliest teens.

This might have been more than her Marxist-Socialist bent could stand, because it wasn’t long after that this friend stopped calling me, and no longer responded to my phone messages. I don’t know for sure that is the reason, there might have been other contributing factors, but I think she was disappointed with my impractical frivolity.

Why am I interested in the psychology of religion, and why shouldn’t I, in turn, play the anger card against my friend for not being interested in the same subject? Of course, I would not really be angry at anybody for not sharing my interests, and I don’t have the expectation that others should drop their present careers and become what I expect them to become.

More importantly, what redeeming worth is there in studying the Psychology of Religion, and why would it be anything less selfish than stamp collecting or lion taming?

I could not answer this question straight off, but I think I have stumbled upon the answer in Carl Jung’s first chapter of Volume 11 in his Collections series, titled appropriately enough, “Psychology and Religion”:

“My first lecture will be a sort of introduction to the problem of practical psychology and religion. The second is concerned with facts which demonstrate the existence of an authentic religious function in the unconscious. The third deals with the religious symbolism of unconscious processes.”1

There you have it, according to Jung, that what I am interested in is a legitimate and genetically quality of the human experience, an authentic function in the unconscious. I interpret this to mean that our innate religious function is no less vital and real than the need to eat or procreate. Perhaps it is unique to the human animal, and constitutes a much higher order of formal cognitive operations than survival functions, but then the human brain and psyche are fundamentally predisposed to activity other animals don’t manifest at all, or only at the most rudimentary levels.

I needn’t even provide references to skyscrapers, jet, or any contrivance of the industrial era as proof that humans put their conscious activity to the test. With regard to animals, you have chimps that coax termites out of their burrows with a twig; you have whales that sing or herd through sub-sonic vocalizations; and with elephants you have that, plus they can be taught to stroke a canvas with a paintbrush or beat a drum with a stick.

Yet, for all of that, these creatures have had plenty of evolutionary time to adapt further into more complicated behaviors, but they have not. Does this mean the animal cannot, or chooses not to really makes little difference to the repeatable hypothesis that human behavior is not static, but develops into more sophisticated operations upon its environment.

In no way am I diminishing the potential for animals to be conscious, and emotional creatures. I am certain that they are. There were two incidents of a young boy falling into a gorilla’s pen at a zoo. One incident took place in London, and another well documented incident happened in Chicago a few years ago. In the Chicago Zoo, incident, a four-year old boy fell quite a distance over the wall of the gorilla’s living space, and landed unconscious on the ground. A female gorilla stood by him, as if protectively, and even fended off some menacing male gorillas.

At one point the female reached with her backhand and gently touched the boy, and then sniffed her hand. Eventually zookeepers rescued the boy, who lived.

In another case, a film of some elephants walking a dusty African road, possibly at a preservation park, happened to cross paths with a tortoise. The poor tortoise retracted into its shell. An elephant put one foot on the tortoise’s back, as if to step, then amazingly stepped over the tortoise. After the herd’s passing, the tortoise “pulled itself together” and escaped. It would have had quite a tale to communicate to its own kin, if such a thing were possible.

Then there was the case of two female elephants kept apart for thirty years. One had the better fortune to be taken to an elephant sanctuary. Her friend was sold into a circus. But after the second elephant’s indenture, the woman who managed the sanctuary procured her. At first, there was concern about whether the two elephants would remember the other. Separate, adjoining pen spaces were provided.

It became immediately clear that the two remembered one another. Their trunks wrapped and groped, they bellowed, and the new arrival began pummeling the large steel gate that separated them. The sanctuary attendants had to open the gate, to prevent certain damage to the gate and possible damage to the elephants. Since their reunion, the two females never again separated.

The experimental chimp

The gray whales of baja

1 C.G. Jung, Psychology and Religion, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969) p.6:3.

Psychosomatic dream symbols

Psychosomatic dream symbols

(a reproduction of the incipit on a psychology web forum)

By Brother Harmonius

Elsewhere on this forum I posted examples of dream images that corresponded to physical disease. This theory can be extended also to anatomical distress (in a well known dream, the dreamer sees himself approaching the guillotine, and feels the guillotine blade come down on his neck. He awakes to find the headboard of his bed has fallen on him).

The first example I gave was another well-known dream, that of a woman who dreamed of a German shepherd and a red car, and later was diagnosed with German measles (rubella).

The second was my own dream, of a pig eating a carrot from a bunch of carrots, and shortly after I experienced a flare up of gout in my big toe.

In my response to another forum member who seems to have taken (an unfounded) dispute with the concept of psychosomatic dream analysis, I reminded him that dream symbols have an eternal nature, such that what we dreamt last night might not be revealed on the somatic level for days or weeks to come.

Another example comes from Jung, himself, that lends support to my statement. In his essay “A Study in the Process of Individuation” from Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (CW 9i) Jung analyzed a series of paintings by a “Miss X”. In painting 10, Miss X added images of crabs. An explanation of the crab symbol occupies a significant portion of Jung’s analysis of this painting (par. 604-608), and would be too cumbersome to reproduce the entirety of the section here. But, Jung finishes the section by saying,

“This is the psychological moment when, as the consensus gentium has established since ancient times, synchronistic phenomena occur—that is, when the far appears near: 16 years later, Miss X became fatally ill with cancer of the breast.”

Here’s another “cancer” dream that was told to me quite a few years ago, by a man who was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer, and has since passed on because of it:

As he told it to me, he dreamed of being getting on a chair lift, like the kind used at ski resorts. But in this case, the chair lift did not take him up a snowy mountain. Instead, it took him around a shallow pond, and very close to the surface of the water.

The chair picked him up under what he likened to an old covered bridge, painted red. A wooden shed type building. Instead of moving him up, the chair conveyed him horizontally. As it emerged from the building, a stagnant pond was just under his feet. It was filled with red colored algae and growth, like the kind one sees in de-oxygenated stagnant pools. But there was something else in the water. They looked like platelets, but they were crab shaped. He had a hard time explaining their precise shape, saying “crustacean-like” but irregularly shaped. The bottom of the shallow pond seemed crowded with moving, translucent shapes, which he alternately referred to as crustaceans and platelets (he told me to watch the 60s science fiction film “Fantastic Voyage” for an example of what they looked like). The subject said he did not want to fall out of the chair into the water, and was afraid the chair was getting lower and lower, closer and closer to the water as the chair conveyed him eventually to the end of his ride on the other side of the pond.

Two things struck me as significant about this dream. One was the obvious cancer-crab connection. The other was that this poor man was not diagnosed with cancer until far too late. In fact, he had undergone all manner of other diagnoses, including pneumonia, before the last diagnosis, only about six months before he passed on. It seems the stagnant pond, filled with red algae or anaerobic bacteria formations corresponds to the pneumonia component of his malady, while lurking below that, at the bottom of the water, was the cancer.


Three of Cups: Alchemical assimilation of the trinity

Three of Cups: Alchemical assimilation of the trinity

By Brother Harmonius

White red yellow – blue sky completes quaternity.

but no green, which Jung references in Psychology and Religion.

The problem here isn’t that blue is the odd color out, as it is in the dreams Jung used in his chapter on the patient’s religious dream. It’s that three of the four alchemical elements supposedly represent the “spirit” quality of fluidity: air, fire and water. Therefore, they correspond to the three offices of the trinity: the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost.

The fourth element, earth, is the unmoving element, and corresponds to the Virgin Mother, completing the quaternity.

We don’t see that in the Three of Cups, where the earth element is implied in the colors of one of the maidens’ gowns. In either of two decks, the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot card shows the girls garbed in red (fire), white (which must be water, since “air”, the sky, is already represented in the background), and brown or yellow (earth).

Furthermore, the absence of a green robe compounds the problem of reconciliation with Jung.

In terms of the colors and the cards, I think it would make sense to propose this assignment, to correspond with Jung:
Blue: air - east
Red: fire - south
Green: water - west
Yellow: earth – north

But in other aspects, aside from color, we can clearly see the representation of the trinity. For one thing, the young women are posed in an entanglement; each lifting their cups more or less equally, although it appears the girl in white is in the superior position. Each is in a kind of coordinated step, so that the center arrangement is in a fluid dynamic state.

Perhaps it would shed light on the meaning to get back to the essential meaning of cups, which is emotion, things of the heart, and soul.

In this case it’s easy to see the card represents a perfection of the emotional state, even a triumph of the heart. One is reminded of an author who completes a novel, and celebrates by toasting the completion.

So, now I’m wondering if the robe colors, white yellow and red should represent the fluidic elements in this case, the air, water and fire. Let’s assume they do. Now all we have to do is reconcile where the fourth element is, earth.

The three maidens, taken together might represent the Virgin of the earth. The archetypal spirit of the Virgin is in each of the three, in equal parts.






Ten of Pentacles: a Kabbalistic interpretation

Ten of Pentacles: a Kabbalistic interpretation

by Brother Harmonius

This Kabbalistic interpretation of the Ten of Pentacles is specific to the Rider-Waite-Smith card. I don't know if other interpretations resemble my own, but I would welcome that knowledge as a validation of my own perception.

Of course, in the arrangement of the ten pentacles superimposed over the domestic image we see an incontrovertible Tree of Life glyph, which obviates a Kabbalist rendering of the portrait.
The heart of my interpretation has to do with the dogs, which act as an axis mundi (or canis mundi, if you will), the hermetic medium between God (the old man) and humans (the child).

Note that both are petting the dogs. The child is not sitting on the old man's lap, the child and old man are not in direct contact with each other. In fact, the distance between the "enthroned" patriarch and the child is separated by the hounds. Replace the dog that the child is touching with "prayer," replace the dog the patriarch is touching with "grace" and what you have is an image of holy communion.

Therefore, what the Ten of Pentacles represents is a system of magic orderly and proper. The way people communicate themselves to God is through a go between, an agent of communication, which the dog represents. The two might speak a different language, or not speak at all, yet the message of the soul is relayed forth through the dogs. They are the alchemical flux, the interstitial connecting energy of the harmonious family.

As above, so below
The hypothetical reciprocating principal of the Tabula Smaragdina1 (Emerald Tablets of Hermes) is represented by the dynamic tension of the old man and the child, connected as they are by the dogs. Both dogs are facing the old man. Maybe the old man conceals a biscuit underneath his ornate cape (my humour—laugh). Or maybe each dog has its own function. The child is delivering his message to the old man through one dog, while the dog in the foreground awaits the old man's (God's) grace, to be delivered in turn to the child.

In this action, the dog represents an Archangel, for it is the Archangel that leads Enoch and Ezekiel to the seven layers of heaven. The Archangel Micha-el is the guardian of men. The Archangel Rapha-el is God's messenger.2

So, the canis mundi ("dog of the world") is the intermediary, the channel we must take in order to bring about personal success. That isn't just personal, by the way, because as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of the Zohar said, "one righteous soul can uphold the pillars of heaven." So, whenever the heavenly order is upheld at all,then universal harmony cannot be snuffed out, and total chaos and evil cannot prevail.

The card, some may impatiently remind us, isn't about making deals with God, it is about "arriving," and material stability, the harvest of a lifetime of familial accordance.

Yes, but that is really the most evident, sensational effect of universal concordance.

Now, look at the man and woman. They are not just talking and holding hands, but seem to be in a swirling kind of dance, just like the yin and yang components of the T'ai Chi. They also appear between the child and old man, as a kind of buffer zone. They represent order, as well, the universal compatibility of the feminine and masculine forces. The child can't "get around" the laws of nature, and we are the child, so neither can we!

The card is saturated with orderly progression. And, while it is a card portending good fortune, it is not like the kind of fortune of winning a lottery, but the kind of fortune that follows right action in a tedious, selfless natural system.

The man and woman remind me of gears or cogs in a machine. So do the dogs. There is no immediate effect; effects arise from circular and indirect interactions of the moving parts, requiring intermediate steps.

The way to God is by adhering to the physical laws of nature, and also by petitioning the angelic intermediaries whose business it is to traverse the rainbow bridge between heaven and earth.

1C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis. (Bolingen Series XX, The Collected Works of C.G.Jung, Vol. 14. 1963) p. 17, "II. That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of One Thing." The Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus (an unattributed translation in my electronic collection). Jung refers to Tabula Smaragdina, De alchemia, p.363, and also Tabula Smaragdina, Ruska, p. 2.
2Angelus, derived from Koine Greek: άνγελος, angelos, messenger


Page of Cups, the fish and Aion

Page of Cups, the fish, and Aion

by Brother Harmonius

I would like to speculate on the Page of Cups, and its connection to Aion: Researches into the phenomenology of the self, Bollingen Series XX (need we repeat this further?) Volume 9, ii of Jung's Collected Works.

That whole book (just call it Aion) is about the fish, the Piscean Age or Aion, and the Christ figure as an expression of complete self.

(B.T.W., to appreciate Jung, you needn't be a believer in the dogmatic, patristic form of Christianity. If anything, that makes for a more sensational Jung critic at the expense of plumbing Jungian theory's profound depth. Recognizing his heritage was neither Hindu nor Buddhist, Jung used Christianity as the logical allegory that contained all the elements within the scope of his theory. You might argue that, if that was the case, then why didn't he explain in terms of European paganism? Well, in fact he did, and often.)

Now, simply stated, the fish is an object of the unconscious. It is a thought, a problem, or an archetype that has its origins in the deep, where we can't see it, or are unaware of it. But, it's there alright.

The fish rises to the surface--that is, the unconscious object begins to materialize before our eyes. The Page is the contemplative self. We see this also with how the pages appear in the other suits, they look at, gaze, and are fascinated by the objects of their suit (but not the Page of Swords, who looks away, as toward an adversary).

It surfaces, we see it and recognize it, and thus is genius brought forth to the conscious awareness. The Page of Cups is the step just before integration of idea and ego takes place. The two objects are still polarized, not quite "hooked," but in a state that immediately precedes conjunction.

Carl Jung, Aion, p. 182:
In this respect the patristic allegory of the capture of Leviathan (with the cross as the hook, and the Crucified as the bait) is highly characteristic: a content (fish) of the unconscious (sea) has been caught and has attached itself to the Christ figure. Hence the expression used by St. Augustine: "de profundo levatus" (drawn from the deep).

I have idealistic fantasies of being with Jung in his study and showing him the Page of Cups, and discussing it with him. I would say, "don't you see? The Page is looking into the cup. Introspection, he sees the fish, an object of the unconscious rising to the surface, the Page sees the problem/solution."

I don't know how much Jung knew about the tarot, but I'm sure he would readily have picked up on the logical progression of the court cards, that the page symbolizes recognition or awareness, and the next card, the knight, carries the recognition of the idea (the fish) into action.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

As Autumn Approaches

I feel like Einstein working in the patent office. As Einstein worked out his theory of relativity while shuffling papers in Switzerland, because he had time on his hands, so, too, am I able to clarify the mystical experience, as I work in the media room for an institute of "enlightenment". I am now able to see the extreme forms of a path, an approach, or a system of philosophy. For example, the renunciation of material things: There are men in India who abandon all possessions, even clothing. This is the logical conclusion, and then, ofcourse, abandonment of the corporeal self (the body), to renunciation of material dependency.

What does it take to cultivate a better world, one where the best of the material and the best of the heavenly are agreeably blended? Must a Westerner retreat to India? Or, must a little bit of India visit the west? In fact, the western mystical traditions are different from the east, having evolved differently, the way creatures with an exoskeleton evolved differently from those with an endoskeleton. They share a broad, commmon similarity, i.e., head, thorax, abdomen, and jointed legs. They each have eyes located where you would expect eyes to be located, and also a brain and central nervous system. Therefore, the mystical experience is shared by all peoples, as we share the same Breath of Life. Yet, the book is written differently, from left to right, and in a different language. It occurs to me that one need not travel far to be able look within, or to know how to look within. The desire to know of the eternal is woven into the fabric of the self. The pattern changes among the tribes of man, so that the Hopi and the Hermetic both seek the Divine in their own way.

I, too, seek enlightenment in my own way, and I am in a fortuitous position of being free to discover my own way. I will have to write a book soon, to engrave the worth of my words upon the pleroma of civilization.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Sunflower

I was asked to describe God. I replied, "I cannot, for God is inconceivable." But, wait friend, because God is perceivable. We can know God, without conceiving of the Great Father. Better yet, we can even see God, or at least, when unable to see Him, we can see the shadow of His light as He passes. In all things, there is ebb and flo. I point to the sunflower, that you may form in your imagination how it is that we are connected to God, and thence, connected to one another. For, the sunflower is the perfect simple analogy of how we can be both separate entities, and still share the same common origin. We are the seeds; God is the flower. We are connected to the flower, as if it were a Great Mother. All life is connected to Her so. She is our basis, our platform, until our own spirits ripen and plant anew.

The sunflower represents both the finite and the infinite, the limited and the limitless. Look to her seed, they are numbered, yes? But the seeds, we cannot say, except arbitrarily, that they end
here, and the flower which raised it begins there. For, if the seed were pulled from its cradle before it should naturally ripen, would not the life blood of the flower spill a little there? It is a mystery that life commences from life, and this is also the secret of where our Creator lieth: within. As the life force of the sunflower issue from its roots, into its noble stem, and through to the very seeds which gain personality and distinction from one another, this too is the very image one should form to know how our Creator lives within each of us, equally.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thoughts on Exegesis on the Soul

My soul has indeed been up to no good, and must be reconditioned in order to receive the bridal chamber. What haunting memory have I, that I cannot even feel unashamed in thy Presence? How is it that I am played the part of both the defiler, and the defiled? A pollution is upon me, and I must not turn from it, but turn it out in the blood of my unselfish works.

I was given this soul, and this life, and I have turned it into a play thing. Oh, Father, Creator, Lord Jehovih above all, that you would see the childishness of my wisdom, in operating this imperfect vehicle?

I cannot long dwell on what might have been, had I been touched by spirit then. And even now, demons and lower spirits regularly will ply their influence over thee, and other sisters and brothers of mankind, in ways that make us ashamed in after years. I see your light, oh Lord, but I sometimes make it dim with dark thoughts of my own making. And then, I ask,
wherefore thy thought,
what night hath wrought,
this demon seed inside of thee?
Say this upon the entrance of your terrible idea, and it will dissolve. To ask from whence cometh the bloody idea, is to examine it with the light of truth, and from this the demon hides. It is when we unquestioningly follow the thread of the polluted one that we are his thrall.

Yeah, I have been a prostitute, and I have been the user of the prostitute, and my sould needs cleansing from her iniquity. This question of how, this is the Way. In seeking the solution, we hope to never find. In finding the solution, we have no need to seek.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How deep our roots

How far back can we trace revelation, and what exactly is it, anyway? Revelation is the hearing of intelligence, whether that intelligence is ours, or some other. We call it higher intelligence, because we assume that what is revealed about what had been unknown, must require a perception beyond the ability of mortal human.
We can see that revelation has hardly changed at all, but that the technology is better able to reflect the nuance of the experience. We see time and again how the typewriter, and the printing press before it, were the instruments of revealed scripture.
A question I have. Not the proof of the experience, but, trusting that time and again the phenomenon of prophecy returns to our age, how long have we been on this journey, and asking the same questions, praying the same pleas?