Astral Projection or Out of Body Experience

>> Sunday, December 28, 2008

Astral projection is defined as an experience in which we live in an altered state of consciousness as opposed to our normal waking state of consciousness. Maybe the closest experience we can relate to it is dreaming. Although some scholars disagree, astral projection is also called:

  • lucid dreaming
  • out-of-body experience (OOBE)
For the purposes of this article, we will not touch upon scientific views about OOBE (this one is shorter), but focus on what the occult has to say about it.

As a matter of fact, the term "astral projection" itself comes from occult views of this experience and implies the projection of one's self to the astral plane.     Occultists teach that the universe is a series of planes of matter and that the physical world we perceive with our senses is but one of a series of, usually seven, planes. Occultism teaches that,
  • our consciousness transcends our physical body
  • each of us is an immortal soul who has temporarily incarnated into the physical world
  • the universe is a series of planes and each plane is a world unto itself
  • each of us has facilities for interacting with at least 4 of these planes. These facilities are called "vehicles" or "bodies" and we have four of them:
  1. a physical body for interacting with the physical world (or plane),
  2. an astral body for interacting with the astral world/plane,
  3. a mental body for interacting with the mental world/plane,
  4. a buddhic body for interacting with the buddhic world/plane.
To an occultist, the act of astral projecting entails transferring one's consciousness to the astral body and exploring the astral plane. According to our common social beliefs, we are either atheists/materialists who do not think there is any such thing as a "soul", or we were raised with simple-minded ideas about God, Heaven and Hell.[1]

The senses of our physical body; our hearing, vision, taste, feeling, senses of heat and balance, smell, these senses define for us the physical world, and by definition, only allow us to perceive the physical world. Occultism, simply put, holds the view that there are energies that exist which we cannot perceive with our physical senses.

So far, this does not contradict the materialistic view as there are energies that can only be detected by machines like x-rays, radiation, etc. However, occultism goes beyond that and deviates considerably when it says we can perceive these energies without the aid of machines. By using our four bodies mentioned above, each on its own respective plane, the occultist claims not only these energies can be seen but there are whole worlds, full of life and activity, that is beyond the realm of science.

In occultism, each plane is typically a world full of all kinds of strange and exotic places and creatures with sights and sounds that dwarf anything we know of here in the physical world. Planes are also called dimensions, aethyrs, lokas and realms and they are:
  1. Physical Plane (which includes the Etheric Plane)
  2. Astral Plane
  3. Mental Plane
  4. Buddhic Plane
  5. Atmic Plane
  6. Anupadaka Plane
  7. Adi Plane
Humans can access only four of these planes.

[1] Donald J. DeGracia, OOBE Class Notes


Ancient Names of the Months

>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Latin       Hebrew  Turkish
-----       ------  -------
Januarius   Tevet   Ocak 
Februarius  Sevat   Subat
Martius     Adar    Mart 
Aprilis     Nissan  Nisan
Maius       Iyyar   Mayis
Junius      Sivan   Haziran 
Julius      Tammuz  Temmuz 
Augustus    Av      Agustos 
September   Eloul   Eylul 
October     Tishri  Ekim  
November    Hesvan  Kasim
December    Kislev  Aralik 

Assyrian    Babylon      Sumer
--------    -------      -----
Nabrum      Shabatu      Ziz
Mamitum     Tebetu       Ab-ba-e
Adarum      Adaru        Se-gur-ku
Mana        Nisanu       Bar-zag-ga
Aiarum      Ayaru        Gu-si-ga
Makranum    Simanu       Sig-ga
Dumuzi      Du'uzu       Su-nummun
Abum        Abu          Ne-ne-gar
Tirum       Ululu        Kin-ninni
Niqmum      Tashritu     Du
Kinunum     Arakh-samma  (S)apin-du-a
Thamkhirum  Kislimu      Gan-gan

Verify: All spellings, variants
Add: Persian and Asian(tr) dialects
Get: Tablet photos.


Of the Virtues of the Planets

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It is, therefore, advisable to know that the hours of the day and of the night together, are twenty-four in number, and that each hour is governed by one of the Seven Planets in regular order, commencing at the highest and descending to the lowest. The order of the Planets is as follows: ShBThAI, Shabbathai, Saturn; beneath Saturn is TzDQ, Tzedeq, Jupiter; beneath Jupiter is MADIM, Madim, Mars; beneath Mars is ShMSh, Shemesh, the Sun; beneath the Sun is NVGH, Nogah, Venus; beneath Venus is KVKB, Kokav, Mercury; and beneath Mercury is LBNH, Levanah, the Moon, which is the lowest of all the Planets.

It must, therefore, be understood that the Planets have their dominion over the day which approacheth nearest unto the name which is given and attributed unto them – viz., over Saturday, Saturn; Thursday, Jupiter; Tuesday, Mars; Sunday, the Sun; Friday, Venus; Wednesday, Mercury; and Monday, the Moon.

The rule of the Planets over each hour begins from the dawn at the rising of the Sun on the day which take its name from such Planet, and the Planet which follows it in order, succeeds to the rule over the next hour. Thus (on Saturday) Saturn rules the first hour, Jupiter the second, Mars the third, the Sun the fourth, Venus the fifth, Mercury the sixth, the Moon the seventh, and Saturn returns in the rule over the eighth, and the others in their turn, the Planets always keeping the same relative order.

Source: The Greater Key of Solomon, Translated From Ancient Manuscripts in The British Museum, London; By S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers; 1999, Emperor Norton Books, Cincinnati, OH. Edited by Benjamin Rowe.

Verify: Publisher and editor.
Search: Check exactly which manuscript was used for this part and its author and date.


Methodology of Occult and Beyond

>> Monday, December 15, 2008

Every researcher knows that keeping track of your documents, papers, essays, photographs, notes, etc is not a trivial task. I can not imagine how it was done before the availability of computers. After collecting a considerable amount of material, however, one comes to realize that organizing all of those is equally troublesome. Soon, you start looking for a software that can manage it for you because having them in electronic form is hardly practical if you can not make the connection among them.

I was luckier, though. I have never attempted to look for a program to organize my pile. I was already running two weblogs, so running a third one, this time to organize myself seemed like a good idea.

If you think about it, writing a blog about your research has many advantages over traditional methods: You can make it public or private, you can share it with your colleagues in order to facilitate collaboration just to name a few. But where a blog shines most is the interactivity, its commenting system. Readers can point you to what you are missing, correct your mistakes, and even thank you for your efforts. Has there ever been a better motivator than appreciation?

After writing three posts, I suddenly realized that I have been creating another monstrosity where it would still be difficult to find what you needed and to build and establish missing links. So, I decided to give a second thought about the design of the blog.

First, I had decided to use the "labels" function of Blogger exclusively but came to the conclusion that it would not be enough. It only listed my posts whereas there could be other material available on the net. If I added a "tags" function, I could make use of those, too. To my knowledge two social bookmarking sites had the capacity to crawl most of the net and they were and Technorati. If I could dump all those related posts into my blog, it would be wonderful. Alas, it proved too difficult for my skill set among other things. So instead of reproducing them here, I took the easier approach and decided to go (take you) there.

So, which one was I to choose? Personally, I like the interface of Del.ici.ous more, it is not cluttered, clean and easy to navigate. But it has a flaw (with respect to what I intend): it does not have a summary or excerpt area that posts are automatically fetched or I missed it. Whereas Technorati has this feature and it is as commonly used by bloggers as the former.

In the days to come, I will slowly but surely upload everything I have, notes, articles, pages or excerpts from the books, photos, tables, diagrams, etc, and carefully tag them. The downside of this approach is some of the material will inevitably be duplicates where you can find elsewhere on the net. That is bad. Yet, if you are interested in the subject, or suddenly take interest, the tags will be there for you. Clicking on one of them will take you to all the blog posts tagged with your choice of keyword. This, I hope, will slightly correct the annoying problem of duplication and give all a better user experience. Some, although available in hard copy, will not be on line and in that case, you will be reading the first electronic copy of something.

Of course, my idea is not to dump everybody else's work here and do nothing else. I will post my own articles in between

One final clarification: the label "uncategorized" is reserved for posts similar to this one whereas the ones under the label "unsorted" will be later - you guessed it - sorted.


A Trip of the Mind

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

cover dogma et rituel de la haute magie, eliphas levi
Stay, take this book! Glance at the seventh page, then seat yourself on the mantle which I am spreading, and let each of us cover our eyes with one of its corners . . . . Your head swims, does it not, and the earth seems to fly beneath your feet? Hold tightly, and do not look right or left . . . . The vertigo ceases: we are here. Stand up and open your eyes, but take care before all things to make no Christian sign and to pronounce no Christian words. We are in a landscape of Salvator Rosa, a troubled wilderness which seems resting after a storm. There is no moon in the sky, but you can distinguish little stars gleaming in the brushwood, and may hear about you the slow flight of great birds, which seem to whisper strange oracles as they pass.

Let us approach silently that crossroad among the rocks. A harsh, funereal trumpet winds suddenly, and black torches flare up on every side. A tumultuous throng is surging round a vacant throne: all watch and wait. Suddenly they cast themselves on the ground. A goat-headed prince bounds forward among them; he ascends the throne, turns, and assuming a stooping posture, presents to the assembly a human face, which everyone comes forward to salute and to kiss, their black taper in their hands. With a hoarse laugh he recovers an upright position, and then distributes gold, secret instructions, occult medicines and poisons to his faithful bondsmen. Meanwhile, fires are lighted of fern and alder, piled up with human bones and the fat of executed criminals. Druidesses, crowned with wild parsley and vervain, immolate unbaptized children with golden knives and prepare horrible love-feasts. Tables are spread, masked men seat themselves by half-nude females, and a Bacchanalian orgy begins; there is nothing wanting but salt, the symbol of wisdom and immortality. Wine flows in streams, leaving stains like blood; obscene advances and abandoned caresses begin. A little while, and the whole assembly is beside itself with drink and wantonness, with crimes and singing. They rise, a disordered throng, and form infernal dances . . . . Then come all legendary monsters, all phantoms of nightmare; enormous toads play inverted flutes and thump with paws on flanks; limping scarabaei mingle in the dance; crabs play the castanets; crocodiles beat time on their scales; elephants and mammoths appear habited like Cupids and foot it in the ring: finally, the giddy circles break up and scatter on all sides . . . . Every yelling dancer drags away a disheveled female . . . . Lamps and candles formed of human fat go out smoking in the darkness . . . . Cries are heard here and there, mingled with peals of laughter, blasphemies and rattlings in the throat. Come, rouse yourself: do not make the sign of the cross! See, I have brought you home. You are in your bed, not a little worn out, possibly a trifle shattered, by your night's journey and its orgy; but you have beheld that of which everyone talks without knowledge; you have been initiated into secrets no less terrible than the grotto of Triphonius; you have been present at the Sabbath. It remains for you now to preserve your wits, to have a wholesome dread of the law, and to keep at a respectful distance from the Church and her faggots.

Eliphas Levi, Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie; translated to English by A. E. Waite; Rider & Company, England, 1896; Introduction, pp. 4-5


Tantric Concepts in Western Occultism

>> Saturday, December 13, 2008

Many elements of Tantric magic have become absorbed into the general magical lore of the West. Such elements include concepts such as Kundalini, the Chakras, Karma, Yoga, etc. Concepts such as the Chakras have been widely taken up by new agers and spiritualists, many of whom would be horrified if told of the roots of these concepts in tantrism. To think of Tantra only in terms of sexual rites is a gross oversimplification. In fact, Tantrism is a complete magical system in itself, incorporating a wide variety of magical methods and metaphysics.

The dodgy reputation of Tantra is partly due to the efforts of the European chroniclers of Indian religious life. The Abbé Dubois for example, author of the seminal work on Hindu life, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies (1807), wrote in much detail of the "abominable debaucheries" of sakti worship. The Abbé's work contained the first detailed account of the orgiastic ritual that came to be known as cakrapuja (circle-worship), and his book did much to fix the European notion that Hindus were depraved. The Abbé's descriptions of sakti worship was passed down from author to author, and still colours some modern notions of Tantra. Similarly, the Rev. William Ward, writing of famous tantric texts such as the Yoni Tantra, reverted to asterisks occasionally whilst describing "...things too abominable to enter the ears of man, and impossible to be revealed to a Christian public..." By the mid-Nineteenth Century, Tantra has acquired the glamour which surrounds it even today - of 'forbidden rites', 'orgiastic ceremonies', 'ritual murder' and 'oriental mysteries'.

Another is the influence of organisations such as the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. When many Indian esoteric concepts were imported into Western occultism, they were mutilated in the process. Phil Hine[1] gives the example of Chakras to illusrate this process:

Chakras have become a fairly basic element of what is known as the Western Esoteric Tradition. So much so in fact, that it is more or less taken for granted that the Chakras have some factual basis for existence. The original tantric texts which describe the varying systems of Chakras (some describe six, others, seven, nine, or even eleven) use a great deal of symbolic language and metaphor, much of which western authors have mistakenly taken literally. Sir John Woodroffe, in his book The Serpent Power, gives an example of this when he presents a critique of C.W Leadbeater's book The Inner Life. Leadbeater claims to have counted the number of petals of the Sahasrara Chakra and says that the number is not 1,000, as is often given in tantric texts, but exactly 960. Woodroffe points out that the Indian use of "thousand" is a metaphor for a great magnitude, and not a literal count. Leadbeater has mistaken a metaphorical statement for a literal one, which makes nonsense of his assertion. Unfortunately, many Theosophical notions such as this are passed from book to book.

It was largely the Theosophical Society who spread the notion that the so-called Left-Hand Path of Tantrism was tantamount to Black Magic, due to the prevalence of sexual gnosis. For Theosophists, as much as their Christian brethren, there was no way that sensual enjoyment could be seen as 'spiritual' in any sense.

Hine finds a third source of obfuscation has been the somewhat biased work of scholars, both European and Indian. According to some scholars, particularly those influenced by orthodox Hindu or Western ideas, Tantra was a degeneration from the rarefied atmosphere of Yoga, into witchcraft, alchemy, and astrology. This is erroneous. There is an increasing body of evidence pointing to the emergence of Tantra from the rituals and concerns of the tribal peoples. A very early Tantric manuscript, the Kubjika Tantra, written in the sixth century, is concerned with the rituals of potters. From the prehistoric period, the pot has been the symbol of the Great Mother goddess. Some scholars believe that Tantra emerged from the blending of alchemy and agricultural magic.

Finally, he says, the image of Tantrism has been colored by the antagonism of modern India. Indian attitudes towards the sensual have shifted considerably, due to the influence of first Islamic, then Anglo-Saxon prejudice. Professor Bharati, in his classic work The Tantric Tradition, remarks that 'official Indian culture', as formulated by Vivekananda, Gandhi and Radakrishnan, very much considered Tantrism to be very much beyond the pale. Alain Daniélou, in the introduction to his translation of the Kama Sutra, notes that:

Mahatma Gandhi, educated in England, sent squads of his disciples to smash the erotic representations on the temples. ...Pandit Nehru was irritated by my having photographed and published the photographs of sculptures showing homosexual relations, dating from the eleventh century, when he claimed that such vices in India were due to Western influence.

It is widely believed that, although Tantra as we know it is largely a medieval phenomenon, that this 'revival' is a direct descendent of Palaeolithic Goddess worship, and that its magical and psycho-sexual practices evolved from a wide variety of cults and mystery schools.

[1]Phil Hine, Aspects of Tantra


Less Explored Paths

The world of the occult has always intrigued mankind. From the people of science - Isaac Newton comes to mind - to the old lady home, many have been drawn to it. When science proves inadequate to explain, religion becomes too vague or offers another unknown to define, the need to understand, explore, and ultimately conquer sort of pushes human mind to traverse in the labyrinths of the occult.

There is a rich occult literature and various practices are seen across the world. This surely deserves attention from a social and cultural perspective, if nothing else. And they do affect our lives. I do not know any one who has not looked her horoscope or not been charmed by a division of the occult let us say, at one moment in her life.

So, here we are. In this rather isolated corner of the cob web of bytes and electrons, a journey to the unknown, the undefined, sometimes fascinating, at times outright scary begins. To the less explored paths.

"It is the mark of an educated man to entertain an idea without accepting it." -- Aristotle

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