May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!
I've often thought that there isn't any I at all; that we are simply the means of expression of something else; that when we think we are ourselves, we are simply the victims of a delusion.
But it so happens that everything on this planet is, ultimately, irrational; there is not, and cannot be, any reason for the causal connexion of things, if only because our use of the word reason already implies the idea of causal connexion. But, even if we avoid this fundamental difficulty, Hume said that causal connexion was not merely unprovable, but unthinkable; and, in shallower waters still, one cannot assign a true reason why water should flow down hill, or sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Attempts to explain these simple matters always progress into a learned lucidity, and on further analysis retire to a remote stronghold where every thing is irrational and unthinkable.If you cut off a man's head, he dies. Why? Because it kills him. That is really the whole answer. Learned excursions into anatomy and physiology only beg the question; it does not explain why the heart is necessary to life to say that it is a vital organ. Yet that is exactly what is done, the trick that is played on every inquiring mind. Why cannot I see in the dark? Because light is necessary to sight. No confusion of that issue by talk of rods and cones, and optical centres, and foci, and lenses, and vibrations is very different to Edwin Arthwait's treatment of the long-suffering English language.Knowledge is really confined to experience. The laws of Nature are, as Kant said, the laws of our minds, and, as Huxley said, the generalization of observed facts.It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is absurd to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fair to say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and so perceived it to be impossible. You might as well claim that, as you had taken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that the pictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a different way.You do not see why the skull of a parricide should help you to raise a dead man, as you do not see why the mercury in a thermometer should rise and fall, though you elaborately pretend that you do; and you could not raise a dead man by the aid of the skull of a parricide, just as you could not play the violin like Kreisler; though in the latter case you might modestly add that you thought you could learn.This is not the special pleading of a professed magician; it boils down to the advice not to judge subjects of which you are perfectly ignorant, and is to be found, stated in clearer and lovelier language, in the Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley.
Further, an excess of legislation defeats its own ends. It makes the whole population criminals, and turns them all into police and police spies. The moral health of such a people is ruined for ever; only revolution can save it.
Am I right in suggesting that ordinary life is a mean between these extremes, that the noble man devotes his material wealth to lofty ends, the advancement of science, or art, or some such true ideal; and that the base man does the opposite by concentrating all his abilities on the amassing of wealth?'Exactly; that is the real distinction between the artist and the bourgeois, or, if you prefer it, between the gentleman and the cad. Money, and the things money can buy, have no value, for there is no question of creation, but only of exchange. Houses, lands, gold, jewels, even existing works of art, may be tossed about from one hand to another; they are so, constantly. But neither you nor I can write a sonnet; and what we have, our appreciation of art, we did not buy. We inherited the germ of it, and we developed it by the sweat of our brows. The possession of money helped us, but only by giving us time and opportunity and the means of travel. Anyhow, the principle is clear; one must sacrifice the lower to the higher, and, as the Greeks did with their oxen, one must fatten and bedeck the lower, so that it may be the worthier offering.
Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness.
Indubitably, Magick is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgement and practice than in any other branch of physics.
Woe to that seven months abortion who thinks to take advantage of the accidents of birth, and, mocking the call of duty, sneaks off to stare at a wall in China!
I seem to remember asking myself if I was insane, and answering, ''Of couse I am - sanity is a compromise. Sanity is the thing that keeps one back.
Don't talk for five minutes, there's a good chap! I've a strange feeling come over me--almost as if I were going to think!
First of all, you must never speak of anything by its name -- in that country. So, if you see a tree on a mountain, it will be better to say 'Look at the green on the high'; for that's how they talk -- in that country. And whatever you do, you must find a false reason for doing it -- in that country. If you rob a man, you must say it is to help and protect him: that's the ethics -- of that country. And everything of value has no value at all -- in that country. You must be perfectly commonplace if you want to be a genius -- in that country. And everything you like you must pretend not to like; and anything that is there you must pretend is not there -- in that country. And you must always say that you are sacrificing yourself in the cause of religion, and morality, and humanity, and liberty, and progress, when you want to cheat your neighbour -- in that country.Good heavens! cried Iliel, 'are we going to England?
The priestess of Artemis took hold of her almost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a languid ecstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kept her mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory on which her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God.
Beauty is itself so unattainable that it escapes altogether; and the true artist, like the true Mystic, can never rest
To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. [....] The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
Lisa was thinking, as she climbed the apparently unending staircase, the she had taken pretty long odds. She had not hesitated to buck the Tiger, Life. Simon Iff had warned her that she was acting on impulse. But--on the top of that--he had merely urged her to be true to it. She swore once more that she would stick to her guns. The black mood fell from her. She turned and looked upon the sea, now far below. The sun, a hollow orb of molten glory, hung quivering in the mist of the Mediterranean; and Lisa entered for a moment into a perfect peace of spirit. She became once with Nature, instead of a being eternally at war with it.
In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.
Each being is, exactly as you are, the sole centre of a Universe in no wise identical with, or even assimilable to, your own. The impersonal Universe of Nature is only an abstraction, approximately true, of the factors which it is convenient to regard as common to all. The Universe of another is therefore necessarily unknown to, and unknowable by, you; but it induces currents of energy in yours by determining in part your reactions. Use men and women, therefore, with the absolute respect due to inviolable standards of measurement; verify your own observations by comparison with similar judgements made by them; and, studying the methods which determine their failure or success, acquire for yourself the wit and skill required to cope with your own problems.
It is a terrible error to let any natural impulse, physical or mental, stagnate. Crush it out, if you will, and be done with it; or fulfil it, and get it out of the system; but do not allow it to remain there and putrefy. The suppression of the normal sex instinct, for example, is responsible for a thousand ills. In Puritan countries one inevitably finds a morbid preoccupation with sex coupled with every form of perversion and degeneracy.
When you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex instinct is God.”-Review of Ida Craddock’s “Heavenly Bridegrooms
The love and war in the previous injunctions are of the nature of sport, where one respects, and learns from the opponent, but never interferes with him, outside the actual game. To seek to dominate or influence another is to seek to deform or destroy him; and he is a necessary part of one's own Universe, that is, of one's self.
I do not think we were afraid of death, life had become such an infinitely boring alternation between a period of stimulation which failed to stimulate and of depression which hardly even depressed.
For, indeed, this is the great horror, solitude, when the soul can no longer bathe in the ever-changing mind, laugh as its sunlit ripples lap its skin, but, shut up in the castle of a few thoughts, paces its narrow prison, wearing down the stone of time, feeding on its own excrement. There is no star in the blackness of that night, no foam upon the stagnant and putrid sea. Even the glittering health that the desert brings to the body, is like a spear in the soul's throat. The passionate ache to act, to think: this eats into the soul like a cancer. It is the scorpion striking itself in its agony, save that no poison can add to the tortue of the circling fire; no superflux of anguish relieve it by annihilation. But against these paroxisms is an eightfold sedative. The ravings of madness are lost in soundless space; the struggles of the drowning man are not heeded by the sea.
The nails from a suicide's coffin, and the skull of the parricide, were of course no trouble; for Vesquit never traveled without these household requisites.
The word of sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell.
To resist and subdue Nature is to make for one's self a personal and imperishable life: it is to break free from the vicissitudes of Life and Death.
O bid these strangers go ;Turn to my lips till their cup overflow ;Hurt me with kisses, kill me with desire,Consume me and destroy me with the fireOf bleeding passion straining at the heart,Touched to the core by sweetnesses that smart ;Bitten by fiery snakes, whose poisonous breathSwoons in the midnight, and dissolves to death !
The Magician should devise for himself a definite technique for destroying evil. The essence of such a practice will consist in training the mind and the body to confront things which case fear, pain, disgust, shame and the like. He must learn to endure them, then to become indifferent to them, then to become indifferent to them, then to analyze them until they give pleasure and instruction, and finally to appreciate them for their own sake, as aspects of Truth. When this has been done, he should abandon them, if they are really harmful in relation to health and comfort.
No recorded vision is perfect, of high visions, for the seer must keep either his physical organs or his memory in working order. And neither is capable. There is no bridge. One can only be conscious of one thing at a time, and as the consciousness moves nearer to the vision, it loses control of the physical and mental.
To knot a sentence up properly, it has to be thought out carefully, and revised. New phrases have to be put in; sudden changes of subject must be introducted; verbs must be shifted to unsuspected localities; short words must be excised with ruthless hand; archaisms must be sprinkled like sugar-plums upon the concoction; the fatal human tendency to say things straightforwardly must be detected and defeated by adroit reversals; and, if a glimmer of meaning yet remain under close scrutiny, it must be removed by replacing all the principal verbs by paraphrases in some dead language.
The fact is that very few of us know what words mean; fewer still take the trouble to enquire. We calmly, we carelessly assume that our minds are identical with that of the writer, at least on that point; and then we wonder that there should be misunderstandings!The fact is (again!) that usually we don't really want to know; it is so very much easier to drift down the river of discourse, lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily, In the noonday sun.Why is this so satisfactory? Because although we may not know what a word means, most words have a pleasant or unpleasant connotation, each for himself, either because of the ideas or images thus begotten, of hopes or memories stirred up, or merely for the sound of the word itself.
I thought I would stand myself a little dinner. I hadn't quite enough sense to know that what I really wanted was human companions. There aren't such things. Every man is eternally alone. But when you get mixed up with a fairly decent crowd, you forget that appalling fact for long enough to give your brain time to recover from the acute symptoms of its disease - that of thinking.
This is my real bed-rock objection to the eastern systems. They decry all manly virtue as dangerous and wicked, and they look upon Nature as evil. True enough, everything is evil relatively to Adonai; for all stain is impurity. A bee's swarm is evil — inside one's clothes. Dirt is matter in the wrong place. It is dirt to connect sex with statuary, morals with art.Only Adonai, who is in a sense the True Meaning of everything, cannot defile any idea. This is a hard saying, though true, for nothing of course is dirtier than to try and use Adonai as a fig-leaf for one's shame.To seduce women under the pretense of religion is unutterable foulness; though both adultery and religion are themselves clean. To mix jam and mustard is a messy mistake.