Received my proof copies of The Magickal Union of East and West today!
The first 50 pages of the Magickal Union of East & West are now available for browsing via the Llewellyn Worldwide website. You are also able to pre-oder both the physical and electronic editions of the book via various sites. Contact your favorite book dealer and let them know you want to reserve your copy today!
“The mantras that form the girdle and necklace of the Goddess, the sacred garland of letters which form her secret names are known only to Initiates. It has been said that all mantras, originally, were words or sounds uttered by the entranced suvasini, hence great care was (and is) taken to note down exactly what escapes her lips during the critical stage of the rite. […] Not only were her most casual words revered as mantric, her gestures also were regarded as sacred mudras indicative of the power with her and of the state of tumescence she had attained.” Kenneth Grant, Cults of the Shadow
The pre-order page is up and running. Get your discounted orders in ahead of time!
It was Nietzsche that said “when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” (Beyond Good and Evil). Mystics and adepts of western esoteric traditions have long been aware of this principle, although rarely have individuals taken their path to such visceral levels, emphasizing instead the LVX of the Tree of Life and the dayside or Solar mysteries of the Holy Guardian Angel. This is the beginning of the path.
Once armed at all points, the journey to the depths of existence must commence in earnest. Certain advanced occult groups and individuals have made the exploration of the Void their focus; due to the very nature of such work, they tend to function as specialized cells forming secretive networks of travelers and explorers across space and time. For such, the distant stars and endless gulf of space are a matrix of time travel and indeed the very face of the Abyss, looking within.
The tantriks of Vajrayana and Hindu Vamamarga traditions have opened gateways to the Beyond and looked deep past frontiers of the known into that primal radiant darkness. In the cremation ground sadhanas of the Dark Goddess, the extra-temporal eternity of the Kalachakra, and the eternal presence of Dzogchen are embodiments of this secret tradition.
It is the artist perhaps that most directly opens to these grand vistas, and has the capacity to communicate what thy have experienced on the other side. Whether with visual, musical or poetic, the artist cohabitates most intimately with that nameless Void. As with the myth of Prometheus, stealing fire from the Gods and bringing it back to humanity, the artist travels to such realms of the empyream as are only glimpsed fleetingly by dayside consciousness. The artist conquers their fear and hesitation, leaping forward into the Unknown, and brings back such dark fruits as their capacity will permit.
One such artist working today is Malvika Jay. Her 13 Dimensional Art project is described by the artist as “(awakening) Fantastic, metaphysical and surrealistic subject matter, kaleidoscopic, fractal or paisley patterns, bright and/or highly contrasting colours, extreme depth of detail or stylisation of detail.” I would go further and say that what she has managed to convey oftentimes defies the minds capacity to analyze and label. The shadows drip like liquid light into vaguely recognizable forms, then again dissolve before your eyes only to recombine again into something else, something other. The closer you look, the more you realize that what was initially familiar is truly otherworldly, as new connections, new shadows radiate out into a spectrum of color that is not of this earth. This work is alive, and breathing, and right in front of your face. Even should you look away it is too late, for it has met your eyes and continues to stare deep into your soul, long after the visual image has subsided.
Do check out her ongoing magick that acts as gateways to other dimensions, time travel, extra-terrestrial and multi-dimensional entities, non-euclidean visions… Come close and warm yourself by the Fire she has stolen from the Stars. Look closely; you will be forever changed by what you see looking back at you.
This is taken from a colleagues post elsewhere:
One of my mentors paraphrases Siva Sutra 3.13 this way: “A Siddha lives in total freedom.”
My mentor comments further: The state of a Siddha is the state of freedom.
For the embodied soul there are only two possibilities. One is the state of bondage in which he loses the awareness of his nature, his glory, his power of understanding, and becomes contracted. He feels, “I am small, I am a sinner, I am subject to birth and death.” His own outlook is the thing that shrinks him day by day. As he meditates on and ponders his own limitations, he becomes completely bound.
The other possibility is the state of absolute freedom. By the grace of the Guru, a person’s inner Sakti is awakened through the process of shaktipat. Unfolding, his Sakti fills him with consciousness, and he is gradually freed from cravings and desires, the pull of the sense organs, and from all limited states. He achieves total union with the supreme Self.
A person who has achieved mastery over his senses and their objects is called a Siddha. One who sees this world, which the ignorant experience as full of sorrow, to be the outer sport of Parasakti is a Siddha. One who has risen above the three bodies and their corresponding states is a Siddha. One who has rid himself of notions of acceptance and rejection and has burned away the imaginary distinctions of virtue and sin, enjoyment and liberation, worldliness and spirituality in the fire of inner knowledge is a Siddha. That great soul regards all the thoughts that arise within him, whether good or bad, as the stirrings of the Self. One who has become the universe, the Lord of the universe, and the Soul of the universe; one who is his own path and his own destination; one who is fully active and yet supremely inactive; one who is aware “I am Siva” – he is a Siddha.
So ends the commentary.
Who is this astonishing feminine presence
dancing in the universal field of battle?
Truly naked, eternally sixteen,
with magnificent dignity she stands
on the breast of Absolute Reality
that assumes the aspect of snow-white Shiva,
his body also naked truth
as he sleeps in supernal contemplation
All blood ever shed in sacrifice or conflict
streams down her brilliant black limbs
like crimson blossoms floating on dark waters.
Her face is diamond bright, clearer than the full moon.
Infinite wisdom energy pulsates
through her mysterious blackness.
Her powerful wisdom laughter
awakens and heals,
flowing in wave after wave of sweet nectar.
This poet is overwhelmed,
singing with tears of rapture:
“Those who long for conscious union with reality
should meditate with constancy
on the dark blue lotus feet of Kali,
enshrined in the secret heart of humanity,
ensuring the liberation of all finite beings
from the illusion of finitude.”
An insightful new post from Phil Hine on the Holy Order of Krishna – do check it out!
Founded in 1905 by Dr. T. R. Sanjivi in Tinnevelly, South India with “the sole purpose of educating people to culture the light that is latent in one and all,” the Latent Light Culture and its inner order The Holy Order of Krishna teach practical yoga methods based of an esoteric and initiated interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita.
The founding material of the organization from the 1920’s is attributed to the mysterious author “Bhikshu”, and contains a strong influence of Thelema and the writings of Aleister Crowley mixed in with the initiated tantrik teachings of the Gita.
A few excerpts:
“Act Thou, therefore, when opportunity confronts you; responding to it, meeting it bravely, utilising it, actively. ‘Do what thou wilt’, say the Masters, ‘Shalt be the whole of the Law,’ of Dharma of Karma — only he who doeth is the Karmi; he who wills to do and doeth is the Karma Yogi; the Deed is the Karma, his future, his Destiny the harvest of his Thoughts and Acts. Your Deed is the expression of your will, the will in you; say then to yourself ‘I Will’ and Act. So acting shalt thou not sin, says the Lord Krishna.”
“In this then shall be the Ordinanace (Sastra) for you Karma Yogi, in the dictum of ‘Do what thou wilt’ which shalt be for thee the whole of the law, teaching you comprehensively what to do, what to avoid, this the only ordinance; ‘do what thou wilt, then do nothing else’; we shall repeat it constantly, without end, that you may be unified of will, that in all your act you may bring all the universe that is of you, that in your act the whole of you and not the puny portion of you miscalled ‘I’ at the threshold, at the outer gate of consciousness, may act, and impress itself on the even that anyhow must be.”
“The first and greatest of all priveledges is to have accepted the Law of the Gita: Yatha Ichchhasi Tatha Kuru (Do What Thou Wilt) – to have become free and independent and to have destroyed all fear, whether of custom, faith, of other men and of death itself. “Fear not at all, fear neither men, nor fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor the laughter of the frivolous folk nor any other power in heaven, upon the earth or under the earth.”
– From the grade paper of the First Degree of the Holy Order of Krishna.
Sadly the organization today seems to shy away from the more esoteric traditions that it was founded on, although the grade papers still show influences of Thelema. Deeper material such as the ritual magic of the Sri Vidya encoded into the Ananda Lahari (the Wave of Bliss, which consists of the first 41 verses of the Soundarya Lahari) is mixed in with a new spiritual interpretation of the Gita.
Reflecting on the idea of the usual roles between sadhaka and Devi reversing themselves (see my earlier post), it brought to mind the manifestations of bhava that occur in devotees of the Goddess (often arising from bhakti). This is very much a type of possession, where the Devi experiences through the body and senses of the individual.
June McDaniels excellent study Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal is highly recommended in this regard. An excerpt:
One form of spontaneous possession is found more frequently in practitioners of tantra and bhakti yoga. This is colloquially called bhava, short for devabhava (a general term for divine state or state of unity with a deity) or bhavavesha (the state of being overwhelmed or possessed by bhava). Bhava combines possession and devotional love, allowing the possessed person to retain consciousness in the midst of the goddess’s power and presence. It shows intense love of a deity, and a person’s humility and willingness to submit to the goddess.
Bhava is a tangible gift of the goddess, for as She manifests in the devotee they experience the divine bliss of Her presence in their very body. As the Shakta poet Ramprasad wrote, “Whoever gazes upon this radiant blackness falls eternally in love.”
om mahakalyai ca vidmahe smasana vasinyai ca dhimahi tanno kali pracodayat
(“Om we contemplate on the Great Goddess who takes away Darkness, we contemplate She Who Resides in the Cremation Grounds, may that Goddess direct!”)
Jai Kali Maa!
Her eyes are black
and infinity stares into me from them
Her red lips are parted in a smile,
showing her brilliant white teeth
and her red tongue hanging out with intoxication
of celestial love
I am drunk on you
before even first tasting the patra
I am drunk on your love
the blood from your lips
is honey in my mouth
warm and coruscating though every part of my body
my heart is a burning ground
where I love you
I give myself to you completely
your name is ecstasy to me
every syllable, every letter
drips nectar into my soul
in union with you
everything is Bliss
the doorway to that radiant Night
the mirror of that infinite kiss
releases lies of separation
take my head, Kali!
drink deep my blood that I may be with you
this bliss is an outer garment
a play a dance a song
of your radiant eternal night
Generally speaking, the sadhaka will be placing life into the murti on the shrine with prana pratishta after a series of ritual acts of purifying and energizing your body. The elements are purified and activated with bhuta shuddhi. The energetic levels are equilibrated with pranayama. Mantras and accompanying mudras are given. Light, incense, water, flowers, the very Self is presented as offering. The divine aspect is projected out with the breath into the statue, often onto a flower either physical or visualized; the cold statue becomes divinized, the Goddess is present, and worshipped accordingly.
That is not what is happening. Continue reading “I am Her murti”
June McDaniel’s The Madness of Saints: Ecstatic Religion in Bengal gives a detailed explanation of the contrast between the traditional and formal approach of the right hand path, and the truly bacchanalian and chaotic spontanaity of the left hand:
The path of progression is associated with Jame’s lysis or gradual approach. It emphasizes order and harmony, and the divine is reached by self-control and obedience. The god is most present in the greatest purity — of self, of place, of statue. Such purity involved loyalty to lineage and tradition, acceptance of hierarchy and authority, and ritual worship and practice. Ecstasy is attained by faith and learning, by acceptance of dharma, and avoidance of siddhis (powers) and self-glorification. Such a path is yogic and devotional, and called in Bengal sastriya dharma, the path of scriptural injunctions.
The path of breakthrough is associated with Jame’s crisis, or abrupt change. It emphasizes chaos and passion, and the divine is reached by unpredictable visions and revelations. The presence of deity is not determined by ritual purity — the god may be found in pure situations, but also at the burning ground, at the toilet, in blood and sexuality, in possessions and ordeals. Initiation and lineage do not determine experience — often there is a “jumping” of gurus — where different gurus are followed at different times. The criterion of status is neither yogic knowledge nor ritual skill, bur rather bhava, the ecstatic state that comes with experience of the divine. Such states are called sahaja (natural and spontaneous) or svabhavika (unique to particular individual). The path is more generally called asastriya, or not according to the scriptures.
While these two general approaches apply to the work as a whole, it is also interesting to note that in the tantrik sadhana and specifically with the ritual of panchatattva, both are combined. There is a lineage of instruction and ritual technique, which if persisted in deeply will transform into spontaneity and unpredictability. In this sense, the tantras have encoded into them the essence of developing spontaneous creativity as well as providing the means to forge the link to the true Guru. Tantra, followed sincerely and with all that one is, is a fast and direct path of realization that is unique to every person, while still growing out of known forms and traditions of lineage.
From the tantrik commentary by Curwen (quoted in Beyond the Mauve Zone):mamsa still continues to be flesh; meena still floats like fish in the water by which it is surrounded; mudras are secrets to all but initiates and cannot be communicated ecept by word of mouth and face to face with the Guru; and maithuna alone can rejuvenate her after the exaustion of the Puja.
Grant continues:The wine or madhya is the urine of the Suvasini after the Fire Snake has absorbed the amrita or nectar of the ultimate chakra, Sahasrara. This nectar or soma is the ‘moon-juice’ of ancient Vedic lore. The flesh, mamsa, is the lunar emanation embodined in the menstrual fluid at a certain stage of its flow; and the fish (meena) is a secretion that swims in the waters of the lotus-pool. The maithuna is the mystical congress of Shiva and Shakti — Consciousness and its Power — in the Sahasrara Chakra.
[…]For the fully initiated Kaula Adept, the universe is a manifesation of perpetual joy, bliss, Amrita (deathlessness), from which he distils the elixir of immortality. Liber AL, today, echos his paen of rapture: Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.
[…]The final bija, Krim, is the bija-mantra of Goddess Kalika, the hidden Principle of Creation described in the Ratrisukta as ‘Night.’ She it i who reveals the universe as a shadow (chaya). She is the reflex of all colours (kalas), Herself ‘without colour’; black. Yet is She the background of light, and the crescent (shashi-kala) on Her brow denotes that She is the originator of nada-bindu-kala, the trikona at the center of the Sri Chakra. When fully self-expressed She appears as Uma, with the glamout of the full moon, and is then known as Sri Vidya. Her essence, however, is always Ama (darkness). Uma (light) and Ama (darkness) are the twin poles between which flashes the vibration AUM. As Japa of the bija-mantras leads the Fire Snake progressively higher, do do the energies released in the lower chakras, bordering the subconsciousness, become increasingly active.
I finally “got” Bagalamukhi, as a protector and warrior against all that distracts from the True Will and the Work. She and her retinue are fierce beyond all means. Waves of radiance and bliss from Union with Kali encircled by the fiery daggers of Bagala radiating outwards in all directions.
The panchatattva is ultimately kundalini. The symbols speak on multiple levels. Outwardly the Homa ritual; secretly the Panchatattva; in the Hidden Shrine the Fire Snake and her ascent up the chakras.
The dhuni or fire pit is the cremation ground. The cremation ground is the yoni of the goddess. This is in the Heart of the Master. The ashes of the flames are indeed the radiance of the kalas, the dew of light emitted from the wetness of the Goddess. Let that wetness direct (Tripura gayatri).
Reflecting back on a post from the other day, I was reminded of this wonderfully simple description:
“The main Ethics of the Book of the Law. Man is asked to act as if it were true that he is a spark of that great light of God. Those who insist on making that assumption, on basing all their lives on it, are the Thelemites.” (Churton quoting unpublished AC)
This is the practice of Divine Pride as taught in the tantras, wherein the personal self is given over completely to the chosen deity such that it for a time lives inside of the practitioner. The Goddess then sees with your eyes, hears with your ears, tastes and speaks with your mouth, feels with your heart. Your very body becomes the temple of the divine and allows the infinite to experience the finite.
Through practices of purification, dedication and self exploration, the personality may be tuned such that it is able to open up to this Divine Pride. Generation stage practices for example, where the deity is visualized in great detail as external to the operator, are part of this process of training. Another approach is given in the western practices of “assumption of God forms,” although without much of the explanatory and supporting practices unless one is careful to follow a detailed training regimen of foundational exercises in yoga, meditation and ritual.
Live life according to Thy Will is the First Step, and the Last Step. For many that may be the entire Journey, and as such there is no greater reward.
(As a side note, Churton’s biography of the Old Man has a post from last year in the Telegraph)
Victory to Kali, Victory to the Mother, the Savior of souls!
Salutations again and again
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of consciousness;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of sleep;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of hunger;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of power;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of modesty;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of peace;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of faith;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of loveliness;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of compassion;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of contentment;
to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of mother.
May that Devi, the Mother, who appears in the form of all things,
bring forth benefits for all who sing Her praises.
Shri Shankara said – Liquor, which is under a curse, is the form of the Absolute. Freeing it from the curse it becomes the Absolute itself, the supreme ambrosia. O Devi, it becomes like this by offering to Mahadevi.
From the 14th chapter of Shri Matrika Bheda Tantra (translated by Mike Magee)
Among the many meanings of the word tantra (root tan, “extend,” “continue,” “multiply”), one concerns us particularly – that of “succession,” “unfolding,” “continuous process.” Tantra would be “what extends knowledge” (tanyate, vistarayate, jnanam anena iti tantram).
We must reckon with possible Gnostic influences, which could have reached India by way of Iran over the Northwest frontier. For more than one curious parallel can be noted between tantrism and the great Western mysterio-sophic current that, at the beginning of the Christian era, arose from the confluence of Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Greco-Egyptian alchemy, and the traditions of the Mysteries.
It is noteworth that tantrism developed in the two border regions of India — in the Northwest, along the Afghan frontier, in western Bengal, and especially in Assam. On the other hand, according to Tibetan tradition, Nagarjuna was a native of Andhra in southern India — that is, in the heart of the Dravidian region.
… for the first time in the spiritual history of Aryan India, the Great Goddess acquires a predominant position… In Hinduism, the Sakti, the “cosmic force,” is raised to the rank of Divine Mother who sustains not only the universe and all its beings but also the many and various manifestations of the gods. Here we recognize the “religion of the Mother” that in ancient times reigned over an immense Aegeo-Afrasiatic territory and which was always the chief form of devotion among the autochthonous peoples of India.
But we also recognize a sort of religious rediscovery of the mystery of woman… every woman becomes the incarnation of the Sakti. Mystical emotion in the prsence of the mystery of generation and fecundity — such it is in part. But it is also recognition of all the is remote, “transcendent,” invulnerable in woman; and thus woman comes to symbolize the irreducibility of the sacred and the divine, the inapprehensible essense of the ultimate reality. Woman incarnates both the mystery of creation and the mystery of Being, of everything that Is, that incomprehensibly becomes and dies and is reborn.
A well known myth thus accounts for the birth of the Great Goddess. A monstrous demon, Mahisa, threatened the unverse and even the existence of the gods. Brahma and the whole pantheon appealed to Vishnu and Siva for help. Swollen with rage, all the gods put forth their energies in the form of fire darting from their mouths. The flames joined into a fiery cloud, which finally took the form of a goddess with eighteen arms. And it was this goddess, Sakti, who succeeded in crushing the monster Mahisa and thus saved the world.
Quoting Zimmer: the gods “had returned their energies to the primeval Sakti, the One Force, the fountain head, whence originally all had stemmed. And the result was now a great renewal of the original state of universal potency.”
We must never lose sight of this primacy of the Sakti – in the last analysis, of the Divine Woman and Mother – in tantrism and in all the movements deriving from it. It is through this channel that the great underground current of autochthonous and popular spirituality made its way into Hinduism. Philosophically, the rediscovery of the Goddess is bound up with the carnal condition of Spirit in the kali-yuga. Thus the tantric writers present the doctrine as a new revelation of timeless truth, addressed to the man of this “dark age” in which the spirit is deeply veiled under the flesh.
Tantra is antiascetic and antispeculative. “Donkeys and other animals wander about naked, too. Does that make them yogins?” – Kularnavatantra.
In some tantric schools, contempt for asceticism and speculation is accompanied by complete rejection of all meditation; liberation is pure spontaneity. Saraha writes “The childish Yogins like the Tirthikas and others can never find out their own nature… One has no need of Tantra or Mantra, or of the images of the Dharanis — all these are caused of confusion. In vain does one try to attain Moksa by meditation… All are hypnotized by the system of the jhanas (meditation), but none cares to realize his own self.” Again, another Sahajiya author, Lui-pa, writes: “What use is meditation? Despite meditation, one dies in pain. Give up all complicated practices and the hope of obtaining siddhis, and accept the void as your true nature.”
Viewed from outside… tantrism would seem to be an “easy road,” leading to freedom pleasantly and almost without impediments.
“No one succeeds in attaining perfection by employing difficult and vexing operations; but perfection can be gained by satisfying all one’s desires” – Guhyasamajatantra
…all contraries are illusory, extreme evil coincides with extreme good. Buddhahood can – within the limits of this sea of appearances – coincide with supreme immorality; and all for the very good reason that only the universal void is, everything else being without ontological reality.
But the “easiness” of the tantric path is more apparent than real… The fact is that the tantric road presupposes a long and difficult sadhana, which at times suggests the difficulties of the alchemical opus.
… the void (sunya) is not simply a “nonbeing”; it is more like the Brahman of the Vedanta, it is of an adamantine essense, for whch reason it is called vajra (=diamond). “Sunyata, which is firm, substantial, indivisuble and impenetrable, proof against fire and imperishable, is called vajra.” (Advayavajra-samgraha).
For tantric metaphysics, both Hindu and Buddhist, the absolute reality… contains in itself all dualities and polarities, but reunited, reintegrated, in a state of absolute Unity (advaya).
The creation, and the becoming that arose from it, represent the shattering of the primordial Unity and the separation of the two principles (Siva-Sakti, etc); in consequence, man experiences a state of duality (object-subject, etc.) — and this suffering, illusion, “bondage.” The purpose of tantric sadhana is the reunion of the two polar principles within the disciples own body. “Revealed” for the use of the kali-yuga, tantrism is above all a practice, an act, a realization (=sadhana)…
From (from Yoga: Immortality and Freedom by Eliade)
Goddess of Beauty and Play and Love and Joy!
Let us invoke the sweet smelling one!
Naked, with fiery green eyes and golden skin, hair aflame in crimson light
Her arms granting boons and dispelling all fear.
Her naked body marked with blood and ash,
Her heart aflame with passion and fire!
Aom! I salute the beautiful one of three worlds!
Jai Devi! Jai Tripurasundari!
Obeiassance to the Lotus eyed one of sweet nectars, Jai Pankajakshi!
Aom! With incense of sandal I salute Thee! Jai Devi!
Aom! With lights I salute Thee! Jai Istadevi!
Aom! With water I salute Thee! Jai Sarvagata!
Be favourable to me, oh blossom honey of light!
Grant thine aid unto me, that I may come to rest
in your sweet smelling presence, Jai Shrimati!
With sandalpaste, ash, sindur and water I am marked
to your devotions, oh Vibhutidevi!
With the bijamantra HRIM I invoke Thee!
AOM HRIM HRIM HRIM!
Jai Tripurasundari! Jai Lalita! Jai Devi!
Oh, Mandayanti, grant me Thy grace! Give me of Thy milk to drink!
Oh, Jayesvari, inform me with Thy blood kissess!
Let Thy brilliant light shine through me, fullfilling me of Thy divine embrace!
Jai Sadhya! Jai Sadhwi! Jai Sara! Jai Savitri! Aom!
Aom nama Tripurasundari!
Aom HRIM HRIM HRIM!
 (Pankaja “mud born, lotus” + akshi “eye”) The lotus eyed.
 One’s chosen goddess (“beloved goddess.”)
 (sarva “all” + gata “having gone”) Having pervaded all, having reached everywhere.
 (shri “beauty, light, wealth” + mati “having”) Having beauty and fortune, the beautiful.
 Glory, might, wealth. Consecrated ash used by devotees of Shiva. Also the 6th of Lalitas 108 names.
 Delighting, rejoicing.
 (jaya “victorious” + iswara “sovereign goddess”). The victorious goddess.
 Sadhya, “the attainable,” a name of Lalita. Sadhwi, “the virtuous.” Sara, “the Essence.” Savitri, the consort of the Sun.