Alchemical Braindamage for begginers

Well first of all a major hats off to rev at enemies. it’s been utterly fascinating to watch him grapple with some of the questions I’ve posed here, and he’s an excelent example of how to walk the left hand path in a rightious way.

That said, I feel like maybe it’s time to dispell some confusion about my stance on certain things, and maybe spell out some of my intent of what AB is supposed to be about, because make no mistake there is a very clear purpose here. I don’t think it’s beneficial to dot every I and cross every T because that keeps guys like rev from filling in the blanks in an ideosyncratic way and robs them of that chance to grow a bit. But I see I’m spending a fair bit of time correcting people who are misreading what my position or backround is and that costs me time and them time which could be better spent contemplating what I say, rather than examining my intent.

So with out further pagentry here’s the scoop on zac for the puposes of AB

* I am currently a buddhist. I have recently taken my vows as a disciple of my order, which basicly makes me a novice monk. Thankfully the order is fairly liberal so I get to keep my girlfriend, and I can get away with swearing a lot if it serves a purpose. Basically as long as I’m not murdering people and shooting smack in class, it’s all good. For health reasons and personal prefference I no longer do any drugs, try not to swear or lie if I can help it and maintain a monogomous realtionship with my lovely girl, Alaina.

* I have in the past and still do entertain deep afffection for the occult in all forms. Buddhism as I know it is the ultimate anti-dogma, so there are no off limits areas of inquiry for me and never have been. I have done shamanic drugs, practiced chaos magick, and studied hermetic and crowleyan sorcery, kabbalah, yoga, chi kung, and at least looked at every major religion and most of the minor ones.

* I have practiced the martial arts for several years now. I hold a dan rank in the Bujinkan system and my buddhist teacher has been sharing a brand of indonesian wu kung with me for a few years now as well.

* I consider myself firmly in the perrenial tradition, which means that I agree that most of the major religions draw on the same core ideas and experiences and that there is only one godhead, with many manifestations. In this regard I am firmly in the camp of Ken Wilber, spiral dynamics and the integral current of spirituality.

* I have recently come to examine traditionalist ideas relating to cyclical time and the related conception of ages in degeneration. Partly this is a way to explain the contradiction between the observed truth that individual humans do evolve spiritualy, but most don’t get far, and the apparent fact that society and the spiritual order of the world is in worse shape than it has ever been.

* As a way of understanding the prior point, as well as observed events in the material world, I have come to at least provisionally accept the counter-initiation thesis of Rene Guenon. My current working theory is the energy of the goodhead descending into the world is like a very long wave form and that the peaks form the great spiritual highs of our history, while the troughs result in a closing down of spiritual awareness and a resulting degeneration of human civilisation which seems to occur in a cyclical fashion.

* As both a side effect, and contributing factor to this cycle, I am quite convinced at this stage that the decline of spiritual force in the world manifests as a malignant corruptive current of counter-initiates who seem to thrive in the environment of degeneration. While I believe that god encompasses all, and there is no true dualism, in practice these darkside adepts are ‘against’ the manifestation of the godhead consciousness on earth, and in that way help drive the cyclical nature of human time. These would be your ‘Archons’ your ‘left-hand’ perverts and murderers, and institutional corruptors and purveyors of false consciousness of every stripe. Examining the nature of these creatures is one of my primary foci, as should be obvious by now.

* While I believe the ultimate nature of the godhead is unconditional love and infinite light, there are a multitude of lower order entities and forces that for all intents and purposes are ‘morally neutral’ at the very least and perhaps even outright malevolent. I would regard all these entities as ultimately outside the comprehension of human morality and their fuctioning is more likely analogous to an ecosystem of checks and balances, which we can choose to interpret in a moral or ethical way.

* I am firmly commited to the manifestation of the godhead consciousness on earth, which places me totally and irrevocably in opposition to the counter-intiatory current, while at the same time I realise that we are both the workings of the same system and that in all likelihood it is just a game on the way to true enlightenment. Alchemical Braindamage proceeds from that premise.

There’s a lot more to my particular picture, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything unneccisarily.

now that I’ve found my feet, and completed the housekeeping chores, the best is yet to come, after all…

Where there is One there is the Other

“And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention.” – The Talking Heads

I’m sort of contemplating which out of several directions to go with my inquiry today. Undoubtedly, I have left several threads hanging which need to be got back to in due time, but at the same time, there are some threads that I haven’t even begun yet, such as how the whole peak oil situation ties into this.You may have noticed a few new links there on the side. I think most of them are self explanatory except for the one to If your interests don’t run to financial reform still take the time to scope out her analysis of what she calls ‘the tapeworm’ in the global economy. She also appears to have extensive inside knowledge of the narco/intel/paedophilia underbelly of american politics.

And why look at this? Well part of the point is to illustrate how spiritual sickness leads to perversions in every walk of life. Which brings me to BTK.

I only pick this particular sad sack of skin, because he’s current and very very typical. I have heard all kinds of estimates in terms of the numbers of serial killers out there, from as low as 35 in the united states at any given time, to as high as 500. I suspect it’s somewhere in the middle, but the fact that we don’t know, or we are not allowed to know, is troubling in and of itself.

Some people seem to have gotten confused by my posting here, partly because of my dramatic flourishes towards the end, which might seem to imply that I inextricably link human sacrifice, siddha powers, and psychopathology in some characteristic and definitive way. I’ll concede I was going more for impact than specificity of statement in that case. So allow me to clarify.

I don’t think anyone should have any difficult grasping the possibilty of a psychology that revolves around murder, torture, and the wish for godlike power. One really ought not to have look much farther than BTK and the video of his confession. Likewise, we’ve seen plenty of beliefs that might link torture and murder to occult power, particularly in serial killers, such as the Zodiac, who believed he was taking slaves to serve him in hell, or something like that.

And the reality of occult powers? well if you aint sufficiently convinced to roll with that premise, I probably aint the one to convince you.

So that leaves one linkage to be made, and that’s the kind of intense emotional/sexual/sadistic rush of power that accompanies ritualistically abusive practices. It doesn’t need to be sadistic or murderous. Uncle Al made plenty of use of sexual energies, as have tantrics and mystics for time out of mind, to motivate magickal or spiritual workings. But serial killers are an excellent example of the kind of person who gets addicted to an escalating cycle of sadistic behavior to feed an increasingly jaded and desensitized pathological personality. I’m sure some of them stop at torture, rape or emotional abuse. But some of them don’t, or won’t.

So given how ( intentionally?) hazy the numbers are on how many of these types of people are out there. ( and lets not even get started on the obfuscation on numbers of missing persons ) It’s not much of leap to imagine a handful of these budding or latent psychopaths finding their way into the legitimate occult subculture, not just a ritualistic fantasy trip, which is not to say that the two can’t coexist. What may be sadistic roleplaying to one guy could be something very very different to the guy next to him holding the knife.

Leaving the evidence for their existence aside, what is it that spurs the creation of these people in the first place? We don’t have much in the way of records to substantiate their existence very far into the past, at least not in the numbers we have today. There have always been monstrous individuals, but these days they seem to spread like weeds, and run amok almost unchecked.

My suspicion is very much like what I talked about in my earlier post. Is the spiritual seeker who takes a wrong turn really any different than the guy who never got the love he wanted, who never made a connection to society that he wanted? All because the traditional backbone of human societies, which is a connection to the transcendental principle, has been progressively and systematically obfuscated, distorted and subverted.

If you severely damage or simply totally misdirect the rudder for human experience, is it any wonder that some people go right off the map?

As a thought experiment, let’s imagine a world where one day, everyone wakes up and all experience of the divine, all authentic understanding of truth, all gnosis, all contact with a reality that exists outside of our egos, was completely gone. Where we’re all stuck in the kind of fantasy worlds the counter-initiates would like to see us in, whether it be the psychic one-world hellhole of Ben Creme/Maitreya or the techno-psychotic scifi book of revelations that the Scientologists would have you auditing your way into. What do you suppose would happen?

I think we would ALL be serial killers before too long. And from the traditional understanding of the cyclical cosmos, that is probably exactly what has happened. Many many times before…

But I think I’ll leave that for another time. Go hug someone you love.

Gnostic Love Fest


I’m very gratified and humble to see the postive response to my work so far. I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I can take no credit.

I’m particularly speechless to see how I have been seemingly been taken into the arms of what can only be called the ‘gnostic’ blogosphere. I suppose I could be considered a gnostic, but at times I’m not sure what that word even means in the common currency. It prompted me to think a bit, and perhaps give something back to the generous gnostic children of the light.

It’s interesting to see the gnostic meme take hold in the mainstream. I’m just barely old enought to remember when that wasn’t the case. Up untill a while ago it began and ended with phil dick, yeah?

I think Grant Morrison went a ways toward busting it out in his work on the Invisibles, which was ripped by the wachowski bros. for the Matrix. Which more or less paved the way for the wave of Phil Dick film adaptations we see now.

None of which I think is news, is it? That’s where it came from, but what has it become in practice? What does that word really mean now?

I think it comes in two parts:

One, we’ve got, because of the climate of spiritual degeneration we find ourselves in, a renewed commitment to what I can only call a Socratic inquiry into the realities of spirituality and religion. There’s a real strong thrust to think critcally about everything up to and including the godhead itself. And that’s good. The various emanations of the godhead aren’t afraid of questions. They can take it. It’s only the false rulers who need to be afraid of questions, which bring me to my second point.

Namely that there’s been an accompanying thrust to point a finger at the control systems, the false rulers, the false gods, the false realites, and show them for what they are. Where once we had a vauge sense of opression and deception and confusion, we have names for these things. We have names for our Archons, our Demiurges, our Hollow Men, our agents of the control system. And before you can confront your opressor, you need to recognise him, so let’s give big ups to that effort as well.

So in a sense I think the gnostic current these days is a kind of immune response in the collective human consciousness. A response to an assualt of falsehood, of ignorance, of counterfiet spirituality.

I guess my only concern is that a lot of gnostics out here seem to stop at questioning, to stop at naming, and never really arrive anywhere. There’s a danger of becoming so lost in criticism and paranoia that you can’t see the truth when it hits you in face. It’s good to be an antibody for the human spirit, but far better to be a whole human being. To be the free and enlightened creatures we were intended to be. To name the jailers and expose their lies, and then to take back the power they’ve robbed from us. To take up the mantle of the rightious warriors of heaven.

These are my humble thoughts and I cast them into the arms of my new friends to do with as they will.

The False Return

Well golly. I had originally planned to spend another day or two discussing some of the higher possiblities, before jumping back into the the cesspit of counter-initiation, but in the Interview with Kathleen Sullivan (Part Four) Jeff Wells dragged my attention back to something, to someone in particular that I’m not sure I can ignore any further.

They’re calling him Maitreya. Which in case you didn’t know is the term for a prophecised future buddha who will save mankind. Even as a buddhist I’m not sure it’s a concept I subscribe to, as some reading indicates that it’s more of a mythology added on to the dharma, rather than anything that needs paying attention to, so that’s a warning bell for me.

Now Jeff treated this guy pretty extensively in The “Day of Declaration” and I recommend you read that now and come back, because I’m not going to recap all of that here.

The upshot is this: it seems the Theosophical Society ( which Rene Guenon pointed out almost immediately as a psuedo tradtion, and very bad news )and some of it’s side branches and offshoots, eventually mutated into things like the Lucis Trust, and inspired this dude Benjamin Creme, who purports to be Maitreya’s representative, even though he’s never met him.

What gets my hackles up about these people is not their ‘teachings’ , because they’ve obviously and blatantly ripped that from legitamate sources. Hell Maitryea claims to be Jesus Christ. No, they’re very carefull to avoid offending or turning off anyone. I actually paged through one of the books Creme wrote about Maitreya, and turned right away to the pages where there’s a discussion of his actual teachings . You know what he says? That everyone who has a faith right now ought to keep doing what they’re doing. Well damn. It’s a good thing Christ took the trouble to reappear to let me know I oughtta keep it up. That’s a relief.

That section on ‘teachings’ runs about 11 pages. The rest of the book, and I see there are at least three books in a set on Maitreya’s message, deal with things like space brothers, global energy, earth changes, and psychic powers.

Are you getting scared yet? Maitreya is promising to make himself known to us when the time is right through an immense display of psychic power, and after dissolving our current civilisation, will institute one based on free energy , global unity, one world government, one world church, and the love of the space brothers and all this other shit…

Now in case we’re not paying too close attention so far let me spell out what it is that gives me the heebies in regard to this would-be avatar, or descent of the divine force:

1) Avatars do not come in response to social and political, or even ecological crises. Their function is to reinvigorate the traditional wisdom, and deal with the spiritual sickness of mankind. Politics, energy, and social bullshit are our problem, not thiers. Once you fully grasp the traditional teachings the other stuff falls into place, not the other way around.

2) There has already been an Avatar for this age, and he spoke on world unity too, but in a very different way than Maitreya did. His name is Bahaiulla and the Bahai faith has been around for over a century now. I defy anyone to compare a book on bahai teachings to some of Maitreya’s bs and tell me who is the real servant of god.3) The whole scam is based on psychic powers. This schtick goes all the way back to the original theosophical society. Blavatsky would sway people with parlour tricks to draw attention from the fact her teachings were lukewarm rehashings of the perrenial wisdom. Maitreya and Creme take it to to a whole ‘nother level though. Everywhere you look, telepathy, visions, preminitions, auras, astral travel, ascended masters…the whole kit and kaboodle.

There’s nothing divine about psychic powers, kids. Anyone can get them, and lots of people do. I’ve spent a lot of time explaining why you ought to be suspicous of anyone who wants to show off power. And particularly anyone who bases their so-called message on the uses of those powers. Swaying someone to the traditional wisdom through the use of siddha powers is categorically a perversion and the wrong path.

I could go on and on, and at some point I probably will. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of these guys in the near future, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Steven Lagavulin has been putting this stuff in the correct context for quite a while now both in deconsumption: Timely Tidbits…
The Concept of Counter-Initiation in Traditional Knowledge which, in case you hadn’t guessed already was the principal inspiration for this blog in the first place.

and which, in case you hadn’t guessed already was the principal inspiration for this blog in the first place.I will leave you for the moment with a quote from Rene Guenon which Steven used in the latter article. I can’t make it any clearer than this:

For this purpose, the part to be played by the “counter-initiation” must again be referred to: after having worked always in the shadow to inspire and direct invisibly all modern movements, it will in the end contrive to “exteriorize”, if that is the right word, something that will be as it were the counterpart of a true tradition, at least as completely and as exactly as it can be so within the limitations necessarily inherent in all possible counterfeits as such….the “counter-tradition”, however far it carries the imitation, will never succeed in being anything but a parody, but it will be the most extreme and the most gigantic of all parodies, and we have only so far seen, despite all the falsification of the modern world, some very partial “trials” and some very pale “prefigurations” of it; something much more formidable is in preparation for a future considered by some to be near, and the growing rapidity of the succession of events today is an indication of its proximity.

and don’t worry. I’m not done with these cheap liars. Not by a long shot.


Mace Windu’s a bad mother, you know what!

Seems the idea of hierarchy is on the agenda for today. Tim’s all about Surrendering Personal Sovereignty and he quoted me on the subject of guru yoga. Some of my thoughts on hierarchy and social organisation which I will admit are partially mirrored by Julius Evola, seem to have struck a chord in some readers as well.

The real larger issue to me is this: are we so paranoid about the loss of our free will and personal soveriegnty, that we’ve closed ourselves off to a whole universe of possiblity? My experience would say yes.

I belong to two groups based on the principle of submission to a master. One is a martial tradition called the Bujinkan, and the other is an esoteric branch of buddhism. Niether one really raises an eyebrow in society at large. It seems like we will accept a certain amount of submission as long as it is controlled and consensual. Or maybe we are conditioned to expect a certain amount of hierarchy in the pursuit of enlightenment, or the path of the warrior. It’s pretty hard to convince yourself that you can do either of those things without help from someone with experience. ( Unlike politics for instance, which is the only path I know of with absolutely no qualifications neccisary)

But I’ve also seen a certain amount of hysterical fear from people in this area. I’ve encountered folks in my dharma classes who refuse to bow to the buddha, or to the teacher of the class, even when it’s explained to them that it’s a symbolic gesture of respect, not a sign of subserviance.

in the martial arts it can be real problem. Mostly because there are some abusive assholes, usually with subpar skills, who like to power trip and browbeat people to feed thier egos. This is really just a micorcosm of the larger perversions I’ve been talking about from the get go. Power isn’t the problem. It’s the lust for power you haven’t got.

My firm belief after much experience in this area is that the need to abuse and control people comes from lacking a sense of personal power, not the other way around. If you know who you are, if you inhabit the consciousness of the master, why the fuck would you need to go around playing games with people?

So the real problem is not that there are a bunch of masters out there waiting to oppress you and steal your free will. The problem is that pretty much everyone at some time or another wants to be in the consciousness of a master and can’t do it. So we all run around high on the psuedo power that comes from asserting your ego, all the while starving for real wisdom. But the only place to learn that is ..where? A master.

The issue of free will seems rather ironic in a day and age when the range of acceptable opinions, acceptable thought, and acceptable speech is about as narrow as anyone I know can remember. We’re all so hysterical over some imagined threat to our free will, that we’ve effectively robbed ourselves of any authentic choices.

we’re free to go anywhere we like, as long as it’s in this cell right over here…

Part of it is the exessive mystique that rises up around the issue of ‘individuality’. We want to be free to express our individuality, so we’re terrified to submit to anything. To a teacher, to a tradition, to a truth that transcends us.

Indeed, we are so afraid to admit that maybe we’re not handling this whole free will thing all that well, that as a species we’ll never learn from our mistakes until it’s too late. The modern age has enthroned the sovereign ego, which quite frankly is the tiniest speck in the eye of a dead ant compared to the potential of real human nature.

Why did it become so hard to trust wisdom? Probably when the traditions that were supposed to protect it started breaking down. Why do we fear authority figures so much? Why do we fear the violation of our neurotic scared little egos? Because that’s what we’ve been taught to do, usually by people who are even more scared shitless than we are.

Sure bad things happen and sure power gets abused. But that’s never been more so than the age we live in now, when everyone supposedly has ‘free will’. So maybe we all ought to quit fighting to the death protect our captivity to fear. Maybe we ought to think about submitting to true wisdom. Because the source of true wisdom is the one thing that can really save us.


Julius Evola on the Western Tradition

Well, since I’ve spent the last little bit plumbing the depths of abject depravity and horror, I thought I’d swing to the other pole, and discuss a little bit of the more positive alternative.

By way of illustration I think I’ll share a chunk of a larger essay by Julius Evola, dealing with what he feels are the true roots of the western spiritual tradition, which he divides into two types which are equal yet distinct.

I mention Evola with the caveat that I do not neccisarily share all or even most of his views, particularly in regards to race and politcs, but along with Ren頇u鮯n forms the most intelligent and spiritually insightfull critique of the modern condition that I know of. At the same time, both of these men present compelling visions of the traditional wisdom in it’s full force, that form the backbone of my life personally, and by extension, the core idea of my writings here.

My particular take on the Perennial Philosophy is informed far more by the works of Ken Wilber , but while Wilber confines his critique mostly to the excesses of deconstructive post-modernism the former two men are by far more comprehensive and clear in their understanding of a possible ‘degeneration’ of the human condition.

So with one further caveat, being that there’s more to my picture than these three men and thier views, settle back and enjoy my take on the religion of heroes.

Action , Contemplation and the Western Tradition

Esoterically, when we speak of ‘tradition’, we mean the ‘transmission’ (traditio) from generation to generation of a ‘presence’ of ‘transcendent’ nature, just as a flame lights another flame. A chain of individuals thus becomes the mediator of a continuity of contact with metaphysical reality and a non-human force.

This transmission can happen in an elite existing as an hidden vein behind the great historical and ethnic forces. But it can also occur that the occult shows itself and dominates, that is to say, that, in a given civilisation, all activities become organised around this elite, which becomes their manifest centre, the axis from which they draw their meaning and their orientation in a system of hierarchic participation.

All the original civilisations, albeit to varying degrees, have a traditional character in this sense. It must however be noticed that, from a certain point, a law of differentiation comes into play. When it appears as spirit of a given epoch or civilisation, the metaphysical identity bifurcates itself. In its most immediate manifestation, it produces two distinct trunks and gives rise to two fundamental forms.

The two trunks are : action and contemplation.

The two related forms are : royal initiation and sacerdotal initiation – hence there are two types of tradition: warlike-magic tradition and ascetic- contemplative or Brahmanic tradition.

The Two Traditions

Mortal life’s rule is ‘flow’. It does not possess Being, and, caught in varying external fortunes, it moves, restless, in the world of particular things and temporal interests. This law has been pointed out many times in these pages. Above this is the area of Being, according to which life becomes basis, reason and value in itself, gains stability, possesses in itself its own principle. Identical to that of the incorruptible and the eternal, this area can be reached either by means of Action as well as by means of Contemplative Knowledge.

Action can lead to it insofar as it is pure. At the inferior limit, there is the purity of the one who follows faithfully the rule of his own life and gives to his action the meaning of a rite and of a sacrificial offering. On a higher plane, there is the internalisation and development of this bent in the one who acts without aiming at contingent and particular fruits, considering as the same happiness and calamity, good and evil, even victory and defeat, looking neither at the ‘I’ nor at the ‘you’, overcoming love as well as hatred and any other pair of opposites. This man sets himself free from the individual condition ; in the supranatural certainty of a borderline intensity, here ‘life’ is reversed into a ‘more-than-life’ and the contact with a state of light and power is achieved, which surpasses, dominates and carries off everything that is of a merely human or material order, giving way to actions, excitements and visions which would be impossible otherwise. We may summarise this as : heroic state, magic state, state of the Master of the Law. By transposition : warlike caste – warlike-magic and warlike traditions – finally : royal and imperial traditions.

Now, Evola wrote this in 1927 , so he obviously couldn’t relate this to the work of Abraham Maslow in the field of Self-actualization. But the core ideas are much the same, or at least convergent.

Evola talks of the warrior tradition in two ways. The first resembles what most of us might instinctively understand as heroism: to devote oneself to an ideal, to offer one’s action to the service of a higher reality. In this way, the warrior opens himself to the experience of that higher reality, and may through that door enrich his spirit. Maslow would discuss this in terms of being values, or ordering one’s life by a set of profound internal realites, that absorb the attention of the mind such that involvement in creative process strips impurites and negativity out of one’s character.

To use an example that we’re all familiar with to some extent, this is the artist, the creative or devoted person, who loves what they do or choose to embody so much that it becomes the central focus of their consciousness.

Towards the higher end, Evola speaks of the action that is liberated from the concern for outcomes. Of the ‘perfected’ action that exists for it’s own sake, elevating the actor outside of the limitation of ego, or clinging to desire, or time and space. Which is not to say they are not directed in the world, because they have released the attatchement to outcomes. Indeed such people are supernaturally focussed and the expansion of consciousness inherent in this state thus makes them supernaturally potent in the acts the undertake. A poor, but adequate metaphor would be the athelete who finds himself standing outside of himself watching his effortless perfection of play unfold from a vantage point outside of normal consciousness, perhaps even merging into an effortles perfection, that transcends all normal conditioned experience.

My temptation is to draw on more examples from the traditions of the martial arts, because that’s where much of my experience lies, but I chose to do it this way to stress the aesthetic and spiritual quality of this path, which might get lost in the images of sweat and strain that some people associate to the martial arts because of sports like the ‘ultimate’ fighting championship.

In Evola’s conception, the traditional society would be ordered around people who had achieved states such as this whether it be through the path of  fighting, or by extentions of the path of action, such as science, the crafts, or through variation on the twin path of contemplation which is the source of individuals such as jesus and the buddha. A social hierachy would emerge out of a natural gravitation towards examples of higher consciosness and achievement, much as the martial arts are ordered around the figure of the true master, not by fact of the master going out and subjugating people, but simply that others happily submit to his authority to learn to embody a similar state of being.

This relationship of aspirational service forms the basis of the traditional society. Much as the hero devotes himself to god, or the ultimate, as the basis of his growth, others devote themselves to the example of the hero as a basis for their own development, toward perhaps embodying the ultimate reality in their own actions.

The kind of hierarchy we enjoy today is a grotesque parody of this primordial pattern, which goes a long way toward explaining most people’s deep suspicion of authority figures, to the point where americans vote for the semi-literate simpleton who appears to be the most like them, and the least threatening in terms of his example to us.

I’m sure this poses all kind of problems and questions for the thinking person. and well it should. If it doesn’t, I’d respectfully suggest you haven’t been paying much attention to the world these days…

Nowhere to go but Down


So I think we’re ready to tie off the squirting stump for now, and step back into some theory.

So far I’ve spent a lot of time talking about these ‘shells’ of what were once tradtional intiatory organisations, and examined how they either herd seekers into dead end delusions, or co-opt them into projects to actually undermine authentic paths to understanding, and shift the tone of society in general away from any connection to higher realities.

So while I just talked about zombies in a metaphorical sense, I want to go farther than that, and really talk about how you get monsters. Remember what I said earlier: you have to respect the monster if you’re ever going to respect yourself enough to defeat him.

I think it goes without saying that human beings are seekers. Our life is characterised by searching for the things we think we want, that we think will push the right buttons for us. I think that’s a good thing. It’s the mechanism that prompts us to explore, to learn to eventually wonder if there’s more to life than we see around us. That’s the real meaning of dukkha or ‘suffering’ which comes up in buddhist dharma, and some poor interpreters will take to mean that life sucks and you’re stuck with it.

So the fact that we hunger, that we suffer from what we lack, is a good thing. Under normal circumstances it’s what puts you on the path to understanding. Every teaching relationship begins because the student has a problem.

But what happens when all the real paths to understanding have been tampered with? When the authentic teachers are hounded and persecuted, or just plain ignored, because we’ve been trained to pay attention to the bright lights and fireworks? What happens when the real traditions have been infiltrated and allowed to be steered towards things like politics, and the accumulation of wealth, and other social power? What happens when even the shells of venerable teachings aren’t there, and all you can find is some cult with a vacuum packed alternate reality, and just enough tricks to get you in the door?

The urge to transcend hasn’t gone away. The need to overcome your emotional and physical barriers hasn’t dissipated. The thirst for undertanding, for unity with greater truth hasn’t been satisfied, but for whatever reason, the path isn’t open to you. It’s either hidden, dismantled, or counterfitted. If you’ve got serious issues of your own, that doesn’t help either, and it just makes you an easier target.

In a situation like that, it’s very easy to slide from the desire to transcend, toward the urge to transgress. To make the move from a search for understanding, to a search for sensation. To replace the need for personal conviction, with the need to be in control.

Now, an informed and skeptical seeker would walk into a ritual, where he or she sees certain things taking place, and maybe he or she has enough grounding in thier personal sense of truth to be able to say ‘ this is not transcendance, this is not understanding, this is not going to give a sense of personal conviction.’

They might be able to resist these substitutes for the real need of the spirit, but in this day and age, there are an awfull lot of folks out there who can no longer distinguish bewtween feeding your lust, and feeding your heart. Especially when you’ve been carefully primed to put the things you’re doing in the context of whatever story the cult is selling you. After all, the story is that you are about to become illuminated. Even if the fact is, you’re being asked to torture someone, sexually assualt someone, interrogate and abuse someone, do something to compromise your emotional integrity, or even kill a defenceless animal.

And maybe you do it. and maybe it feels good. better than you thought it would. and here’s the big reversal: you might associate that feeling good, with actually being illuminated. Particularly if you’ve been primed to do so with drugs and sex and peer approval. After all, you just had an experience that normal people out there never have, you must be more illuminated.

Maybe this continues for awhile, you’ve been building up your experience with this sort of thing, they’ve been teaching you some tricks. That rush you get in the rituals makes it possible to do some things you’ve never used to be able to do. You feel better, stronger, more confident, you feel magnetic, like other people will do what you say, life is going your way. Maybe if you’ve gone particularly far, you’ve gotten the hang of reading people’s emotions, or seeing things in distant places, or maybe you can pray for something and actually get it.

Naturally, you are very proud of these accomplishments. The group encourages this sort of thing. It’s a sign of progress they say. A sign you’re becoming more advanced. Maybe they put you in charge of something.

Then, suddenly, the rushes don’t come anymore. You need to do more, because without the rush you can’t do the tricks, and without the tricks people won’t do what you say…you won’t get what you want.

and the leader tells you a secret: there are other rituals. Deeper ones. Deeper understandings. But you have to go farther. You have to step farther into a different reality. Ordinary people can’t do what you’re about to do. Ordinary people won’t do what it takes to achieve TRUE illumination.

And by this time, the reasons don’t matter anymore. The Rush is all that you want, the sensation of power has wiped away all those things you told yourself were important. You tell everyone else, you tell yourself, that you are one of the ELECT. That you have the RIGHT to do things no one else will do, things that lesser beings call wrong. You are beyond all that. Truth? Power is truth. Understanding? Understanding is what YOU say it is. And Love? Love is lust. You’ve seen enough to understand the real truth: we’re nothing but animals, and all that matters to an animal is hunger. And the power to satisfy it.

And this naked screaming person on the altar? Just one more animal, and animals are either predators or prey. And in this story you made, you are the predator, and anyone who gets in the way of your path to godhood…

is prey.