Having spent the better part of today both working and batting around comments over on Tim’s site, I thought I might pull some of it back into my principal concern.

I’ve had my fun playing with all the weird cults and cultists out there, but there’s a particular phenomenon that makes me very curious: how and why does the kind of energy released by the founder of a particular tradition or school of insight degenerate into the kind of abominations we see so much of today? Is it possible to seperate the merely coincidental from what can only be described as malignant?

Say we take the Hermetic tradition as our starting point. Rock solid old school alchemy. Symbols as old and primordial as the hills. Still very profound and serviceable today.

Step that down to Roger Bacon. Good Natural philosopher. Empiracist. Man of faith and deep contemplation. Denounced immorality and decadence in his fellow clergy. Enemy of superstition. Obviously the authentic Jesus influence helps.

One step further, we have Dr.John Dee. Here’s where it gets a bit questionable, Mostly due to his keeping some pretty sketchy company with guys like Edward Kelley and spending a lot of time trying to raise money. He was also an intelligence agent for the Queen, and a phenomenal scientist as well. Good critical thinking, stellar reasoning capacity. Poor choice of associates. Say it with me: spiritual illumination and political backstabbing don’t mix very well. Do these guys remind you of anything? Don’t worry, it comes up again…

From these guys, the flim flam starts to pile up fast. Whereas in the past hermetics and alchemists might claim lineage to an age of antiquity, now we have the phenomenon of Rosicrucianism asserting societies in the present which may or may not exist, for the purposes of political influence, along with Freemasonry whose past and present motives remain utterly obscure. Here we have alchemical inquiry starting to be introduced into social movements, which undoubtedly starts very cleanly and idealisticly, but we see where it ends up…

Eventually we’re back with Mathers and the Golden Dawn again, and something has gone awry. Whereas before we had hardcore scholars and mystics, professional clergy and scientists, now we have con men who are just making this shit up to score some social points. Who wouldn’t want to hob nob with the likes of Arthur Machen, Arthur Edward Waite and William Butler Yeats? All well and good, but it wasn’t until Uncle AL introduced sex magick practices that things started moving again.

Now you have to realise, that even in Hindu Tantra, the use of sex magick is considered extremely dangerous, from a spiritual point of veiw. But if you do it successfully, it is a very quick route to illumination. Maybe using it to juice up your half baked rituals isn’t the best idea, and Crowley’s life would seem to at least partly bear this out.

The so-called left hand path that sex magick comes out of, is philosophically grounded in a realisation of the decline of the traditional methods. Extreme measures were neccissary to insure the transmission from one generation to the next. More on that another time.

So from there we go to Parsons ( or is that Dee?) and Hubbard. They resolve to use sex magick to bring about the end of the world. I shit you not. They meant it in a good way, I’m sure. But y’know, Babalon, beast of revelations. Shit like that.

Now we can hardly blame Parsons in retrospect, but seriously dude, look a little closer at your partner in BRINGING ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD. Little warning for the kids out there.

So we’ve got more of the con man shit, more of the hotwired power source for the rituals, more of the politically reactionary rhetoric. Even Crowley thought these guys were nuts.

One rocket fuel explosion later, Parsons is history and L Ron has moved on to greatness. I still feel quite sure there’s some military intel connection, but given what we already know about him, you don’t need that to explain this mess.

L Ron’s big move was to create a mythology out of whole cloth and use enough of the tricks he picked up along the way to juice up this fake reality he was selling. Eventually he got so juiced himself he bought into an even darker version of his own bullshit. The real magick by this point wasn’t the sex or the summonings. It was the ability to foist a fantasy world on other pople and make them swallow it. Does this sound familiar?

Well now everyone gets in on it. And a suprising number of them have links to good old L Ron. Makes you wonder what he was giving up over coffee and donuts dunnit? Now this fake reality scam has turned into not just an ego trip, but a major money machine, and with money comes influence, and power. And along with power comes… fear of losing your power.

Taking the Processians as our finishing point, you have these finely honed methods to break people’s realities, and insert them into your mythology, while the pursuit of truth and understanding, or even something as basic as social justice or freedom from censorship has fallen by the wayside. And the power source? No more meditation or prayer, my friend. Just the hi octane shit for these kids. It’s sex, drugs and sacrifice. Eventually the power source becomes an end unto itself. The rush of violating taboos and, incidentally, the people who hold them. To the point of death, if we take the Four Pi story at face value.

We have decended from the hermetic solar gold to the blood and shit pooling around a sacrificial altar.

So obviously something is up. Isn’t there?

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3 thoughts on “The Downward Spiral: a case study in degeneration

  1. So obviously something is up. Isn’t there?

    I dunno. If the historical record of the last 2500 years is accurate, (some, enough) humans are just naturally fucked up.

    Maybe it wasn’t always like this, but it sure has been for a long time.

  2. well that’s the question isn’t it?

    Undoubtedly there have always been fucked up people. I’m wondering if there’s something more to it than just the weaknesses of human beings.

    How much of it is human nature how much a greater degeneration that progresses over the course of millenia, and to what conclusion?

  3. Well, if the established religions are to be believed, our current age is definitely degenerate.

    Examples:

    Judaism/Christianity: Eve fucked it all up with the apple.

    Hindu: Kali Yuga and all.

    However, I am reflexively suspicious of any established-religion cosmology.

    Who knows? But I’m enjoying your efforts to answer the question.

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