23 Slices
Medium 9781904658498

2: Mere-ness and Magic: An Informing Image

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

Seattle in the Summer, once the rain temporarily retreats, is pretty hard to beat. Before me unfolds an image so typical of this city as to be a cliché: iron bistro tables with mosaic tops, a brick plaza, the smell of roasting espresso beans, and two overly-artsy men debating the fner points of a genre of literature.

I am one of those two men. The other is a publisher of esoteric literature — call him Frater Kiri. He has just fnished the release of the first English translation of a 1000-year-old grimoire. He is justly pleased and lets his broad and mischievous smile overtake his face at my compliments.

‘I guess I’m just blown away by the psychological insight of these works,’ I say, speaking of several of the grimoires we have been discussing.

I cite examples of a polycentric vision of identity, the need to channel demonic-libidinal forces toward our will, and the image of the great magical circle as more of a representation of centering balance than boundary protection.

Kiri’s smile fades.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781904658498

10: Undiferentiation: Te Second Void

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

Undiferentiation is a painfully clinical term for another New Age favorite. Sitar music droning in the background, we are supposed to realize that you are me and I am you. This is said to be incredibly reassuring, lovey, and mind-blowing. The self-hypnosis or guided imagery session narrated by that well-dressed East Indian man neglects to mention that such a realization is perfectly obvious to anyone who has suffered from psychosis — which is no picnic and is usually not terribly ‘lovey.’

‘Self’ and ‘other’ (i.e., identity and alterity) are mutually dependent and unavoidable fictions. In any given moment, each of us needs to have some sector of our experiences that we segregate of to be ‘me’ as well as some speculations about the other person — ‘not-me’ — in the scene. This is good, healthy, and useful. The secret to this fiction lies in exactly how we take up this ubiquitous division of experience. We too often rigidly and pedantically confine the shifting continuums of phenomena into our limited sense of self — ‘I know who I am!’ This infexibility reduces the multiple vectors of change and polycentric localizations of experience into an untenable, brittle insanity. The problem is not so much having an identity per se, but having the expectation that our identities neither shift nor change. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the many defenses against the indeterminacy of ‘self’ — against undiferentiation — sell pretty well. Hence, a far more infexible vision of both self and other is likely to stay on the shelves for a while. It sells well because the alternative, in its fullness, is initially unbearable.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781904658498

15: Application 4: Love, Intimacy, Sex

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

We all manage to create goals and reasons for our lives that have little to do with how we live — or want to live — our lives. This is a multi-layered conundrum. When someone asks us what we want in life, nearly all of us will say something like, ‘peace,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘to love and be loved,’ ‘respect,’ or some other abstraction of this sort. In spite of these declarations, we also find ourselves locked into lifestyles, jobs, relationships, and a thousand other compromises that we claim are all ultimately trying to get us to those big sparkling abstractions but are almost always at odds with them. And so, once we have created this dissonance in our lives, we find ourselves creating substitute goals — long-term diversions by which we can distract ourselves from the dismal reality that we have neither the ability nor the intention of actually living toward those initial ideal desires for our lives.

These substitute goals may include reaching the top of our cult’s game of ‘Initiatory Shoots and Ladders’ — or corporate ladder. Or it may include wasting 30 or more days cultivating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the form of some pseudo-historical ‘working,’ invocation, or practice — or a fad diet. Or it could involve hobbies like scrap-booking, banishing rituals, multi-level marketing, Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games, or sitting around naked with people for whom you have learned to have no emotional connection because the quasi-intimacy of nudity is overwhelming enough.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781904658498

8: Immediacy: Te First Void

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

This first void, of immediacy, reminds us that all occurrences, encounters, perceptions, futures, pasts, and in fact any sense experience happens right now. Thus, this enigma is likely the best place to start on our tour of the eight voids. What has become a New Age chestnut grown out of Ram Dass’s inspired writings to Be Here Now — is, in fact, inescapable. But, for Ram Dass to title his book Wake Up to the Fact Tat You Can’t Be Anywhere but Here; Moreover ‘Now’ is the Only Time No Matter What You Do just would not have sold as well.

Perhaps speaking of ‘immediacy’ as a void seems strange. After all, we often speak of ‘this very moment,’ and simultaneously point down to the ground as if to show that ‘now’ is ‘right here.’ Nevertheless, we don’t need to think too hard to realize that ‘now’ is not really a place, per se. As we shall see, time is quite an abstraction, and various types of abstractions tend to become quite muddled with each other. Therefore, I challenge you to define what exactly we mean when we say, ‘now.’ Would we say, ‘Not the past?’ ‘Not the future?’ ‘This instant?’ All of the words we might use to define it prove to be rather transitory — gone the instant we use them.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781904658498

3: A First Go at the Central Idea: Moving Back to the Moment

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

So, you know now that this book is a sort of fractal whose fundamental imprint is ‘magic’ in the many ways in which people use this term. This fractal replicates on the smallest level and grows but keeps making this same pattern — no really, this is magic too, your life, your relationships, your ideologies, your culture, and so forth. This book is about magic, came about through a magical process, is written by someone who claims to be a magician, addresses magicians, but then claims that everyone is a magician.

I need to state all of this once again because many readers may lose sight of this fractal. In this chapter, I am going to introduce the basic existential-phenomenological foundation of this work. To o many people who call themselves magicians are busy playing the stage magician’s trick of distraction and misdirection, except they play it on themselves. Trough various types of belief-engineering, magicians dive into their psychotheocosmologies, their paradigms, their ‘workings’ but lose sight of the play. They forget the most basic childhood lesson: that it isn’t any fun anymore if you forget it is a game. The same can be said, of course, about most people who ‘grow up.’

See All Chapters

See All Slices