December 21st, 2006


Unsolicited aside to an online pal :)


When someone around us is in difficulty -- even more so in fear and pain -- there's a sort of "mental contagion"* we can find ourselves sharing, if we're not careful. This is especially the case where the sufferer is someone we love: we hurt to see them this way, yet feel guilty that their misery is messing with our own clarity, and so forth. After a while this can lead to a sort of feedback loop, such as I discuss here:

-- we feel bad, things look worse, we feel worse still, etc., and pretty soon trouble is coming out of the woodwork: stupid stuff, out of nowhere, with no end in sight. We inadvertently start to curse ourselves: "This is just how it works for me. Thanks loads! Wonder what's next!"

Fortunately, our own clarity, harmony, peace, joy, confidence, and other convictions -- like all conviction! -- also tend to be contagious, and to objectify themselves. The key, then, is to let our harmony and peace and well-being "infect" the sufferer (if they'll have it), rather than the other way around. This is not (of course!) an argument for indifference to their suffering; it is instead, IMO, a practical effort to ease that suffering, for them as well as for ourselves...though only consistent experiment will let us decide whether that's true or not.

At the least, having a consciousness contagious with harmony couldn't hurt someone in need. Isn't it worth a try to see whether it could help?

HTH :*

93 93/93 -- AJ

* The term is Mary Baker Eddy's. For some reason, the Christmas season itself frequently seems to bring a depressive contagion of its own; perhaps the Old Aeon distance between ideal and "reality"? -- a "Wouldn't it be wonderful if things could be wonderful?" sort of thing, rather than the New Aeon notion of making them wonderful through joyful effort?

"The Festival of Change"

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The following excerpt from the Winter Solstice (Earth) Ritual of the Collegium Gnosticum is Copyright 1995, 2006 The Consciousness Institute. All Rights Reserved. So, y'know, don't rip it off 'n' stuff. Like all our quarter rituals, it will be included in its entirety in A.J. Rose's 2007 novel In The Nightmare Village, which is really groovy even if you don't like stupid rituals like this & you should definitely buy one, hell, several!, once it comes out. And, uhh, all the previous volumes, in the meantime. Plus the C.'.G.'. Student Handbook. C'mon! Who's it gonna hurt?!

We join the desultory proceedings of four (female) Pages*, already in progress...


[...] PENTACLES: Sisters, what is the Hour?
OTHERS (look around; reaching agreement): I suppose it's Midnight.
PENTACLES: And the Place?
CUPS: Who can say? A Cold place.
SWORDS: A place of Change.
WANDS: In the Kingdom called Earth.
PENTACLES (looks annoyed; then, shrugging): In the Name of Earth, then, let us Invoke.
(They perform the Confession & Section I of the Supreme Ritual, as follows: choral on opening quatrain, then Pentacles, others joining in (verbally, & with Typhon sign) on the "Thee I invoke"s and "Abrahadabras". This improves the mood. When finished:) PENTACLES: Mmmm, girls? Someone is coming. A man.
SWORDS: I think it's our Master.
CUPS: He looks rather spooky.
WANDS: Yet rather spiffing.
(The Magician arrives, clad in a black Tau robe, but with a few silver ornaments; he does not speak at first. The four Pages look at each other; they are plainly apprehensive.)
PENTACLES (clears throat): We are Four Neophytes of the Collegium Gnosticum --
MAGICIAN: Then you shouldn't be associating!
PENTACLES: Oh, ahh -- and who might you be?
MAGICIAN (looks like he's deciding whether to answer; finally): I am Saturnus that comes to thee; but also the Mage from the top of the Tree.
PENTACLES: Why, then, it must be Saturnalia!
MAGICIAN (with a twinkle): 'Tis the season to be jolly! Well, you invoked me: what did you want?
PENTACLES (gamely): Well -- something other than what we have, I should imagine!
MAGICIAN: Now we're getting somewhere: Your Will is Change. I can see that you've come to the right place. And you'll get Change, right enough; like it or not. (He sighs.) Look, girls -- you're getting chilly out here. I have a message for you. Do you care about that, or not?
PENTACLES: I say! -- yes, I remember, it was right...! (Clears throat again.) "To pass the Gate of Winter requires three tokens: A Word, an Oracle, and an Omen. Have you these?"
MAGICIAN: I have. But they won't do you any good without this.
(He kisses her, with more generosity than passion; she practically swoons, just the same.)**
MAGICIAN (Calm): The Word of the Current Semester is [gives it, from Autumnal Equinox]; the Oracle is [gives it]; and the Omen is [gives it]. (Again, a pause.)
CUPS: You're mean!
WANDS: You're arrogant!
SWORDS: You're a masher!
PENTACLES (wonderingly): You're -- putting on an act.
PENTACLES: You are; you're faking. You aren't dark or evil or scary at all: you just act that way --
MAGICIAN (sad smile): -- on this part of the Tree. Yes, you're right. The Path is scary sometimes; but it leads out of darkness, and into light. The trouble is, only the strong will even begin to essay it. Are you feeling strong, little mountain goat?
PENTACLES: "With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks / through solstice stubborn to Equinox." That's from Mr. Crowley's "Hymn to Pan."
MAGICIAN (Shrugs.): It's easy enough to say.
PENTACLES: Try me, then.
MAGICIAN (Regards her; then:) I believe I might. (Smiles) I will tell you something I learned from a Fool -- The Wisdom of the Seasons is Reconciliation: in Light Darkness, in Darkness Light, and Love and Freedom in All.
PENTACLES (barely audible): Love -- and Freedom...?
MAGICIAN: As saith the Holy Book, Liber Tzaddi: (reads out Liber Tzaddi, verses 33 to end (only). At end, he turns to her again:) D'ye think you actually heard that, or not?
PENTACLES: I think perhaps I did; or started to, anyway.
MAGICIAN: Then the lesson is learned, as before, and to come; and in Equilibrium, we are free to enjoy. (Formally:) By virtue of this insight, and the tokens three, I Open The Gate Of Winter -- And Proclaim The Midnight Sun!
(wild applause, hooting, merriment &c. by all)
PENTACLES: I have to close the Temple, first.
MAGICIAN: You certainly do.
PENTACLES: But then we're going for a walk.
MAGICIAN: I believe we are.
PENTACLES: Now, Sisters, to your Stations! [...]

* As a sometimes-public ritual, the quarter rituals use exoteric title and suit names. (Don't you feel cool to know that?, I know I do.) The whole thing is also intentionally archaic; the conceit is that it was written in the 1950s by the Order's (imaginary) founder, echoing the 1930s style of his middle age. (He also repeats himself, uses idiosyncratic spelling, and does other stuff to make him sound less like me. ;) )
** The "kiss" transmits the original "Message from the Throne" -- from the 20 March Supreme Ritual -- down the Tree from Kether; Pentacles is not "swooning" at a kiss. "VQ" was old, but he wasn't delusional. :)



Love is the law, love under will.

Yours in Love and Freedom, THETA