4 oktober 2012

9 Albedo The white work, part 1, theory

The choice between pursuing the way of return or to fall into our own little self created imaginary world is part of the real choice faced when the first slivers of light shine through and the white tincture is made.

Albedo is a very complex stage of the work, and arguably, is the most important. Albedo has 2 phases, several layers, and not everything that sparkles is gold.

We know that this stage refers to silver. We also know that many choose to stop working at this level. The light of the Sun is reflected by the moon, and anyone who has experienced a real full moon in the countryside out in the open can attest to a strange fact. When the full moon reflects the light of the sun fully, it is almost as light as day, but "after a different manner". The light is not warm, it doesn't heat. It has an aetherial feeling to it, like seeing things through a slightly shimmering veil.

I have been putting off writing this article because I believe it is good to consider what we put into writing. I have no intention of misleading anyone and therefore sometimes I need to consider, and reconsider what I plan on posting, especially on a subject as difficult as this. It was not until this past weekend when speaking to some of my peers and people I consider more knowledgeable than me that the penny dropped and I found the correct way of tackling this topic. It was not until one of the authors of Krystiania publishing house made a poignant comment about who to write for and how that I found the exact angle I was going to attack this post on.

Albedo never occurs in isolation. Albedo and Rubedo move in and out of eachother and are part of eachother. Not only that, we need to make a difference between Gnosis, the ultimate understanding of the mystery as a realisation and as distinct from having undergone the process.  The realisation, the acquiring of gnosis is a life-changing moment, after which one is never the same again. In theosophy one refers to this as being reborn in Christ, and most traditions claim that it is only at this stage that the seeker acquires a soul.

Gnosis is the Philosopher's Stone, it is reintegration into Adam, the awareness of and becoming part of the fullness. For those out there who are kabbalistically challenged, this is not an initiation into any specific sphere upon the tree. This is most definitively not an initiation into Tiphereth or even Kether. Instead this is closer to what certain traditions refer to as being freed, returning fully into the Ain Soph Aur.

Why is it important to make a difference between Gnosis/Realisation and process? Because depending on the path of return chosen you may work with a system where your level of realisation is linked to where you are in the process or you may work with a system where it is seen as more important to get a realisation that you later use for your process instead. We can also talk about this from the perspective of the difference between the different phases in the alchemical bodies and the levels of consciousness reached in alchemy. One can have a solar consciousness without having developed a solar body ;)
The opposite is also true. You may have experienced things from a process related perspective yet not truly receive Gnosis. This is typical with mystical approaches where levels of non-dual awareness are mistaken for gnosis.

I am taking the liberty to name this "Alchemy with nature" and "Alchemy against nature".
(For an example of Alchemy against nature I recommend Sendivogius' system.
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/newchem1.html for those interested.)

In the work against nature,
The powder of projection, created by the philosophers stone can be given to someone when they are in a nigredo phase. This will then lead to a transformation whereby they receive and create a philosophers stone themselves. The point of consciousness will move into the stone and never ever be able to leave again. some find this difficult, since truth can hurt from the point of view of where we previously were.
The stone immediately transforms all materia in the vessel to the prima materia, thus a forced Nigredo that is darker than the black of nature will occur. Then the stone will cause a change depending on what process related state the vessel was in prior to being exposed to the stone.
 However the vessel will still hold the caput mortem, materia that has been whitened and some materia that will start to be tinged with the colour of the stone.

The vessel will become more and more tinged as the stone dissolves the metals and turnst them into tinted gold. This type of Albedo does however have a curious tendence to lead to the caput mortem becoming an indissoluble stone. This creates a duality in the flask, where the wholeness is reflected. The stone radiating gold, gold radiating silver and silver being held by the fangs of the caput mortem which is the dragon.

In the process this will lead the aspiring adept to have within all aspects of creation. The abyss has been crossed and is seen as not an abyss anymore, and the transformation is now something that has to happen and needs to be done, not as some unsurmountable task. The initiators job here is to make sure the stone is not merely inserted into the vessel at a random place but has to be put in the absolute center to replace the old center.

Thus albedo is reached and this is albedo tinted with the stone, but containing within the dragon. The dangers are here to only focus on the stone and ignore the process that still needs to happen. Also, as the stone is in the vessel and can eternally be replicated, one can loose oneself in the consequences of the stone and in using the stone as a powder of projection in rituals, where one's Lunar consciousness is raised towards the sun and can shine down upon the darkness. Those in darkness can thus be blinded by the light as there is from the outside perspective no difference between the moon in its fullness and the true spiritual sun.

Many a sect has been started by this.

Thus Albedo reached from a process point of view is different from albedo reached as a result of gnosis.

If albedo is reached through a process then the power of the mirror remains, but the wholeness is not reached. There is not a single claw of the dragon left instead the whole vessel undergoes a graying after the blackening.
This time of twilight scares many as the utter darkness has been passed yet the whiteness of the l´silver that reflects the sun is not reached yet.
Often a few spots of superheated white powder turn into gold too quickly, yet combust and are no more. This disheartens the seeker as they are able to hold the mirror to heaven and allow the moon to enter fullness, yet they are not fully gold themselves.

As with the prevous version this has its blessings and dangers.

12 juni 2012

8 The Dark Night

The Dark Night of the Soul

"When all is dark and no hope is seen,
where we find ourselves alone.
When there is nowhere to run to, but where you already have been
You will be forced to look inwards and realise you're already at home."

You are alone. You have worked and worked and you have gained results. No, nothing is changing. There is no answer to your prayers and all the hard work is as blown away. 

The dark night of the soul has been written about by more authors and artists then you'd at first think. I don't think I can make this issue justice without going into personal experiences from myself or those who have gone through the same, which is really not appropriate on this blog. I will jot down some thoughts and issues, but not even try and go into detail

There are however many, many, commercially available books, stories and biographies that illustrate the whole process. "The Dark Night of The Soul" By St. John of the Cross being the most famous one, however I honestly feel that for a modern seeker its a bit shit. There are many more relevant versions of the process available today that we are able to relate to better.

Michaelangelo's painting of the sixteenth chapel is a prime example of a "Dark Night of the Soul" that is overlooked. He took on the bronze work and the painting of the chapel because if he did, the pope would let him carve his tomb, which is what Michaelangelo really wanted to do. His diary is filled with information about his misery and how much suffering he went through.
He wasn't a painter and he was not good at fresco work. He had to pay people to teach him, and honestly, if you look at the beginning bit of the work in the entrance, its not great work.
Mosts of Uncle Al's life is a Dark Night of the soul.

The mythical Christ is another good example From when he is  in the Garden of Gethsemane until he cries out "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Upon the Cross is often seen as the Christian allegory of the Dark Night. Not only does he feel abandoned, knowing that this cup cannot be taken from him, he is also severely beaten hurt whipped, crucified and no angels come to save him. He dies. Goes to Hell for 3 days (I wonder what they do to the Word of God down there). Only -after- this is he resurrected, then he spends 40 days kicking around doing -something- before he ascends.

So what then -is- the dark night?
The Dark night doesn't necessarily come at the end of the Nigredo phase before it shifts into the albedo, it is actually possible to have the Dark Night later. The Dark Night is not some mere depression, you can be fairly happy during days in the Dark Night. The issue with the Dark night is that you suddenly see aspects of the path you chose not to see. You see parts of yourself you have chosen not to see. You are presented with realities that you did not know existed. Some people therefore say that the Dark Night is not strictly linked to the alchemical phases, rather it is linked to the Heroes journey to become the Warrior King. Thus, the Dark night happens just before understanding of the Light can occur. However, the light seen on the other side can sometimes be a jack-o-lantern, that takes you away.

If you have not experienced a dark night, then you have not truly entered into a higher understanding, as the crisis is the needed fuel for a change to be able to occur. 

In the Dark Night, the inner life of the initiate and the "objective reality" start to merge. Objective events start to happen that mirror the inner turmoil of the person undergoing this. There is a loss of faith if the system works in the mystical path. Experiences will be had that do not follow the set faith of the seeker, and most often, the spiritual world disappears. 

There is no consolation. In prayer, or in ritual. That which was a safety blanket is torn away. Jung often talks about "the crisis" and his own period in a mental institution is a very epic, telling tale of this.

From a Christian perspective we can look at a monk.

He takes his vows. He believes in God, the church and that the Order will get him there.
He joins. Prays. Cooks, Teaches, prays, cooks, studies, cleans. Talks to some of the other monks unless there is a vow of silence. The abbot might start to piss him off. The priest performing the mass might not be good enough. The songs and worship that he grew up on loose their value after having said them 6 times a day for 1 year. The novelty wears off. Not seeing his friends and family is starting to hurt. not as many people who said they would come visit come and visit him. Also, there are no dreams. The world outside is falling into pieces with war and famine, the monk wants to go out and help but is informed that prayer is equivalent to physical aid. The monk despairs. Feels nothing. His faith crumbles to dust. He goes to heaven and there is nothing there.

This is when the night has descended. Because only if the Dark is fully walked through will there be true light. Many distractions will appear. Maybe a different set of prayers? Maybe if he wasn't a monk but just a lay brother? Maybe if he became a full priest? What if Christianity version X isn't the right one?
Shit, maybe changing the Creed was wrong? Could the Orthodox be correct? etc etc etc.

The Dark night is sometimes a denial. A refusal to see the Truth and that forces a darkness to descend upon the seeker. Not being willing to accept the truth. Trying to hide in drugs, alcohol, displacement activities, anything but accepting the truth becomes the norm.

As a final note: there are several Dark Nights.

The first is of the Body. Puberty deals with part one. realising your body is winding down and will at some  point die is number two.

The Second is the Dark Night of the Mind. This is often a projection upon ones teacher. system, faith, culture etc. Read up on the LSD Experiments. Many people underwent horrid psychological trauma as a result because they were not ready. They reevaluated their lives their whole paradigms. That was a dark night of the mind. If you think you are having the dark night, but you can rationalise it, put things well into words then you are merely waiting for the reflection of the reflection of the light to come.

The Third is the Dark Night of the Soul
All I can say to further this is: Enjoy. Work. Work. Work. It will pass. But unless you feel like its not going to pass, then you're not there.

25 maj 2012

7. Nigredo, the black work

7. Nigredo. The torture never ends.

The single most important period of your life is the actualisation of the nigredo.
The most important process for your path towards unveiling of the gold is this stage. You need steady heat from within and underneath and at crucial stages you need to receive the fire from above. Not  a single speck of dust shall remain that has not been transformed, the sulphur and mercury extracted from it.

The issue with alchemy is that you are already experiencing most of what alchemy is trying to show you just by living. Thus your entire life is in a way one single, long nigredo, but it takes so long that all that ends up happening is you get maybe halfway through the process, then you die.

Alchemy is about speeding up this process, actualise it, making yourself aware of it and speeding it up enough for the blackening to be complete not in your usual 80 years but your decade or less.
Some think that nigredo means you have to be depressed all the time, dark and moody. Some subcultures linked with the study of the western traditions seem to think that nigredo means wearing black.

That cherry doesn't look horribly tasty does it. That is you. (except those of you who have already undergone your complete nigredo of course). Nigredo is needed because we all have festering wounds. We all have disfigured parts. We all have imperfections. Through nigredo we can transform it. Nigredo is the beginning and in a way the crown of the work. It is a purifying process. You can take whatever matter you want and burn it, it will still become nothing but ash in the end. Clean. Harmless and uniform, with the impurities removed.

If you have ever burned something that is not resin, you will have noticed that there is a smell following the burning. Whether you burn human hair, skin, food, wood, burned things smell bad. What happens if you keep burning? If you put a rose into a pan what happens? Does it catch fire after awhile or does it mostly wilt and dry and start to burn? Is there a pleasant smell first? Does it start to smell burned after this? What next? Is there a point when there is no longer a smell emanating at all? yes there is. When all has been reduced to ash, all is black. When you want to change something, first you have to reduce its body into its primal element. This is the process of travelling inwards and outwards at the same time. The fire will drive out the worms, bring them to the light. How much do you identify with the worms? If you suddenly scream "poor worm" and try and save it you will turn off the heat and remove the cherry from the pan. More people then you think do this. Why else are there douchebags out there? why do people not change? If someone want to become a different person then they are today why are they not doing it? Because, the process would be too horrible. For them. The maggot or a specific pretty bit of the cherry the maggots inhabit are not allowed to burn.
If you still become upset when you don't want to. You you still haven't worked out why you are on such a moral high horse. If you are still struggling with addiction. If you still believe that you are a person, then you are still working with this process. There is nothing wrong with that. 
Alchemy shows with the "without" what happens "within" and vice versa. 

Just to make this lovely process visible for you, I have included the Materia (before) and Materia in Nigredo (after) pictures of this lovely process, courtesy of one of my dear brothers.

The Apple, just placed into the athanor 
The Apple, after several months of natural decay. 

The apple is placed on a bed of pure sand (it has been blasted in about 800 degrees so there are no impurities in it) and covered with a purified completely clean glass bowl. The outside is then filled up with sand and the bed of sand is on a heatproof ceramic dish. This allows a natural decaying process to take place, free from all larger vermin. This is the way the alchemists of old would investigate certain things.

Why is this useful? Firstly the alchemist identifies with the object in the testube. The materia is a magic mirror for the alchemist, so s/he can see what is happening, at what stage of this particular process the soul/mind/body trinity is.

In the inner life, this alchemical process will manifest in a few ways, independent of outer work, whether this is shamanistic psychotherapy under St C.G. Jungs aegis (had to say it) or if its ceremonial magic or pure meditative work.

1 There will be a travelling inwards and a clearer understanding of ourselves.
2 there is an increase in heat, physical body heat but also "our heat" will envelop the worker
3 for a long time there is a sense of increased energy.
4 there is a collapse when the materia suddenly gives way to the darkening.
5 Bouts of feeling low will start to mix as the transformation occurs.
6 Periods of intense luminosity. The materia exhales the poisonous fumes and this release gives insight about oneself and the nature of the poisons.
7 as the materia returns slowly into the embrace of our isis, the dignities remain yet the individuality of the materia is given over to the great mother.

Jung and others have hinted that there are several meetings with the "shadow" that lead to a form of union with this entity/archetype just at the end. This is indeed the case.

If we think of the opus as a faerytale and the heroes journey, then your job is to go to the mountain and within it find the seven metals that you excavate and bring up to the top of the mountain. That there is a dragon guarding the gems is self explanatory. Why would there not be a dragon?

The nigredo will continue and do its job, if you let it. If you allow it to happen. If you don't drag out its process forever.

Why the nigredo is not all that bad:
The nigredo, though showing a blackening, is a purification and believe me, that is a nice experience. The fire cleans and heals.
Popcultural references to the Nigredo phase

In Snowwhite and the seven dwarves, the nigredo of the princess is living in the forest with the seven Dwarves and meeting her stepmother a few times, until finally she ends up in a casket.

In The Matrix, Neo's journey from awakening into the hell that is the real world and dying when being beaten to pulp by agent Smith is his nigredo.

Frodo's journey is a journey describing the Nigredo.

The story of Jesus has many readings, one of which will be the last bit of these series, and from one perspective, his life between baptism and the garden of gethsemane can be argued as a Nigredo.

The nigredo, will culminate in the absolute darkness when it cannot become anymore darker.

It is possible to spend your entire life doing rituals and engaging with religious practices without ever getting to the actual complete blackening.
Think about it. You are meant to take yourself, put yourself in a vessel and then undergo the process shown above in pictures. Are you -really- willing to do this? Your lips say yes but experience has taught me that it means "No".  Its seriously just so much easier to stay who you are and keep trying to find the right system, or the "correct way John Dee's system was intended to be used" or what have you.

(Methods will be discussed in later blogposts.)

17 maj 2012

6 Why Adepts are hated

Having looked at hints about the Royal Path and in some detail about Sorcerous and Sacerdotal paths, it seems relevant to highlight some issues that arise.

One of the problems with the Royal Path is that it starts at one or both of the midpoint intersections of the sorcerous and sacerdotal paths. Sometimes, though this is one in thousands, the student might enter upon the Royal Path when the teacher did not intend this to happen, or wasn't even aware that it could happen. This is the case where the student has an innate psychological, karmic, or other bullshit reason for this to happen. The student is lost, believes hirself to be the first person to realise the truth behind the path and can not find any guidance in what to do with herself. The student the rises above the teacher and with hir newfound Royal Blood claims the inheritance that is hir due.

Most of us would want to say at this point that we are the 1 in thousands and isn't that great? ;) (cough hybris)

There are three cases we can look at where this happens. Now, I am not using these examples because I think any higher of them than other examples, but instead because I think they may be more useful to my readers. We have a version where the new wanderer on the path uses his understanding, one where the wanderer instructs with philosophy in absolute antinomianism and one where the wanderer believes himself the be unique.

If we assume that the story of Jesus is based on something real, and he wasn't the incarnation of some cosmic consciousness, just someone who managed to reclaim his divine status, then his life brings us  to a decent example. A learned and very devout jewish man, follower of the ideas of the baptist has a realisation. Based on his first steps upon the Royal Path,  as a true anointed one, he builds upon and around his culture and in some cases takes on an antinomian position to Judaism. Just think how odd his views very in comparison to the status quo. The will amongst the people to have him executed is very understandable from their point of view.

Think of Gautama Buddha. In thailand there are several images of him in his form of a skeletal ascetic. This is because they believe that G started his journey towards enlightenment using yoga and other established practices. Once he became enlightened he set out on a path of least resistance that could help others understand that which he had.

Look at poor Uncle Al. Born and raised with Victorian ideals and christian mindfucks, completely giving himself over to the teachings of the Golden Dawn, and as a 5-6 being catapulted into the Royal Path when receiving his understanding of it. Believing himself to have understood something noone before him understood, he wished for a system that was about as subtle as a penis sticking out from a forehead. 

More often the slight ego inflation that the above people experienced when they went off to start their own thing doesn't happen as, there is a "person" who has been overlooking the process and can cushion the effects of the enlivening blood as it awakens in the new King/Queen.

However, from the point of view of any of the paths, be it the sorcerers or the sacerdotal's, the Royal Path, the Warrior's path looks wrong. The sorcerer will not understand the flaunting of the rules and the  work towards liberation, as it will seem much to much as the sacerdotal path disguised as sorcery. Similarly, the sacerdotal path view it as sorcery disguised as religion.

The theurge breaks taboo and the gods love him for it. The theurge follows religions that are completely contradictory. The theurge prescribes the chaste man to become a prostitue and the Harlot to become God's chosen dame knight.

The theurgic supercelestial work functions both above and below the normal operational levels of the sacerdotal and sorcerous paths, flaunting the blinds in the systems and seeing all for what it is.

The universe simplifies into a single undivisible truth wherein the mystery of all is revealed. Sorcerous feats become possible that most sorcerers would not dream of as true, whereas certain skills that are simple yet that require highly specialised training might never manifest. The theurge is always and constantly in the knowledge Dharmakaya, in the presence and of it. becoming Christeos truly with what that actually entails.

How can this wo/man not be hated of s/he is open about it? Where a priest sees secrets and esotericism because the religion requires initiations, the Royal Warrior sees a dead end, where sorcerers become enamoured by the 9999 secret names the recitations of which will cause something to happen the Theurge understands to be a way to instil belief  in the belief system so the sorcerers own will can accomplish the change, whereas in a simple flower that is trampled by the sorcerer and priest alike, the United King and Queen of the world sees all of creation reflected.

This is all very interesting and well, however we are talking about this on a blog and in text, so any understanding gleaned from this only established a projected understanding of "so" and only the kings and queens amongst us are quietly thinking "not so".

When your entire magickal or religious belief system is looked at by someone as a joke or misstake in understanding its lifegiving essence and you are told that there is a real way of understanding it and it is such and such or that your current path won't lead you anywhere... surely you'd get pissed off too?


Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking.
Why else would the springtime falter?
Why would all our ardent longing
bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor?
After all, the bud was covered all the winter.
What new thing is it that bursts and wears?
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking,
hurts for that which grows
                         and that which bars.
Yes, it is hard when drops are falling.
Trembling with fear, and heavy hanging,
cleaving to the twig, and swelling, sliding -
weight draws them down, though they go on clinging.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the depths attract and call,
yet sit fast and merely tremble -
hard to want to stay
                    and want to fall.
Then, when things are worst and nothing helps
the tree's buds break as in rejoicing,
then, when no fear holds back any longer,
down in glitter go the twig's drops plunging,
forget that they were frightened by the new,
forget their fear before the flight unfurled -
feel for a second their greatest safety,
rest in that trust
                   that creates the world.

Karin Boye, translation by David McDuff

15 maj 2012

5 The Goals of the sacerdotal path

Joy, the time to talk about the sacerdotal path.
Not my favourite topic in text, but deffinitively in speech.
This is the fast way towards High Magick/Magia/Alchemical Theurgy and it is also the one riddled with the most dangers, pitfalls and bigoted people.

What is the sacerdotal path exactly? It is the "active engagement with a worldview". Just like most people do some form of magic, as could be intuited from my bit about the sorcerous path, most people do fall somewhere in the continuum that is the sacerdotal path.

Your first steps upon this path is handled by your parents, and then you continue to build on this or very early rebel against it. It is a paradigm, and contrary to common belief, your paradigm is really bloody difficult to change. You can tweak it, you can invert it, but changing it requires a hell of a lot of work. This work is exactly what the sacerdotal paths essence lies in.

Let's have a look at the really simple chart from a few posts ago with a nice sacerdotal purple added to it together with some lettering.

We are looking at the right side of the chart marked in purle. All worldviews fit in here from the various forms of the Abrahamic religions, whether Judaism Christianity or Islam, to Daoism from high to low, shinto, non-theistic systems, animistic and materialistic atheists. The purpose of the whole purpleish circle is to give you a way to understand the world you are in and to allow the mythic structure that the worldview represents to help you in slowly but steadily come closer to the center where a Realisation of the Higher mysteries can happen. Please be aware that the realisation is not automatic because you have entered the center, please refer to previous posts about this.
The discussion and examples below are to be understood to refer to the sacerdotal path, not the realisation of the theurgic truth.

A) is the center where an inversion into the "higher" as discussed in this series can happen. Depending on what specific mythical structure is used to experience this center is used, there are different words for this is often a form of divine, automatic understanding of the world, where everything makes sense. 
Prayer without words, Deep meditative states and communion. de closer to the Center we get, the more Spirituality and the less Religion is involved in the path.

B) is the region of mythical structures where the worldview allows a two-fold path, where the divine is actively participating and is willing and able to cause change in the world. Intersession of saints and sacerdotal practices that require ritualistic actions. Religions where a spiritual understanding informs the ritualistic practices.

C) is The region that is close to the rim, but far away from the center, thus is symbolic of approaches where the outer form is more important for moral reasons rather then any spiritual reason. Most worldviews relying on materialism and can be classed here. For example, most Low-Church Lutheran denominations end up here, Children are baptised and moral lessons are taken from the religion but there is no understanding of the spiritual aspect, whereas Luther's own vision about protestantism would fit into the A section.

D) Practices that have a very non-spiritual aspect, where the spiritual search is merely an explanation for the magical practice. Highly animistic religions exist on this level. The focus is laid upon the here and now just as much as with the other  extreme, the materialistic atheism or its equivalent in the Sorcerous path.

From the Point of view of the Theurge:

The purpose of walking this path properly is to find a place where the supreme ultimate and the here and now can interact in a way that allows the follower to be content with navigating the above and the below. When this is accomplished in a balanced manner, guided by a teacher who can make sure that the outer explanation is not confused with reality, the student can realise the underlying archetypical truths that are common to all religions and true systems of spiritual development. From this point of view, a true christian is not one who can quote the bible and  attends church every sunday, but one who understands the underlying message of his chosen way of interacting with the world and gains a deeper connection with its archetypal mode of being. Imitatio  Christe is more important than religiously following commandments.

The Mystic seeks ever to understand his or her life from the point of view of the religion and the mythic cycle, be it hermetic philosophy or orthodox christianity.

Not only is there belief needed for this, the belief needs to be lived. 

The Goal is To experience Unity. The supreme ultimate, the Dao. This is its strength and its greatestweakness. 

1 The worldview is self-asserting.
2 Mystical states are comparatively easy to experience and misstake for being finished.
3 You are not alone.

Crowley warns about the dangers of mysticism

"Now the formula of the mystic is much simpler. Mathematically, it is 1 – 1 = 0. He is like a grain of salt cast into the sea; the process of dissolution is obviously easier than the shock of worlds which the magician contemplates. “Sit down, and feel yourself as dust in the presence of God; nay, as less than dust, as nothing,” is the all-sufficient simplicity of his method. Unfortunately, many people cannot do this. And when you urge your inability, the mystic is only too likely to shrug his shoulders and be done with you." Elsewhere he writes "The Path of the Mystic hath this Pitfall; for though he unite himself with his God, his Mode is to withdraw from that which him seemeth is not God. Whereby he affirmeth and confirmeth the Demon, that is Duality"

Yet he himself falls into mysticism as he ends up later creating a system that is in essence a sacerdotal approach hidden behind a veneer of hermetic ritual.

The difficulty of the Sacerdotal path lies in realising what our actual paradigm is. You can try and try to be a pagan if you immediately revert to calling upon god i times of need.
For the sacerdotal path to be effective, the Myth must become second nature, ingrained in the spine. For the sacerdotal path to work without becoming a trap, it needs to be understood that this second nature us a chosen one. It is easy to replace the god of christianity with a goddess and called it sophianic gnosticism, whereas it really is God in Drag.

One of the great double edged swords of the sacerdotal path is that all of its realisations will come through using its own truth and that you are not alone in the work as you are essentially working with things that are quite interested in working with you too. 

There are the guardians of your tradition and the egregore of the tradition itself. There are beings that exist whether you want them to or not, how they came into being is anyones guess. There are certain cosmic forces that can use any one of the above as masks to interact with you with and then there is the ever descending force that any sacerdotal path that has a line from the outer edge to its inner centre and had a way to lead from there onwards to the Royal Path.

The issue with the sacerdotal path is that it is itself made up of 2 intersecting circles. One of these is moving from the center outward and the other one is moving from the rim inwards.

Center out: This is when through spontaneous realisation the point of A has been reached and transformed into the center of the royal path and the individual who is there needs to find a new way of showing others how to get there. Thus Myths are created and cosmologies developed, certain practices that should assist in leading to the center are adapted.

Let me quote myself from an old post:

"1 In the purest form. This is referred to as someone who has beheld the mystery and becomes a living link to the mystery.
A being who beholds and becomes a living link to the mystery is free from all cultural notions and can bring others to the realization of the mystery by whatever means that person needs it.
Christian Rozenkreutz and Martinez Pasqually for example both suggested that one should take up the dominant religion of the country wherein one resides. This is so that one may understand enough for the cultural symbols present in the mind of the locals so one may use those symbols and crutches in the guidance of these souls. It is measured work.

2 Strongly coloured by the social cultural, religious and psychological makeup of the individual. These people behold the mystery but are unable to see it in its entirety and interpret it from a point of view they are familiar with. This is naturally a degradation of the mystery as the nature of the mystery is that it is beyond cultural social and religious forms.
These beings sometimes become living links to the mystery and manage to fully understand it in time. Often they spend their life having created a new religion or a new form of an old one since that was the context through which they understood it and trying to help people to behold the mystery but only from the point of view from which they themselves saw it.
Ever wonder why Jesuits who have performed the spiritual exercises of Loyolla are so devoutly certain Catholicism is the way to go?

3 Beings that behold the mystery but have no bloody clue what they experienced. Sometimes they don't even have a cultural context to place it into.
People performing rituals or mystical practices without guidance, who do drugs and experience spiritual peak experiences all fall into this category.
They have seen the outer mystery, or one of the manifestations of the mystery.
These people often become enamoured by the technique or thing that got them there first.

A true spiritual master is a being from the 1th category who is guiding people there.
the 2nd category is most of your prophets and spiritual leaders
the 3rd category is your random practitioners, groupies, druggies and culties."

The other way is when pure fancy has created a cosmology that agrees with the world which slowly creates a worming way to eventually leading in the development of the system closer to the center.

To have a practical example:

Alistair experiences the Royal Path but sees it from number 2 above. creates Thelema. this is center outward.

You can take any version of christianity and give to a random clone, if they pray and are guided the right way will end up in the center.

This specific blogpost could go on forever and it would never be exhaustive enough. 
Therefore it will now be summarised and posted.

The goal of the scaerdotal path is to allow its practitioner to experience union with the highest in a non-dual awareness where the above/god/emptiness coexists with the below/man/illusion. The Practitioner should live a harmonius life, invisible, in essence, from the the archontic forces.

What the sorcerer seeks to dominate, the mystic hides from.
What the sorcerer seeks to control, the mystic finds a way to live in harmony with.
What the sorcerer sees as a personal plaything, the mystic sees as a toy that has artisitic value but is not important.

Further reading:

Louis Claude de St-Martin - any
Sartre, Being and nothingness
jacob Boehme - any
The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion

Deikman, Arthur, understanding mysticism

Dean, Inge Christian Mysticism
Smart Ninian, Reasons and faiths
Forman, Robert, The Problem of Pure Consciousness
The spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola
The Dark Night of the Soul
The Bible
The Q¨ran

Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky
Carl Gustav Jung - Any

3 maj 2012

4 The goals of the sorcerous path

Having looked at the Royal Path that is to be trodden by those who have obtained Royal Blood by sacrificing themselves, let us turn our eyes upon the Path of Sorcery.

The Path of Sorcery is, in essence the active, enforcing your will upon the world part of the Myth-Ritual duality. Though we have come a long way from how Frazer saw things in the Golden Bough, we should perhaps not forget how much his view was clouded by his understanding of things.

Sorcery is everything from lighting a match to tossing coins in the corners of your new home to bring money, to lifting your hand in a weird gesture to ward off the evil eye, the evil eye used on purpose, rites of exorcism, the summoning and controlling of deities and forces, the manipulation of names through animistic means etc ad infinitum.

Some acts of sorcery are so common in certain cultures that they are not seen as acts of sorcery, they have become commonplace. There are acts of sorcery that look almost identical, to a casual observer, to Theurgy and the royal path and/or the prayerful elements from work related to the Sacerdotal path. Sometimes the practitioner does hirself not realise that what s/he is doing is sorcery and not sacerdotal or theurgic work.

Sometimes there is confusion because the sorcerer (note the correct spelling, like "altar" instead of "alter", the latter of the two  meaning "to change" and not "holy flat surface")  is confused about what they are trying to accomplish. Since sorcery can give insights into the machinations of the world and the workings of the human mind, it can be tempting to believe that one is  working towards some form of supreme understanding of the cosmos and getting close to the Royal Path. There are even those who do not realise they are engaged in doing sorcery and believe that they are praying! So cute.

Remember the caveat kids, these posts are from the point of view of actual highmagic, not from the all paths are equal fluffy bollocks pov.

The one and ultimate aim of sorcery is: to be able to affect the world around you one way or another.

That is it. It is this simple. Everything else is cultural garbage added to it. When mediating between a manifestation of the divine and trying to understand it, you are engaging in sacerdotal practices. When putting that practice into effect you are engaging in sorcery. There is an overlap, but after a different manner.

So, what are some of the characteristics of Sorcery?

The less belief you have the more potent the Programming needs to be. The less potent the programming, the more Belief is needed.

1. Belief. This is the fuel.

Without believing that what you do works, it wont. This belief is based on your paradigm which is culturally indoctrinated into you and is nigh unchangeable. Be aware I am using paradigm from the classical percpective, not the Chaos Magician perspective. This means that you will often believe in things that you don't want to.

You may raise an eyebrow and say: how about people who dabble with magic or try a spell and it works? The answer is simple: Beginner's luck. If they would not have believed in it, they would not have tried. This is also one of the reasons mail order amulets, hoodoo stuff and similar paraphernalia works so well. There is so much hope faith and belief invested in the little spell that it goes through your own "I can't change reality" filter and actually does.
This is also explains why its difficult to cast 100% functioning spells. Everyone can get lucky once. To get lucky all the time, you need an unshakeable belief in what you do. Clinically so.
Did you know that the way your brain structures things it believes in and things it knows are not real is different? And you can actually get your brain to treat things that you know are not real as if they were? Childhood memory implantation works in this level. This is scientifically proven. Have fun googling.

This also means that picking up one part of a specific system will immediately screw up all other parts of the system. Doing a western ceremonial magical style working and moving counterclockwise by accident will have consequences whether you understand why or not. As long as you write left to write and use a western clockface you are indoctrinated, whether you want to be or know you are or not.

2. Indoctrination into The program. This is the engine the fuel makes active.

It is all about the signified and signifier. Let me quote one of the most well known texts. Available in Wiki as well!

Peirce characterizes the three semiotic elements as follows:
  1. Sign (or representamen[13]): that which represents the denoted object (cf. Saussure's "signifier").
  2. Object (or semiotic object): that which the sign represents (or as some put it, encodes). It can be anything thinkable, a law, a fact, or even a possibility (a semiotic object could even be fictional, such as Hamlet); those are partial objects; the total object is the universe of discourse, the totality of objects in that world to which one attributes the partial object. For example, perturbation of Pluto's orbit is a sign about Pluto, but not only about Pluto. The object may be
    1. immediate to the sign, the object as represented in the sign, or
    2. dynamic, the object as it really is, on which the immediate object is founded.
  3. Interpretant (or interpretant sign): a sign's meaning or ramification as formed into a further sign by interpreting (or, as some put it, decoding) the sign. The interpretant may be:
    1. immediate to the sign, a kind of possibility, all that the sign is suited to immediately express, for instance a word's usual meaning;
    2. dynamic, that is, the meaning as formed into an actual effect, for example an individual translation or a state of agitation, or
    3. final or normal, that is, the ultimate meaning that inquiry taken far enough would be destined to reach. It is a kind of norm or ideal end, with which an actual interpretant may, at most, coincide.

The program allows you to interact with the world and actually make your intent translate into whatever it is the world runs on (what that is is completely irrelevant. Whether you're a Hoodoo or a Palero, a granny praying or KaosGrrrrl Kali282 high on acid, however you explain the world. As long as you have juice and the correct indoctrination you'll be successful)

The program needs to be consistent and fully internalised. It is easier to get things to work with a program that is internalised then with one that is not. The reason folkmagic  works so well is not because there is some secret technique behind it that needs elaboration. (The code is often stupidly easy to crack) It is merely because the signifier is immediate.

A key opens and closes things. If you are a westerner you handle a key daily. You are wired to remember your key leaving your home. You know that having the right key can get you into places. You will probably even be wired as to which side up it goes into the lock and whether you need to turn it left to open or to close the lock.

This symbol is therefore your lock/open. You will find it easy to think of a key in very abstract terms even. On the other hand, the sentence abra ablanatha acherom acherom from the greek magical papyri I would imagine doesn't do the same... Does it. Probably did for the half greeks a few thousand years ago.

The more abstract the symbolic system employed and the further removed the symbol is from the signifier the less likely it is that you have been sufficiently indoctrinated with it and therefore the juice you need to bring into the equation is exponential. This is why its hard to get talismans based on stuff in ceremonial magic that you don't understand to work.

So if belief is the fuel in this analogy we can see that essentially, the belief is that which allows the sorcerer to actually -cause- the change to happen, whereas the programming is the means the sorcerer makes this happen.

If we are able to step outside our own narrow minds we can actually deconstruct all sorcery effects along these lines. This is what Carrol did with Chaosmagick, however as I have said again and again, he missed something important, and I am not going to solve that little riddle for you just now.

Deconstructing sorcery means that we can look at a Shaman, a Praying priest, a ceremonial magician, an urban shaman and a chaoite doing 10 different things, one talking to spirits one drawing symbols, one waiting 10 years for the correct placement of the stars, one getting high and just imagining talking to a spirit, at least according to the shaman, all of them being wrong according to the priest who know that its god who does all and answers prayers etc. Yet they are all doing the same thing. Will - translation-action. Who is to know whether The gods of one and the spells of the other are not the same thing but understood from a different context? (Not just stepping on toes here, breaking them).

The Juice is the ability to enter a momentary or extended state of mind, that most people would think is insanity, where you do not function in the normal world, instead you focus on interacting directly with the signified objects in the greater world. (Hint, people who think magic is psychology will only ever get psychological results because of this)
The better you are at this, the less is there a difference between your everyday consciousness and your "altered" consciousness. The issue here is NOT to be able to get more and more fucked up by prayer or breathing or sacrificing. It is to be able to interact and affect.

We all create the world we live in all the time and we are each and everyone of us responsible for its upholding. The only thing that keeps you back from flying is not that it would be a breaking of "the laws of physics". It is because you will never EVER convince yourself that it is possible because every moment of your waking life has been reaffirming that the world behaves as if the laws of physics were true, thus they will be. But then the world is not real is it ;)

All symbolic systems you program yourself with have to be internally consistent, offer a map of the things to be affected. Once that is fully integrated you will be able to put a coin into the universal vending machine that your carefully created program is and be able to expect a result. However, there is a catch. For the vending machine to work, you have to be a part of the vending machine.

The easiest way for us westerners to understand this is through playing cowboys and indians.

Most of us had puffer guns. We could all turn  sticks into swords and horses. When playing you knew you could not catch up with the other kids who were on horsebacks. When a gun was pointed at you and they said BANG or the gun went BAAAAANG! you played dead. Sometimes you got away with "missed me" but usually you'd lie down and count to 10 or whatever the local variation was.  The circle on the floor represented the tippi and you could only escape through the front gate etc.

So, for the rules of the game to make sense, you have to subject yourself to them. If you are yourself not subject to the rules then you will never make the rules work for you. This is why children cannot rob a toystore when they dress up as cowboys, yet can shoot eachother effectively by pointing a finger and saying BANG!

This brings us around to things like working with grimoires such as the Picatrix or any Solomonic one. If you want to do something using a specific Program, then you have to play by the rules.

On a windows machine you have to find the uninstall file to get rid of a program, and often it will leave random DLL's. On a mac you find your prog, then drag it to the bin. Done. If you'd do the same in Windows you'd never et rid of the program as it would have left tonnes of little files everywhere. Different OS have different internal rules that need to be followed. This is worth keeping in mind.

The Example of the Husband beaten by the Wife.

How does the father of the man who is beaten go about to get rid of the evil Wife?
In order from interacting with the signified through more and more symbolic means:

Materialist on this end and complete transcendentalistic magic on the other

Tells her to fuck off at gun point. - Creates an effigy that he tells to move away- builds a replica of the home and moves her away - symbolises the whole thing with words and simply writes her out from the story - asks a higher/different power to move the person away - creates a specific symbolic representation of the expected end situation and then activates it.

The last one would fall under planetary/astrological magic. notice however that all that happens even there is that the "marriage" would translate into a specific chart that we want, the wife and husband would translate into specific aspects and the new situation would translate into another aspect and the symbol would need to be "activated" accordingly. Thus all that is happening at any level of this above example is that the end result that is required is brought about by interacting with the same things through various abstractions. Depending where the abstraction takes you, you'll have to play along.

If you believe in the efficacy of Zodiacal magic then you should be so indoctrinated that you actually are fully stuck in the weavings of fate the planets and signs create. If you only believe when it suits you, for example:
"Hm Jupiter is in a good position now so I will create this Jupiter talisman. Oh no Saturnus is in a position that will cause illness. and I should take steps against that by having solar and venusian influences in my house. Actually I don't believe in this today cause I can't be bothered."

Then you'd probably not get very great results when putting your coins into that specific universal vending machine.

Your beliefs will not affects someone else's beliefs. You can think that burning your name with cheaply printed chinese paper and a letter to Yama King is not going to do anything, but someone for whom the celestial and hellish bureaucracy is a reality can cause a lot of havoc by doing just that.

Therefore, HOW you go about manifesting your will is not important. Make money, or be devout. Burn candles or ask your spirits. Burn incense as sacrifice or look at someone maliciously. In the end your ability do create and destroy, control or transmute the world is all that matters.

If people want you dead, who should you fear the most?

The old italian woman with your photo
The Corporate Executive with mob ties and billions
The Palero with his spirit ally from beyond the grave
The Kid with a hard dick and a sigil with your name on
The astrologer with a talisman

Answer: The person who actually 100% wants you dead.

Caveat regarding entities.
Using sorcerous techniques once in awhile a sorcerer may use an entity for the causing of an effect. Whether the entity is an objectively existing thing or just a signifier is irrelevant from a sorcery perspective and why this is will possibly be elaborated on further in one of the future posts in this series.

24 april 2012

3 The Goals of the Royal Path

The first and most important goal is to fully actualise your understanding of the royal secret in all levels of your being.

Crowley's ideas regarding what the other side of the abyss grades are up to should shed some light on the matter.

"The essential Attainment is the perfect annihilation of that personality which limits and oppresses his true self....His will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; His work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his Will....be free from limitations and necessity and live in perfect balance with the manifest universe. Essentially, the highest mode of attainment"

In Daoism we can say " the object of spiritual practice is to 'become one with the tao' (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one's will with Nature (cf. Stoicism) in order to achieve 'effortless action' "

Paragraph 1 of The hermaphroditic Child of the Sun and the Moon sums up the entire opus

Among the 7 planets I am called the Sun.
My pointy crown symbolizes the process:
First, we become completely subtle and pure
And bind with Mercury,
Then the black raven grows.
It is buried in the grave,
Rising anew,Adorned with lillies, and betrothed.
Then at last the Sun-Child appears,Bedecked with purple on his throne.

They key to the entire opus is summed up 

Hermes called me the Sun and the Moon. Riplaeus called me the green
lion. Our author called me hermaphrodite, but I pay no attention to
that. It makes no difference. Nor does it matter what the sophists
call me, for they learn nothing for all their trouble except: (1) I
am One Substance, not two; (2) In me is Bernard's little fountain;
(3) I am dry water, subtle pure; (4) I am raised up by the power
of Mars, as commanded by Philaleth, the famous Adept who
coagulates my esoteric nature with Mercury.

Without the actualising and fully understanding it in the three levels of existence, From the sulphur mercury and salt, from the 4 worlds of Qbl, and the prevous unconscious and conscious into action, the seed of the royal path is only planted. The Royal road must be walked, not merely contemplated and looked upon.

In the life of jesus the Christ this is symbolised by his 3 years of preaching.

The Hermaphroditic Child further tells us

Turn Air, Fire, Water, and Earth
into Water through our Fire.
Then make that Water into Earth.
That completes the Work.
In other words, separate
the Air, Fire, Water, and Earth,
and unify them once more.
Do it gently or all is wasted,
And all the work and all the reward are lost.
The Crown sits in the point of the Earth.

The Mystery speaks through Crowley's brainwash and the egregor of the country he realised it in.

"22. ... Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.

29. For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.
30. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all."
-Liber AL

Our lovely modern madman Pete J C writes about the Dao
Space, time, mass, and energy originate from Chaos, have their being in Chaos, and through the agency of the aether are moved by Chaos into the multiple forms of existence.

Thus it happens that "Once the first Salt has been created by allowing the mercury and sulphur to penetrate into the purified ashes and tint it, we have our first stone."

The work from this stage is to use this stone. You can manifest the light in the world and allow its heat to keep melting your metals. Alternatively you can make the darkness a bit brighter for those around or just light a path for yourself you in a way that allows you to further understand your own light.   you can manifest the light within yourself so the next separation may take place.

The most important goal of all at this level has been said again and again in all Daoist literature and has unfortunately not been published by the Western Rosicrucian school, because it is perhaps too profound for most westerners.

I personally vouch for the importance and efficacy of this technique.

The biggest failure at this level is to not boil tea. 

22 april 2012

2 Many are called, few chosen

It helps to have read number one in this series, since this post will only touch upon a few more pointers from that article.

Now, the most important thing to remember throughout this article is that Religion is for everyone and Magick is for everyone as well.

Being a good magician sorcerer, shaman, christian santero palero buddhist or what have you is for those few people with the gift and calling.

High magic (the alchemical theurgic work) is for the very, very few.

Why is this? is this some form of elitist bullshit dreamt up by some random groups of people trying to be more special then anyone else? I highly doubt it. It is a question of psychology, gift and any stuff that may or may not be related to any past life and also how they go about trying to execute the opus.

The issue is, if we are going to be blunt about it, physically, not everyone is equal. There are differences in our brains that mean we may or may be more drawn to inner praxis or outer praxis. Add to this that everyone I know who is actually any good with Sorcery will agree that there is a level of inborn skill or gift needed. Someone is of the blood or is not. Having worked with various people in various places in the world in different systems this remains true everywhere. You can learn some of the skills needed but there are those who take to it like fish to water and some that even with the simplest and most powerful tech end up shaking it off like water off a duck's back.
The same thing is true for inner praxis. As a monk would say "not everyone is called."

But, everyone can use some basic technology that belongs to magic or religion. this is because some of the basic ideas are there for everyone to use. It is useful to see the magical and mystical, or inner and outer approaches as the breath in, where the practitioner is passive and the active one, where the practitioner breathes out and is in control.

Since honestly, is religion really anything more then the tool we use to understand the world and magic the tool we use to affect the world? If we really break it down to its most basic components? Not really.
However the rule of thumb is: take the path of least resistance. If you always felt religious because of your social genetic and karmic background it us useless to try and go atheist. If you need a job, maybe you should stop jerking off to seals and start putting your cv out there and join some job agencies?

The most powerful mages are the ones who can get you killed because they don't like the cut of your gib. I wonder when Bill Gates became a "Word of Power"....

As stated, there is a difference between those who have a gift for inner and/or outer work and those who don't have the gift. But with hard work it is possible to get roughly equal. The person with the craziezt ADHD mind can still learn to meditate and will be able to experience certain spiritual experiences of  ceazing of the inner voice, passive being, awareness of oneself as existence, ego loss etc. In the same way as the most unemotional thick person who by the time swallows the milk they are drinking have let it turn into yoghurt can, with enough persistence and exercise get to the point where they are able to enchant to the level that their spells almost always work.

Anyway, I don't want to get too lost in this part of the text. Let's  move on.

One of the reasons "Few are Chosen" is because it requires a lot of dedication, a laserpoint focus in the right setting for the work to actually start. Not only that, but as the two circles in the previous article show, the various inner and outer tools are in and of themselves a whole. One can spend a whole lifetime messing around in any of the countless systems paths beliefs and ways of working without even approaching the opus (the center) and even if one does, it takes guidance, dedication and a certain.... gift on the part of the seeker.

This gift will manifest on all the levels of being. In the material plane it might be described as the ability to both think in a highly abstract way yet also to always bring the abstractions down to reality. without this two-way street the vesica pisces between the two circles will never be entered.

On a spiritual level one needs Grace. Grace is very hard to define, so I will not try. Instead I will point to the idea of Jesu being just a very devout learned Rabbi and Nazarene, yet when the grace of God in the shape of the Dove symbolising the holy spirit descends upon him he understands himself to be the Son of God. Why Christianity then adopts the concept of the Mystery of the trinity that none of them can explain without offering an explanation that is so fluid as to not be an explanation or so good that it has already been declared heretical is something everyone should spend some time meditating on.

Furthermore, it is worth stating that once the True Opus starts the practitioner is forever set apart from the rest of the world. S/he will experience and see the world differently then those who may be following the same path to get there, yet are not there yet.

Why is this part of the series before we start talking about the elusive Nigredo?

Because for some reason everyone think that all paths will lead to Rome. They will not. Receiving an ordination as a priest does not mean that you truly are what a priest is meant to be. You can create alchemical elixirs and spend the rest of your day with spagyrics or qigong and still not get it. You can can talk to your gods and be able to walk through a wall by the grace of your possession, uyet none of these prove that you are there.

I will heavily paraphrase and twist a story to srve my purposes now:
Remember the Tantric who sat by the river and spent most of his life practicing austerities and spells? Once the tantrika was practicing devotion to the Power of the River, a practice requiring him to spend 2 years immersed in the freezing waters whilst practicing mantra and sacrifice. One day an enlightened Brahmin walked by, and the brahmin asked: what have you accomplished with your devotion? The tantrika replied by showing him how he could walk across the waters of a river. The brahmin was impressed, but pointed out that there is a bridge further down the path that the tantrika could have used instead of spending all this time with his Puja.

Therefore be warned. In the following posts there will be points discussed referring to Holy Guardian Angels, meetings with the unconscious from a Jungian perspective and alchemical operations that might make sense from two levels, and I will not make any further attempt to differentiate.

In the above example, we might think we know immediately which one of them is engaged in the work of the Royal Art and which one is not. However both might well be in the Circle of Sorcery or the Circle of Religion. Both might be in the vesica pisces or only one of them may be.
We do not know whether the tantrik had the intention of the river representing an inner passion, the stream of life from beginning to ending representing the eternal rebirth and his crossing of it was merely a manifestation in the gross world of the inner truth that he has realised, in a way similar to Gold being produced sometimes as a sign for the alchemist.

As an exercise in practicing the skill of abstraction and materialisation.
Always remember:

You can spend your life trying to create Gold using alchemy
You can spend your life trying to create Gold using alchemy

You may succeed in producing gold with both ways. But when is gold the Signifier and when is it the signified?