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Tuesday 17 March 2009

Masters, secret chiefs, inner plane contacts

Contacts and Masters of Wisdom

CONTACTS and secret chiefs have been a mainstay of many different magic systems for ages. Most of my teachers have believed in them in one form or another. In my book Gathering the Magic, I suggested that their use was flawed. This was mostly based on my experience with the likes of Servants of the Light where contacts had a nasty habit of saying what the channeller was thinking, or had just read in a book.
Even the mighty Dion Fortune had some comedy moments with her contacts. Having read through the transcripts you can't but be struck by the level of fantasy, self delusion, utter pomposity mixed with some good solid magical teaching. My favourite has to be when they asked how Dion's Soya Bean business was going to do and being told by Lord Eldon that the “Soya bean will look after itself”. With such sage advice it is a wonder that Fortune never made it across the abyss before tea-time.
Sometimes Contacts do turn up with some good information, which the channeller did not know, so I was aware that the idea was not all pants. They had also turned up in my own meditations and, despite the fact I told them that I was not sure if I believed in them, they stuck around. The information I had was either good or total rubbish and unfortunately there was not a flag up which defined either.
Recently Perigrin on his excellent Blog claims that I have suffered all the effects of 'contact abuse' and that “such abuse, misuse and partial connections with the inner plane teachers and Masters does not in any way stop them existing and functioning.”
However here is my problem. If they function the way that schools teach then the universe is really a rubbish place to be. For those who are not familiar with the contact system let me explain.
When you have died and are suitably evolved you join a hierarchical structure of adepts who work in a medieval system where they serve a master. The more evolved you are the higher your master. These masters teach those below them and those on the occult path are draw to an appropriate master to whom they are expected to give the unreserved dedication.
These begins are supposed to be more than human and will use the dead shells of their previous lives to communicate with the great unwashed.
Those who follow the Master/contact system talk about their master as if he were loving and seem to be happy with the arrangement.
This is where I start to get a bit prickly. I don't generally like the idea of too much hierarchy and think that if you are going to give your unreserved dedication it should be to God and not to another human however esteemed they might be.
The goal of the outer order is to become yourself, an individual. In my view it is not to find yet another father or mother figure to sacrifice yourself too.
In the future I will write about my ideas of re-incarnation, but for now let us say that the Masters are too complex a system to actually work, or need to work.
So what are they really? In my view they are symbols which we contact to help us remember what is really going on. Unfortunately, like any other symbols we misunderstand what they mean, and project information onto it. We read the symbols through the glass of our personal Yesod and make them into fathers, mothers, wise teachers etc. The symbols are real. They don't need to be “characters” but it helps us to communicate with them.
So what of 'incarnate masters'. Paul Foster Case claimed to have met with Master R, Sam Mathers also thought he had. But these stories read like those modern day UFO stories and have one thing in common – the actual meeting did not need to have taken place at all.
Case said his meeting with Master R told him that he had a choice between magic and a musical career. The Master said that if he did Magic he would never starve. This is the opposite advice that Mina Mathers had given him. It was information that Master R could have given Case without having to meet him in the flesh. In fact Master R was to give most of his communications to Case via a ring and a disk in the future.
Mathers was supposed to have gotten the 5=6 ritual from his Secret Chief although it looks like another Mathers/Westcott collaboration. Certainly the vault appears to be the work of Westcott who wrote up most of the paperwork to go with it. Other bits of the GD inner order come from the British Library which Mathers was supposed to have camped out in during his youth.
The online crowd tends to rattle off statements such as “are you saying Mathers/Westcott/Case LIED?” And I have to say, yes. It feels like a story. It might have had a thread of truth in it, but it is a story nevertheless. Occultism is full of stories and generally the higher up you go the more the stories get embellished. Alistar Crowley is one whose story and story telling ended up with him being a new Messiah.
So, my view on contacts is that they do not literally exist. They are symbols of something, but not something to worship or serve. They teach because that is what symbols do, they advise, they can be interacted with, but they are not something to give up anything for.
God calls us to be perfected lamps for the divine light. It does not want us to be servants to astral personae. However if I am wrong I will take down this post if a Master of Wisdom rings my doorbell. However if Master R, Q, or the Purple Adept really do ring doorbells I hope it is to tell me something a little more interesting.
Let the debate begin :-)

New Tarot cards

HARRY and Nicola have finished another swathe of Tarot cards for the Horus Hathor deck, I thought I would preview them here. You will notice that like Chic and Tabatha's deck we will be using both the 'old' and 'new' versions of Temperance in the finished deck. Our colours for the lower arcana follow the Sephiroth colours rather than the elemental ones. Thus this one is black because it represents Binah in the Queen scale.
Harry is currently working on the Hanged Man card while Nicola is beavering away on the fours.
Harry is currently selling the originals of these so it is a good time to buy into a bit of esoteric history by owning an original.
They are quite big. I was at Horus Hathor over the weekend and Harry was distributing some of the originals to members who have bought them. They look really spectacular full size. Harry has been making prints which are the size of Icons on board. These are really good for mediation -- we use them for the grade rituals at the moment. I have all the set that we have done hanging on my wall.