A Novice Goes Gnostic


Like a lot of young people, I spent my formative years pursing ecstatic highs through the chemically aggressive means of drugs and alcohol. Burned out and very much unenlightened by age 23, I then began a non-substance based quest of transcendence knowledge. That journey has taken me down mostly traditional and popular paths like Eastern forms of meditation, martial arts and Yoga. The mainstreaming of New Age mysticism made taking on those disciplines seem very natural and easy to get information about. Almost everyone you know these days takes Yoga classes and quotes the Dali Lama on social media.

While the work I did in that time did wonders in my life mentally and creatively, I found myself once again, searching for a new “high.” It didn’t take long for me to discover a totally different approach to enlightenment once I set out the intention to do so. To my amazement, it was a path that had always been there just under the surface of art, music and culture I had been interested in my whole life. Through a series of interconnected podcasts and alternative media sites, the pieces of the occult puzzle began to crystalize before me. In no time, I had set down my lackluster practices and went full-tilt on a whole new spiritual trip that harnessed my enthusiasm and energies like nothing else before.

In general terms, I had sought out on the arduous task of becoming a practicing ritual occultist. My ideas of the occult were hazy and muddled by sensationalism and gossip before last year. It was a topic I associated with Wicca and Satanism. Little did I know the roots of the occult tree have much deeper and for me mush richer historical roots. Always fascinated by the paranormal, the idea of taping into cosmic powers of ceremonial magick set my world on fire.


To further develop my solitary practices and studies, I started digging in my local area for Mystery Schools of initiation. Being the rarified arts that they are, I haven't come up with a whole lot of options. The secretive nature of these practices can sometimes present barriers of entry for an outsider trying to find a way in. What I did find fairly easily on the Internet was an Oasis branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis. The O.T.O. is best known today as the esoteric order re-tooled by Aleister Crowley to transmit and reflect his religion of Thelema.

I, 39: "The word of the Law is Thelema."



Aleister Crowley

The BLUE EQUINOX OASIS was established in 1994 and at one time had author and Crowley biographer, Richard Kaczynski among their ranks. While they are not a full-fledged Lodge, they are officially sanctioned among other things to put on the public ritual of the Gnostic Mass. After a few email exchanges with a Frater getting addresses and dates, I decided the best thing to do would be to attend a ritual and see what the hell it was all about.  

"Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass - Written in Moscow in 1913, the Gnostic Mass stands as one of the most beautiful and central rituals of the O.T.O. As the only truly public ritual of the Order, it gives an opportunity for all, initiate and non-initiate alike, to experience the mysteries of Thelema." 

Having now participated in four Masses, I can offer up a few personal reactions. The event has drawn roughly 10-15 people the occasions I have been there. Some are active initiates, while a good handful are people checking it out for the first time. I felt welcomed and at ease right away as I sensed I was among fellow psychonaut weirdos like myself. To let them know I was somewhat in the know about things, I wore my Robert Anton Wilson shirt on my first trip out. To my pleasure, the shirt triggered at least one conversation with a  minerval member. On my second trip out it was my Re-Animator shirt that sparked a conversation that led to geeking out over Philip K. Dick, William S. Burroughs and Alan Moore. Rest assured, I was in the right place. The crowd gathers at the temple space 30 minutes before the Mass to catch up and newbies like me get to ask questions.


There have been varying degrees of explanation about what to expect and what to do during the ritual service. Different members take on instructional roles each time. I went in initially, totally blind about the intricacies of the Mass and its veiled meanings. Having practiced some magickal operations on my own for several months, I was open and ready for anything. Even after attending several times and doing some reading up in between, I'm still wrapping my head around the dense and layered performance. Admittedly, part of the allure is the mystery and intellectual challenge. It wouldn't really be esoteric if it was simplistic. 


The one thing I did make sure to study prior to attending my first Mass was the central Thelemic text, The Book of the Law, written by Crowley in 1903. Study, being the right word for it, as it required lots of cross-referencing and dives into the dictionary to even attempt to decode the poetic verses. I made copious notes related to almost every line. There's just a ton to grasp when dealing with the occult due to the various mythologies coming into play. Between the three sections of the book, I found myself equally inspired and confounded. Book III presented the greatest challenge to relate with and embrace on the first go-round. But I've heard that even Crowley himself had issues with Book III. The text was dictated to Crowely over the course of three days in Cairo, Egypt by a discranate spirit, Aiwass. So, basically, it's Aiwass's fault! The purpose of the inspired holy book is to announce the ├ćon of Horus, in which the only Law is "Do What Thou Wilt."The new era and reign of the crowned and conquering child, Ra Hoor Khut.
















I found the Gnostic Mass to be a visual spectacle with powerful resonance, even without knowing anything about the symbolism being dramatized. Hymnals were provided to lay out some of the basic symbolic motions being made and choruses that are collectively recited. There are at least three or four active participants with roles to play during the ritual. The central parts belonging to the Priest and Priestess. All the performances I've watched have been very convincing, the Priest and Priestess completely absorbed in their roles. That commitment and confidence along with the ambience of incense, lighting and a low binary soundtrack made mental engagement effortless. The other cool aspect is that the audience participates as well, getting to share in the sacred energy. 

All these elements amount to a highly theatrical drama, playing out themes of birth, death, rebirth, adoration and setting individual intention of the Will. And like a good old Catholic Mass, those in attendance get to partake in the "Body" and "Blood" of in this case, the Sun and the Earth.

I, 44: "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."


The Ritual was roughly an hour in length. Each time I pick up on a little bit more of the meaning of the dialogue. This would not have been possible without finding a solid explanatory outline, which you can read here - The Gnostic Mass With Annotations and Commentary by Helena and Tau Apiryon. The primary focus of the ritual is to allow yourself to reflect on your "True Will" and send your focused intentions out into the universe.


While the Mass itself was very interesting and mood enhancing, equally fascinating was getting the opportunity to interact with the members of the group as well as other newcomers. By no means a "people person," there's something great about meeting strangers you know have similar strange interests. Thelemites are intellectually curious and colorful people. Several initiates spent time with me detailing certain aspects of Thelema, the initiation process and what drew them into the group in the first place. More than anything, their easy-going approachability smoothed over the hump of delving into a foreign situation. There is no separation between Oasis members and the curious public. It's not at all like a weird cult vibe, where you feel keep at a distance and made to feel unworthy. The Priest, who has been a Thelemite for over 20 years, brought me into the makeshift dressing room to give me book recommendations and share some pointers on ceremonial practice. Out in the parking lot a few of us hung around looking at a guys iPhone UFO pictures. We talked about magick, secret societies and conspiracies freely in a way that I could never do around the water cooler at work. Fellowship was a word used by more than one person to describe their attraction to the fraternity.

While I'm still investigating the broader Western Esoteric Tradition in all its various tracts, having made connections with a community of fellow seekers is incredibly valuable. I've already become Facebook friends with several members and turned in paperwork to become and official guest at the Minerval level. If nothing more is accomplished, these experiences bring a smirk to my face when a co-worker absently asks the prerequisite question, "so, how was your weekend?"

II, 9: "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." 

93! 


(Quotes featured, taken from – The Book of the Law, Aleister Crowley)

Blue Equinox Oasis

POEM ATTIC: Brusque Angels & Cycles

// Photography: Jeff Wolfe //

BRUSQUE ANGELS

It came like God when
it came to me.
Useless youthful energy,
shirts torn in rage.

Profanity makes the most sense.
Replicate 5am equilibrium.

Betrayed conscience slips –
spill mistakes along the way.
Damn fists explain little
as girls make dull expressions.

Walk down streets
counting denominations
of currency w/ window
eyes on the watch.
Cross-cut crowds.

Contact causes slippery-slope
of disorder.

Unlikely infringements created.
The ground turns foul,
sirens fill the air.

On alert in September.
An uproar seen through bus window.
All around, young boys, girls, policemen,
in rush.

Words form taunts in all directions.
Hat brims shield the
important elements.

Trade-offs occur like clockwork.
Passing people have no names.
Girl hidden, a laugh demure.

Drastically, children charge everything.
Men lie in the street
as obstacles.

Shouted voices heard through
fence cracks.
Bag woman w/ red heels
tells stories w/ no teeth.

Restless corners
under lampposts.
Cries heard at building back,
evidences of torture.

Attitude dangles over
Chevrolet door.
Sanity dreams on a park bench.
Addictions snowball downstream.

Make the car scream defiance
through engine shock.
Let the tires light up
the pavement.

Abandon all thought.

Throw stones.
Travel.


CYCLES 

Pulled along,
made to relinquish
what had been devised.

Power, in a plan without course.
No time to understand
what was confided in me.

There was once little
needed to find
the end of the day.

The innumerable mistakes of youth
given away w/ age.
Self-exile from
hours past 12.

Eyes now open to see
the colors change.
But that marks an age
less innocent now –
it makes room for the
next ‘going nowhere kids’.

Laugh, as they laugh at me.
Watch it all come apart.
Upward eyes fell somewhere
sensible and safe.

Pain brings submission
as the room empties out.
So used to the
procession of names.
List grown long.

Unable to hold them down -
strands stay behind.
Momentarily on a different foot.

Cycles of identity
whirl, wild again.
Soon to be here and
too soon to be past.

Pick up the cloak
that fits – before it blows off.
Not walking far but
naked.

Together, a tight knit call out
becomes a scream.
Nicknames whistle
up and down dirt road lane.

Separate into broken symbols,
our way lost.
Discard and carry away
left w/ what’s left over.
Endlessly to rearrange,
never to the satisfaction
of memory.

Unrecognized intention
goes without name.
The night hides and forgives
to be seen again, to be
revealed, to stand exposed.

Drawn to a source.
Joined for an unnecessary drink.
Untamed and unconcealed.

Prepared to gaze
out of hazy eyes.

Look at the numbers
not dialed.
Acts of revenge missed
or gone missing.
Forced into a plan
that will be ignored.

But must fall like dominoes.
You were a clue left behind
in these torn forward years.
Steps counted too fast.

Each to face misfortune
discover bruised skin
won’t show ware for time to come.
Passion that burst remains
in the air as scent.

Reminders of it breed
dangers again that
well over. In tide.
I X . C Y C L E S
Still shaky hands
dangle cigarettes,
one after another.

Time slows in cold and
fever doubts abound.
Hope for eminent closure -
insides sponge to
secluded love.



I

In Search of the Georgia Illuminati!


Photography: Jeff Wolfe

It was a hot Fourth of July weekend. We pulled up to an odd plot of land in the middle of nowhere, 70 miles outside of Atlanta. This was mainly farm country, a strange and remote location for the monument that caused my wife and I to break away from a conference a day early. I was finally to get up close and personal with one of America's weirdest conspiracy theories. Not many conspiracies are actual physical objects, set in stone. A conspiracy you can touch. 

The first thing I thought as we pulled up to the site was that it was much smaller than I had anticipated. It is certainly impressive in scale and construction but far from overwhelming. Erected in 1980, the mysterious Georgia Guidestones have provided unceasing fodder for proponents of New World Order theories. To the point of sloppy vigilante vandalism.


"LET THESE BE GUIDESTONES TO AN AGE OF REASON."  




I had heard plenty about the stones from sources such as Alex Jones and Mark Dice, that propose, along with religious fanatics, that the Guidestones are the template for a Luciferian world domination plot. I'm not sure I ever believed that but I was certainly intrigued enough to go check it out for myself. My wife and I were not the only ones. During the span of a couple hours that we spent there,  a half-a-dozen or more other curiosity seekers made the pilgrimage that day. At least one that I spoke with professed her love and worship of Jehovah. Another interesting man I observed was wearing a skirt and fanny-pack. I decided not to ask him any questions.

Now, having seen it for myself, I can agree that the monument and its message really are mysterious and ominous, but I can draw no definitive conclusions based on the available evidence. I love a juicy conspiracy and certainly went into it with 'Maybe Logic'. But at some point in sorting through fantastical concepts, I force myself to scrutinize the origin source of the "damming" information in question. As a general rule, when the theories are only wildly popular among Christian Fundamentalists, I tend to become very trepidatious. 

Understanding the worldview that they espouse, our timeline is 'set in stone'. We are headed for the Apocalypse and Satan is working his evil here on earth as we speak. All signs point to it, as it were. Not being of that belief, I rarely take their prophecies or signals very seriously. Not to discount all of Christian Mythology, just the doom and gloom narrative that paints us all as instruments of the damned.

Jones and Dice are both deeply wrapped up in profitable Christian doomsday media. It's their shtick. They're good at playing the characters they have created for themselves. Some plots they cook up seem plausible some of the time, even ringing a certain truth. But their consistent running off the rails into Satanic Panic bullshit turned me away from them and their right-wing brand of conspiracy. 





You just have to go with your instincts when trust and authenticity are in question. And while the instincts of thousands will line up behind the Info Wars Illuminati slayers, all their grandstanding appears to me as theatrics. I'm not saying I know they're wrong, I'm just saying I am reluctant to accept conclusions drawn from Theologies I have no investment in.

Another source of questionable motives, The Vigilant Citizen, also holds to the diabolically sinister theory behind the monument.

There does indeed appear to be an odd bunch of people behind the stones, who cared enough about whatever they believe in to go to the great lengths and costs to produce such an object. I'm just not prepared to say exactly who they were or for what purpose they represented. A compelling theory ties the engraved philosophy to the Rosicrucians due to the authors stated pseudonym being R.C. Christian. The R.C. possibly correlating to the Rose and Cross. 
"The Rosy Cross (also called Rose Cross and Rose Croix) is a symbol largely associated with the semi-mythical Christian Rosenkreuz, Qabbalist and alchemist and founder of the Rosicrucian Order. The Rose Cross is said to be a cross with a white rose at its centre and symbolizes the teachings of a tradition formed within the Christian tenets," – Wikipedia. 
Let's just say they were Rosicrucians for the sake of argument. If that were in fact the case, the whole spooky, paranoia surrounding the historical secret society holds no water for anyone who has done a bit of objective research into their true principles. Rosicrucianism was born out of Christian mysticism of the 17th century Enlightenment era whose values were based in spiritual and scientific progress as well as healing the sick among society. Thei's was altruistic movement based on the works of Jesus Christ. You know that figure that the right-wing conspiracists claim to be protecting from the evils of underground satanic networks?

Yes, their own manifesto, Fama Fraternitatis RC (The Fame of the Brotherhood of RC)  distinguishes their members as being selected for initiation and their activities carried out in secret – this in no way implies a dark intent. It's only by lazily lumping all sorts of disparate secret societies together in one basket that you can spread the smear around from one to another. 

For instance, Princeton's Skull and Bones fraternity is known to have been a breeding ground for future corporate and political elitists. They are a secret society, elitists are bad, therefor secret societies in general must all be bad or have political ambition. People like Alex Jones don't read source texts, they merely regurgitate past pseudo-scholorship connecting all secret societies into one grand unifying conspiracy plotting to rule the world.The fact that generation after generation passes without a successful consummation of such a plan stands as little deterrence for the theory. In that narrow and delusional narrative, the Freemasons and Rosicrucians are no different than the Bilderberg group or the Trilateral Commission. Not to mention that the Rosicrucians perhaps existed only in truth as an inspirational mythical legend. "Official" organizations branding themselves as such did not even materialize until centuries after their supposed origin. 

Returning to the Guidestones, we have no conclusive proof that the funders of the project were Rosicrucians, or decedents thereof. Based on the testimony of Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank, the only man alive who knows the true identity of R.C. Christian, it is by design that the public will never uncover who these men were. Martin, who handled the finances of the structures production, is bound to life-long secrecy by way of written contract. He's literally taking that truth to his grave. Which will always leave the question unanswered as to who this secret group of men were and exactly what their agenda was.  Although, once Martin dies, it will be up to his surviving relatives whether or not to unseal his secret stash of contract documents that contain the true name of R.C. Christian.



Having been constructed at the height of the Cold War, there's a convincing explanation that the message engraved in eight languages on the stone faces is rooted in an altruistic ambition to reset the human race, post societal collapse. To provide words of guidance and wisdom to future survivors of a nuclear winter event.

Let's have a look at what the creators of the monument set into stone:


  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature.

How one decodes these "Ten Commandments" comes down entirely to interpretation. Cultural conditioning largely decides the matter for most. If you want to see "a small group of Americans who seek the Age of Reason," as Satanists, so be it. Nothing will ever move you from that entrenchment. That's just not the 'Reality Tunnel' I look at the world through. Instead, what most fascinates me about the slabs are the built in astronomical features corresponding with the equinoxes and solstices.  

"Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun... The astrological specifications for the Guidestones were so complex that Fendley had to retain the services of an astronomer from the University of Georgia to help implement the design. The four outer stones were to be oriented based on the limits of the sun's yearly migration. The center column needed two precisely calibrated features: a hole through which the North Star would be visible at all times, and a slot that was to align with the position of the rising sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The principal component of the capstone was a 7\8-inch aperture through which a beam of sunlight would pass at noon each day, shining on the center stone to indicate the day of the year," – WIRED Magazine. 


The other really interesting piece for me is a reference at the site to a time capsule buried "six feet below" the monument. This is all the more mysterious due to the missing dates that were never etched in dictating when the capsule was buried and when it should be opened. 

Yes, I'm still plenty curious about the nature and origins of the Guidestones – but I'm not losing any sleep over them either.  And quite possibly, the "Truth", wouldn't be as interesting as we would like it to be.

Your Odd-Seeking Author

For a more thorough analysis of the location, check out this segment shot for Disinformation TV, featuring Raymond Wiley, author of the definitive book, The Georgia Guidestones: America's Most Mysterious Monument. It offers a fairly complete history of the monument and the theories surrounding it.

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