Archive for the Paganism Category

Martial Arts Time-LARP

Posted in Cults, Fighting, martial arts, Paganism, Religion, self-help, Shintoism, taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by wizardsmoke
Something to note about Japanese martial arts is the CEREMONIALISM. For instance, what really is the difference between the presentation of Japanese koryu (samurai-era schools) and sport arts like judo? Mostly the ceremony. And between those two groups of arts lies modern gendai budo like the Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan, Iaido, Aikido, involve pseudo-free-form small patterns that are derived from ritual. Unlike Systema or Taijiquan where you have basic fundamentals demonstrated on their own, in koryu-derivative arts, you have symbolic patterns, which are neither specific techniques, nor are they extended kata or forms.

To me this feels like a culturally distinct Japanese process, where much of the transmission takes place in the subtler cues and the practitioner’s ability to read between the lines or perceive the information along cultural lines. But I guess that’s the gist of EXISTENCE eh? That’s how you figure out anything, no matter how seemingly clear-cut the language. My problem is that I don’t understand cultural cues from Japan! So everytime I find myself in these totally sweet Shinto-esque training environments, I don’t really know how to bypass the ritual itself. Ah, but that’s the game I guess. It just sucks when I don’t get it and I get straight rude injured by the practice. SO IT GOES AHAHA

But the truth is, I find martial arts to be kind of lame and nerdy. Not nerdy in a geeky sense, but nerdy in that there are a lot of people who obsess over the stuff without any bigger use for the material, save for their ego. I find myself TOLERATING a lot of the people I meet in the martial arts, rather than really enjoying their company. HEY HEY not that I’m some great company myself but… the issue is that with annoying nutjobs, crazy or angry people, etc. their presence comes with a higher price. You have to actually physically fight with these people, even if only an exercise. Not as much of an issue in music, business, academia, etc. where you generally just deal with the stupid non-violent status war shit that all groups have.

And that’s the other thing: sparring, fighting, etc. When are you going to get in a dirty streetfight, save for someone surprise assaulting and destroying you? When will you need to use your god-given right to firearms, except to commit a crime? I don’t know, I guess if it happens, the training is worth it. And good survival/martial training will certainly show you WHEN you’re coming close to those situations, since you lookat them more directly (if you’re not retarded), but when do you walk into those things? Very rarely. Time is an expensive commodity, and I would imagine most people don’t have that to spare for this survivalist shit.

To me martial arts ends up being a kind of “violence ritual”. This is something along the lines of what Scott Philips talks about. I just think it’s a way of warding off the negative emotions and fears that come with thinking about violence without first-hand knowledge of it. So, by exposing yourself to it on a regular basis in a safer environment, it’s easier to tame within one’s psyche; it is not as much of a severe control factor in dictating one’s life.

Astral Adams

Posted in God(s), Magick, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Paganism, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on August 23, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I am as sick as you are of hearing “present moment awareness” paraded around as some tepid mantra. But the reason is that maintaining “present-moment awareness” leads to something deeper, where you’re perceiving the present moment before it physically happens — before it is reflected in the mind. Like, deep present awareness dissolves the sensory and physical boundaries of time-space perception.

The place where demons and other astral beings dwell is often in those gaps between our present-moment awareness. Every time we have a distraction or are manipulated by something, we become prey to outside entities or influences. When we project our own illusions or desires somewhere else, outside of the present moment, external forces can work their way through our actions and willpower. And many religions identify external beings and individuals which surround our sphere of existence.

But it seems when you achieve some sort of awareness and dissolution of the self, there is not that concrete division between oneself and others. However, “others” can still think there is such a thing, even though this unaware other is another reflection of the interconnected cosmic self. These kinds of avenues of perception can be of benefit in regards to knowing how things work in the astral (simply that deeper awareness is able to evade the chaotic attentions of malicious beings).

The big mystery to me, is how there are cosmic beings of all kinds (real or imaginary — it doesn’t matter what you think) but they’re all just the same material. They’re all another manifestation of the self. So even if your god of choice is real, it’s just another manifestation of the cosmic self that you are. Which makes me consider the veneration of divinities within a different light than mere subservience. We’re just praying to ourselves, no matter what (and yeah, I know monotheistic religions are supposed to bypass that, but I don’t buy it).

Local Energy Source

Posted in Feng Shui, Folklore, God(s), Mysticism, Paganism, Qi, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Anytime I go to a new geographical spatial location, I feel tired. I don’t mean I get exhausted when I go to the grocery store or the movie theater (god forbid), but when I travel a decent distance — to another state, country, continent, environmental region or ecosystem, and sometimes merely a different city. But I don’t think it’s “jet-lag”; I don’t think it’s merely that my biological clock is out of sync with the changing sunrise. No, I think it’s mainly that I am not acclimated to the flavor or “energy” that the particular region gives off. It sounds insane, but this is what I believe (momentarily).

There seems to be an acclimation period which takes a week or so to really get settled into the vibes of the locale. Sounds like baloney, but I don’t think there’s another explanation. Every time I show up at a new location, I am dead tired. And the usual things don’t stave it off: sleep, food, whatever. The hidden funk of a geographical location, the causeways of energy or whatever which give it it’s particular feeling or character are too strong for the greenhorn to get used to right off the boat. So it takes some period of adjustment in which you’re exhausted.

And where is the strongest emanation of local energy to be found? From water bodies (duh!) — particularly rivers. If there’s one useful thing I learned from reading books on feng shui, it’s that rivers carry energy through locations like veins carry blood through the body. Actually, I think this is the specific feng-shui definition. So, if you go down to the river of any place, you’ll find the river feels more like the place than the rest of the location. I.e. the Hudson feels like New York, the Potomac like Maryland and Virginia, etc. The spirit(s) of any place can be found in its rivers. And visiting rivers, you’d think it would make a person less tired when they’re trying to acclimate to a location, but I don’t know if it does (probably because I’m a dumb cowardly blogger LOLOLOL!).

In thinking about the different flavors of locations, I figure “pagan ideals” worship such a specific flavor of a location and not the energetic feedback (if you can even separate the two) but I’m just generalizing. But I do think the flavor of a location is a manifestation of the gods of the location. And I wonder if, even though we’re getting energy wherever we are, we’re still filtering it through our locale, through the local “gods”. So, thinking with my “New World”, post-industrial agricultural brain, is there maybe some kind of pure energy which has nothing to do with local filters? Energy that I could access?

Someone should really make an energy purification device like this and then cut me in on the deal.

Fortune favors the bold (and all that good stuff)

Posted in death, Fighting, karma, Mysticism, Paganism, Philosophy, society, Uncategorized, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by wizardsmoke

No matter whether life is painful, pleasurable, boring,or exciting, one idea that has always stood out to me goes something like this: “a man not sacrificed is a worthless man.” It’s an idea that strikes me as being somewhat “pagan” in its grasp, this idea that one’s self-sacrifice is one’s greatest reason to live. In pagan cultures it seems like people are/were the children/food for their gods, and so their self-sacrifice is a completely natural goal. It is a foreign concept to us, as it does tread on all of these sensitive boundaries of self-righteousness and crazed self-attachment which most contemporary people abide by. Yet in nature, isn’t the male the one who is only temporarily necessary (via fertilization) for life to go on?

It’s a bit cheesy to be specific like this, but sometimes it’s all as Ogami Itto says at the end of one of the Lone Wolf & Cub films: [the purpose of a samurai’s life is] “to live to die.” Cheesy and extreme, but that’s kind of it, really. What right do the living have to be alive if they are not willing to give their lives? Another conundrum of the ego: one lives to give one’s life. One seeks to escape oneself but lives in fear of doing so. I think the message is a good one, though the application in traditional samurai-era budo is rather… dramatic.

A while back I mentioned an interview with the Japanese film director, Masahiro Shinoda, where he explains his perspective that the real losers in war are those survivors who have to go on living with blood on their hands. It’s an interesting world-view in the modern world. In embracing war (and life, and romance, and sex, and violence, and everything) comes a deluded, necessary sense of purpose or finality. It is frightening, because often one’s purpose, particularly in war, actually has nothing to do with survival. Often people who are devoid of a purpose, or are continually enamored of one, have not sacrificed themselves for something any greater than their fleeting personal desires. And that brings to mind some things I’m always thinking, like how it is sometimes more painful to live in shame than mere physical pain. Goals and living are not necessarily synonymous.

These ideas are not particularly lucrative in a free-market economic system. But honestly, if the more common denominators of the populace could handle considering these things more often, maybe our common goals would be more meaningful. Not necessarily more organized or efficient — that’s what crazy fat-cats are already trying to achieve. But I mean to say, by living with a willingness to die, some of the important things in life reveal themselves.

It’s funny. In a country like China, those top-dogs for the AIG and all those morgage firms — those guys who almost single-handedly destroyed the world economy through their cult-like, childish, Ayn-Randian arrogance — they probably would’ve been shot in a show of public faith and party-line routine. I’m not a party-line proponent, but I don’t know if that would be horribly extreme given their criminal goals. After all, if someone beats another person nearly to death, don’t they go to jail for 5+ years in the USA? Might it not be worse to financially ruin millions of people because of your own deliriously sick private interests? Indeed, only the rich misunderstand these things. “He who has been harmed by you, knows you.”

Because their acts were so shameful, it would be deceitful to demand of them to go on living in the aftermath of their actions. Truly, their shame should have gotten the best of them. They are the losers of their own hand and should be punished by that. And yet, not only is there no punishment for them, they fail to be consciously affected by the ugly shame they’ll live with from now on. The emptiness that comes from greed seems to render one impervious to shame.

Swamp Queen?

Posted in Folklore, God(s), History, Mysticism, Occult, Paganism, Religion, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Frigg is the name of Odin’s wife in Germanic/Norse mythology. Odin is head-honcho of the Aesir (Norse gods) — the one-eyed god of war, wisdom and poetry. Frigg is renowned for her beauty and gorgeous hair, the gift of intuitive wisdom and prophecy, and fertility. Indeed, many modern feminine religious deities and gurus are compassionate, listening archetypes of the fertility goddess (think Mary or Guan Yin).

What piqued my intrigue here is the theory that Frigg’s hall in Asgard is called Fensalir, which can translate to “marsh hall”. Why would Frigg, a goddess of beauty and fertility live in a marsh hall?

Environmentally, wetlands are delicate and important facets of the ecosystem. They have high biodiversity and are breeding grounds for a variety of insects, mammals and amphibians. Wetlands are very fertile regions with much composting and natural recycling. I’m not a scientist so I can’t tell you much about that… but metaphorically it is pretty interesting, that these are regions with much natural potency.

According to history, folklore and archaeological evidence, in various European traditions bogs were places of sacrifice. The goal of the sacrificial rites were not always the same, sometimes they had to do with harvests and weather. Regardless, bogs were always seen as locales containing strong spiritual presences. Often they were considered to house evil spirits, an impression depicted often in modern fantasy entertainment (think of Willow, Lord of the Rings, Neverending Story, Berserk, The Princess Bride, the Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior video games and so on).

There have been archaeological discoveries of humans and animals ritually killed and cast into marshes and bogs in Scandinavia, as well as huge bonfire encampments on the edge of lakes. Apparently one goal of bog sacrifices was to appease wrathful spirits, or to keep evil spirits located in the bog.

It is interesting to consider the place of marshes and wetlands in European and American folklore. The ominous atmosphere of the bayou as the location of the horrible demonic rites in H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of the Cthulu, or the tales of will o’ wisps, those mischievous spectral lights which appeared over water at night and lured people to their deaths (remember the mischievous, elusive quality of the wood-elves’ forest celebrations in The Hobbit?). Those will o’ wisps sound a bit like the Norwegian/Swedish legend of the fossegrimen — a male water-demon whose fiddle playing drowned any who followed its sound.

Although scientists try to rebuke and explain the supernatural claims of the will o’ wisps, as per usual I think there’s still some spiritual sincerity to the phenomena. The old pagan recognition of wetlands as potent places of sacrifice and spiritual presence is pretty interesting considering wetlands are now valued as repositories of natural resources. I suppose if life itself exists much in the way fungus coagulates in a petri dish, shouldn’t the marsh — a region so replete and brimming with natural presence, be a potential address for a fertility goddess?

Food for the Gods

Posted in God(s), Happiness, love, Mysticism, Paganism, Philosophy, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , on March 31, 2008 by wizardsmoke

In pagan mythologies, it is acknowledged that humanity is simply food for the gods. People think they act of their own accord, not knowing that they’re merely instruments of heaven. Or something or whatever paraphrased from Hatsumi again. What does this all mean? It’s kind of interdependence, in a way.

One reason worship of gods is not my cup o’ joe, is ‘coz gods are always in a process of change. God today, gone tomorrow, ya know? But even still, we all worship the old gods every now and then, or venerate certain ideas. And any kind of emotional state involves a kind of submission, doesn’t it? Aren’t there people that are obsessed with certain emotions and experiences, be it lust, fear, hate, melancholy, or arts and techniques? Many people pray to these things, often without recognizing it. This is why so many hermetic, eremitic and monastic traditions espouse the view that one should be aware of when any disturbance or emotional shift is occurring within one’s mind.

I’m not talking about the big “G” of course. That’s a different expression of “god” altogether. As I’ve said before, “God”, as referred to in the Judeo-Christian/Muslim religious view, seems to only exist as an ecstatic experience, as the overarching mental waves of all existence. At least this is my take on that whole ordeal. Seeing God or what-have-you — it refers to a state of absorption in which one perceives the manifold layers of all creation. The pantheon of old gods themselves are more like…ideas or archetypal manifestations of beliefs. Hence the wheel of the gods changes in importance as human history marches on. Is a god even a god without a medium (human worshipers) through which to feed?

Old religions (or at least, “pagan” religions) come from a time and place where survival required a more fervent physical effort — a more physically inclined will. Basically, these days we have less individual space and a much larger population. Before, people had room or space into which they expanded their spirit and mind. This is clearly not the only cause of the disappearance of the old gods (for instance look at Scandinavia or Russia, with wide open spaces), and the literal belief in the old gods seems to be accompanied by the presence of forethought, as in the story of Prometheus. But then again, there are people or spiritual mystics who wake up at all times, so we can’t assume that people are now spiritually inferior. Especially since we’ve moved beyond things like human sacrifice and so on. Well, at least physical human sacrifice. You know, the classic kind…

Ah but maybe that’s because we don’t have the gods anymore, huh? As you can see, this is a complicated conversation that is replete with only speculation, no real answers. To really understand we have to listen. Nothing new here, or under the sun. To get the big picture a person has to stop looking for things and just stay quiet and listen really, truly deeply. Or so I’ve heard/read/realized a bajillion times.

One could consider natural disaster to be a manifestation of the gods, a sign that humanity has forgotten them and worships demigods of reason and technology. Whether or not one actually can believe in gods, one can agree that the results of these natural disasters probably have to do with mankind’s effects upon the Earth, problems which arise from ignorance of environmental conditions and importance.

Sounds like the same thing to me. The truth is at least somewhere in the middle, where gods are not just metaphors, and metaphors are a convenience of language and thought to describe divine manifestations. Actually, in the Norse myths, the approach of Ragnarok (the apocalyptic battle of the gods) is signaled by serious movements and rumbling of the earth. In other words, good ol’ natural disasters!

As I’ve mentioned, I like the body of work attributed to Plato. I am a fan. Plato was known to describe existence as manifestations of ideas, which are beyond form but continuously are represented by forms. I find Plato to be fascinating because his philosophy appears in an era that maintains belief in the old gods, but possesses modern advancements in thought and academics. In other words, this period is at the beginning of the western academic canon, so there have not yet developed a metaphorical lexicon/thesaurus for gods and mental phantasms and experiences.

Plato’s synopsis of ultimate reality parallels the view of all supposedly realized people across our short human history: the deepest layer of realization bathes one in total selfless love!

I’m right there with ya, Plato buddy! To the soul-sauna!

Delete Yourself (Part II)

Posted in Asceticism, death, Doom and Evil, Fighting, Future World, Mysticism, Paganism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Religion, sex, sex and violence, society with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2008 by wizardsmoke

As I said the other day, in a lot of old societies with warrior classes, the meaning of life was found in death. It seems that the old world value structure venerated, or at least wrote down in its history books, an attitude that usurped fear of death. It goes against the typical human response to life, which is to hoard it.

In On The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche writes an allegory of hawks and sheep to explain the creative structure of human morals. As is expected of Nietzsche, he determines that an individual or group’s strongest drive takes priority and primary function within one’s will and lifestyle. In the case of the hawks that drive is preying upon the sheep and for the sheep it is submission and aversion to the hawks. Thus the sheep deem the hawks to be evil, because they are preyed upon by them. The hawks, on the other hand, merely believe the sheep to be bad or pitiful for their inferior drives. The hawks (i.e. politicians, noblemen, business moguls, military overlords) don’t even assess a moral judgment over the sheep. They are just sheep to them — they’re livestock. It sounds like Nietzsche believes this too or he wouldn’t be writing about it. He later points out that there may have been a point when the hawk’s drives were not deemed evil, but considered good. Or that they might be considered good by other groups preyed upon by sheep. Thus, the nature of good and evil moral values are in constant flux and neither is permanent.

For me, this brings to mind constructs like religion and the church, and also the old “masculine” ideals that wealthier nations have pushed to the subsconscious in modern times — concepts such as physical strength and power. Society represses these latent desires, channeling them into violent sports and art, while replacing them with ideas of democracy and political correctness. Further, modern society pushes everyone to rape the earth and gain material wealth and hoard their lives over those of others — but as friends!

(As an aside, my main concern with environmental pollution and climate change is that everyone’s greed for power and wealth far outweighs their passion for peace and health. Not that I don’t try to do my part, but it looks pretty grim…)

So, is life pathetic when the goal is to hoard possessions, health, relationships, sex? In European folklore, dragons always appear where too much treasure is accumulated. They’re accompanied by a foul stench and are death to all who come near. Serious calamity follows those who hoard far too much wealth.

I think the attitude that is striking about our most recent generations of human culture is its rank nihilism and blatancy. The romance found in death metal, black metal, gangsta rap, gang culture, black magick, punk, hardcore, etc. sounds to me like an exhaustion with life’s luxuries and social organizations. It’s all a romantic tribute towards death and yet an affiliation and obsession with the grimy, self-destructive nature of urban life today. It also sounds more than ever like a generation cloaked by ignorance and distrust, while yet plagued with the desire to understand things; a drive to transcend the newest, shallowest quality of life which is ironically so much more ideal for humans — at the great expense of nature and aesthetic beauty. It’s truly quite sad. Ah, but dry those tears! No ideal society ever existed, remember?

Strong desires in modern society seem to be pursued in different ways than they once were in older times. Business has largely replaced all other elements of life. Everything is a business, as that’s how members of democracy sustain “freedoms” and functions — by not conferring power to the state, which ends up tied together with business anyway. I think the old values placed on virtuous death also stemmed from the fact that life is so boring. And it used to be so slow and devoid of distractions! Really, what better thing to do than give one’s life for one’s god or ideal? After all, aren’t we only really alive when we look at death? I think people like Jesus, Socrates, the Cambodian monk who burned himself alive, real deal bodhisattvas and samurai realized that life isn’t worth clinging to or hesitating over; there is no reason to hoard it.