Archive for the Poetry Category

Magical Musical Miasma

Posted in Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Poetry, Tantra, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

As a serious initiate on the musical path, I use music to illustrate a lot of mystical/creative/magickal ideas analogously. You know, stuff they don’t teach you in music theory.

In a great Leonard Bernstein concert series back in the day, one he held for children in New York City (Radio City?) in the 1960s, the conductor demonstrated how the pop hooks of the Beatles song “Help!” were actually the same simplified chord progressions behind a small segment of an orchestral piece by Brahms. Not that I remember the name of the video or the Brahms piece, oh no! But Bernstein got his one moment of applause from the young audience when he transitioned into “Help!” on the piano.

But Bernstein was pointing out that what pop songs do (as opposed to orchestral pieces or other kinds of music) is drill a simple pop hook or melody into your head until it is jammed in there. A good pop song gets stuck in a person’s head, like a commercial slogan. Pop music is like good propaganda and is often utilized as such by businesses (and very poorly by political campaigns, har har).

Okay, that’s nice and obvious. What interests me, though, is how the energy or inspiration behind the original compositional idea is communicated when one repeats the melodic idea or “hook” in one’s own conscious mind. That is to say, the spirit of the song-writer can be moderately transmitted to the listener, particularly as one repeats the work or continuously surrounds oneself with the music. Angry music will transmit an angry flavor, sad music a melancholy sentiment, etc. It also comes down to the integrity and ability of the composer and performer, but the spirit of the original moment is captured in the music — like in any other thing they produce (writing, film, art, whatever). In fact, if I had one criticism of classical music, it is that sometimes the energy of the composer is hidden by the fact that they are not often performing the music!

So, the reason a pop hook is more “malicious” (or functions like brainwashing sorcery) is ‘coz when a person consciously retraces the steps of another individual’s spiritual or creative output, the listener/viewer begins to recreate that energy within their own mind. This is why religious mantras are useful — they function as ways of influencing the mind to take on a certain disposition. The more one repeats something, until it is second nature, it seeps into one’s psyche.

This seems to be how spells and magic work with verse and such things. By creating a poem that both appeals to the subconscious with veiled intentions and yet is simultaneously is “catchy” at face value, sticking in the mind for its clever phrasing, alliteration, or whatever. I feel like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Doors and a bunch of other hippies were trying to play with this stuff (musically, visually, lyrically) when they were young (and overrated — ahahaha!) but I don’t think this method can really do much for you unless you’re a real big deal in the underworld.

Furthermore, I think most people seem to not consciously be aware of why they like or dislike things, why they are attracted to some flavors of experience or energy, why some music is good or bad (there are 5 factors that make up musical potential in my system of reasoning), and so forth. But even if you can find the most profound, blissful music in all the cosmos, people still like the same things for different reasons. And have I not repeatedly said that all people have the same emotions and poetic sensibilities, but with different capacities? Weaker music can still evoke deep emotions from someone with a lower capacity for musical depth.

That’s enough for now. I was going to discuss hand seals, mudras and so forth but more pressing business awaits! Stay tuned.

Summer Grass

Posted in Asceticism, Beauty, Buddhism, death, Fighting, martial arts, Monasticism, Poetry, Reality Bites, Religion, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by wizardsmoke

A good Basho poem, one which Hatsumi is prone to quote (or have translated), goes:

The summer’s grass
all that’s left
of the warriors’ dreams

Which I kind of like. ‘Coz so many people are obsessed with violence and combat to the extent that it holds them back from upward social mobility. And then some people are so obsessed with power that they forget about the world around them. Strange that it is so hard to actually live in the world as it is, even though that’s all we can do.

Like the good quote on Whiskey River the other day:

In the tea ceremony, the expression “once in a lifetime, this one encounter” is often used. The usual way this is interpreted is “a one-and-only encounter.” In Zen, though, we interpret this expression in the following way: In the course of our lifetime, there is one person we must meet. No matter through which grasslands we may walk or which mountains we may climb, we must meet this person. This person is in this world. Who is this person? It is the true self. You must meet the true self. As long as you don’t, it will not be possible to be truly satisfied in the depths of your heart. You will never lose the sense that something is lacking. Nor will you be able to clarify the way things are.

This is the objective of life as well as of the teaching of Buddhism – to meet yourself. –Sekkei Harada

But you know… the quote would have really blown my mind had one line been slightly different: “This person is this world.”

Truly, madly, deeply…

Posted in genius, Occult, Poetry, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on September 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

It was never
The icy winds of the heights
But the coldness of the world
That hardened my foundation

Whether your approach
Is that of praise or blasphemy
The construction of my being
Shall remain the same

If my soaring presence
Threatens to break your neck
Then so be it
You shall dread my name

There is a fundamental cleft
Between your world and mine
One of divine origin

Were you to witness
The nakedness of your own soul
It would still appear a Tower of Babel

Is it such a crime to go apart and be alone?
Your holy simplicity turns gold into stone

Ihsahn — “Monolith”

Love (in four acts)

Posted in love, Poetry, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, society, Technology, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Frankly I’m sick of hearing about love. But it’s the main thing everyone in the universe is infatuated with. No matter the flavor, isn’t everything that causes existence a manifestation of the same root? The same springboard of love? Bah!!!

But still, let’s talk about romantic love again, even though I know nothing about it.

As an immature young whipper-snapper on the quest for idealistic romance, I tended to rationalize or theorize about love, about how it should work out best, or how I might be able to find a “soul mate”. Following this blind idealistic view, I remember I tended to categorize potential mates on a grid with two axis: “X” indicated pure physical attraction and “Y” was personal compatibility, understanding, chemistry, emotional resonance, etc.

Thus my dorky teenage model was: (optimal attraction) x (optimal personal compatibility) = (love of life)

Obviously the problem with this simplistic model is that there are no clear divisions between physical attraction and emotional/individual personality compatibility. Nor is there necessarily any reason for any two people to fall in love without a pretext under which to meet or befriend each other. Isn’t this why so many people fall in love after going through a serious or difficult ordeal together? It’s the same as a bond made between soldiers who live and fight together, really.

In fact, I find that this is a real problem with online dating services, that there is no motivation and no spontaneity to breathe romantic life into potential courtships. Dating services tend to categorize matches based on shallow personal interests and likes/dislikes, when love is not something you can gauge. And the things most of us write about ourselves are too one-sided or dishonest to be particularly useful in a romantic dating service search.

But people want company. I understand. I can’t blame ’em, really, since I feel that way too on occasion. The real tricky thing about love, and life in general, is that your perspective of it changes over time. And love itself changes with age and maturity. When sexual feelings are strongest it is most related to physical attraction or emotional chemistry, and later in life it often becomes a product of compatibility or peer admiration.

In my current dorky system of love analysis, I like to separate romance into four stages, representing the four seasons:

(1) Spring/youth — Here love is driven mainly by a physical, sexual attraction and lustful urges.

(2) Summer/young adulthood — This kind of love is accompanied by emotional longing, explosive chemistry and new realizations about what makes another person sexually alluring.

(3) Autumn/adulthood — Here the idea of romance factors in one’s lifestyle, moral upstanding, personal compatibility (i.e. things outside of mere shared interests) and mutual longterm goals.

(4) Winter/old age — I think in the final evolution of romance, before it returns to pure physical attraction, it is about simple companionship. Here I think people become less critical of each other’s interests or physical qualities and merely crave good company.

These are all slightly different manifestations of love, and I’d surely have argued at one point in my life that so-called “youthful love” is just attachment to lust. But to that extent, all of these categories are lustful attachments! I think the reason so many people don’t easily fall in love for extended periods of time these days, or the reason divorce rates are so high, is because people think about their choices too much. We’re too judgmental of each other. A plethora of choices and opportunities makes the attention span suffer.

But, eventually people become old and the final stage of love descends. There’s no escape from these sentiments if you seek to “fall in love” with another human, but it becomes harder to meet people as we age, so it’s a good idea to factor in all of these long-term interests when searching for intimacy.

***

Soon I grew and happy too
My very good friends and me
We’d play all day and Sally J.
The girl from number four
And very soon I begged her,

“Won’t you keep me company?”

Now marriage is an institution sure
My wife and I, our needs and nothing more,

all my friends by a year, by and by disappear
But we’re safe enough behind our door.

I flourished in my humble trade
My reputation grew
The work devoured my waking hours
But when my time was through
Reward of all my efforts my own limited company

I hardly noticed Sally as we
Parted company
All through the years in the end it appears
There was never really anyone but me

Now I’m old I puff my pipe
But no one’s there to see

I ponder on the lesson of
My life’s insanity
Take care of those you call your own
And keep good company

Queen; “Good Company” from A Night at the Opera

Poetic Doublespeak

Posted in Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Poetry, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , , on July 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

“If anyone comes to the gates of poetry and expects to become an adequate poet by acquiring expert knowledge of the subject without the Muses’ madness, he will fail, and his self-controlled verses will be eclipsed by the poetry of men who have been driven out of their minds.” -Socrates

In other words, a lot of people try to hide the fact that they’re boring and un-profound in their overly articulate writing. That’s what always irks me about newspaper journalists or columnists or popular “intellectual” authors: their writing is more about appearing sophisticated than actually saying anything sophisticated. They write a lot of stuff that sounds all lofty and romantic, but is actually about something boring or normal.

I suppose in the world of martial arts, this kind of pretense is like getting extremely physically strong and trying to force techniques to work. Or in magic(k) it’s like trying to think overly consciously about a ritual or technique after it has been enacted, or talking to people about it. You know, stuff that kills the natural life of the practice.

The issue I have with quotations and academia is that they are not always necessary to write a compelling argument or work. Academic work is so wrought with quotations, it becomes a real headache. It’s no surprise that there are parallels between what two people writing on related subjects would say. Not to mention, since everything in the universe functions on exponentially similar laws, how is it ever surprising to hear a related quote?

Look, it certainly works to quote things, but it seems to function poetically. Like, it adds artistic resonance to one’s writing, unless one is seeking to prove or disprove some theory (uh, then again there is science, law, history and so forth, subjects which would be completely unreadable without quotes… so maybe I’m an idiot). But! A lot of people hide behind their quotes. Complicated terminology and extensive use of quotes tends to be a way to hide shitty writing.

I think it was George Orwell who said one should always used the simplest way of expressing something to express it. Not stupidest or watered-down but the simplest. Meaning, when you write something it should be easy for people–almost all functionally literate people with an attention span–to read. This phenomenon (complicated technique hiding a lack of inspiration) is prevalent in all of the arts.

I’m sure you’ve caught the irony that, if you’re interested in that George Orwell quote, I don’t have the source or authority of its authorship! How easily my argument is de-constructed! Wahahaha!!!

Blech, whatever. Point remains: Socrates knew the score. A genius is their own reward because their own internal ecstasy can never be measured by anything the world can provide. Nothing else can even compare.

Another song by ‘Smoke

Posted in love, Mysticism, Poetry, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , on May 14, 2008 by wizardsmoke

The amateur poetics continue here at WS central! If I keep this up I’ll alienate the three readers I have…

From the moon to the cosmos
here is my little poem:

Once I was down
but now I flow like water–
into every stream that gives life,
the endless gushing of dreams
and loves for the seamless presence

At the end of our days
there is nothing more pleasant
but the splendour of being found
in all things

The sound of conclusion
and the end of the day
it’s such a powerful colour
whether bright, dark, faded or sharp

The greatest art one knows
gives sentiments of finality
which are naturally cloaked
in the beauty of eternity

WS

A Song by ‘Smoke

Posted in Beauty, Mysticism, Poetry, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Sometimes the wave you ride
is spiraling deep toward a horizon
you long not to meet

So frozen in your terror
you cling to its appearance
as proof of your existence

And while seizing this proof
you fall into the hell that this world provides
free of charge, for all to gorge upon

Thus the world dreams of the day it disappears
whether by divine justice or sinister ordeal
as such who knows what fortune chaos provides?
whose mouth opens with the tyger’s eye?

I fight the world without falling sick
without a charm around my neck
nor a demon in my step

No matter how much blood flows from the vajra sword
its luster always shines
stainless sword, stainless mind

WS

Willie B. spills it

Posted in Christianity, Mysticism, Philosophy, Poetry, Religion, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Got no time for a real post today/tonight/whenever-I-am. So, instead I thought I’d just do one of those lazy things blog people do where they post quotes from other people who are better writers. But I’m doing it with someone really obscure: William Blake! I bet you don’t know who he is!

You’ll be able to impress all the ladies (or gentlemen too, I guess, but most guys are animals with strong desires, weak wills, and no ability to gauge character so it doesn’t matter what you say to them at social gatherings, ahaha!) with these quotes!

From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Quote #1: Voice of the Devil (Plate 4)

All Bibles or sacred codes, have been the causes of the following Errors.

1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True.

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.

Quote #2: A Memorable Fancy (6 & 7) — this way this one opens is just too good! Too good I say!

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs; thinking that as the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature in Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments,

When I came home: on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world, I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.

How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?

Quote #3: A Memorable Fancy (12 & 13)

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert, that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.

Isaiah answer’d, I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover’d the infinite in every thing, and as I was then perswaded, & remain confirm’d; that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.

Then I asked: does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?

He replied, All poets know that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing.

That’s enough for now. Go get a copy or find it online, kids. Incidentally, you should look up Swedenborg before/after reading this. He was a Swedish theologian mystic (like Blake but minus the crazy wisdom) who was the subject of much of Blake’s criticisms during this work.

Demons and their Buddha-nature

Posted in Buddhism, Mysticism, Poetry, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , on May 3, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Buddha nature is a term thrown around a lot, particularly by Zen people and new-agers. But what does it refer to? Buddha nature is supposed to be the inherently primordial, stainless substance that all things have as their original being. Even the worst people and things, the ugliest humans or fungus, are originally stainless and pure of mind. Or something like that.

This builds up to the concept that Ch’an and Zen people throw around (I don’t recall where it originates from) that “you’re already enlightened, you just don’t realize it yet!” which sounds a lot more like new-age blabber than a useful tool for waking up. Realizing buddha-nature means you realize the primordial root of all things. You understand with your entire body and mind (really your mind, since your body is a portion of your mind) that all beings are built upon a base of a primordial crystalline essence.

See, when we say some crap like “even Hitler has Buddha-nature” it doesn’t mean that secretly Hitler was a nice guy and just didn’t know it. It means that Hitler’s causal chain of existence, the potential of his form and being, was superimposed on top of the primordial empty and stainless essence of all phenomena. He could only exist as a result of, and in contrast to, this source. Even nasty or confusing or complicated people are ultimately just complex and knotted manifestations of the fundamental source. When a person can unravel the entanglements that create these manifestations and see it for what it is, they take major steps toward enlightenment or full realization.

The extreme manifestation of this is a demon. A demon is a large manifestation in the mindstream, in the fabric of pure essence that refuses to acknowledge the fundamental source and return to it. A demon creates a stasis, like an iceberg, in the fabric of the mind. A demon is the ultimate manifestation of personal will, desire and potentiality. The reason a demon requires such fervent desire, is because the fabric of existence is always switching between dualities; the gravity of karma is always pulling us apart. But a demon desires to maintain a consistent existence within an extreme duality. Thus it requires immense desire and self-belief, self-love and a horrific threshold for pain.

In classical Greek numerology, 9 is the number furthest from the source of phenomena (the source is represented by 0). 9 is the strongest manifestation in the world of forms and identity. 9 appears in religious connotations as well, for related reasons. 9 symbolizes potent worldly presence and perhaps infinite exponential potential (since 9 is the result of adding together the digits of any multiplied product of 9). So, 9 symbolizes the ultimate in desire and belief.

I don’t know what the popular consensus on the meaning of the term “Buddha nature” is, and I’d wager that my own explanation would make some of the more fundamentalist, dogmatic Buddhists say that I’m going to hell or some such nonsense. But I rarely see this stuff explained very thoroughly. A buddha is the eye of the cosmic mind, the unclouded understanding of all things. A demon is the “hand” or active spring of energy and desire.

Ah, who am I fooling? This post doesn’t get at these ideas nearly as well as Blake did (unsurprisingly) all those years ago:

I heard an Angel Singing
When the day was springing:
“Mercy, pity, and peace,
Are the world’s release.”

So he sang all day
Over the new-mown hay,
Till the sun went down,
And the haycocks looked brown.

I heard a devil curse
Over the heath and the furse:
“Mercy vould be no more
If there were nobody poor,
And pity no more could be
If all were happy as ye:
And mutual fear brings peace,
Misery’s increase
Are mercy, pity, and peace.”

At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.
–William Blake, The Two Songs

More Wizard Quotes

Posted in Beauty, Mysticism, Poetry, Reality Bites, The Arts, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , on April 20, 2008 by wizardsmoke

**Special Music Edition!**

Emperor — “The Source of Icon E”:

The land was created, in the name of the chosen, the waves thrown for men to see. The one who made men to be, prevailed from the source of Icon E.

The waves of fury — prevailed from the source of Icon E, were mine to be. Ordered to destroy and bury… No remorse!

The destiny of the wave was not to be found. Nor was I traveling the deadly sea alone. The sun never rose, and my rose was not to be.

For what purpose I gave my return, is still standing alone. And as the raven dropped its feather on me, I was again to be the chosen one. — IX Equilibrium (1999)

Amorphis — “My Kantele”:

Truly they lie, they talk utter nonsense;
Who say of music reckon that the kantele,
Was fashioned by a god
Out of a great pike’s shoulders
From a water-dog’s hooked bones:
It was made from the grief,
Moulded from sorrow.

Its belly out of hard days,
Its soundboard from endless woes,
Its strings gathered from torments,
And its pegs from other ills.

So it will not play, will not rejoice at all.
Music will not play to please,
Give off the right sort of joy,
For it was fashioned from cares,
Moulded from sorrow. — Elegy (1997)

Leonard Cohen — “Teachers”:

I met a woman long ago
her hair the black that black can go,
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Soft she answered no.
I met a girl across the sea,
her hair the gold that gold can be,
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Yes, but not for thee.

I met a man who lost his mind
in some lost place I had to find,
follow me the wise man said,
but he walked behind.

I walked into a hospital
where none was sick and none was well,
when at night the nurses left
I could not walk at all.

Morning came and then came noon,
dinner time a scalpel blade
lay beside my silver spoon.

Some girls wander by mistake
into the mess that scalpels make.
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to break.

One morning I woke up alone,
the hospital and the nurses gone.
Have I carved enough my Lord?
Child, you are a bone.

I ate and ate and ate,
no I did not miss a plate, well
How much do these suppers cost?
We’ll take it out in hate.

I spent my hatred everyplace,
on every work on every face,
someone gave me wishes
and I wished for an embrace.

Several girls embraced me, then
I was embraced by men,
Is my passion perfect?
No, do it once again.

I was handsome I was strong,
I knew the words of every song.
Did my singing please you?
No, the words you sang were wrong.

Who is it whom I address,
who takes down what I confess?
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to rest.

Oh teachers are my lessons done?
I cannot do another one.
They laughed and laughed and said, Well child,
are your lessons done?
are your lessons done?
are your lessons done? — Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)