Here’s a book I read last month which turned out to be slightly different from what I expected.
Kali Kaula (Jan Fries)
What did I expect: You know, the book isn’t half bad. I just was expecting some more…crude? Perhaps more like an “Initiation into Hermetics” of Tantra. Instead, it turned out to be more like an encyclopedia of Tantra. Educational and useful, I should say. But I wanted something a bit more practical.
The book opens with a historical overview of Hinduism, covering the Vedas, the drug Soma and other principles of Vedic culture. Then it moves onto the Upanishads, Buddhism and some talk on Saiva, Visnu and Shakti worship. The historical details of these movements are interesting, to understand how for example modern Buddhism is a movement that comes from a very long evolutionary line, and has adapted things that came before.
Next, we start with Tantra properly. Shiva, Shakti, Kundalini, all that. An exploration into the role of women in this system, animal worship and sacrifices. We explore a few Tantric traditions such as the Aghoras, the Kapalikas or the Kula movements. The book also explores the Wu people from China and some principles of their systems.
Next, the book covers the topic of Gurus, what it means to be a guru, what your relationship with your Guru should be like, etc. Some female saints are here mentioned, with a brief record of their lives.
The last part of the book covers the body in Tantra, including breathing, mudras and mantras.
Now like I said, when I started reading this book, I had a different expectation of what it was going to be. I thought the book was going to contain more specific rituals and techniques for worshiping Kali, which is not at all what the text is about. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, because it was quite interesting and probably before you get into Kali worship it might be beneficial to know where all of it came from, and to learn about the evolution of hinduism and Tantra.
There are some specific techniques and applications mentioned in the book, but the author doesn’t elaborate much. For example, there are a few pages towards the end which contain several mantras, but without more detail on the translation of the mantras, or what their purpose is supposed to be, or even how to pronounce them, I felt like it was actually quite useless for a practitioner to have this here. You will definitely learn what Tantra looks like, but it doesn’t strike me as a very good book for someone who already knows about these traditions and is looking for specific applications of this magic.
Would I recommend this book?
Probably, if someone asked me “Do you know of any books on the historical evolution of Tantra?” or “What is a good introductory book to Tantric magic?” then surely I would mention this book. It helped me put the different traditions into one single “plan”, that is, it helped me understand more about how ideas from the Vedas influenced the Upanishads and later Buddhist principles. I would definitely not call this “A manual of tantric magick” though.
Notes for the book Egregores: The occult entities that watch over human destiny. Find it on amazon here.
1. Tibetan Buddhism and the Reality of the Egregore
Among religious traditions, it is Buddhism perhaps the one which has the most organized and down-to-earth approach to eggregores. Blavatsky. David-Neel. Curiously (for me at least) David-Neel’s trip to the east started when she came to sing in the Hanoi Opera House (es por ella que estoy en Hanoi? Me pregunto). My Journey To Lhasa. Tulpas and Tulkus. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects. Tulpas are temporary visions, Tulkus tend to be more powerful and lasting (I think some reincarnated masters are known as tulkus as well. See for example Tulku Rinpoche). Initiation and Initiates in Tibet. The theory is that the constant worship and attention given to these tulpas and divinities give them real existence (of some sort). The Brihad Aranyakopanishad says whosoever worships a deity with the thought in his mind ‘He is another, another am I’ does not know; like a beast, he is used by the gods. As verily many beasts maintain a man, so every man maintains the gods.
Egregores and politics: Dorje Shugden. The Kadampa school. Was Shugden a prisoner? Employing spirits to protect the sect, as spiritual slavery? Pharaohs are immortal through the worship and offerings of their disciples. Book The Search for Omm Sety, in which it is described that Pharaoh Seti lived in a spiritual realm, thanks to certain practices he mastered while he was alive. Maintaining the egregore of your ancestors. Familiar egregores.
Separating yourself from a group egregore. Even buddhists are not protected from falling into sectarianism (my buddhism is better than yours).
2. The hermetic Orderr of the Golden Dawn and Related Egregores
Human masters that achieve enlightenment and come back to guide adepts. The White Brotherhood. Occultism gave them new names, but they were already known as the Saints, or the Righteous Men of the Kabbalah, or the Hidden Imams, or the Immortal Xian Daoists, the Boddhisatvas in Tibet, etc. Some of them without enough spiritual strength might adhere to an egregore to be able to influence the physical.
The egregores described as the father of the Nephilim by Eliphas Levi. Book The Great Mystery. Mouni Sadhu. Meditations on the Tarot. For Sadhu, Egregores have a physical body that is the sum of the bodies of all the people who feed the egregore, as well as mental and astral bodies. The egregore is, then, the sum of all these elements. By destroying the followers, the egregore is fortified in the spiritual realms. Martyrs are benefitial for the egregore. Plures efficimur, quitiens metimur a vobis: semen est sanguis Christianorum. Because everything is connected, Sadhu encourages people to work with their own weak Kabbalah, their own symbols, prayers and rituals, in order to limit the influence these other egregores can have on your life.
Meditation is identification with an object of attention. When researching evil matters, beware of attracting evil to yourself. Robert Masters and his book Swimming Where Madmen Drown. While researching for Eros and Evil, he began to experience things that were similar to the topics he was researching. Similar experiences from James Wasserman and his Necronomicon edition.
Political currents as egregores – national socialism. Some people argue that all egregores are evil, because they are not the ultimate egregore, the egregore that is “not an egregore”: God. Tomberg, in Meditations on the Tarot, claims that all egregores must be evil, because they are thoughts that have been enfolded. Nothing good, he seems to claim, can come from enfoldment, but rather from radiation. The good energies would first radiate and put themselves at the disposal of the good entities, rather than come together to form a new creation.
To be silent means not to engender demons. One is only holy once “good and evil agree upon it”. Spiritual snobbery. People are not attracted to the truth, but rather to the fantastic. “Evil does not need to control everyone, it just needs to keep as many people as possible distracted from progressing on the path”. The Mind Parasites. If you influence the King, you don’t need to influence the entire Kingdom (I believe this is another reason in favour of power decentralization: if your president is corrupt, your whole country will suffer, because the power is in the hands of a few).
Zener cards, telepathy. Mind Control. 1) Telepathy works best when emotions are involved 2) Telepathic abilities vary from individual to individual 3) Distance, Time or Age are not a factor in expressing or experiencing telepathy. Robert Ambelain’s Practical Kabbalah. Studying these currents might cause a person to end up joining with it, even if they initially had no intention to. Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius de Loyola. Burning the members of the egregore is better than shedding their blood (as blood is the life). Secrecy is important, so that the high initiates can direct the egregore. Certain passive support is required.
Egregores fight each other in the spiritual planes. Politics and the Occult. A culture subjected to invisible tension and changes might eventually manifest them on the physical level. (“It’s only a movie” sometimes people say. Even works of fiction cause change). The Reenchantment of the World. Occult organizations are the most open about the existence and use of these egregores, but they appear in many other associations (politics, sports, celebritties).
4. Pop Culture and the Creation of Egregores
Jean Dubuis advocated a solitary path to minimize external influences. Jacques Vallee and Passport to Magonia. Multifaceted UFO phenomenon. Slenderman. “What I cannot do alone, many others can do for me”. Lightning the Eye of the Dragon. The I Ching and its power to predict the future. What we focus on, that is what we become. What our children focus on, our country will become. Julius Evola and his Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola used the term egregoroi to describe a spiritual elite. The Illuminati. Standing amid a world of ruins. Riding the tiger. Idols that replace spirituality. To die trying, or to die with the dissolution of the modern world. The Kali Yuga as an age of ignorance but also as an age of great potential for those who survive it. Mind games: The guide to Inner Space, a collective meditation to materialize a Group Spirit.
5. The Lovecraft Circle.
Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos and the fictional Necronomicon. Kenneth Grant, who accompanied Crowley in his last years. Many of our most influential figures today are hardly historical (Padmasambhava, Jesus, King Solomon…) Could books also take a life of their own? Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian. The Lovecraft Circle of writers. Howard related how the character of the Cimmerian just “grew up” in his mind, and how he felt not like as a creator, but rather a simple teller of a story which had actually occurred. Arthur Machen, a member of the Golden Dawn (although only for a short period of time). “The Bowman” a story written by Machen, took a life of its own. Relating the ghostly aparition of soldiers that protected the British men, soon there were reports of people who claimed to have seen exactly what the story was detailing. Through repetition of the story, a thoughtform appears to have been formed and given reality.
Fiction and reality at some point seem to come together.
6. The Egregore of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC)
Appeared in 1915. Manuscripts issued to loyal members, aimed to transform the reader through pathworking (pathworking = guided meditation). Harvey Spencer Lewis and his early mystical experiences. A warning on the fictional character of his revelations. “The real facts and TRUTH must be veiled and the FICTION exploited because fiction seemed more plausible than truth…TRUTH makes us free only when untruth has exhausted its power to enslave us”. The Cathedral of the soul or Celestial Sanctum, built using meditation and contemplation. Some magazines from the order had drawings of political figures and a word that the readers needed to meditate upon. For example, in February 1978 the drawing was of Queen Elizabeth, and the word was SCALE.
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third” Napoleon Hill. William S. Burroughs, The Third Mind. Burroughs claimed he was possessed by a third mind, an Ugly Spirit. Guru Yoga, “what would Jesus do?”. Thelema, “Do What Thou Wilt”. Chaos Magick, “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted”. Goetic organizations.
7. Freeing Oneself from the Influence of Egregores.
What do we want to achieve by associating ourselves with an egregore? Do the goals of the egregore align with our own goals? “Know Thyself”. Each person needs to find their own reasons for staying or leaving the group. As emotions wane, so does our association with the related egregore. New Age, Steampunk, etc etc. All thesse groups have an egregore of the stereotypical member. Something that you can identify with, but also something that can be marketed.
Therapeutical Blasphemy. The Theosophical Enlighhtenment. Sangharakshita and the Priceless Jewel. Blasphemy should be done as a therapeutic measure, not out of spite or cynicism. The collective egregore might limit individual growth. Buddhist outer, inner and secret refuges. Similarities with deprogramming. Bringing demons to the light of consciousness. We take on the humanity’s sins like Jesus, to transform ourselves and the world as a whole. Symbolism of the cross. Spining left to banish. The Nature and Use of Rituals for Spiritual Attainment. The ritual of the cross as a way to switch from a state of nature to a state of grace.
Invader armies occupy themselves with destroying the symbols of the defeated. Fire is supposed to be most effective for this purpose. “And not even their names or signs remain”. Forgotten egregores might be easier to manipulate that live, active ones. Magical tools. It is the preparation of them, and not the tools in and of themselves, which give the magician power. Destroying them might also be like destroying an egregore, a liberating experience. Consciously joining a good egregore -though some consider all egregores to be harmful- might be better than letting yourself be dragged subconsciously by one. Think happy thoughts, lest some negative thoughts find your mind vacant and decide to rest on it. Do not be Distracted. Have defined forms in your consciousness. Exercise your body.
Deprogramming. Emotional pain. High school cheerleading as a cult. Military service. It is a difficult process. Suggestions: Place everything associated with the egregore away. Think about what would you do with your new space, or new time, or lack of friends (if the egregore was a social collective). Examine how you feel, what you think. Experience new things. Do things that were before frowned upon by the egregore (within reasonable limits). Seek other points of view.
Conclusion. Ideas and their consequences.
It’s important that we are aware of how much we are influenced and participate in one kind of egregore or another, through information bombardment. There is no good, there is no evil. These are constructs. It’s important to understand the power of suggestion.
Appendix I – Personal Accounts of Disengaging from an egregore.
Here a short story is told about a person who left a buddhist group after 27 years of involvement. (Quick thought about the buddhist monasteries I have visited. The more they build them, the bigger they get, the more I dislike them. A thought occurred to me: The more you put Buddha out into the world, the more he disappears from your heart). Buddhist extremism. If you’re not ready for the Buddhist dharma then you’re considered unworthy. The preconceptions around buddhism: it is not a religion, the native buddhists do it better, etc. Soldiers of dharma.
Another experience with egregores. An organization where higher members died before the age of 65. Blood diseases. Chest pain felt when the leader died. Many other members suffered health problems and had troubles later in life, probably due to their association with whatever organization this was (not specified).
Another experience with a secret society, ran by a Chief. This chief was the only person who was in touch with the “secret chiefs”. This chief had obtained his abilities as a medium after a psychotic break. Eventually the members they decided to contact the secret chiefs behind his back. But now, instead of having new imperators to put the school back in its tracks, they ended up with a second secretive group who held the exclusive right to access these chiefs.
Appendix II – Revivification of an Egregor
Reviving the Roman Empire using Mussolini. A meeting in the night. War in Italy. Nothing that seems worth mentioning.
This book teaches you that it is important to consider the power of ideas not just as human constructs, but actually as entities that gain power and some form of consciousness purely from the attention that people give to them. The abstract is gaining foot in the fight against the real, and more and more we see that people focus more attention on things that are illusory and not real (the idea of a country, of a super-star, of a social movement). Some people are exploiting this to their benefit, and in this era of easy and cheap flow of communication, it is worth spreading bad ideas purely to gather energy and resources from those weak of mind who are not aware of the existence of these entities. They float above us, like fisherman sitting on a boat, waiting for us to bite the hook.
It is important to make yourself aware of what egregores you’re part of, because most likely than not, you are. For example, you might think “people from my country are X”, and you might not be a nationalist, but you still have certain ideas about what it means to have been born where you were born. Challenge those ideas. Challenge the image of yourself. What would you never do? Is it really that bad if you did it only one time? What groups do you belong to? What do you identify as? WHO REALLY ARE YOU?
Only confronting your own demons you will cast light upon yourself
PS: Buy this book on amazon. It’s 10 bucks right now. I couldn’t find a cheaper paperback so I would suggest just getting the kindle version clicking this link
I have wanted to become more profficient at reading the Tarot cards, because it seems like a cool game and I’ve had a certain success reading cards for other people. It seems like a good way to offer help to those who are not heavily involved with spirituality or self-discovery, because with the help of the pictures from the cards I have been able to figure out personal details from the querent’s life, and they have most of the time confirmed that what the cards were telling me was indeed taking place in their lives.
When looking for modern tarot readers and experts, one of the most outspoken figures is Alejandro Jodorowsky, a multifaceted artist who has been involved with practically anything that has to do with creativity: music, theater, cinema, literature, comics, shamanism…one of his most popular ideas is psychomagic, a technique in which one tricks the mind into believing certain things have happened when they actually haven’t. A sort of mental theater where one performs an act prescribed by Jodorowsky, and act which is rich in symbolism and which, it seems, shortcuts our brain into changing following the symbols and associations that the ritual contains.
What you won’t find in this book
This is not a book filled with instructions. It is not a book that explains how to read the tarot, or how to performs or create acts of psychomagic. If I recall correctly, not a single act of psychomagic is detailed in the book, or if it was, it definitely did not leave a strong impression that I would remember it, only a few days after finishing this book.
What you will find in this book
This is a book about Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s a book about his life, how he lives, a book that contains testimonies from people who know Jodo and who attest to his extreme goodness and remarkable, inspirational way of living. It’s a book that contains testimonies from five or six different people about how he met Jodorowsky, how he helped them and how they have come to admire him.
You should buy this book if
You are interested in learning more about the personal details of Jodorowsky’s life, and understand a little more about his life philosophy and his ideas. Not so much if you’re looking for information about the art more than about the artist. It’s a book centered on the life person of Jodorowsky, not on his work.
What did I learn from this book
In regards to psychomagic or tarot, pretty much next to nothing. Jodorowsky’s life doesn’t really interest me a big deal, because I don’t believe I will ever have the opportunity to meet him. For all Icare, he could be a terrible person, disrespectful and noisy, dictatorial and racist. What I wanted to learn was about his knowledge and techniques, not about his life. I always try to separate the art from the artist so in this case I think this book didn’t cover what I wanted.