The Beautiful Side of Evil

Let me tell you about this book I read last week:

Described as “An extraordinary story about Johanna’s involvement in the occult and how she learned to distinguish between the beautiful side of evil and the true way of the Lord” I must have seen this book mentioned in another book related to ghosts and the occult that I read recently, called The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts. In that book, we read the story of a group of people who came into contact with discarnate entities -spirits- via a medium. The author of the book starts talking to a spirit that claims to be an old girlfriend that he had when, in a previous life, both lived in Greece. She knows many things about him, and she seems to really love him and knows exactly what to tell him to make him feel good. Soon, his real-life relationship with his girlfriend gets cast aside and he starts to develop a closer relationship with the spirit, which calls herself Philippa. He asks the spirits to give him more information about their past lives, and they happily do so. However, when he actually tries to verify some of those facts, it turns out that they are either incomplete or altogether fake. Then, the spirits turn sour. They come up with all kinds of explanations as to why he was unable to verify their claims. They get angry. He finds out that most, if not all, of the historical and geographical information Philippa has given him is wrong. Heartbroken, he decides not to even confront her, and instead he just distances himself from the spirit sessions.

On a similar line then, we find “The Beautiful Side of Evil“. Of a much more religious preachy nature, the book relates the story of a woman who was able to feel spirits and sense ghosts ever since she was a kid. As an adult, she enrolls as the helper of a Mexican spiritual healer, Pachita. At first, it seems like they are only helping people, providing healing where regular medicine can’t. However, when she starts to question the nature of hers and Pachita’s powers, the spirits seem displeased. She gets attacked, she suffers moments of mental instability and only the help of a devoted Christian community manages to save her from going insane. The last third of the book went a little bit too Christian for my liking, and the message is clear: accept Jesus as your savior or suffer the consequences. Nothing else is good, all spiritism is evil…and get this: EVEN DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS IS EVIL.

Yes, that’s right. Here are the relevant mentions:

I’ve lost count of how many individuals, even while under severe demonic bondage, have said to me, “Oh, but I’ve never been involved in the occult! I just played around with the Ouija board a few times!” (or astrology, or tea-leaf reading, or rod-and-pendulum, or Dungeons and Dragons, or seances, or palmistry, or tarot cards, etc.)

Ouija boards are sold in almost every toy store – frequently next to “Dungeons and Dragons,” a game which is occultic to the core, whatever its devotees may believe.

Putting aside the fact that no, Ouija boards are not sold in almost every toy store (I think I remember asking around in my city and never finding one), I found that statement to be extremely stupid. D&D is occultic to the core? How so? Because it takes place in a world of magic, wizards, and spells? I played D&D and other role-playing games with my friends, and I fail to see how they can be occultic. We never tried to talk to the dead, all we did was pretend like we were people who we weren’t. We were actors. Is acting occultic, then? This is the part of the book that just put me off. I absolutely despise most Christian denominations because they just blindly accept that their interpretation is the only one valid, their book is the only one that contains the truth, and they treat you as if you were ignorant, as if somehow you were the only one incapable of understanding those deep truths that they have received from God…only they did not receive anything from God. Human hands wrote the Bible. That’s the undeniable truth. Everything else is just our own addition.

So, personally, I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book, but I really hated the last part. Whereas the author of “The Siren Call…” does actual research, and tries to verify the information he gets from the spirits, the author of “The Beautiful Side...” just meets up with some hardcore Christians that tell her that everything that’s not in the bible is literally satan, and that’s all. Both authors decided to stop interacting with these spirits when they realize that things aren’t as clear and clean as they were led to believe, but I prefer when people switch lanes for a real, valid reason. Going “I stopped having irrational faith on this thing, and started having irrational faith on this other thing“…just doesn’t cut it for me.

Overall: 3/5. Read it if you are curious about spirits, whether they are good or evil, and what plans they might have for the living, or even if you’re an occultist who wonders whether these practices are good for you or not. But don’t expect to find here much in terms of scientific explanations. It’s just “I saw this and that, and then I stopped working with spirits and started praying to Jesus Christ“. That’s the book, in a nutshell.

PS: The book “The Siren Call…” is fully available on the Archive.org library: https://archive.org/details/TheSirenCallofHungryGhosts. You can also borrow “The Beautiful Side…” if you want to https://archive.org/details/beautifulsideofe00mich I think only for an hour.

Also, the featured image has nothing to do with ghosts. It was just a picture I found in Pixabay that I liked: https://pixabay.com/photos/japan-island-nagasaki-kyushu-725796/

Buddhism – A Short Story

Far from being a short story, this is 150 pages of good Buddhism knowledge. Perhaps that’s nothing when you take into consideration the thousands of books and millions of pages of manuscripts, tantras, and sutras, so well, maybe it’s better not to complain about having to read a book that is actually shorter than 200 pages. I took those lines I highlighted while I was reading, and tried to put them together into something that could resemble a summary. But this is mostly intended to be a reminder of the book’s contents.

Introduction

Violence has to be avoided

The self is responsible for all suffering

Death is an error that can be overcome

Old Buddhism is Hinayana. The second Buddhist period sees the rise of Mahayana. Finally, the third period with Tantra and Ch’an.

The First Five Hundred Years: 500 – 0 BC.

Monastic discipline (Vinaya) and Skandhaka, the document which contains some rules to regulate Buddhist life. The 250 rules of Pratimoksha, ecclesiastical offenses. Some of these include having a chair or bed made with legs higher than eight inches. The basic doctrines include a theory of salvation and a theory of the three jewels (the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha). Searching for security in the material world is futile. In fear of birth and death, Buddhists leave their home lives to attain salvation. To Buddhism, the root of all evil is not sin, but ignorance. They don’t care much to define Nirvana, but rather to realize it within themselves, through effort in meditation. Meditation, which:

  • Aims at a withdrawal of attention
  • Shifts attention to a subtler realm
  • Penetrates into the supra-sensory reality

Mindfulness leads to trance (samadhi) and then to wisdom (prajna). There is almost no limit to the total of different meditational methods reported during the first period.

As for the three jewels: Buddha is the enlightened one. His name was Gautama, or Siddharta (often called Sakyamuni). Tathagata is the spirit of Buddhism, the Dharma-body, or the Buddha nature. “Whoso sees the spiritual law, or Dharma, he sees me“. Buddha incarnated is not really important: what’s important is the Buddha nature. The seven Buddhas. The Boddhisatva theory. Maitreya, the future Buddha. Dharma is the subject of all teachings. It is the one ultimate reality, it is the teachings of the Buddha, and it is also the application of these teachings in our daily life, becoming righteousness or virtue. Sometimes, Dharmas -note the plural- are seen in Buddhist teachings, denoting the individual “things” that we perceive and that give origin to ignorance. Examples of these are the five Skandhas (form, feelings, perceptions, volitional impulses, and consciousness) which constitute the human personality. As per the Sangha (or Samgha) the real Samgha is the invisible church, the Aryans, the holy ones. Of all the Buddhist saints, the Arhats are the most highly prized.

Sects and their disputes

Buddhist sects remained in contact and thus were able to share principles and understand each other. The goal -of enlightenment- may be reached on different roads. Tensions between the elitists who want to keep the Dharma for a small number of Arhats, and those who wish to increase the salvation chances of the common people. As salvation depended on the awareness of certain mental processes, philosophy played an important role in Buddhism. The classification of knowledge, the problems of causality, time, the criteria of what is real and what is not… At this point, a scholar called Mahadeva called into question the holiness of the Arhats. Those who agreed with him separated into the called Mahasanghikas. Those who didn’t were called the Sthaviras, the elders. Buddha became an object of religious faith, more than just a human being. The earth Buddha became then a fictitious creature who was thought to have been sent by the transcendental Buddha to teach the world. The Mahasanghikas taught two important things: 1) that all thought is pure, and 2) that all worldly things are unreal, and that includes verbalized and conceptualized knowledge (even Buddhist knowledge).

The next separation was caused by the question of the person, or “pugdala” (“entity that reincarnates as an individual or person” – Wikipedia). The personalists or Vatsiputriyas claimed that apart from all the impersonal Dharmas, there is still a person that needs to be taken into consideration. “One person, when He is born in the world, is born for the weal of the many. Who is that one person? He is the Tathagata“. For them, the person is a reality in the ultimate sense. Neither identical to the skandhas, nor in the skandhas, nor outside of them.

The third split was caused by the doctrine of Katyayaniputra, who taught that not only present but also past and future events are all real (pan-realism).

The laity

What is the place of the common folk in the scheme of things? There are four avenues for them to increase their merit:

  • observe the five precepts
  • be devoted to the three treasures
  • be generous, especially to the monks
  • worship the relics of the Buddha

The monks, in return, increase the spiritual and material welfare of the community, and also the well-being of the country. Much of Buddhism’s success is owed to its good relationship with Asian rulers. Nevertheless, there was a precarious relationship with the laity, and this invited the development of Mahayana, and the idea that people are as important as dharmas. In the third period, monks were forced to become astrologers, doctors, weather changers, and other professions useful to laymen. “The story of Buddhism becomes unintelligible unless due weight is given to the desires of the dumb common people“.

Expansion

Asoka, his son, and Buddhism in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). Close contact between Buddhists and rulers infused the latter with a sense of nationalism and led the monks to support national wars. Ceylon was home to the Theravadins.

The Second Period: AD 0 – 500

Mahayana, the great vehicle (Maha means big. Mahatma, Maha Kali). Demand for more equal rights for the laity, and fewer arhats. Mahayana Buddhism was able to travel outside India and was influenced by foreign ideas. The importance of the Sakyamuni Buddha was put aside, making room for the Buddha who is the embodiment of Dharma (the Dharmakaya). Among the Mahayana innovations we count:

  • shifting the ideal from the Arhat to the Bodhisattva, who remains in touch with the ordinary people.
  • giving compassion equal importance as wisdom. Paramita, the six “methods to go to the beyond”: giving, morality, patience, vigor, meditation, and wisdom.
  • a new pantheon of deities, composed of more-than-divine persons (Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Samantabhadra), both mythical Buddhas as well as Bodhisattvas.
  • development of the idea of Skill-in-means (skillful means) the ability to bring out the potential in people through unusual ways.
  • a new ontological doctrine dealing with emptiness, suchness. Although the “beyond” is considered to be, well, beyond the grasp of intellectual and verbal comprehension

The Yogacarin school (“one whose practice is yoga” – Wikipedia) came up with the final formulation of the Three Bodies of the Buddha. The Dharmakaya is the absolute truth, and reality itself. The Sambhogakaya is the body in unearthly realms. The Nirmanakaya is the one that human beings see on earth, the physical incarnation of the Buddha.

Some of these doctrines were forbidden and esoteric, to the point where it becomes hard to distinguish between true Buddhist innovation and just esoteric knowledge being made available to the populace.

Hinayana developments in India

To hold its position, Hinayana adopted some of the Mahayana theories. They stressed more the idea of “emptiness”. Created the Abhidharma.

Ceylon

Is learning more important than practicing? Buddhaghosa, writer of the Visuddhimagga. Discord between the Mahavihara and the Abhayagirivihara. The latter were more open toward laymen. The Mahaviharas were more conservative.

Expansion into greater Asia

As a world religion, Buddhism was born in Gandhara, India. The Mahayanists were more successful missionaries, given their freedom in interpreting the scriptures. Medical missionaries were also responsible for a great number of conversions. The first large country to be penetrated by Buddhist thought was China. First as a religion of the non-Chinese, but by 500 it was well established throughout the whole of China, developing a state within a state. The Chinese Buddhists weren’t shy about quoting Lao Tzu or the Yellow Emperor. Rulers found the Buddhist priests more amiable than Taoist priests, as they relied on donations from wealthy laymen, and were not inciting rebellions like the Taoists were. Among the first works to be translated into Chinese we find the sutras on Prajnaparamita. The problem of being versus non-being, the emergence of the seven schools.

  • School of original non-being
  • Variations in the first school
  • School of the emptiness of matter
  • School of the non-being of mind
  • School of stored impressions
  • School of phenomenal illusions
  • School of causal combination

Kumarajiva, the Book of Chao. Buddhism and neo-Taoism. The Icchantikas (“deluded being who can never attain enlightenment” – Wikipedia) are forever excluded from Buddhahood. Achieving Buddhahood in an instant opposes Hindu thought regarding acquired learning. Meanwhile, popular faith concerns itself with rebirth in paradise. Be it Akshobhya’s in the east, Amitabha’s in the west, or Maitreya’s in the future. Founding of the Fellowship of the White Lotus, which would later evolve into Chung-t’u, or school of Pure Land.

The Third Period – AD 500 – 100

The emergence of Tantra. This is the last creative achievement of Buddhism, which enriched it with magical traditions. Mantras, mudras and mandalas were introduced. Systematized into Vajrayana, and the syncretist Kalacakra, with an emphasis on astrology. Whereas common people use magic to acquire power, Buddhists use it to free themselves from powers that are alien to their true being. No longer distant, Buddhahood is right now, “in this very body”. The ideal now is the Siddha. The ambiguous language of Tantra, and the visions of the yogins which they esteemed as more real than reality itself (which makes it difficult to research Buddhism historically).

The monastic system was weakened and spread into groups of self-sufficient Yogins. The wrathful deities, and their feminine counterparts. Cunda, Vasudhara, Usnisavijaya, Vajravarahi, Buddhalocana…dakinis, consorts of the Buddhas and their erotic rituals. The fivefold division of all cosmic forces, each one presided by one Tathagata: Vairocana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi. Clothing the highest into the form of the lower, shock therapy, the union of male and female in the ecstasy of love.

Royal patronage of Buddhism in Northern India would come to define its direction for the following centuries. The Buddhists developed their logic preceding the Hindus. Formulation of epistemological theories.

China and Korea

Between 500 and 800 AD were the most productive centuries for Chinese Buddhism. The eight indigenous schools. The Mi-Tsung, is the Chinese version of Tantra. The T’ien-t’ai school aimed at a syncretism of all Mahayana schools. The Pure Land school, and Amidism. O-mi-to-fo, and the legend of Sukhavativyuha. Kuan-yin, the Indian version of Avalokitesvara. The strength of Amidism lies in its democratic spirit: just chant the name and you will be free, all that is required is faith. The Ch’an school, and the introduction of working monks. “A day without work, a day without eating”. Practical realization, simplification of the approach to enlightenment. If you are cold, just burn a statue of the Buddha. Kill the Buddha if he gets in your way. “Strange words and stranger actions“. Buddhahood is achieved through instantaneous enlightenment.

Buddhists were becoming impatient with how long it took for Hinayana or Mahayana to produce any enlightened beings, so the Ch’ans worked for enlightenment “in this life”. After the Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, Boddhisattvas, and Siddhas, we now have the Roshis. Cultivation through non-cultivation. “Only do ordinary things with no special effort“. “To eat all day yet not to swallow a grain of rice“. The great prosecution of 845.

In Tibet, Buddhism found resistance from the Bon religion. The prosecution of 863. Padmasambhava.

The Last One Thousand Years: AD 1000 – 1978

In India, Buddhism pretty much ended in 1200 due to Mohammedan invasions, much as it was also due to internal strife. Monks left the country, thanks to the international character of Buddhism, contributing in this way to its extinction. The creative impulse had ceased. The division between Hindus and Buddhists had diminished, and Buddhism no longer served a purpose as a separate entity. In Nepal, monks gave up celibacy, and lay Buddhism prevailed. In Burma, Theravada orthodoxy was preserved. Build a pagoda to acquire merits (with the consequence that the country is covered with them). In Laos, the story of Buddhism is shrouded in legend. In China, Amidism and Ch’an ousted all other schools. While the school of Ts’ao-tung stressed quiet sitting and silent meditation, the Lin-chi sect favored rudeness and the “shout and the stick” approach. Nembutsu. The Taiping rebellion.

In Korea, the government was entirely in the hands of the bonzes for long stretches of time, but that changed in 1392 with the change of dynasty. Confucianism gained the upper hand. In Japan, Buddhism reached its creative peak. During the Kamakura period, Amida and Zen schools became the two most prominent forms of Buddhism. The Yozo Nembutsu, the Jodo or Pure Land school. In this age of decay, traditional Buddhist morals are no longer effective, and we must rely on a higher power, that of the Buddha Amitabha. The nationalistic school was founded by Nichiren, who replaced the Nembutsu with the Namu Myoho Renge-kyo. As for the Zen schools, Dogen introduced Ts’ao-tung into Japan, insisting that a decadent age was no reason to aim at less than insight into the highest truth. Zazen is carried out as an absolutely pure religious exercise from which nothing is sought, and nothing is gained. All daily activities should be regarded as post-enlightenment exercises. Bushido, the way of the warrior. Mono-no-aware, sensitivity to beauty. After 1500, there was a revival of Confucianism and military Shintoism in Japan. Only the Zen sect showed signs of vitality.

In Tibet, Indian teachers were invited again after a revival in 1000. Atisa came in 1042. His seminal work, “Lamp illuminating the road to enlightenment“. Tsong-kha-pa, the formation of different Tibetan sects. The Bka-ijdam-pa (Kadampa). The bKa-rclyud-pa (Kaguypa) was founded by Marpa. Their monks were not saints, but human beings. The story of Mila-ras-pa, Tibet’s greatest saint and poet. Gtum-mo, magical heat. The shi-byed-pa, the Sa-skya-pa, the Nying-ma-pa. The latter came up with the concept of hidden treasures, or gter-ma. The biography of Padmasambhava was one of these discovered treasures, as well as the bar do thos grol. The six bardos of the Nyingmapas. The ceremony of gCod (Chod) to offer one’s body to greedy demons. They operate similarly to the left-hand tantra practitioners of India. Creating tutelary deities (yidams), controlling the occult body, and realizing the nature of one’s own mind. A well-rounded personality does not suppress lust, anger, etc., but puts them into their own place. Finally, only the Dge-lugs-pa were able to come out victorious over the Nyingmapas. This sect was founded by Tsongkhapa, the last great thinker of the Buddhist world.

Three great achievements: codification of the canon into two big collections (the Kanjur and the Tanjur). Production of a large quantity of indigenous literature. Lastly, the rooting of Buddhism in the life of people. Tulkus, lamaism. The violence of the fifth Dalai Lama, and the shutting off of the country after the 18th century.

In Mongolia, the Dalai Lama converted the Mongols in 1577 when he journeyed to meet Altan Chagan, ruler of the eastern Mongols to show him his magical powers, forcing rivers to run uphill. Shamanistic sacrifices were thereupon forbidden. The Mongols conquest of Iran meant they built many cultural centers in those lands.

The present situation

Buddhism is now just spending its energies on maintaining itself, having lost the initiative it once had. The Buddha Jayanti, the 2500th anniversary of Shakyamuni’s enlightenment. Prophecies mark this era as the time when monks “will be strong only in fighting and reproving“. Northern Buddhism is under communist control (Mongolia, China, Tibet, and then Southeast Asia), and Buddhism and communism seem to be perfect enemies for each other, although Mahayana Buddhism and Dialectical Materialism seem to be surprisingly close.

Modern warfare, Cambodia. Although the country was neutral during the Vietnam war, it was “bombed back into the Stone age“. In Japan, we have seen a growth of nationalistic Buddhism. It is doubtful whether capitalism has been more kind to the Buddhists than communism.

In the West, Buddhism was absorbed on three different levels: The philosophical, Schopenhauer, Blavatsky, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and abundant literature has been written about the similarities between eastern ideas and those of some of the modern European thinkers. On the historical level, Buddhist manuscripts and documents have attracted the attention of many scholars. On the sectarian level, many Buddhist communities have been formed, primarily in protestant countries. Figures like Alan Watts served as conduits for the spreading of a multiplicity of somewhat disorganized ideas. “How a drop of water could be prevented from ever drying up?

The answer is: “by throwing it into the sea“.

Conclussion:

It was definitely interesting to me to learn about the historical development of Buddhism. Of particular interest was the realization that Buddhism hasn’t been just “the words of the Buddha”, but that the tradition has grown, evolved, and transformed itself into many different things across the span of centuries. Like Christianism, Buddhism was once a well-guarded secret that only a few could understand, with fundamental teachings being written in a language very few people spoke (Sanskrit, whereas Christianism hid behind Latin words). Then, the common folk found a way to open it up, and thus came Mahayana (in Christianism, we got the New Testament).

One thing that is clear to me now is that Buddhism IS A RELIGION. Fine, it is a philosophical religion, and it involves much more debating and thinking about the ontological matter of our own existence, but in the end, you pray to divinities and hope to be reincarnated in another world (be it Samsara or it in a pure land). You wear a uniform (the orange robe) that differentiates you from those who don’t believe in your thing. And you see those others as unintelligent, or incomplete human beings. That’s pretty much what religion is.

Now that I have seen how complex Buddhism is, I have actually lost some faith in it. One of my criticisms of the Bible is how complicated it makes the message of the one -supposedly- true god. He couldn’t just forgive our sins in one swipe of his divine hand, no, he had to come up with an elaborate plan that required him to prepare a specific tribe from a specific location on the planet, and into this tribe, he sent the spirit of the first creature he ever created so that he could give up this very life and somehow fix things up. Why I really don’t know.

Anyway. I really recommend this book, especially if you want to understand Buddhism better. Before you start chanting all those nembutsus, you might want to know where it all came from.

Egregores – building with your imagination

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 “Link” of the Golden Dawn. In 0=0 the initiate was given this Link, and it was required to practice the rituals to sustain it. Book Secret Inner Order Rituals of the Golden Dawn. Servants of the Light.

3. The Modern Era and the French Occult Revival

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.

Zener Cards

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.

Personal Thoughts

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

Other relevant links

The book is also on audible https://www.audible.com/pd/Egregores-Audiobook/1620559978 but if you check the French audible, it is cheaper there.

Dreamworlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism (finished 2019-08-31)

Began reading on: August 05, 2019

Incidentally, today I will get paid! This is a most happy day.

Chapter 1 – Shamanism and Dreams

Do dreams and the activity of have any meaning or purpose? Why and under which cultural discourse do we ask this question?
A common theme in Buddhist narratives is to reduce the dream to a mere illusion, unreal and deceptive yet at the same time to acknowledge the importance of dreaming actively and interpreting dreams.

Have you not read Sutras and many Tantras?
Dreams are unreal and deceptive, as was taught
By Buddha Himself, in the Final Truth of Paramita
To collect, supply, and study them
Will bring little profit
….
And yet, your dreams were marvelous
Wondrous omens foretelling things to come
I, the Yogi, have mastered the art of dreams
And will explain their magic to you

Shamanism generally emphasizes a balance of power and holds to the idea that evil cannot, and indeed should not, be ultimately eradicated.
Introduction to the author’s view of shamanism. Shamanism as a social function. Principles of shamanism – existence of multiple realities, ability of the shaman to communicate with these realities, shamans serving their communities.

Reality responds to the interpretation and beliefs of the person. Man and nature “…elaborate each other in a back-and-forth process“. “Macrocosm and microcosm form a single continuum folding in upon itself…” as within, so without. Places are not magical: they are made magical by the interaction of humans with their environment. Often as a result of magical struggle. Reality is a struggle between the forces of good and evil, with no real victor. “I will put frogs and turtles into victims, you will cure them…throughout the world, I’ll cause illness, you’ll cure it, don’t kill me“. “If a shaman could completely get rid of shurkul [devils], everything would lose balance“.

“…two themes common to many shamanisms: the recognition that the power to protect is inseparable from the power to destroy, and the idea that creative energy is generated by worship—that passionate attention to an object articulated in ritual.”
“Through ritual, the world is consulted, hidden correspondences emerge, and deities are born; reality is created and transformed”

Dreamworlds allow the shaman to leave the physical body and explore the world of the dead and the ancestors. Mountains as high thrones for the spirits or the places where the earth joins the heaven. Many legends tell about kings that came from the mountain tops or went there to ascend to the spirit world. Is there a reality to the power of mountains or is it just humans attributing an elevated nature to things that are high? Why not both?

Everybody dreams, but not everybody can gain control of the dreamworld. The strenght of the shaman is in the use of the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary. Characteristics similar among different shamanisms across the world:

  • Using dreams to leave the physical body
  • Using familiars and helping spirits
  • Making deals with these spirits
  • Traveling to other real locations using the dreamworld
  • Gaining knowledge from these travels

Chapter 2 – Dream in the ancient Indian matrix

Examining the similarities between sleep in a shamanistic environment and buddhist practices from India and other asian countries.

The vedas. Conception of life as a place of struggle. Maya, as illusion or as creative power, transformation. The vedas seem to talk about sleep as an enemy of life. In sleep, we are dead. “Sleep is the bringer of evil, the evil itself, and the protector from evil“. Upanisads. From dreams the self can perceive this world and the other. (Most of us inhabit at least two worlds…). All prana comes from the Atman. ‘The real behind the real’. The breath of the bones? “In comparison to the true nature of the self, waking is no less a state of sleep than the others.” In dreams, a world is created. Even our world, according to later indian myths, is created in Vishnu’s dream. The irreality of the dream world reveals the irreality of the “real” world itself. It dreams are unreal yet feel so real, what can we think about our “real” reality?

Chapter 3 – Indian Buddhist views of dreams

Buddhism is not in conflict with shamanism and it also recognizes the existence of spirits and teaches of many methods to communicate with or exorcise these spirits. Differences lie on other issues such as the existence of the permanent essence of man, the Atman. Are dreams presentative, or representative? Classification of dreams, based on their origin. From pathological disorder, impressions of the subconscious mind, or external agents. Dreams often acquire meaning depending on the character of the person who is dreaming. That is to say, the layperson’s dreams are just illusory images. The yogi’s dreams are significant and hold much more value. In some cases, it is said that enlightened beings don’t dream at all (as they are beyond the control of the god of dream). It is not necessarily the content of the dream but rather the moral condition of the dreamer which gives a dream its condition of being a good or a bad omen. In shamanistic contexts, dreaming represents the accomplishment of the dreamer, which has control over this state. In buddhist context, dreams represent that the goal of realization is still ahead (as dreams are illusory, the dreamer is still trapped in the illusion of Maya). In terms of eltie/popular division, there seems to be no clear separation about the value of dreams. In some cases, elites use dream interpretation to prepare for life, whereas laypeople disregard dreams as purely illusory, and viceversa. There seems to be no clear contradiction between the two classes.

Chapter 4 – Dream in the Tibetan context

In buddhism, dream as a mental state is a subjective experience and lacks the significance given to it in shamanistic or Indian thought. Tantra as a dynamic system adopted by tibetans, a system “to expose oneself to even the most dangerous and powerful […] universal forces and not just survive, but actually control them and absorb them for one’s own fulfillment”.

The first buddhist texts, legend says, fell from the sky and were not understood for 500 years but were preserved because prophecy had been received about their importance. Tibetan Bon priests did not quite like Buddhism (obviously, it was a threat to their own system). Spiritual forces from Tibet were conquered by Padmasambhava and even today they need to be reminded that they are bound by promise to defend the dharma, and are to be treated with utmost caution.
The shaman identifies with a spirit as a realization of the true nature of the spirit world that he has access to. The lama, on the contrary, is capable of identifying with the spirit, having reached an understanding of the illusory nature of this spirit world, and has control over it as he has control over all other mental faculties. One big difference between yogis/lamas and shamans is that the latter do not aim to reach any specific state of enlightenment. Their idea is not to exit the world altogether but rather to work with it and serve their communities.

In the lineage of Naropa and Tilopa, dream became an opportunity for the yogi to establish control over his mental processes, and recognize the insubstantial nature of these mental states (even buddhahood!) after having acquired full control over the unraveling of the situations encountered while dreaming. Look into the mirror of your mind, the place of dreams, the mysterious home of the dakini – Tilopa. To some extent, the ability to perform magic is not dependent upon actual powers but upon the realization that all reality is illusory and created by the yogin. Dream is the best metaphor for life, and through manipulation of this metaphorical reality we come to understand better the nature of life itself.

Traditionally, divination has not been entirely accepted in Buddhism as a morally sound practice. Divinators are usually considered by the sangha to be of a lesser class than the monks or nuns. According to a contemporary Tibetan lama, the difference between the lamam and the shamam is that the former relies on the triple gem as source for its power, while the latter uses earthly deities and powers to affect reality. The lamam has boddhicitta. A shamam and a lamam both have power to kill an animal, but only the lamam with his inconmesurable compassion has the power to bring it back to life.

In shaman traditions, there is no soteriological component to the practices or to the use of dreams. The buddhist concept of “enlightenment” as salvation from the human condition is usually not present. This idea would fall on one side of the spectrum of existence, and shamans seem to be mostly walking on the line between the two extremes (salvation and human life)

Chapter 5 – Tibetan Dream Theory, Imagery and Interpretation

Dreams are illusions, and through the elimination or purification of these states we can come to an understanding of the illusory condition of waking life. Depending on the dream phase in which these dreams appear, they are thought to be caused by karmic traces (first stage, before midnight), external entities or spirits (after midnight) and clarity of the dreamer’s mind (last dreams before waking up). Of these three, usually only the third type is considered to be useful and truthful enough to be interpreted.

According to tantric medicine, physicians should pay attention to omens in places such as the house of the patient or on the road itself. Signs of decay or recovery found in the vicinity can be used to divine the outcome of the healing process. (I skipped reading the list of auspicious/favorable dreams because I felt I didn’t want to have preconceived ideas as to the meaning of any dreams I might have).

In Tibetan buddhism, before engaging in visualization or mantra practices one needs to get the initiation from a guru to obtain permission from the desired deity. Usually this initiation is confirmed to have been successful by means of auspicious dreams or visions. In some cases, dreams are ways to obtain new knowledge or relics left by previous yogis. Padmasambhava is known to have left instructions that after his departing, termas or hidden secrets would be revealed by him through special treasure revealers (terton).

Tendrel, the interconnection of all things. Dependance. The cry of the crow has a meaning. Everything is connected, so everything relates to everything else. Only when you pay attention you start to find these connections.

When we meditate upon the illusion-like nature
Of all the illusion-like phenomena
We attain illusion-like buddhahood

Appendix

Gampopa’s dreams interpreted