Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Magick, Remote Viewing and the Scientific Method

Probably the most intriguing facet of Remote Viewing when I first heard about it was that it combined the unpredictable, sometimes chaotic, usually confusing, wild "psychic" stuff I'd been experiencing spontaneously for years anyway, with the planned, carefully approached, decently documented, experimental "scientific method" of RV protocol. It combined the opposites.

(Never mind that when I began my studies I was fooled, like most of the public, into thinking RV protocol was a psychic method you paid money for, rather than a science protocol. It still amounted to this in my expectations.)

I can't say that this is what brought me to ceremonial magick or Thelema before RV, because it was the regular deep dreams, the seeming connection to both Crowley and even Regardie (oddly) at some astral level, and that overall "meant to be" sense that I documented in Bewilderness that led there. However, once I was IN the O.T.O. and at least bothered to talk with a couple people and read a book or two, I have to say that it's the same things about magick that most impress me and draw me to the Art, even still.

I have done very poorly at the professional level of documentation I would like to have taken with my viewing over the last dozen years; I have never "gotten around to" making it a formal effort, although I've worked my butt off on many related things which certainly take planning and documentation (such as dynamic programming).

My irregular, fractured schedule, my having slept through hundreds of session attempts in my years of sleep deprivation, my chronic sessions done in 4-12 minutes while sitting in a car in a store parking lot (grabbed the only chance I had), my split between online working in TKR at the Dojo Psi vs. on-paper working as usual, and general laziness and disorganization I suppose, have contributed to most of my viewing being a fairly casual but ongoing experiment. This isn't what I had in mind initially and it's not what I have in mind now, so I hope to improve that situation before long here.

The thing which most affects my viewing is this: it is, and has always been, "experimental." Although I temporarily adopted CRV when I was first learning, I've been experimenting since shortly after that and ever since.

I wanted to know, what matters? If I lie on my bed with my feet on the wall and use a purple pen writing diagonally on an accounting pad, rather than my proper posture clean white paper and black pen sitting at a desk CRV, does that work? Sure. Does mellowing to where I can hardly function rather than using the totally-alert approach work? Sure. Does doing it by voice, or while near-sleeping, work? Sure. Does imagining a projection out of body or bilocation, rather than imagining the signal line beaming into my head, work? Sure. Does changing the method stages around, repeating a stage, or (insert one of 100 variants) work? Sure.

In fact, over time, I eventually realized that since everything seemed to work, the question was probably more about to what degree a given thing might "interfere with" what seemed to be the innate human ability to utilize psi for information acquisition.

In other words, the public (including me) had been sold a philosophy that said, "If you have our Secret Sauce™, you too can get psychic data!" but it was looking more and more like everybody could innately get psychic data. Which meant that first off, indoctrinating people to project responsibility for this onto a method rather than the individual was a problem for several reasons I'm sure are obvious.

(Initially it led me to dark wonderings about why this was done, but I decided this was ignorance eventually, combined with stubborn intent, but not, or at least probably not, any devious plan on the part of the individuals involved. Which isn't to say they didn't and don't serve some other plan unintentionally.)

It also meant, secondly, that the issue of that method, rather than being the carved in stone "You cannot change this because you can't get that data without it" philosophy marketed for $sale, was obviously just a huge variable. Plenty of people were using variations. There were essentially dialects of CRV, there was TRV and SRV and TDS and so-called ERV, and I myself was experimenting not only with all of those as well, but with my own ideas, and something akin to none-at-all -- and it was working just as well as the original ever had, it appeared.

Occasionally someone would report this wasn't true for them, however, there was no way to see whether that was as much their own belief system effect as anything; it wasn't true for everybody, in any case. The "didn't work 'cause I varied" played out even with differing methods, depending on what people had begun with, suggesting maybe indoctrination had more to do with that than any objective quality of the methodology.

As far as more structured experiments, I've mostly pursued a few, basically my inventions as far as mixing it with RV, which is not to say that it is a good thing, or a bad thing either--it's simply arbitrary. I'm going to talk about them in future posts so I am setting the stage here. There have been about a dozen, but the ones I am still interested in and documenting are:

1) Combining chakra-meditations with the session focus, which I call Chakra-RV. I ended up doing little on this, my friend did several. I intend to get back to this.

2) Combining aspect-psychology with the session focus, which I call Aspect-RV. This eventually blossomed into an entire approach, bigger than the original idea. I intend to get back to this as well.

3) Combining archetype-meditations with the session focus, which I call Archetype-RV.

4) Interacting with the data itself, as a sort of archetype meditation approach but without the archetype. I didn't name this as it ended up folding into the archetype approach... sort of. I don't always do this but it often happens by accident.

5) Assigning myself to dream, whether lucid or normally, about targets. I didn't name this and it didn't work out very well for me so I dropped it. I do dream about them on occasion and it's usually deeply shamanic and moving, but seldom helpful data-wise unless the quiz is on metaphysics. ;-) But I do still want to work with doing this on ongoing issues (such as multi-task sessions where FB doesn't come until later.)

Over the years I've used half a dozen different methods for session as well as cool down approaches. Currently I'm in the archetype model so my cooldown is an archmed.

Also, currently I consider the feedback experience to be a whole area worth development on its own merits and am gradually building that out as part of the process.

More on the specifics of each approach later.

I've been reading some magick stuff online lately, and it makes me miss it. Not magick, that permeates us of course, but the mindset, the conscious and deliberate intent to make something better of oneself and to experiment, and document results, in a more formal way.

I'm going to work on applying a lot more of the proper magickal tradition to my RV in this regard.

For those unfamiliar with the ceremonial magick traditions, this means having what some call a 'magickal journal' -- I call it an RV lab book :-) -- and into that goes plans, ideas and thoughts, your dreams, rituals and results, and so on. It means mapping out a course of disciplines for yourself and following them, to build will/intent and self-control, as well as to build a strong relationship between yourself and your Holy Guardian Angel, or Higher Self, or God, Jesus, or whatever it is you personally believe in. It means setting a plan for your psychic explorations, so they actually get done, and so some degree of intelligent design is behind them.

Prior to Thelema and ceremonial magick the only thing I had encountered, distantly, related to magick was Wicca. These people are not similar in the way that people majoring in engineering are not similar to people majoring in 17th century French poetry. If we were to render these into magical archetypes, the wiccans would be little flying garden sprites with nature magic, and the thelemites would be sorcerors. Not the same animal at all, generally.

The bright side of the Thelemic tradition in OTO is that it's very hands-off when it comes to style. Although there is a doctrine -- Liber al vel Legis, or, "The Book of the Law" (a truly bizarre little book), the idea is that each person interprets it according to their own reading, prayer, and appeal to AC's writings. So for me for example, it is not literal in many places that sound very literal, and it is very literal in places that sound quite mystic. I'm sure to others it's different.

Crowley made a point of setting the group and approach up in this way, and the entire philosophy of Thelema relates to individuality (which, like all pure ideals, is often best explored through its polarity. Or in another way of putting it, many people find christ consciousness, so to speak, via service to others, or recognition in others). So theoretically, members of the Order and church can be--and are--wiccans, buddhists, gnostic christians, and many other theologies. For that matter, if I choose to explore myself and my higher self and my universe via archetypes and remote viewing, that is just as fine as exploring it through gematria and scrying and ritual.

The church behind that organization provides structure (and a long list of regulations mostly designed to keep the church out of court or prosecution, e.g., the organization is almost fanatically against drug use within any ritual or formal setting. Which probably explains why many of the members are equally in favor of it in my observation LOL), and the various groupings of people (which vary radically in personality, experience and philosophies, be warned) provide some structure for group ritual, initiations, social and family extensions, and sometimes classes and events. But the personal approach to spirituality is completely up to the individual. Which is the only reason I can be a Thelemite and also belong to the Madonna Ministry, a group of new-age-like healing-arts sorts with a Marian (divine feminine) focus, despite that Liber al actually has some shocking rants that sound anti-Mary within it (which I do not actually take literally, but more culturally). You would think my soul would implode somewhere in the middle but they are not mutually exclusive at all.

Anyway. Aside from the side effects of early-level magick which seems to result in doctrine spouting power tripping lunatics--humorously, just as nearly any other religious approach does--the larger vision of ceremonial magick, and its studied, practical, planned, documented, experimental approach is right up my alley. Being a Thelemite is something one is or isn't without regard to any religion or affiliation of course, but the archetype of the magickian is a model I admire. I have a couple of goals for 2008 so far but I think a more formalized model of documentation and practice is going to be one of them.

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