Tag Archives: symbol

Aleister Crowley is acknowledged as one of the Earth’s historic alchemists in an article about acting

Aleister Crowley is acknowledged as one of the Earth’s historic alchemists in an article about acting at “Nicolas Cage: alchemist and shaman?” by DJ Pangburn. I suppose it’s novel that Crowley is being called out as an alchemist, in a positive light. (The snide comment I want to make is, “why the prejudice against alchemists from other planets?” But, I won’t stoop … Oops.)

 

“Earth’s history is rich with alchemists—Albertus Magnus, Hermes Trismegistus, Nicolas Flamel, Isaac Newton, Aleister Crowley, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Paracelsus, John Dee, Terrence McKenna and even Carl Jung. Alchemy was a proto-science that paved the way for modern science (chemistry, modern medicine, physics) but also had a spiritual, shamanistic aspect.

This is not to say that alchemists and shamans were and are officially coterminous, only that they both aspire to a better understanding of existence through various means: mysticism, magic, study, and drugs (which we know shamans have done, though whether Alchemists ever did is uncertain. In fact, McKenna attempted to synthesize alchemy with shamanism in various lectures, and described alchemists as pursuing a ‘magical theory of nature’ (like Shamans) in the film ‘The Alchemical Dream.'”

 

“Ghost Rider was an entirely new experience, and he got me thinking about something I read in a book called The Way Of Wyrd by Brian Bates, and he also wrote a book called The Way Of The Actor. He put forth the concept that all actors, whether they know it or not, stem from thousands of years ago — pre-Christian times — when they were the medicine men or shamans of the village. And these shamans, who by today’s standards would be considered psychotic, were actually going into flights of the imagination and locating answers to problems within the village. They would use masks or rocks or some sort of magical object that had power to it.

It occurred to me, because I was doing a character as far out of our reference point as the spirit of vengeance, I could use these techniques. I would paint my face with black and white make up to look like a Afro-Caribbean icon called Baron Samedi, or an Afro-New Orleans icon who is also called Baron Saturday. He is a spirit of death but he loves children; he’s very lustful, so he’s a conflict in forces. And I would put black contact lenses in my eyes so that you could see no white and no pupil, so I would look more like a skull or a white shark on attack.

On my costume, my leather jacket, I would sew in ancient, thousands-of-years-old Egyptian relics, and gather bits of tourmaline and onyx and would stuff them in my pockets to gather these energies together and shock my imagination into believing that I was augmented in some way by them, or in contact with ancient ghosts. I would walk on the set looking like this, loaded with all these magical trinkets, and I wouldn’t say a word to my co-stars or crew or directors. I saw the fear in their eyes, and it was like oxygen to a forest fire. I believed I was the Ghost Rider.”

 

I’m not convinced that “alchemical” is the way to describe the technique Cage uses, but it sure does sound like a magickal aspect of theatre, and related to aspecting and similar techniques from the more ecstatic traditions, modern and historic, but also the idea of assuming a Godform in more ceremonial rituals. Of course, that also brings me to think about one of the quotes from Florence Farr posted last week, actually Iamblichus quoted by Farr, “The Priest who invokes is a man; but when he commands powers it is because through arcane symbols, he, in a certain respect, is invested with the sacred Form of the Gods” [via]

Egyptian Magic in Egyptian Magic by Florence Farr.

“The Osiris Man is established, as in the symbols in which the Osiris is represented by the TAT or Symbol of Stability. Then, and then only, is the question of Sacrifice for others to be considered. And the Osiris may plunge once again into matter; once again making use of his mummied form to seek and to save that which was lost.” [via]

Egyptian Magic in Egyptian Magic by Florence Farr.

“Now the Egyptians had elaborated a marvelous system of symbolism. The forms of the universal powers or Gods, stood, each complete, behind a human or animal mask; his Divinity symbolized by his headdress, his powers by his Staff and the Symbol of Life which he bore in his hands.” [via]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“I am acquainted, for instance, with an Egyptian ceremonial system, some 5,000 years old, which taught precisely the same things as Masonry does, but in the terms of shipbuilding instead of in the terms of architecture. But the terms of architecture were employed by those who originated modern Masonry because they were ready to hand; because they were in use among certain trade-guilds then in existence; and lastly, because they are extremely effective and significant from the symbolic point of view.” [via]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“It is absurd to think that a vast organization like Masonry was ordained merely to teach to grown men of the world the symbolical meaning of a few simple builders’ tools, or to impress upon us such elementary virtues as temperance and justice:—the children in every village school are taught such things; or to enforce such simple principles morals as brotherly love, which every church and every religion teaches; or as relief, which is practised quite as much by non-Masons as by us; or of truth which every infant learns upon its mother’s knee.” [via]

The Position and Possibilities of the Masonic Order from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“The Order is a semi-secret, semi-public institution; secret in respect of its activities intra moenia, but otherwise of full public notoriety, with its doors open to any applicant for admission who is of ordinary good character and repute. Those who enter it, as the majority do, entirely ignorant of what they will find there, usually because they have friends there or know Masonry to be an institution devoted to high ideals and benevolence and with which it may be socially desirable to be connected, may or may not be attracted and profit by what is disclosed to them, and may or may not see anything beyond the bare form of the symbol or hear anything beyond the mere letter of the word.” [via]

Marcha de las calaveras

 

“It was billed as “the first act of collective psycho-magic in Mexico.”

The call made by the cult mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky said the event would seek to “heal” the country of the cosmic weight of so many dead in the drug war, by gathering for something he called the March of the Skulls.

On Sunday, on a wet and frigid morning in this mountain capital, hundreds of Jodorowsky fans answered the open convocation.

They donned black top hats and black shawls, and carried canes and Mexican flags colored in black. They wore calavera face paint or masks to give themselves the look of stylish skeletons gathered in this often-surreal city in the name of Mexico’s tens of thousands of sometimes nameless drug war dead.

“Long live the dead!” they shouted.” [via]

 

“Jodorowsky, director of surrealist films “El Topo” and “Holy Mountain,” practices a brand of psychotherapy termed “psychomagic,” which requires that some symbolic event, whether individually or collectively, can in fact transmogrify into reality and thus heal individuals or groups therapeutically.

On November 28th, according to Los Angeles Times reporting, Jodorowsky attempted a mass demonstration of his brand of psychomagic in Mexico. The goal was to heal the souls of the dead who have fallen in Mexico’s long-running and ultra-violent drug war.

Jodorowsky called the event Marcha de las Calaveras, or, March of the Skulls.

And while nothing quite compares to tens of thousands of dead, apart from large-scale genocide, America could certainly use its own psychomagical event, not this Judeo-Christian paradigm that preaches weakness and supplication at the feet of the rich and powerful, for deliverance will be had in heaven.” [via]