a little death

falling straight down about twenty-five feet I smashed my nose in almost to the point of puncturing the brain, the surgeon said they were very nearly operating on that cerebral organ when they reconstructed my battered face. The interesting thing about my, admittedly painful, experience was that soon after I began my inevitable plunge, my consciousness left my body and I could see myself falling in slowed time before I was transported to a bird’s eye view of a limitless desert and a mechanized city in its midst. What my vision means I cannot be certain, but it seemed to me to say that only machines were left at the far-side of eternity; that we human organisms were fast losing our own immortality by fearing death and believing that the end of the body is the end of the individual.


in esotericism we often encounter schemes of the subtle body and its various levels of energies. one can understand the well-meaning commentators who have a tendency to rank these energies; surely it is a better investment of time & energy to cultivate the consciousness of higher energies?

those experienced in navigating these realms often report encounters with nonhuman, yet conscious and sentient, beings. many do not, and so, judging by their own experiences, conclude that those who have had these experiences are fabricating, or exaggerating more pedestrian encounters. the truth is much more interesting and complex, and pertains to the logistics of such encounters.

seekers after such experiences are almost universally advised to follow the stock preparations for 'the esoteric life': renouncing excess, maintaining a strict discipline, &c. what is not always emphasized is whether these steps are the means or the end in itself. If one is seeking to encounter what have been variously called allies, or spirits, then discipline is a means to an end.

another reason one might tend to discount these encounters is that they do not happen in a normal waking consciousness. this is one reason to work with the methods of discipline (unless one has the ability to consciously recollect one's dreams, they are unlikely to be aware of such encounters even if they are already having them).

The greatest fear is the fear of death - the fear of an imminent unknown, the ultimate unforetold. What, if anything, of this fear pierces through the veils of sub- and un-conscious processes and finds life in the daily habits of the individual and society?

The fear of the unknown most certainly finds parallels with the fear of death, which is its exemplar, but how does this very real, and at times very palpable, fear resonate throughout the human worlds? In large part it would have to be by the fall back into ritual and superstition regarding separation from the body, that which in this world is often the only thing a person has that they consider themselves capable of knowing.

Certainly death is inevitable for all living creatures, at least outside the confines of religion or the lore of alchemy that posit a life-here-after or a wondrous medicine capable of bestowing a measure of immortality, as well as the wealth with which to enjoy it. But why fear the inevitable?

Or perhaps it is that very certainty which we most fear and not the unknown itself, for there are certainly psychedelic travelers ready to barrel headlong into strange contortions of mental landscape. Some even return after the obligatory eight hours or so with stories of their death and rebirth. So perhaps it is the unwavering certainty and knowledge of the inevitable that human beings fear so much, yet that would mean there is some strange transference going on in our aptitude to pick up ritual and habit, things and activities that we make inevitable and certain.

Ritual can serve to hold our lives together. Something we can always return to, that we know and are comfortable with. Death before one’s time is a tragedy, yet who can say when one’s time is and whether or not departing at a specified date was not the best thing that could have happened?

these experiences most often occur in liminal states which are neither sleep nor dreaming per se, and at times that are neither daytime nor night. nor are such experiences restricted to dreaming - they can occur in any 'break' in normal, waking consciousness, the kind of states that certain meditators actively seek, what a certain sorcerer might call 'stopping the world'. these breaks in consciousness can be entered into, just like doorways or gateways into other, outer worlds. just like (a little) death.


the best or worst time for these to happen depends on an intricate machine of factors that includes the astrological configuration, lunar and solar phase and one's own existential circumstances, most prominent among which is whether they have developed, through a strict discipline, the ability to know that they are happening.

these experiences can be used as a component in a sort of machine which the magician can use to control time and space, to control energy. the objective here is not to dominate, but rather to organise ones energetic gestalt in the most effective manner. the magician's ability to seek the latter while avoiding the former will be one of the factors determining the extent of their success.


why not advise students to take the seemingly responsible route, to hone in on the higher energies and to ignore the lower? many of those who give this advice are not giving it to people who live in the real world, are not living in the real world themselves, are not (and mystics in general are not) esoteric strategists1.

those magicians of the so-called left hand path are esoteric strategists. their position is basically that even the dark, the evil, the unclean, can be a means of esoteric attainment. & an attainment of a peculiar nature, it is – not to become one with god, but to become oneself a god.

many modern magicians described as being of the left hand path advocate association with certain energies, intelligences, or spirits as they are variously called, in order to exchange with them knowledge and power, often in return for energies of a 'lower' nature. the argument being that the spirits existing on these lower frequencies of the energetic spectrum accessible to us tend to be business-minded2.

both the methods of these magicians and their objectives, seen to be alien to the 'known', the human world, cause them to be described as being of the left hand path, this being understood by some as little more than a pejorative term3.

nonetheless, these technicians have understood the end of esoteric study as the attainment of knowledge and power, and the means as both the most ready to hand and potent of all, these being precisely those which are understood by the layperson to be 'unclean' or inherently dangerous to use (in this manner)...
When you ask someone what they believe happens after we die, they ought to rightly respond by affirming that they do not know – many will say they will cease to exist, others that they will be going to heaven or hell, similitudes to the life we certainly do have some inkling of only transfigured into regions of only good or only bad, some will say that they will be reborn into some other body in some other time.

There are cases of young children who have provided astounding knowledge regarding what appear to have been their past-lives, and this gives some credence to the idea of reincarnation, but the vast majority appear to remember nothing. But yet, where do life and death come from - what is life and what is death? What can we say about the state of being without a body, being embodied ourselves, and why do we fear it? Why are little children scared of the dark?

A vast eternal blackness necessarily without feature would seem to be the closest approximation we have to non-existence, no thought yet still an undeniable appreciation and perception of darkness. It may not be a very full life, but it would still be a life of sorts. And what about the light at the end of the tunnel that many say they have seen after having been on the brink of death or even truly clinically dead?

Light and dark are the two existential phenomena that cannot be resolved into further analogical contraries: Light begins and is life, darkness the end being death, and in between a water wherein the Great Game is played out between the White and Dark forces of the world.

For it is certainly the interplay of water, light, and the dark unshining elements that have created these bodies that we inhabit and use. Without the sun and without water there would be no life. Yet also, without shade and shadow and tempering coolness life would not be. Some philosophies even say that our world and matter is all a shadow cast by higher objects in a greater space of higher meaning. That only with our current habits of mind is there the battleground where life and death and time are real


1 indeed, one can (over)generalize mysticism as the 'right hand path' itself. similarly, the magician would be definitive of an adherent of the lhp. if one moves in this trajectory, one will soon come to the (accurate) conclusion that the ideal is a synthesis of the two, rather than any adherence to only one or the other..
2 this seems overly materialistic, but that is simply an inappropriate perspective to take. In physics we learn that for every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction. This is a structural 'fact' of our reality. Money is simply a standard for measuring energy, and far from the most accurate one could conceive. in any case, this is the correct, or 'healthy' way to think of the relationship. while it is an important interaction, it is inaccurate to think of it as some kind of 'end'; rather it is to be considered a means toward the magician's own ends.

3 in fact, the problem is not with using these techniques, or aiming for these lofty aspirations. one might easily become obsessed with these encounters, setting aside all else in their favour. even as the rest of one's life comes tumbling around one, all they will be thinking of is the next opportunity to indulge in ones addiction.