kali ma and a brief introduction to the doctrine of the five koshas

Kali. The ancient name of India’s most powerful goddess evokes images of death and the bloody dismemberment of demons.
       The story of Kali is a parable illustrative of the practice of suppressing the restless mind, that enemy that keeps us from enlightenment and joy. She is called forth by the gods to do battle against a peculiar kind of demon, one which resides within many of us, called Raktabija, (lit. “seed of blood”) Every time the gods slay him, the blood drops fall on the battle field and up springs another wretched demon.
      Siva, deep in meditation, cannot be disturbed, as doing so can cause calamity for the one disturbing him. the gods plead with Parvati, his wife, and she becomes Kali, the fierce aspect. Reddened eyes, fangs, a lolling tongue representing the Shakti energy, black skin, wild unbound hair, naked, riding a lion, she attacks Raktabija by spreading her tongue over the battlefield, drinking all of the blood as the clones are slain.
      Raktabija whines and pleads that she doesn’t fight fairly, similar to how our own mind whines about how life is unfair, with its inevitable rush towards the shaman’s death of enlightenment. She kills him and drinks the last of his blood, and then, drunk on the demon’s blood, begins a rampage across the cosmos.  Siva is awoken by the chaos of the scene and the alarmed demigods urge him to stop her. He hides among the carnage. As she crushes the bodies and tears them apart, she steps on him and annihilates his form, which causes her to immediately transform into an auspicious aspect, as she realizes what she has done to her beloved husband.  She brings him back to life, effectively rebooting the universe.

 

Kali
An attempt at cosmology, from John Zephaniah Holwell (1711-98), ‘Interesting Historical Events, Relative to the Provinces of Bengal, and the Empire of Hindostan, etc.
 
 
 
Brahma, Siva and Vishnu adoring Kali
Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma Adoring Kali India, Himachal Pradesh, Basohli, circa 1740

 

Kali and Siva
above: Kali and Siva from The Mutational Alchemy Tarot by m1thr0s and Izi Ningishzidda
 

Her worship began in Bharat, (India),  as the supreme mother,  one to take comfort in, a loving figure who embodies everything, everywhere, including the forces of nature like death, time and passion.  In the masculine sects devoted to Siva or Vishnu, she is given a high place of honor as the most powerful  weapon of the most high,  and as the fierce aspect of Parvati, wife of  Siva in India’s most  popular  sect. To the Tantric adept, she represents supreme ultimate reality, bliss, ascension to godhead and is the one to whom we must ultimately surrender to safely and appropriately meet the cascading onslaught of an ever changing world.

Strong, Fierce, Naked Woman

 
Sarva Buddha Dakini (Dakini of All the Buddhas) or (Tibetan) Naro Kandhoma, Sino-Tibetan culture, early 19th century, copper alloy, hammered high relief, black and red lacquer, red paint, gilt. Accession number 2011.63. Part of the tantric art exhibit Honored Father-Honored Mother, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, Texas, USA. Photo by Joe Mabel
Sarva Buddha Dakini (Dakini of All the Buddhas) or (Tibetan) Naro Kandhoma, Sino-Tibetan culture, early 19th century, copper alloy, hammered high relief, black and red lacquer, red paint, gilt. Accession number 2011.63. Part of the tantric art exhibit Honored Father-Honored Mother, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, Texas, USA. Photo by Joe Mabel
 
 
In the mid 1990′s  I worked for a couple of lesbians, one of whom was a pro psychic. I was a visual merchandiser at their metaphysical shop in Seattle. I first encountered a statuary murti of Kali in bronze at the back of the shop, and, besides a picture of baby Krishna in the ritual room, it was the only murti in the shop. Remembering my upbringing at the beautiful ISKCON temple grounds in Vancouver, Canada,  I knew the proper action was to decorate the altar out of respect for her power.  I went outside and found some marigolds planted by the local city council. This had the curious effect of upsetting one of the two women, who insisted that I shouldn’t be picking flowers, while the psychic defended me, saying I was only trying to show respect. I simply told them  if you didn’t pick marigold heads they would stop blooming so profusely anyways. Kali seemed to know this as well, although her collection of demon heads and transmuted blood dharma may perhaps yield a very different crop.
      I remember my teacher Yashoda when I was five years old telling me the fearsome story of Kali to us girls. The naked and violent woman who killed the demons and saved the world seemed like a difficult bargain, and I didn’t feel too confident in the demigods abilities anymore. When I was much older as an adult, a Buddhist told me only the fierce aspects of deity would be useful in the Kali Yuga – the age of the demon Kali, not the goddess Kali (The demon’s name is pronounced KAY-LEE instead of KAH-LEE).   We were all enthralled by the story – Hindu tales are filled with incredibly wrought imagery and distinctive archetypal riches. At the time I was only familiar with one other strong and fierce woman in stories – the demon Putana who killed infants she babysat in Vrindavan, and who tried to kill Krishna. This image had left an indelible impression on my mind, after all, who could wish to harm the adorable and radiant baby Krishna? This was the Lord of Creation we awoke to worship among splendor, singing and harmony each sunrise at the Ashram.

 

Above: The Death of the Demoness Putana, Page from a dispersed Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of Lord Krishna), ca. 1610 India (Rajasthan, Bikaner) The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Above: The Death of the Demoness Putana, Page from a dispersed Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of Lord Krishna), ca. 1610
India (Rajasthan, Bikaner) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Krishna defeats the demon’s plans, and sucks the life right out of her poisoned breast. The beautiful woman turns into her hideous demon form, and it was pictured as above in the book.  It was really horrible to look at then as it is now.  I wondered if this powerful goddess Kali that the great gods had called forth was also ugly – the difference between demon and goddess seemed fuzzy at best. So I asked  about  this  new  terror,  Kali, “Was she ugly?” Yashoda seemed taken aback and answered, “No! She was very beautiful. She was the most beautiful goddess and the most powerful. She defeated the demon Mahishasura and saved the universe.”  This caused me to be quite pensive, because I had to consider the nature of beauty, and why you could both save and endanger the universe in the same story.  I had not yet given a proper accounting to the factor of Siva.

Ramprasad Sen

Kali is the model of the very best mother, the terror of demons, the warm and wet embrace of life.  She conquers all in her mastery of time.  She is death, yet the joyful death of eternal life and rebirth in her ecstasy. The poet Ramprasad Sen, considered a Hindu saint, was very devoted to Kali, whose blackness he likened to the color of the sky or ocean, which appears dark from afar, but when you take in your hands, is clear. His entire life was devoted to the worship of Kali, through song, sacrifice and poetry.  His poetry is beautiful.
 
 
Why is Mother Kali so radiantly black?
 
Because she is so powerful, that even mentioning her name destroys delusion.
 
Because she is so beautiful,
Lord Shiva, Conqueror of death, lies blissfully vanquished, beneath the red soled feet.
 
There are subtle hues of blackness,
But her bright complexion is the mystery that is utterly black, overwhelmingly black, wonderfully black.
 
When she awakens in the lotus shrine within the heart’s secret cave, her blackness becomes the mystic illumination that causes the twelve petal blossom there to glow more intensely than golden embers.
 
Her lovely form is the incomparable Kali- black blacker than the King of Death.
Whoever gazes upon this radiant blackness falls eternally in love and feels no attraction to any other, discovering everywhere only her.
 
This poet sighs deeply, “Where is this brilliant lady, this black light beyond luminosity?
 
Though I have never seen her, simply hearing her name, the mind becomes absorbed completely in her astonishing reality.
Om Kali! Om Kali! Om Kali!

 

Historically

Achieving the perfection of the body of light is part and parcel of achieving union and perfect harmony with Kali. This is exactly what her yantra is telling us.  Kali and Siva comes from a very ancient class of archetype, probably prehistoric.
       In recorded history in the Vedas she is called upon to win wars and defeat enemies of the worshiper, not unlike Inanna’s role in ancient Sumer, the Graeco-Roman Cybele, Egypt’s Sekhmet, or Persia’s Anahita. While Inanna, Sekhmet, Cybele, Anahita and Durga both share certain characteristics of the archetypal mother goddess humans have identified – association with lions,  might and stunning beauty, the goddess Kali differs slightly, she is both more alien and more personal at the same time.
      Kali’s  lover  characteristics  are understated,  we  don’t  see  her  in   the  act  of  creation  that  we know.    She  is  depicted  tearing demons  apart,  having  a heyday with tearing even their already lifeless corpses apart so that  the gods begin to panic.   This is  when she kills her husband,   Siva who has thrown himself into her path in an attempt to stop her rampage and stabilize the world.
      In this act we are shown  an aspect  of   Kali named Dhumavati in  the  Mahavidyas doctrine of the 10 aspects of Devi, meaning literally “She who widows herself”.  After crushing his chest she brings him back to life, and at this instant becomes one of her ten aspects – Tara, an auspicious creatrix. Kali is defined by care that takes extreme measures, not by her delicacy. Indians have tried to convey her vision, which encompasses all of femininity in one terrible, powerful image.
     In another version, Siva hides among the piles of demon corpses and shape shifts into an infant. Upon hearing his cries, Kali  stops to breastfeed the child, showing her role as the mother, unable to resist the maternal instinct.
     Known as the great mother, Kali is said to nurture universe before birth and after death.  The same goes for the tiny microcosm of a human soul.  She is the one who takes care of us when we die and before we are born. Of what relevance is she to us in our day to day life then?
     The spirit, our spirit, which is unborn, is always in Kali’s direct realm and within her powers to mend and rejuvenate. Experiences which try the heart and bring us towards her, tipping the balance of karma in our favor in return for earthly injustices committed against us.
      Kali and Siva predate the Vedas and the presence of Brahma and Vishnu in India, a remnant of an older time period where Tantra was popular under the ruler-ship of the Vratyas – the native India’s female counterpart to the male Hierophants of the Rites of Eleusis. It’s not clear when the marriage of Kali and Siva occurred, or whether the religion was always as it is today – with worship of the yoni and lingam central to the theology. This is certainly a response to the importance of the sexual act in spirituality.
 
 
108 Siva Lingams
A stone sculpture depicting the yoni and 108 siva lingams. Photo: Pratheep http://pratheep.com/
 
 
 Kali is intrinsically linked to the 64 current, as she is the supreme goddess from which the 64 dakinis emanate and surround Siva. Temples dedicated to the Tantric worship of Siva and his consort have him at the center, surrounded by the dakinis, sometimes in a courtyard as at Hirapur, pictured below. Dakinis were linked with the sky and flying, and so the temple had no roof.
 
 
64 Yogini Temple
Chausath Yogini temple known as Mahamaya temple. Photo Credit: Soumendra Barik
 
 
 
One example of matrimonial revisionism occurring  in history was the story of Nergal and Ereskigal in Northern and Southern Mesopotamia.  Nergal was an Northern war god, identified with pestilence, and as the sun, and especially the noonday sun, a terrible thing in the arid and hot Iraqi plain. Ereskigal was a Sumerian chthonic deity, the ruler of the underworld and a powerful force in her own right, who could bring the dead back to life en masse, (think zombie apocalypse) a trick which she threatened the sky gods with from time to time. Both Ereskigal and Nergal were much too powerful to ignore or diminish, and so a marriage was arranged through storytelling and repetition.  The tale remains as one of the great tales of the ancient world. Such marriages help us to identify the character of particular nations.
      Similarly, we can identify Kali by her marriage to Siva – whether or not it was a revisionist accounting of prehistoric beliefs.  Siva is the destroyer, who can annihilate whole universe.  Kali is brought in only for special cases where absolute unbridled ferocity is necessary, in the case of the major demon that the triumvirate cannot stop.
     In Saivism, Siva and Sakti are said to be joined like two cotyledons in a seed. When Kali steps on Siva, the masculine force of heaven, and kills him, they are united and the powers of creation and destruction are at their peak. The reason for this is because Kali is the one who waits after death. Siva interrupts and closes the infinite cycle of destruction by entering her realm completely with his death.  It only lasts for a moment, but that moment is golden. Kali reveals Siva’s unlimited power in a way like no other image.
 
 
jasmine multiflorum
Jasminum multiflorum
English: Downy Jasmine. Photo: Atamari
 
Kali translates as “The Black One”,  while Siva is called Mallikarjuna ” The Lord White as Jasmine”.  In Western Hermeticism, Kali with Siva would represent the union of the fifth element’s  two parts, Black Akasha and White Akasha.  Kali is represented by the Red Hibiscus flower. This is used in offerings to her throughout India and outside in her many foreign temples and shrines. The medicinal properties include lowering blood pressure and they contain a high content of vitamin C.
 
Hibiscus
Red Hibiscus ‘Psyche’ in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) during Spring. Photo: Aravindan Shanmugasundaram

 

 

 Sri Krsna as Kali

It is not without coincidence that Krsna’s name means “black” as there are two reasons for equating Krsna with Kali. The first is that Krsna is repeatedly named as the supreme god, as Kali is in Shakti belief.  Kalya is given as Krsna’s name when he is represented as the popular Jagganath (literally “Lord of the Universe”) form, a small limbless idol with large white eyes and a red painted smile accompanied by his brother Balarama and his sister Subhadra. This form of worship is very old. Originally the idols were comprised of Jagganath and his consort, until the white skinned Balarama was added to appease Saivite sects.   In Tantra, Krsna is said to be a Lila expression of the goddess Lalita Tripurasundari, the red goddess, underscoring her importance.  (lit. “She Who Plays” – another of the ten devi forms called the Mahavidyas) She is considered as a red flower in all forms.

published before 1923 and public domain in the US.
Jagganath, right, with his elder brother Balarama and sister Subhadra. British Museum. Artist Unknown, India
Kali is famously said to be the goddess who does not give us what we expect. Instead she gives us what we need. This goes for all life, everywhere, which it is her task to sustain indefinitely. So what we get is an archetype that transcends  earth into outer space and exists outside the boundaries of time. She cares about us only inasmuch as it balances whole universe. If she did not care about entire universe in respect to individual wants, she would not be known as the Great Mother.
      We find that the TwinStar behaves in much the same way, given the limited amount of time with which we have had a chance to observe its effects on viewers. It goes straight for your weakest link, and pushes you through the dharma, sometimes violently – especially if you do not have right thinking or right actions.  We have observed that sometimes it does not want a viewer examining it, other times it does. People say remarkable things about it, then seem to completely forget what they have done or why Abrahadabra is important. It happens so frequently – and never to long time participants – that it has become a comedy routine we all sort of laugh about when a newbie jumps on board and begins waxing poetic about the TwinStar. Like the devotees of Kali, they are in for far more than they bargained for, as it sets to work absorbing their dharma.
      To those of us who have seen the sparkling effulgence of the TwinStar in action, the power is on par with Siva’s tandav, and it would seem a good match with Kali’s ancient sigil. A few weeks ago m1thr0s decided to revisit Kali’s yantra, as a gift for his young daughter. What he found was an extremely important marriage between the Tetractys and the Kali Yantra, which pushes the Body of Light topic into the spotlight.

     Her yantra parallels the doctrine of the five koshas, which is of immense importance to students of the Body of Light,  so she is more than a simple adjutant of the most high consciousness, although this is half of god.  She is an important teacher pertaining to the map towards star consciousness, which as  of yet we don’t know very much about. Below is the image of the TwinStar and the Kali Yantra. Note the five rings which I will talk about in later curriculum from The Abrahadabra Institute – these are the koshas, the layers of the Body of Light.

Warning…the image you are about to view will accelerate your dharma!

tskaliyantra01
Above: Kali Yantra TwinStar by m1thr0s 2013

In the Vedas, most importantly to be understood for this image we are viewing, Kali is named as the black tongue of Agni, the fire god. Agni’s importance cannot be overstated. He is the first god mentioned in the oldest Indian text, the Rig Veda. The Hermeticists refer to Fire as the first element. (At least in the tetragrammal system where fire=spirit). I’m proposing that the TwinStar can be primarily identified with Agni and with the secret alchemical formula for fire in this image, Kali reveals the true nature of the TwinStar.

mutational alchemy essentials 001

  *Author’s Note* *All posts by m1thr0s at this site are amended articles extracted from a much bigger work-in-progress that will be defining Mutational Alchemy in all of its diverse principles and applications.  Since there is a great deal to this topic which is many months away from completion, (Late 2018) certain of its tenets deemed as standalone topics are being allowed to run ahead of the finished book. No responsible theoretician would ever imagine himself to be the only one pioneering important new insights all by himself so that where certain breakthroughs strike me as vital to the overall discussion at hand, these will occasionally find themselves posted as independent articles. This should serve several purposes at once, creating interest in the larger work on the one hand while facilitating a sense of fellowship with other pioneers at the same time.

Mutational Alchemy Essentials 001

In the Beginning…

It has finally dawned on me that a lot of people just don’t have a clue what the hell I am going on about with all this Mutational Alchemy rhetoric or why it might make any difference to anybody else. In part this is due to the fact that I started out posting things I knew would be of some interest to people I have already been in communication with for a number of years and are already themselves familiar with a good many of the essentials. But this doesn’t help anybody else and when I find that even people who have themselves been involved in one or another practices for many years haven’t a clue what I am going on about…this clearly signals a serious communication problem. So I am going to attempt to examine Mutational Alchemy from the very beginning and try to establish both what it is and why it might make any difference to others. This will actually be a little difficult for me since I am myself so steeped in many of these ideas and practices that it can be nearly impossible to remember all the steps that might have led me to the present. Nevertheless, if this is going to do anybody any good, I have to try.

Sorting Out a Few Key Terms

Anyone who has actually attempted to pour over my posts has probably already realized that I bounce around between a lot of terms you may have a very difficult time tracking down via Google. Believe it or not, there really is a powerful thread of continuity running through all of this, but in order to understand what that is, you have to first understand what it is that I do best and where the vast majority of my personal emphasis has been placed throughout my own esoteric practise. Rather than just lay out a “glossary of terms” as was suggested by one member, I am going to try to initiate this ground-up discussion and stop at intervals to clarify those terms I am introducing for the first time. To begin with, everything I discuss at any time revolves around the so-called Body of Light and its mastery. That is my whole focus in this immediate incarnation. Before and After everything else I may ally myself with, I am first and foremost a Body of Light Technician. It is the thing I have been studying since I was a teenager (I am 53 years old at this writing) and it is the backbone of every magickal/alchemical discussion I engage. Whether I am discussing Abrahadabra or the Tetractys or the TwinStar or the Lo Shu Diagram or the Tai Hsuan Ching or even Ningishzidda and perhaps 100 or more other things you have rarely heard of, it all comes back to the Body of Light and its mastery. That is where my passion lies and that is what I am always going on about in one form or another. So forget all these other terms for a moment…we will return to them in due course. For the moment I want to just discuss the Body of Light itself and try to extrapolate the core assumptions underscoring this language. Getting straight on this will determine whether or not any of the rest of this stuff is of any real use to you. If you are not onboard with the Body of Light as a matter of utmost importance, nothing else I can ever say will ever matter much anyway, since, believe it or not, that’s actually all I ever really talk about.

The Body of Light

The *Body of Light*is a generic term pertaining to the notion of an *etheric* body (and bodies) that is thought to exist in tangent to the physical body itself. Similar in concept to the rings of a rainbow, the idea is that the physical body, as we know it, is actually only the lowest rung in a lattice network of bodies descending from the Highest (subtlest) to the Lowest (coursest). Various *models* of this extended anatomical network of bodies have been asserted over time, some asserting as few as 3, others as many as 7 or more grand divisions within this overall Body of Light framework. At the time of this writing, if you run a search on Wikipedia on the Body of Light you will come upon a kind of misinformation that has done enormous damage to the correct understanding (and productive discussion) of the Body of Light as it has been asserted since the dawn of history by many different cultures in many different ways. While it is true that Thelema has its own rendition(s) of this ancient metaphysical thesis, any knowledgable Thelemite will be able to tell you that this is drawn primarily from Golden Dawn teachings, which themselves are largely drawn from traditional and hermetic qabbalah sources. There is in fact no such thing as a uniquely Thelemic Body of Light standard (though there is, in fact, a new model to be weighed, which I will come to presently). A more responsible contemporary treatise on the Body of Light in western magickal tradition can be found in Mark Stavish’s condensed essay The Body of Light in the Western Esoteric Tradition It should be noted that references to Chi Kung (see: Qigong), a traditional Body of Light discipline endemic to Chinese Alchemy, do not strictly apply to the model being presented in Mutational Alchemy. Chi Kung works with Chi energy which would typically be seated within the solar plexus region and is developed and directed at will by the experienced practitioner through a complex system of breathing and visualization excercises. There is nothing inherently wrong or invalid with this practise…it is simply not the same model of light-energy that we are dealing with in Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy. The closest historical parallel I have been able to find to the Mutational Alchemy system is the Merkabah , or “Chariot of Soul”, from Qabbalistic literature, of which very little has been written outlining its mastery. While certain similarities do exist between traditional Chi and Kundalini practices and the principles outlined in Mutational Alchemy, the techniques, properties and overall objectives are quite different. In Abrahadabra we are attempting to energize and gradually phase into the *StarBody* itself, as depicted in the Abrahadabra Grid, of which the Tree of Life is viewed as a physiological subdomain, or mathematical subset. We base our proof of this *StarBody* system…first upon the geometry of Abrahadabra itself and finally upon the actual results we obtain through working with elemental energy fields directly. It is thus very important to scrutinize these maps very closely, as this will be our starting point in developing the visualization disciplines necessary to realize any actual physical results. I should also point out that you are going to be operating without much of any *safety net* in the Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy system, simply because no *traditional* precedent is known to exist for this immediate model of reality. One’s approach has to be based upon what is internallycoherent and logically and intuitively correct, since there are no other conventional *guides* to lean upon. This is a bold new territory for pioneering spirits who can trust to their own best judgments to lead them.

Historical Overview

It is virtually impossible to determine where and when the whole concept of a Body of Light began. Ethnobotanists would typically argue that it has its origins in Shamanic traditions where the method of accessing this higher anatomical network would have involved injesting psychotropic concoctions of one sort or another and going into deep trance states where the ability to step into these higher body systems might then be directly experienced. Since there are virtually no written records to substantiate this claim, we have only the iconographic evidence of cultural art expressions to guide us here. What we do know is that very specific reference to the Body of Light anatomical structure can be dated as far back as the Vedas of ancient India, where we come to the notion of The Five Koshas. The Five Koshas, or “sheaths”, amount to rings of subtle pranic force (see also: the Vayus, or 5 Winds) surrounding the Atman, or “True Self” which resides at their core. It is vitally important for us to grasp that these “layers” as defined in the Vedas are not separate from each other…these are not separate bodies per se…but rather degrees of subtlety within the body as a whole. To this day, the Five Koshas amount to a central Yogic doctrine around which the Eight Limbs of Yoga have been developed as a means to purifying and fortifying mind & body so as to ultimately be able to access all of these “sheathes” at will. At approximately the same time as the Vedas are being compiled in India, in the far east we see the emergence of a Dynastic China which is ushered in with a comprehensive model of universal reality in the form of the I Ching. The I Ching is typically touted as an *Oracle*, used for the purpose of divining Fate for good or ill, but it is actually a great deal more than this. The I Ching is a complete Cosmogony, defining Earth, Man and Heaven in one Grand Unified logic, or physics. While it would not, on its face, appear to be an actual model of the Body of Light, we know that around this physics the entirety of Yin-Yang Medicine sprang into being along with its doctrine of Chi. We find very ancient mappings of Cosm outlining whole universal continuum and Man’s place in relation to this, so that the sum of all its parts and all of its extensions, does in fact give us a model of *man-made-perfect*, which is, at its heart, what the Body of Light is really all about. The differences between the Indian and the Chinese approaches are very interesting to observe, since what we find is that the Ayurvedic (East-Indian) model is emphasizing Microcosm where the Chinese system is actually more focused on Macrocosm. Nevertheless both systems set immediately about to integrate the physical body itself, so that while the Ayurvedic system evolves into the Chakras, identifying energy along the spine, the Chinese system evolves into the Meridians and is plotting Chi pathways throughout the body…including higher states of energy/consciousness not ordinarily accessable without the advent of disciplined concentration. Exactly where and when Western Civilization joins in with this discussion is a little hard to track with a perfect certainty. We find evidences of Trees of Life dating all the way to Mesopotamia but Body of Light doctrines have almost universally been “hidden” from the profane…these were were secret teachings imparted to the initiated only and so it is difficult to know for certain just how much resides within the ancient Greek or the Persian or Hebrew cultures for instance. What has filtered down to us more-or-less intact has largely come by way of the Qabbalistic Tree of Life and its tenets, yet we know that parallels do exist in the Druidic, the Nordic and other places across the globe. Similar to the Chinese system in many respects, the Qabbalistic Tree of Life is principally focused on Macrocosm. The Tree of Life is not really charting energy along the spine so much as it is attempting to map out the relationship of Universe to Man. Even so, in lieue of the Hermetic Alchemical axiom “As Above – So Below” – “As Within – So Without”, what we discover is that anything which does a good job of charting Macrocosm will inevitably find its reciprocal compliment in Microcosm as well, and vice-versa. While the Tree of Life is not intentionally tracking the “Gunas” for instance, nevertheless the Gunas are clearly represented in the 3 Pillars themselves. Because Man is still the measure by which Universe is being defined, what corresponds to Macrocosm has an immediate relevance to Microcosm also.

Underscoring Assumptions

The careful reader may have already observed that in some respects we can assert that what has come to be called The Body of Light might also be called “The Mind”. And indeed, if we follow Carl Jung’s lead in this respect, then just about anything that attempts to define archetypal relationships of any kind has something to do with this discussion. For the Hermetic Alchemist, Mind & Matter are really all about the same thing…all made from the same “stuff”…just vibrating at different frequencies. Why do we assign “bodies” to archetypes at all? Why is it so important to us that Gods have certain forms and certain powers and so on? The mind classifies things according to “kind” and we are always the measuring rod against which our knowledge is measured. Even if we break parts of this habit, we will almost certainly never be rid of it completely. Form speaks to Function and to understand a things’ Form is to understand its Value. One of the core assumptions surrounding Body of Light literature is the idea that human beings are fundamentally a house divided. It is universally asserted that what has occured is that consciousness has descended from a primal Unity into a condition of Duality and is now confronted with the difficulty of regaining this lost equilibrium. Exactly why this may have occurred is subject to different points of view, some contending that this has to do with a powerful pull towards individuality, others that it is simply the way consciousness acquires new experience, still others that “intelligences”, like stars, are formed in a womb-like condition but must pass through this whole process to become fully matured and so on. I do not speculate on the reasons so much myself but I am reasonably convinced of the Unity/Duality scenario in general. Work that we do on the Body of Light is intended to restore this Unity. When you hear talk of a Supreme Attainment, or the Great Liberation, or the Great Work in Completion etc, we are always talking about the idea of having established…or re-established…this original Unity, with the possible exception that having carved it out in adversity, it should not be so easily lost again. Nearly all mystical and/or magickal doctrines teach that Mind is the key to Matter, so we need to weigh that in as one of the core assumptions around which Body of Light work is defined. If we did not think that deliberately focusing our Minds in certain ways could amount to significant changes in terms of Matter itself, there would be little point left to any kind of meditation practice at all. It is important to periodically revisit this core assumption to reassess everything it implies. The primary tools of all visualization work are Light and Sound, and why is this? Because Light and Sound are the two most powerful tools the Mind has at its immediate disposal. Beyond this, we actually do know that all gradations…all conditions of matter…are Light/Sound waves vibrating at varying rates and frequencies. What is sometimes difficult to wrap our brains around is that the faculty of Thought itself may ultimately be all that is required to shape or reshape any condition of Matter. Concurrent to this theme of Thought being the key to Matter is the notion of Right Thinking itself. This is a very important core assumption I want to drive home from the start, because, again, it is an area that has suffered a great deal of damage over time. From the time of the Vedas it has always been maintained that Right Thinking combined with Right Action points the way to Right Destiny itself. But what is “Right Thinking” when the matter turns to things highly esoteric? Too many times we are spoon-fed explanations and instructions as to how we should proceed that make no natural sense to us, yet we are often told that this is not important…that we can only come to understand these things by doing them without question. While there may be some justification for this in limited doses, the real problem with perpetrating this kind of instruction is that you are not ultimately producing free-thinking individuals who have sorted out their most sensitive personal practices for themselves. In the end you wind up with people who know how to go through the motions but have no real idea what they might mean, since they were never encouraged to ask what they might mean to begin with. You cannot achieve Right Thinking if you do not allow for a full measure of Skepticism and Doubt from the outset. Here in the context of Abrahadabra/Mutational Alchemy, “Right Thinking” means exactly what it should mean…it means asking and answering all the hard questions until you have very clear and compelling reasons to take “Right Action”… This could go on but for the time being my objective is to lay down a few essentials pertaining to the Body of Light itself, the history of it, and its most central core assumptions. For the most part I think I have fairly well done that. I will return in the next segment and begin looking at why Abrahadabra might be anything particularly special… m1thr0s