Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dear Friends,
Five is one of those wonderful numbers that we often come across in esotericism. For many, it is most clearly associated with the pentagram, Geburah (the fifth sphere of the Tree of Life), and, by default, the planet Mars. There is also the Hebrew letter Heh, and several different Tarot cards and Paths on the Tree of Life that vary across the source and system being referenced.
Five is all of the Elements, all that is, and all that potentially can come from their innumerable combinations. It is Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and the Space from which they all arise—that which gives them being and substance. Efforts have been made to enumerate those combinations: say, 25 possible variations, or twelve and twenty-four for the permutations of the Tetragrammaton (the fifth Element is always present and all-encompassing, therefore not distinctly represented) and the Elders of the Apocalypse...you get the point, these variations have a nearly infinite degree of sub-variations and relationships to one another, just as a natal chart has a Sun Sign and a Rising Sign, along with other influences at work.

For us, Five is the number of action. It is the Elements not in a static or theoretical state, but active and manifesting. This is why it is also given to Mars, as action requires energy and force directed at a specific point, like an arrow or a spear. Mars energy is not meant to be dispersed in a vague and general pattern until it ripples into oblivion—something too many people allow their lives to do—but should instead be brought to a single point for a single purpose, at a specific moment in time.
We say “every man and woman is a star,” but what do we mean by that? It certainly does not refer to their individual YouTube Channel, but rather to their capacity to create a brilliant and meaningful life for themselves. To do this, all of the Elements must be brought into focus—again, brought to a single point for a specific objective.

Knowledge of Mars also means that we know what to get rid of, what to keep, and when to stop. It is a lack of these qualities that gives rise to the more negative experiences of Mars. We need to focus; e.g., when I write a book, I have a thesis statement and a general outline to keep me on track. It is a book not an encyclopedia I am writing! I need to know what is important in relation to the thesis and what is not. I need to know when to stop—when will it be finished? To paraphrase writer-director-producer George Lucas, in some ways, we never complete the work, we simply abandon it—and that is true. At this point I stop, and at this point the task has come to an end. If all is good, it will be successfully completed.
The same is true with the present fundraising campaign. In four weeks it will come to an end. I desire that it should be a success; in other words, that it will have achieved its goals so that in turn we can use the resulting resources to complete our stated publishing projects. Regardless, the time will come when time itself runs out, and that is the other message of Mars: time is the only resource we have—use it wisely, decide on specific goals, achieve them, and build a life for yourself that makes you truly shine like a Star in the heavenly firmament.

How do we do this, you ask? Simple. Every morning pick one goal you wish to achieve that day, and do it. Just one. When you get good at getting one thing done move on to two. This can even be as simple as making sure your bed is made after leaving it, or that the dishes are out of the sink. Size of the task is not important; repeated conscious dedication to its achievement and then success in its accomplishment are what matter. This is why many people have a “to do” list of tasks. Once one is done they can go down the list to the next. This is why writers often use an outline, to allow them to focus and move quickly and seamlessly to their next topic.
The seeds of gold are in iron, be sure to water them daily.
This week we started Week Five of our eight-week fundraising campaign. Our objective is clear: to achieve our goal of $4,000 for the publishing of two new titles in the Spring of 2015. We are asking you to be a part of it, and appreciate your support. 

Mark Stavish

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Shekinah and the Season of Light
As we enter the fourth week—the halfway mark of our fundraising campaign—I am delighted to note that it also marks the day of the Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year is often troubling for some people; the darkness can be a bit of a physical and emotional drain during the weeks to either side of it, but it also means that we experience an understanding of the cycles of life: everything has its peaks and valleys, its light and its dark. By first recognizing this, and then actually seeing it in our daily lives, it becomes easier to go with the flow of events rather than to be swept aside by them. It also means that our unquenchable desire to attempt to control events around us—either by force or by magic—is more “useless” than we would like to believe. “Useless” in the sense that we often try to control the things we can't through failure to stop and see life as it is—rather than as we want it to be—and then act according to the situation we REALLY have before us, instead of the fantasy in our mind.

Yes, it is dark—so light a candle and deal with it! As the story from the Talmud (that inspired Kipling's poem about the words of wisdom surrounding Solomon's ring of power) so clearly expresses, “This too shall pass.” Or as my great-uncle Edward Tischler would often say, “The only thing permanent is change.” Learning to deal with change is learning to deal with life as it is; only then can our esoteric practices be effective and bring us to deep inner realization.

With the coming of the holiday season, we look to history and mythic-history for inspiration, the common ideal being the presence of Light in the Darkness—how this light incarnates, takes form, and is active in the physical world. You see, the light does not simply exist, it DOES SOMETHING. This is not something passive either; it is always stretching the boundaries of conceptual existence. In Hanukkah, the oil that would only last for one day miraculously lasted for eight; as a result, the LIGHT increased. What was seen as impossible was made possible—and the Light increased.

The Christian legends have it that Jesus was born miraculously—a story similar to that of the origins of Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born Guru who established Buddhism in Tibet—and with his birth, the intangible light of the Ain Soph Aur was made incarnate in the world, fully man and fully divine, so that the light could be seen and take action, not simply exist in a state of blissful detachment (like certain states of negative Nirvana) or even ignorance. “He who sees me sees the Father” is the scriptural affirmation of that reality. It is right here and right now, but it isyou who must recognize it—here again, the scriptural support is perceived as Jesus asks, “Who do they say I am?” When Peter gets the right answer, he is affirmed.

Do you see the the Divine Presence, the Shekinah, in your day-to-day life? Do you do something, or (at times better yet) do nothing, so that this awareness can arise within you? And when it is there, what do you do with it?

Back to the Light...

I had an interesting conversation a few days ago with one of the organizers of a special event. They had been working for several years to establish a spiritual community in their locale with little effect. Numerous qualified teachers were brought in, almost always at the organizer's expense, holding classes often for free and open to the public, only to find that people would gladly fill the seat, but not the coffers to pay for it. Despite this, the organizer continued to hold events hoping that one day the attendees might wake up and see “the light”—that they would become involved in organizing events, form a bi-weekly practice group, and perhaps even pay their own way and “carry their own weight,” so to speak.
But none of this happened.

As the organizer ultimately put it: “This simply doesn't happen. You need a benefactor, a patron of some kind to make this happen. Without the 'dog and pony' show and the constant stimulation and exotic promises, no one shows up. This is just too much work for no return—I quit.” Who was I to disagree? And how? The scripture says not to throw pearls before swine, and to preach the good news, but to “wipe the dust from your feet” and leave if there is no interest or support. Our person saw things as they are, tried to change it, and, despite commentary to the contrary, chose not to assist. Change is inevitable—but it can also be very slow. Use your time wisely; know what you can do and DO IT. Make a difference where and when you can, rather than waiting for the perfect time, or the perfect circumstances, or the perfect project (that never arrives). Maybe the motto of modern occultism should be “Do What You Can Right Now” rather than “Do as thou wilt is the whole of the Law.” (We will keep the “love is the whole of the law” part.)

That is the candle in the darkness.

If we look at scriptures, we see that the average person was busy going about their daily business, too busy to assist: “No room at the Inn.” It was only in the wild and abandoned places—be it a manger or a grotto—that those who lived on the fringes of society, the shepherds (people of the animals, Shiva's entourage) and the Magi (the spiritual elite of the Silk Road, and the pinnacle of Middle Eastern culture and learning), helped to “midwife” the birth of a Savior into the world.

You see, it is no different today. Despite all of the cries of democracy and esotericism, in truth, genuine spirituality, genuine (effective and positively life-changing) initiation is and always has been—and will be—for a self-selected few. Why? Ask the inn-keeper that question and listen to what answer he gives you. The inn-keeper is neither evil nor bad, he is simply pre-occupied with the labor of the day, as are his patrons, traveling to fulfill obligations the overarching military state of the Roman Empire has imposed upon them—participation in the census. By accident or design, it is easy to get distracted by daily life if “scraping by” is what you are doing, or not stopping long enough to remember what Christmas, Hanukkah, or the various Solstice celebrations are really about: Illumination...Peace Profound, a peace only you can discover within yourself and encourage others to discover as well.

This inner peace is not simply stillness, but a still and solid focal point around which an infinity of action is taking place. This peace is not an escape from the World of Action; rather, it is its very source—it is the light shining forth from the cosmic womb.

With the new year upon us, and with your assistance, I will be completing the two publishing projects Child of the Sun and Sea of Sapphire. At this time I am personally inviting each of you to assist in these activities of light, and others that we may bring to your attention in the early months of 2015.

On behalf of the IHS Study Guides publishing team, we wish you the happiest of holidays, in this the Season of Light.
Mark Stavish

The Magic of Numbers and Overcoming Gravity
There is an old saying that goes: “If you want the Devil to appear you need to call on him three times.” I am unsure of the truth of this—I leave it to your discretion to experiment with. However, crossroads are a bit cold, slippery, and busy this time of year so...perhaps wait until it's a bit warmer before you call on Old Nick. Maybe a more gentlemanly example might be found in Freemasonry. There is an old (rarely adhered to anymore) tradition that says if one wants to join a Masonic lodge, they need to ask three times. This does more than simply discourage the superficially curious; it dates back to when joining Freemasonry was a serious—at times a life or death—decision. “Once a Mason, always a Mason.” It is not something that can be “undone” or unlearned. This appearance of the number “three” in prayers, petitions, and invocations of all kinds is commonplace: it means that one has spent time in deliberation concerning what they want and are committed to its achievement. Or, in the words of Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond novels): “Once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.”
How much energy we put into something will define its outcome. The question is: do we have enough energy? Can we supply it at the right time and place for the desired outcome? Can I flap my arms fast enough to fly or should I buy a plane ticket? Should I purchase my tomatoes or build and maintain a small greenhouse so I can eat them in the wintertime? You get the picture. Without unlimited resources we need to pick and choose our actions carefully...or risk ending up either dead or with nothing to show for what we've done.
That is where the number “three” comes in. “Three” is about limits, the limits needed to achieve something. It is the triangle of manifestation. It is also related to Saturn, the lord of duality, the gatekeeper of the upper realms and the foundation and support of all manifestation. Without limits, it is all just one big puddle of mud, cosmic or otherwise.
Allan Miller (better known to most of you under his pseudonym, Dr. Christopher Hyatt) liked to quote Dr. Robert Lindner who postulated that there are three obstacles we as human beings must overcome: gravity, ignorance, and death.
Gravity we overcome every time we move, and when we stop moving—for good that is—gravity and death win. Ignorance we overcome every time we surmount a limitation, usually one within ourselves first, although it may also be the unintended result of an action. For example, “It was a good idea at the time” are famous words said by many an adolescent male to their school principal, their parents, the police, and the judge—you can throw in the attending emergency room doctor while you're at it.
Death is the last barrier to be overcome, and is the result of conquering the previous two first—after we have gotten off our Muladhara Chakra and done something, seeking the most effective and energetically efficient way to get it done (gravity's defeat), and after we have reasoned and reflected (by the use of the imagination) on our limits and how to vanquish them by ourselves or with the assistance of others (the overcoming of ignorance).
From this, the magic number of “three” goes from limiting us like a lid on a can of beans to becoming a channel,allowing us to concentrate our energy along specific lines of action whereby our mental creations become material manifestations and our emotions function as the fuel for our realizations. 

Yet few people actually get what they want after asking three times—just ask the average child. Some adults who have never matured emotionally learn that throwing the equivalent of a hissy fit will get them attention and even some “bones” thrown their way to placate them. But in the end, they never really get what they want—only something to pacify them until next time. These people are looked upon and treated like children because they do not have enough self-discipline and self-reflection to take control of their own lives.
Which leads us to the next magic number...
Sir Martin Rees, Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge University and holder of the title “Astronomer Royal,” points out in his book Just Six Numbers: Deep Forces That Shape The Universe that the universe is a finely tuned place where even minor deviations in six basic equations that define how the physical world works would result in a very different experience for all of us. One need not be a “Cambridge Don” to understand this. In Tibetan Buddhism, the apocryphal quote of Guru Padmasambhava is often stated, “While my thoughts are as broad as the sky, my actions are as fine as sand.” Think broadly, act carefully, as all actions have consequences—intended or not. This is in fact the nature of karma; karma is directly related to action, and by this we meanphysical action more so than mental action. Thoughts without physical action behind them are incomplete and therefore less significant in either this life or any possible future life. Thoughts backed up by action have measurable effects; these types of thoughts define who we are and who we will become. It is the number “six” that relates to the sphere of Tiphareth on the Tree of Life; it is this sphere of activity in mind and body that awakens us to our real self—it is “here” (in quotes, as there is no “here”—only realization, or wisdom, and action based upon it) that we overcome our ignorance.

Your actions, not your thoughts, will ultimately define your path. Your thoughts are only important insofar as they take shape in your inner (subjective) and outer (objective) worlds. 

Tiphareth sits at the center of the Tree; in it, all the forces of the Tree are connected. It is the cosmic version of the party game “Six Degrees of Separation.” I don't know if you will find Kevin Bacon there, but it is only when we start realizing our connections to others that we can realize our own authentic self. Life is the mirror of our mind. If you want to see something beautiful and meaningful, it is up to you to build it. This building, more often than not, cannot be done alone, but needs to be done in connection and co-operation with others.

Six is also the key to our transformation—not just in abstract terms of mysticism, but in a very real sense. In marketing, it is said that, for the average person, the message of change or action you want them to undertake must be seen or heard a minimum of six times. Again, ask any parent how often they need to ask their child to do something, and I will safely bet the answer “six times” comes up more often than two or three. The latter just gets their attention; it takes another two or three times to get them moving. Overcoming gravity in ourselves and others is an energy-demanding task until new, energy-efficient habits are formed.
On yet another note, if we take nine steps outside of our daily lives, we begin to enter the Path of Return. It is no coincidence that “nine” is important across various systems: there are nine vehicles in Nyingma Vajrayana, nine degrees in the old Rose+Croix system, nine feet in a magic circle, and nine squares in the so-called Square of Saturn found in Western magic and in Taoism. 

“Nine” is about teachings, or levels of teachings. It is the number of symbolic steps or realizations we need to have to complete the Work. The most important realization we need to have is that of cause and effect (or karma). Avoid the Bad, perform the Good, and learn how to overcome both without falling into the error of self-absorption or blissful ignorance and oblivion. Learn to understand yourself and the world as it is and to do good when and where you can—but realize that establishing Paradise on Earth for everyone is not in your capacity, job description, or even set of possible options without the consent and cooperation of “everyone.” Through your own awakening you will become “the change you are looking for,” one that will inspire and help others—but only those who want it, and then only within their capacity. Teachings are like diets, or as Jesus says in the Gospel, “Milk for babes, and for you strong meat.” Each can only learn according to their capacity; that capacity is limited only by their own personal effort. Yet change takes effort—personal effort—born of personal necessity and desire. If there is no perception of need, then no effort will be put forth, and change will come very slowly. If by force or by reason we could get people to “avoid the negative, perform the positive” then there would be no reason for me to write this letter to you.  

You will remember that I previously wrote two letters to you asking for your assistance in bringing some rare and important teachings to print so that others can benefit from them. What was your reaction to the first letter? It was a rational appeal. Did it strike you? Did it move you to act? We both know it did not. But only you can answer why. Then there was the second letter. This had more of an emotional appeal. Did it move you to act? Regardless of your answer being “yes” or “no,” reflect on why you responded the way you did.
Finally, I ask again for your support. Why? Because the goal has not yet been reached. We have eight weeks to this campaign, and it takes a minimum of six requests before most people will act. So only by reminding you each week of our needs, and the positive role you can play in bringing the Institute's goals to fruition, will our combined objectives be achieved.
Because you are reading this, to a greater or lesser degree I am functioning as your “friend and guide” on this path;you are part of the fellowship that we call the Institute for Hermetic Studies, whose teachings in practice and transmission is in part your responsibility. I am asking each of you personally to reflect upon this and to assist me, as well as your Brothers and Sisters—known and unknown, existing now and in the future—by financially supporting our publication projects so that we can make more information available to you and others on the Path of Return.

Please go to the link below and make your contribution today.

Together, we can make three the magic number.

Thank you.

Mark Stavish 

Dear Friends,

“May all beings be happy. May all beings find light. May all beings find illumination.”

These are the words of prayers that I say with my children every night. Everyone wants to be happy. What brings happiness to one being—be that a person, a dog, or a ghost—will be different than what brings happiness to another. Each being is both unique in their journey and yet identical to all others in their fundamental aspiration towards happiness. Conditions change; our needs change with them. But our desires, our deeply held passions, stay with us not only for years, but across the years and from lifetime to lifetime.

Do you want to be happy?

Would you like to awaken your dormant potential of psychic clarity, inner bliss, and, from that, health and longevity?

Would you like to have the ability to reduce or even remove the pains of life to the point of its appearing nearly miraculous?

As a young neophyte I remember meeting lodge members and independent practitioners who, despite their advanced age, looked and acted decades younger. It would only be upon their passing that I would realize how old they were, and that they had managed to “beat the game” and live long, healthy, and vital lives—often into their 80s and 90s, and, in a few cases, into the triple digits. What was their secret or secrets? Some of this I have discussed in The Path of Alchemy – Energetic Healing and the World of Natural Magic and some in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness. Now I will detail more of the technical and little-known esoteric material in Child of the Sun – Psychic and Physical Rejuvenation in Alchemy and Qabala.

Here are the guiding principals in this work:
• “Whatever may be accomplished by a simple method should not be attempted by a complicated one,” and,
• “Ignis et Azoth tibi sufficiunt” (“Fire and the First Matter are Sufficient”).

In this book we will detail some of the most direct and effective methods for psychic and physical regeneration known, techniques that can be done by anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstances.
Many people tell me they want this very knowledge. It is with the desire to help them along their way that I have chosen to write Child of the Sun, but time is limited. I can write books based on decades of experience, or I can spend time on my own practice, career, and caring for my family. I can write books that have proven benefits for their readers, or I can spend time working on layout and design when there are others who can do this better, faster, and more economically than I. I can write books, or...well, you get the picture. Time is precious; it is the only true resource we have, and it is non-renewable. Once spent, it does not return. So, if you would like to add some quality and quantity to your lifespan, to your spiritual and physical health, you need to dedicate the time and resources that will allow that to happen for you.

Part of that dedication is helping those who are able to help you.

The Institute for Hermetic Studies runs its programs and activities primarily from the goodwill of its dedicated donors. Through their generosity we have been able to hold numerous free and low-cost educational programs across the years. Now we are looking to you, asking you to join their ranks, so that we can continue to make the best use of our time here (and yours as well) by producing critically important esoteric titles.

The Institute for Hermetic Studies fundraising campaign will provide the funds necessary to bring the next two volumes of the IHS Study Guide Series into print. These titles are:
Child of the Sun – Psychic & Physical Rejuvenation in Alchemy and Qabala (IHS Vol. 3)
Sea of Sapphire – Visionary Techniques and Talismanic Magic with the Tree of Life (IHS Vol. 4)
For more information on this campaign and how your donation—be it $5 or $500—can make a critical difference in your search for health, happiness, and Illumination, please visit:

Become a genuine Child of Hermes. Take advantage of this opportunity to feel good by doing good, knowing that your financial support is needed, appreciated, and helping both others and yourself on the journey we call “The Path of Return.”


Mark Stavish

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dear Friends,
I recently listened to a YouTube recording of Manly P. Hall presenting a lecture entitled “The Alchemy of Attitude.” Given with his characteristic humor and insight into the human condition, it is just as relevant now as it was when he first delivered it decades ago. Hall's message can easily be summed up in a single phrase, something I have often said in one form or another myself: “Stop wasting your time on problems you cannot solve by yourself. If you want to influence the collective, then you must transform yourself into a positive force within the collective.” It is to this end that all of our activities at the Institute for Hermetic Studies have been dedicated—providing tools so that individuals can transform themselves first, and, as a result, be able to have a positive impact on their families, neighbors, communities, and the world as a whole.
Many often tell me that there is nothing significant they can do, or that they do not know what to do. My response to both of these “assertions” is the same: start small, and do what you can. Opportunities will grow from there. I hear these claims a great deal particularly in relation to charitable contributions. Many feel that if they cannot give a “large and significant amount,” then why do anything? This is really little more than an excuse for doing nothing.
Albert Einstein called compound interest the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It is an example of how small amounts add up. The classic tale of how quickly it becomes significant can be exhibited easily on a checkerboard. To demonstrate this I encourage each of you to do the following: Take a standard checkerboard and put a single penny on the first square, two pennies on the second square, four on the third, and continue to double the amount you place on each successive square until you reach the final square. In truth,none of you have enough wealth to reach the final square. While the first square is only worth one penny, the last square of the first row is worth $1.28. The first square of the second row is worth twice that, or $2.56, the second square is worth $5.12, the third square is worth $10.24, and by the time we reach the final square of the second row, we have a single square whose value is worth $327.68—and this does not include all the wealth that went before it. (In case you're wondering, the final square of the checkerboard is “worth” just over eighteen quintillion dollars—imagine a “1” with nineteen zeros following it and you're close.) Clearly, it is easy to see how such “small amounts” add up very quickly to make a significant difference.
A less mathcentric way of looking at the question is with the price of a cup of coffee each morning on your way to work. At two dollars a cup, you spend an average of $10 a week, $40 a month, and close to $500 a year at the morning drive-through. Is that too much? Is there something better you can do with that $500? Or even just a fraction of that money? I like to think so; to help prove it, I am inviting each of you to participate in our Coffee Cup Challenge.
To show you what a difference your donation can make, I am asking each of you reading this to go one day, one week, or one month(or the equivalent thereof if you want to space it out) without your daily cup of coffee from the drive-through or sidewalk vendor, and to donate that money to the Institute for Hermetic Studies fundraising campaign, whose funds are to be used to bring the next two volumes of the IHS Study Guides Series into print. These titles are:
Child of the Sun – Psychic & Physical Rejuvenation in Alchemy and Qabala (IHS Vol. 3)
Sea of Sapphire – Visionary Techniques and Talismanic Magic with the Tree of Life (IHS Vol. 4)
That's it: $2.00. That is all we are asking FROM EACH OF YOU to help us make these two volumes containing highly specialized esoteric practices available. If EVERYONE on our lists who receive this gives us $2.00, we will exceed our goal of $4,000. Now, clearly some of our readers cannot or may not participate, so, for those who can, we encourage you to give a little more: whatever you are comfortable with—$5, $10, $15—whatever is comfortable for you.
That's it. That is all it takes to make a difference. Be it five minutes of meditation several times a day to find enlightenment, eating small meals more often to lose weight, writing two pages a day to complete a book, or investing five or ten dollars a week into your future—and one or two dollars a week into your cause of choice—small amounts add up.

Thank you, and we look forward to your support.
Mark Stavish