What We Conceive of Ourselves as Being
You see, this is the key. All of our successes and failures come down to what we conceive of ourselves as being. In the Gospel Jesus say, 'I and my Father are one.' It is written in the Hermetica, 'Think of a thing and you are it'. Agrippa states in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, 'If a man thinks of fire he is fire, if he thinks of war he is war.' All of the Tibetan Lamas regardless of them being Bon or Buddhist, Nyingma or of the New School sects, state that the purpose of visualization of the deities, and more importantly of ourselves as the deities, is to awaken ourselves to these qualities that already exist within us. Yes, they are already within us. We simply need to recognize them and get out of our own way – get around our false notions and thinking. The Bible states that God tells us, 'I am closer to you than the space between your breaths.' Jesus says to his disciples, 'These things which I do so shall you do and even greater.' In the end, it is all about self-image, or more accurately, self-perception.
It is a weak self-perception that draws people to magic to begin with. They feel a lack or an fulfillment within themselves and believe that there is a secret power in the cosmos that can help them achieve it. To some degree this is true. But instead of having confidence in themselves, they project it out onto something else – their magic wand, the egregore of the order they belong to, their teacher, or the notion of the barbarous words of power in a manuscript of unknown origin. This is the dangerous part, and I paraphrase the librarian and Watcher Rupert Giles, who said in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “All magic is borrowed power.
If we depend upon sigils, signs, and Divine Names to evoke, manifest, and control the forces and intelligences that themselves we conceive of as external to us, then we are damned if there is a mistake or error in the process. The angel will at least have some compassion for us, even if we do not recognize it as so. The demon however will have only contempt at our weakness. The rest will show varying degrees of indifference, annoyance, or support, but again – based on their perception of us, which is ultimately based on our own self-image. This is why we perform Assumption of the Godform. As we see ourselves, truly and deeply, so do the host of inhabitant in the invisible.
If the power for that transformation comes from within, then we are invincible. If the power for it comes from without, then we are dependent on it no less than we are on the farmer for our food and the truck driver to deliver it. Just as there is a chain of beings who deliver us our potatoes, so too there is a chain of beings who deliver us our occult powers if we rely on anything outside of ourselves – outside of our own mind and its natural abilities.
When we do offering prayers we are doing them to bring harmony between our self and the host of beings that exist in the visible and invisible realms so that they will assist us in our work and be helped by it as well, or at least be indifferent and not hinder us. We may not think of it as so, but think of how many people are involved in a single occult ritual. Think of all of the people needed for you to acquire a simple crystal sphere, or a beeswax candle! At least half-a-dozen, maybe more. But do you ever think of them? The bee keeper, the candle maker, the distributor, the person who fill the order, and maybe another who packs it, or takes it for shipping, and then the people who bring it to your doorstep or to the store where you buy it. How about all of the support people needed to allow each one of these people to do their job? You get the picture. You are not alone in the universe, but continue to think, feel, and act as if you are, and that others are only there for when you need them to do something for YOU. We call that selfishness, and that is the root of all failure. Even criminals must think of the benefits of their criminal acts for all involved. How much less does the average occultist think of their relationship to the vast host of beings in the visible and invisible?
So to assist in this we perform offerings. This does have a very real effect on our relationships to the 'others' we seek meaningful and healthy relationships with, as well as effects our own psychic body, its psychic centers, channels of force, and energies that course through them. Each of these centers is a not only a gateway, but also a world in us in miniature (a microcosm if you will) wherein these beings exist. This is why the debate about objective and subjective nature of these beings is infantile and foolish, born out of a lack of experience with the cosmos AS IT IS. These intelligences are both - and our perception and experience depends on our understanding of the forces and intelligences we are dealing with. If you want it to consider your experience to be purely subjective and psychological that is possible, BUT, there will be a subtle ripple to the objective equivalent. If you want to consider your experience to be purely objective you may, BUT, these forces will still be reflected in your own consciousness, and hence, the so-called Sling Shot Effect Dr. Lisiewski wrote so much about. Your mind is the mirror upon which you experience life – be it your high school sweet heart, an angel, demon, or a saint.
For this reason, you must first learn to understand the nature of your own mind before undertaking communication with non-physical beings. Think of how poorly the average pet owner misunderstands their animals, and as a result, mistreats it. How much more difficult is it to clearly and effectively communicate with beings in an other dimension wherein our own mind is the pivot point? To smooth this pathway and to develop a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and understanding of the differing needs and values, offerings are essential. Just as you would train your dog or employee through positive reinforcement, so too do you develop your relationships with the inhabitants of the invisible.
The process of offerings is simple, but like so many things people may easily fail as well. They become either too strict or too lax, rather than understanding the purpose – to create an environment of mutual benefit, and thus, harmony. To this end, we give the best we can, both in terms of physical objects, and those visualized. We connect with the inhabitants of the realms through these sense objects as well as our visualizations. How? Through our own psychic centers that correspond to their domain. What we hold back from them, in effect, we are holding back from ourselves. So, like in anything, do your best, give your best, and be kind to yourself and others. Always think of yourself as the giver of “all good things” to all of the realms of creation, and not as a beggar looking for a handout or a conman offering a bribe. No, remember, your self concept is the foundation. You are the enlightened monarch that bestows boons and to whom others willingly assist. That is the key to successful offerings, which should be the first step in any ritual act.
Now, in addition, the role of offerings also opens us up to these interior worlds in our dream states, and therefor prepares us for the experience of death. Offerings done simply as a gesture will reverberate negatively on us, so it is not sufficient to think that elaborate rituals offerings of costly items with intense visualizations are sufficient, they are not, if we fail to carry the lesson into daily practice. 1. This entails goodwill towards others, but not foolishness. 2. Working to express our best qualities and encouraging others to do so as well. 3. Eliminating the friction of competitiveness by recognizing the cycles of existence and life. Winning and loosing are like night and day, both are essential to life as most beings know it. 4. Be content. This is the notion of imperturbability so aptly expressed by Kipling in his poem, “If”. 5. Treat animals with respect and kindness, particularly those whom you rely upon for your food. 6. Give alms to those who suffer and experience want. 7. Support and provide for spiritual teachings to free people from ignorance, the root cause of all suffering in all of the cosmic realms.
Now note that each of these points can easily relate to each of the classes of being and their worlds, as well as psychic centers if you so desire. Number One is the mind of the Illumination, the foundation from which we work. Number Two is the realm of the gods or archetypes. Number Three is angelic realms, the nature of the Archons, the cycles of life itself. Number Four is human existence. Number Five is the animal kingdom. Number Six is the realm of ghosts and the suffering dead. Number Seven is the hell realms and the demonic beings who exist there.
At the end of your offerings give a teaching from your heart to all who are present. This is the basis for many of the practices in the past in soup kitchen and shelters wherein the attendees would hear a sermon before or during their stay. Even the demons are redeemable, as Christ descended into hell to teach and thereby liberate, or save, the “precarious spirits”. Do this and the demons will more readily serve you – if you are worthy – or at the least, not obstruct your work or that of others.
If this is done, and we support our rituals and visualizations with genuine acts, then we will neither hope for heaven, nor fear hell at the time of death, and will experience the Illumination of our true nature directly and confidently just as it is. We will experience duality and illumination for what they are - states of mind, perceptions, and not concrete realities. The Archons will have been defeated, and Sophia reunited with her bridegroom.
Now that you have the theory, next time we examine the practice and cover the details of making offerings.
Until then, we leave you once again with the words of Hermes and St. Isaac the Syrian to contemplate.
“19. Consider this yourself. Command your soul to go anywhere, and it will be there quicker than your command... Order it to fly up to heaven and it will need no wings, nor will anything impede it... And if you wish to break through all this and to contemplate what is beyond (if there is anything beyond the cosmos), it is in your power.
20. See what power you have and what speed! You can do all these things and yet God cannot? Reflect on God in this way as having all within Himself as ideas: the cosmos, Himself, the whole. If you do not make yourself equal to God you cannot understand Him. Like is understood by like. Grow to immeasurable size. Be free from every body, transcend all time. Become eternity and thus you will understand God. Suppose nothing to be impossible for yourself. Consider yourself immortal and able to understand everything: all arts, sciences and the nature of every living creature. Become higher that all heights and lower than all depths. Sense as one within yourself the entire creation: fire, water, the dry and the moist. Conceive yourself to be in all places at the same time: in the earth, the sea, in heaven; that you are not yet born, that you are within the womb, that you are young, old, dead; that you are beyond death. Conceive all things at once: time, places, actions, qualities and quantities; then you can understand God.
21. But if you lock up your soul in your body, abase it and say: ‘I understand nothing; I can do nothing; I am afraid … What have you to do with God? … For the greatest evil is to ignore what belongs to God. To be able to know and to will and to hope is the straight and easy way appropriate to each that will lead to the Supreme Good. When you take this road this Good will meet you everywhere and will be experienced everywhere, even where and when you do not expect it; when awake, asleep, in a ship, on the road, by night, by day, when speaking and when silent, for there is nothing which it is not.
- Now do you say that God is invisible? Be careful. Who is more manifest than He? He has made all things for this reason: that through them you should see Him. This is the goodness (to agathon) of God; this is His excellence: that He is made manifest through all. Though you cannot see what is bodiless, Nous is seen in the act of contemplation, God in the act of creation.... Reflect on all other things in the same way within yourself and you will not be led astray.” - Corpus Hermetica
"What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, forthe animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.
God is not One who requites evil, but who sets evil right. Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness. The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.
In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous
transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has
performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally
When is a person sure of having arrived at purity?
When that person considers all human beings are good, and no created thing appears impure or defiled.
Then a person is truly pure in heart."