Australia is yet again in the process of deciding who will be our overlords for the next four years and so the jockeying for the political high ground has taken on a renewed vigor as the prize is now clearly visible for all to see. Neither side has a particularly sound fiscal record with the incumbent lefties having spent all of the money that was in the bank and the hoping-to-soon-be übermenschen of the right simply planning more taxes and more service cuts.
Both sides are secure in the knowledge that whatever happens the expensive plans that they present during their meaningless electioneering will be financed because the banks will let them print as much money as they want to spend. The fiscal projections of the rival parties has very little to do with how much money they possess, that is relatively immaterial. Their projections are based on how much they can reasonably overheat the economy before there will be too great a burden on the people to sustain.
Bucks for Burgers
A recent report by the Deutsche Bank1 indicated that Australia has become one of the most expensive places in the developed world in which to live. The article hints that this may have something to do with the strong Australian dollar- in the cross rates against the value of US and European currencies. It then goes on to list the variance in value of a number of domestic commodities as if the strength of the Australian dollar accounts for the increased price of a Big Mac down under2.
According to figures a Big Mac in Australia is worth an average of $4.75 which at today’s cross rates is US $4.90. In contrast, a genuine American version of this culinary masterpiece purchased in downtown USA will set you back US $4.373. This is a clear indication that the Australian dollar has less domestic spending power no matter how strong it is on the international money markets’ cross rates. While this is a rule of thumb measure, when the same pattern is repeated across the whole range of domestic consumer commodities it becomes very compelling evidence of gross fiscal mismanagement on the part of both sides of the Houses of Parliament.
The avowed objective of magick and other similar spiritual disciplines is to become self aware. The maxim “Know Thyself” from Apollo’s temple at Delphi has become the catch cry of the New Age. Although it has a distinct historical connection to Hermetic magick, this fundamental goal of the mystic has even been placed at the top of the list of the Thirteen Goals of a Witch by Scott Cunningham in his book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner1. As a part of such popular spiritual movements it has become a part of the spiritual language of the Age of Aquarius but while it is commonly cited there is rarely any mention of how this self knowledge can be obtained.
To understand how to become develop this knowledge of self it is first necessary to grasp what that knowledge is of. There are two methods of knowing that are possible. Firstly there is the knowledge that is inferred, or acquired indirectly through the reports of others. The second kind of knowing is that which is empirical and acquired through direct acquaintance with the subject. As we only really have the opportunity to become directly acquainted with our own self, the knowledge of it must be acquired by direct participation in examining what constitutes self. This is referred to as Gnosis.
Gnosis, the common Greek noun for knowledge, is used in an occult or spiritual context to indicate a spiritual knowledge or, more correctly, a religion of knowledge. The object of this is to free man from the restraints of earthly existence through insight into an essential relationship of the self, as soul or spirit, with the supramundane. Thus the experience of true gnosis is theurgic.
“Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.”- Proverb from the Inner Ancient Temple of Luxor
The Powers of the Sphinx are the four fundamental skills that must be acquired by the magician if he will wield his magickal armory in his assault upon the heavens. As the object of that magick is to directly apprehend the influence of the divine it follows that the first step is to understand the instrument by which that divinity is apprehended. Plato explains it clearly in Phaedrus when he has Socrates explain the need for beginning with a clear understanding of yourself before progressing to make an interpretation of the universe.
I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things. And so I dismiss these matters and accepting the customary belief about them, as I was saying just now, I investigate not these things, but myself, to know whether I am a monster more complicated and more furious than Typhon or a gentler and simpler creature, to whom a divine and quiet lot is given by nature.- Plato, Phaedrus
The knowledge that Plato is referring to isn’t the superficial awareness of existence that is driven by wants and desires but the identity that is behind those motivating forces. The gnosis that leads to freedom is a deeper understanding of the existence that is behind our apprehensions. This begins with understanding that the world that we perceive with the senses isn’t the reality that it appears to be.
The ‘world’ of experience is not given in experience: it is constructed by thought from the data of sense.- C. I. Lewis2
In the dark ages when I was first drawn to the study of the occult one of the greatest challenges that I had to overcome was finding reputable works on magick to read. There were far fewer texts to choose from and they were often difficult, if not impossible to find. I remember stumbling across a copy of Magic White and Black by Franz Hartmann in a mainstream chain bookstore and feeling as if I had found gold. Luck on that level was rare and my small but serviceable occult library took a long time to be assembled.
The memory of hunting down rare tomes of occultism were stirred recently while I was discussing the literature of magick with an aspiring young student of the hidden mysteries. I was expressing his good fortune at having access to so many older and presumably more experienced heads for advice on where to begin to learn the dark arts. His uncomprehending look told me that he had no conception of a world where the books that you need couldn’t be downloaded.
At the same time it made me realize the real power of the web to bring together diverse crowds as the event where I met this young guy had been organized on Facebook. Looking at it more broadly, the connectivity of the web has created the opportunity for once isolated practitioners who have a wealth of knowledge to be accessible to even the greenest novice on the path of the wise.
The boom in internet witches and wizards has flooded the interwebz with hundreds of thousands of websites devoted to one occult practice or another. Many of them are a simple regurgitation of other sites which are themselves essentially cut and pasted from e-books and other obscure references. Among all of this white noise it can be hard to distinguish the websites that offer quality resources. After a few years of surfing the astral part of the web I have compiled this short list of essential websites for every student of the occult to keep bookmarked in their browser.
Lashtal is the recognized site for everything Aleister Crowley and Thelema. The site is huge with libraries of e-books, forums and everything that pertains to the Great Beast in digital form.
The Hermetic Library has a comprehensive collection of occult books in html format that can be read online. The collection covers a wide and diverse range of magick texts.
For all things Thelma the site to go to is Thelemapedia that provides an open source encyclopedia of Thelema and magick.
The best all round occult e-library on the interwebz is Christina Deb’s Dark Books. It has a huge catalogue of books, most of which can be downloaded. Every topic of occultism is covered somewhere in this excellent collection.
Another comprehensive spiritual library on the web is the Sacred Magick Esoteric Library. Books here might not be free but many are. The site also provides a forum and a number of other magick related features that may be useful.
The oldest occult library that I know of that is still on the web is still one of the best also. The Ra Hoor Khuit Network has a huge number of resources and books that will be of use to every student of the hidden mysteries. There are some obscure and even hard to find texts here if you look. I even contributed to this page over a decade ago and the articles are still online.
For a roundup of the occult news and links to interesting articles on the web Invocatio is an essential source of information. There is a weekly post with links to relevant snippets of information and the posts to the blog are always insightful and worth reading.
IAO131 is a serious blog about serious magick. The focus is on the work of Aleister Crowley and Thelema and the archives are full of valuable and informative articles.
The last site on my list is the sister blog to this one where I post specifically about magick and Thelema. Ankhafnakhonsu’s Magick Blog has essays and articles on Hermetic magick, qabalah and other associated subjects.
Almost anything that you could want to know about magick will be on one or another of these websites. They are a great resource for an old student like myself who has already read the old books. For a novice they are a treasure house of gems.
Just the fact that the New South Wales Parliament considered revoking the right of its citizens to remain silent when being questioned by police is mind boggling enough in itself. That this bill actually passed, and was paid for with the standard thirty pieces of silver that is the due of those who betray the people that they are supposed to be representing, is unbelievable. Regardless of the motivation there can never be sufficient reason to compel anyone to be a witness against themselves and by undermining this fundamental human right the NSW
Nazi Liberal Party have revealed their truest intentions. If ever there was a time when we should be using our much vaunted freedom of speech to speak out against abuses of our freedom then this de-evolutionary step towards autocratic tyranny is one.
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.- Thomas Jefferson
The Unspoken Truth
Regardless of what they might think, Australians have no right to either speak freely or to remain silent enshrined in the Australian Constitution. The only mention of anyone with freedom in that document is the freedom that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has to veto any laws that are passed by the elected Parliaments of the Commonwealth of Australia which displease Her. The reality is that any respect for our rights to either speak our minds or hold our tongues is more conceptual than actual.
This tacit assumption is based on the age old right of Britons to remain silent when being examined by a court. The origins of the right to remain silent harks back to the sixteenth century when the judicial and investigative arms of the legal system were separated for the first time. The increased use of force to coerce a ‘confession’ caused these sorts of statements to be viewed largely with suspicion and the right of silence was introduced as a judicial response to the corruption or the legal process that forced confessions entail. This right to silence spread from the courts to general police interrogations as well.
Currently, people that are being interrogated by the police or examined during a trial have the right under a variety of State and Federal Crimes Acts and Codes to refuse to answer questions that are put to them. The crux of this is that judges are not allowed to direct juries to draw a negative inference from this lack of willingness to testify. This new legislation allows judges and juries to take a negative view of people that exercise their option of remaining silent. As Greens MP David Shoebridge said of the decision, it is hard to imagine a more fundamental attack on the basic workings of the criminal justice system.
The Doublespeak of Silence
Since 1972 Australia has been a party to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This international treaty was drafted to protect the basic human rights of everyone on Earth including the right to life, choice of religion, freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. At the time of its signing the covenant was designed for emerging Third-World nations to pattern their own national constitutions on, making it a sort of general yardstick by which the democratic intentions of a ruling
regime government can be measured. Article 14, part 3 guarantees that people who are accused of a crime receive a fair hearing. Point 7 of this part of the article states quite clearly that everyone shall be entitled “Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt“.
The avowed motivation of the NSW Parliament in pushing this edict through the Upper House is to give The Powers That Be more power to deal with the problems that outlaw bikie gangs have been causing. It is hard to understand how the government of NSW needs to infringe upon the rights of every law abiding citizen to enforce adherence of a minority of society to already existing laws. The politicized gibberish that NSW’s top cop Andrew Scipione spouted in support of the legislation claimed that this was about “trying to level the playing field” and which ended by him stating that he didn’t think that it “trashes civil liberties” is just
Nazi Liberal Party doublespeak for “we can’t operate fairly so we are going to compel you to cooperate with us- or else”.
WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, George Orwell, 1984
Speaking of Rights
So why, you ask, should we give a flying fuck if a few bad arse bikie gangs are coerced into confessing their crimes? After all, the world will be a safer place with all of the bad guys securely in jail. Why shouldn’t we give the cops all of the power that they say that they need to prosecute them for their heinous lives of crime and sedition?
Rights are fragile things and our most basic right, freedom is too vital to surrender without a struggle. In 1963 John F. Kennedy made a speech that addressed the issue of the importance of equal rights for everyone. He said; “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened“. Even if those rights are being abused by a bad arsed bikie whose hobby is shooting up a rival gang’s clubhouse. No matter how dangerous these baddies may seem they are still far less dangerous than a government that has acquired too much power by restricting the rights and freedoms of its citizens.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.- Thomas Jefferson