An Initiatory Journey from Fool to Mastership
By Merlyn Morgan and Iona Miller, 1/2006
Qabalah Meets “What the Bleep"
Running Time: 1 Hour
Imagine the elegant philosophy and symbolism of the Tarot and Hermetic Qabalah meets the insightful paradigm shift of “What the Bleep”. This is the Qabalistic “What the Bleep”, describing the deep nature of Reality and our reality. The protagonist is the Hero/ine of the classic spiritual journey, filled with allies and obstacles, ordeals, insights, and self-transformation into an expanded sense of what it means to be fully human: Homo Lumen.
VIRTUAL QABALAH is a first of its kind animated multimedia guided tour of the initiatory mindscapes of Tarot and Qabalah. Universal truths, impossible to describe in words, can be conveyed in multimedia imagery. The symbolism of Qabala is a vast repertoire of psychosensory symbolism that is both aesthetically pleasing and spiritually satisfying; it feeds the soul. Using visionary art and pathworking symbolism, the viewer witnesses the Qabalistic Creation story: emanation of the Spheres of the Tree of Life. Next, through a series of multisensory guided visualizations, he or she finds personal meaning by “climbing” the Tree, in an exaltation of soul and spirit.
High Tech Hypnosis: Using congruent yet amorphous imagery at some points provides generic metaphors of transformation as templates or blank canvas for the subjective projections of each viewer, allowing them to identify with the universal aspirant or seeker in a personalistic, yet undefined, way. Ultimately, it is our sense organs which help us interpret the world and our experience through our perceptions. They help us make a distinction between what is "real" and "unreal." The emotional part of the brain, (the right, spatial lobe), cannot analytically distinguish a symbol from a symbolic representation.
Connecting to Source: In imagination or virtual reality it becomes a moot point. Fantasy, in fact, animates both our inner and outer worlds, and creates meaning. The on-going imaginative process of the psyche is the ground of being. Jung spoke of the psychoid aspect of psyche as the vast non-human action of universal forces. Aesthetic flow and harmony appeals to the emotional brain, while systematic orderliness appeals to the cognitive nature, creating holistic congruence in the viewing experience.
Psychotronics: This video DOES things to you: it resonates with and awakens deep layers of the psyche, “rototills” your subconscious mind in an organic way, planting the seeds of transformation, Cosmosis.
New Media and Environments: We are entering an era of magical technologies which are relevant to the inner world of imagery and imagination. The thin line between imagination and reality is blurring. Eventually they will synchronize inner and outer perceptions. Through special FX we have expanded our ability to seamlessly manifest a visionary tale, and with Virtual Reality (VR) we can create an electronic representation of typical symbols of the psyche and interact with them. Even though these images have no concrete existence, they are influential in the process of transformation.
Self-Transformation: The practice of magick, a sacred technology, normally involves concentrated visualization activity coupled with immersion in the autonomous stream of consciousness. Since much of the training and practice in magick is based on a recipe, formula, or protocol, these can easily be programmed and standardized, using the Correspondence System derived from the traditional Doctrine of Signatures to guide an aspirant into a specific state of consciousness.
Self-Regulation: Biofeedback and brain machine technology could easily enhance that effect, facilitating Alpha and Theta brainwave coherence using binaural beat technology. Each virtual world includes a panoply of symbols related to a specific archetype. The aspirants journey through this world. In the process of positive interaction with these archetypal forms, the psyche learns to identify with transpersonal forces, but without egoic inflation. This leads to both a sense of expansion and experiential grounding, a greater sense of wholeness and well-being, a connection to Source. The objective archetypes are no longer simply intellectual concepts but a subjective experience which self-generates insight. Reclaim your brain from mass media and political mind control.
Narrator/Guide/Mentor/Technoshaman: Turns out in the end to be the voice of journeyer’s higher Self, and/or Daemon (genius), or Holy Guardian Angel; always there, after all throughout all phases. In the end, the aspirant finds him/herself. Not revealed visually until final scenes, IF then. Vocals could be melds and morphs of male/female voice with vocal synth.
Oracles: Voice overs only (heavy echo type stuff; think The Voice from ‘DUNE’)
“Greek” Chorus: Respondent and clarifying Voice Overs; ritual murmuring
Trump Personifications: Tarot tableuxs of various Trumps, and their corresponding godforms in the correlated atmospheres and actions.
ACT I: The Physical Plane (Malkuth)
ACT II: The Astral Plane (Yesod, Hod, Netzach)
ACT III: The Mental Plane (Tiphareth, Geburah, Chesed)
ACT IV: The Archtypal Plane (Kether, Chokmah, Binah)
Even without an introduction, a one hour format only allows less than 3 minutes per Trump, including entry, immersion, and transition.
Obviously, each Trump storyboard needs to build on a synopsis of salient correspondences from the Doctrine of Signatures. Using proper intonations, colors, and keys we can quickly activate the subconscious, facilitating actual psychophysical reactions congruent with the various paths. That, after all, is what qabalah is all about: psychosensory evocation, multisensory experience which pyramids and builds on one another in a self-referential cascade of imagery. It brings order to the chaos of the uncooked psyche.
A template can be constructed for each Pathworking, which includes uniform elements which build a certain rhythm and expectation into the viewing process as it moves into more rarified spiritual territory and depictions.
Each path opens in the traditional manner, where a curtain is parted and the aspirant steps through. That curtain can be a morph of many tarot cards, but in the Hebrew Kabbalah it is the flaming Hebrew letter associated with that path, which would create a nice, dramatic transition. The card montage could be encountered after the letter “flies” in.
Symbols encountered can range from the godforms of the path, proper colors and landscapes, to corresponding animals, herbs, sigils, even cues for fragrances could be suggested as the olfactory sense is the quickest way to evoke the subconscious.
The vehicle of consciousness, astral or Light body can be represented in ever more rarefied forms, beginning with the meat body, then an astral body with human shape, which morphs into the Ruach or mental body which is geometrical in nature, and finally toward the Singularity of a massless particle: Pure Light moving toward the nonmanifest domain of Zero-Point Fluctuation, qabalistically Ain Soph Aur.
EXAMPLE JOURNEY CLIPS:
The most direct and exemplary paths of the Tree are those which rise vertically up the Middle Pillar, joining Earth to Moon (XXII), Moon to Sun (XIV), and Sun to Source (II).
II. The High Priestess:
Enter through letter Gimel
Vision of trekking on camel across desert, and encounters
Discovery of Lunar Temple with Priestess at Altar
Encounter with High Priestess
Etc. Causal Body
XIV: Art or Temperance
Enter through letter Samekh
Aiming the Arrow
Discovering the Temple of the Hunters, Artemis/Apollo
Etc. Astral Body
XXII. The Universe
Enter through latter Tau
Vision of the Mechanics of the Universe (Rising on the Planes)
Discovery of Temple of Saturn
Journey through a vortex to the Astral Realm
Etc. Atomic Body
Follow Up Project:
VIRTUAL QABALAH II: INTERACTIVE
Through the arrival of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, we will soon have access to a fully programmable electronic "astral plane." Magic has always been a sacred technology, and combining it with VR makes for a state-of-the-art practice. In virtual reality, we can create a world which is, in essence or effect, "as good as" normal reality. Through the use of visual, audial, kinesthetic, and olfactory feedback, the experiential (rather than analytical) part of the brain is guided to suspend its disbelief in the synthetic reality.
The realization of a system of interactive fantasy will allow us, as artists or magicians, to shape the experience from the inside. It will allow us to re-shape ourselves, also. A central premise in VR is that you can manipulate your self-representation, or self-image. VR represents a cultural revolution in the way we view reality, nature, art, ourselves, and our relationship with transpersonal powers.
Interactive media will give us the ability to author moving images. When you can put your images in cyberspace, you introduce your own unique content into the experience. Background, or natural imagery, will be texture-mapped for ambiguity. Ambiguity is one key to the engagement of the imagination (Laurel, 1992). Communal virtual reality is also possible for group rituals, but requires a tremendously powerful computer to keep track of all the details which perpetuate a believable virtual space.
The realm of imagination has traditionally been the province of shamans and magicians. More recently, psychotherapists have entered the arena of imagination as guides to the heights and the depths. There are many different styles in the practice of magic from primitive to sophisticated. Magic is the ancient technology for dealing with lost or questing souls, while archetypal psychology is a modern counterpart.
Basically, there are three ways of encountering the inner world, reflecting the state of consciousness of the practitioner: 1). prototaxic mode, a "possession" or trance state where the ego is absent through regression; 2). parataxic mode, which includes art, archetype, myth, dream, and ritual wherein the ego is enthralled; and 3). syntaxic mode, which includes creativity, gnosis, and higher mystical states, where the ego is enraptured and eventually transcended.
Sophisticated magick, or Theurgy, has been practiced in western occultism through the centuries largely by an elite group of eccentric intellectuals. Many of them identified with the Rosicrucians, Masons, Gnostics, or other "hidden" orders. These practitioners of the mystic arts were the forefathers of modern sciences like chemistry, botany, medicine, physics, astronomy, and philosophy. Through magick, they learned a unique way of looking at the inner and outer world. This is the major premise of any philosophy: "Look at it like this..." The magical philosophy has left a tremendous legacy. The history of these alchemists, mystics, healers, and theurgists outlines one of the most interesting areas of human endeavor: consciousness studies.
The mapping of consciousness states and their corresponding typical experiences (plus how to attain them) forms part of the doctrine of any magical philosophy. The most widely embraced map is called The Tree of Life. The very foundation of the modern western occult tradition is contained in this circuit or glyph of The Tree of Life. It describes a hierarchy of 10 states of being (Spheres), and 22 characteristic modes of transition between them (Paths). All the corresponding symbolism of the human psyche is categorized according to this comprehensive basic structure. It represents all ways of being and becoming--all possible states of consciousness.
The philosophical system which the Tree represents originated in the Jewish culture. Through synchronism it amalgamated with the Gnostic, Egyptian, Arabic, and other systems. This synthesis became known as Hermetic Qabalism. In divorcing itself from its Hebrew roots, Qabala returned to the mythic domain of its informing archetype, Hermes.
In ancient Egypt, this archetypal energy was represented by the god Thoth, Lord of Magic. He presided over skills such as writing and translating. In Greece, as Hermes, he was the messenger between the realm of the gods and men--he who could fly into the heights or depths. Our modern forms of writing and translating have moved into information processing via computers. Information processing is fundamental to any form of communication.
Information processing is the foundation of all technology. Thus, Hermes is the informing myth of a technological approach to sacred psychology and spirituality. Hermes' domain includes gnosticism, alchemy, magick, and depth psychology. Like programming, they are all hermeneutic endeavors, involving the process of interpretation. Jung noticed that, "Every interpretation necessarily remains an "as-if." The ultimate core of meaning may be circumscribed, but not described." He refers to the "as-if" reality as the closest we can come to direct knowledge. For example, our God-image in the psyche is our closest (and only) experience of Divinity, however unique it may be. We perceive it directly, but it is a specific interpretation of the unknowable archetype.
VIRTUAL BODIES OF LIGHT:
A major tenet of Qabala and occult philosophy concerns the nature of the astral body. The Jews call it the Tselem. This starry body is composed of scintillating etheric energy. It is perceived in imagination as being composed of light that takes on various fine forms. The analogy with electrical energy and light in cyberspace is obvious, if not literal.
To work on the astral level, the magician identifies with this virtual double of the physical body. In imagination, one perceives with the eyes of the body of light while maintaining its perspective and orientation. The light body has the ability of separating itself from the constraints of the flesh and blood body, without limitations of a mortal frame.
The astral body contains the fully functioning consciousness of the aspirant. Its existence is alleged to persist after physical death, as reported by those with near-death-experiences.
Magically, or psychically, the astral body is built in the imagination through the process of breath control, or pranayama. The VR program supercedes the trained imaginative faculty. It opens the experience to those who are not of contemplative nature, those unwilling or unable to spend years training the mind and visualization capacity. It makes the dialogic realm open to all in limited form. It establishes a new medium for the traditional I-Thou dialogue.
The virtual astral body could be employed for the practice of pathworking. Magick, itself, is the practice of practical Qabala, and its most practical exploits are the imaginal consciousness journeys known as pathworking. As a magical practice, pathworking differs from ceremonial invocation by imaginally transporting the aspirant to the location of an archetypal Form, rather than calling the Form into the circle or oneself. The experience includes a "there-and-back-again" experience of a very specially conditioned terrain. The exposure to symbols keys processes in the mind which influence the process of transformation.
The paths of The Tree of Life are metaphorical "in-roads" through the imagination. Each is marked by typical landmarks, milestones, and signposts. Each contain their ordeals, challenges, and intrinsic rewards. Pathworking offers a way of "finding" or "locating" archetypes in imaginal space. In imagination, we do it simply by wishing ourselves there, actively interacting. In VR, it requires some programming, but the initial intent is the same whether creating your own program or authoring a master program for others.
Each successive pathworking increases the area of perceptible inner space. One can enter the experience as a passive spectator, or as an active participant. The emotional impact of the experience is real. Imagine when these experiences become re-processed in your dream life! In VR, other humans could play the parts of entities encountered, or the journey may be undertaken as a common adventure. All pathworkings return the traveller to the point of origin, which is usually some symbolic form of door to the netherworld.
Another magical exercise, rising on the planes, is conducted while in the Body of Light. In this process, one imagines oneself moving further and further up through the hierarchy of planes described in the Qabala. You can get a sense for it if you can imagine an ever-widening perspective moving from sub-atomic to cosmic. For example, imagine you are a sub-atomic particle, an atom, a molecule, an organism, an animal, a human, the biosphere, the earth, the solar system, the galaxy, ad infinitum. All of this type of imagery is readily programmable and universal in meaning.
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