Book Club Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: The Lords of Mind as Initiators

This week we continue a monthly discussion of The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, which I consider the most important work of 20th century occult philosophy. Climb in and fasten your seat belts; it’s turning out to be as wild a ride as I expected. If you’re just joining us now, please go back and read the previous commentaries, which are listed here; the material covered in these earlier posts is essential to making sense of what follows.

As noted in earlier posts, there are two widely available editions of The Cosmic Doctrine, the revised edition first published in 1956 and the Millennium Edition first published in 1995, which reprints the original privately printed edition of 1949. You can use either one for the discussions that follow. The text varies somewhat between the two editions, but the concepts and images are the same, and I’ll be referring to both.

Assigned Reading:

Revised Edition:  Chapter 17, “The Lords of Mind as Initiators,” pp. 80-83.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 18, “The Goal of Evolution of a Life Swarm,” from the fifth complete paragraph on p. 109 (“It is a peculiarity of all vibratory objects…”) to the end of the chapter.

Commentary:

Over the course of the last several chapters, we’ve covered the journey made by each of the three primal swarms from the upper spiritual plane all the way down to the plane of matter, where they awakened into objective consciousness and began the corresponding journey back up the planes. We’ve also talked about the swarms that follow the three primal swarms down the planes and then back up them again, and hinted at some of the ways that the primal swarms interact with the younger swarms that follow them down and then back up the planes.

The primal swarms are able to interact with the younger swarms in certain ways. The Lords of Flame and Form, who are not individualized beings, interact with the following swarms collectively rather than individually. The Lords of Mind, on the other hand, are fully individualized, and they can select individual members of the following swarms to initiate. Both these means of interaction are of crucial importance as we proceed, because the influence of elder swarms on younger swarms plays an increasingly important role in evolution as the solar system’s history unfolds.

To talk about this, Dion Fortune uses a metaphor that is precise but not always transparent to readers today. “It is a peculiarity of all vibratory objects,” she says, “that they tend to tune with their own vibrations all objects of a slower rhythm than themselves.” This is quite true, by the way—a vibrating object tends to make other objects vibrate in tune with it. Operatic sopranos used to use a trick based on this to show off the power and precision of their voices; they would sing at a note that made a wine glass vibrate, and then suddenly shift to another, discordant note.  The two sets of vibrations clashed and the glass literally exploded.

Metaphorically speaking, the same effect is used in a more constructive way by Divine Sparks on the way back up the planes as they interact with members of younger swarms on the way down.  The elder being can communicate to the younger some of the capacities it has evolved on its journey, thus giving the younger being a substantial head start in the process of evolution. That’s the nature and the purpose of initiation, and much of the rest of this chapter is among other things a discussion of how initiation works—veiled, of course, under the convenient concealment of the nearest approximate metaphor.

In Fortune’s great cosmic metaphor there are three general classes of initiation. There are the initiations of the descending arc, which are discussed early on in this chapter. There are the initiations of the ascending arc, which are mentioned at in this chapter but not discussed in detail until later. Then there is the initiation of the Nadir, the point at which the direction of movement changes and descent gives way to ascent; this is also discussed later on.

The initiations of the descending arc are useful here as illustrations precisely because most of them are far in our past, long before the swarm of which we are part finished the long journey down the planes to the world of material incarnation. We all know on some level what it means to descend fully into matter, because we have all done exactly that at an earlier stage in the evolution of our individual souls. We all have some sense, however subconscious, of what is involved in descending through each of the planes above the material, adapting to the greater density and inertia of each new plane in turn, because that experience has left enduring traces in us. That helps us grasp the very different phenomena of the initiations of the Nadir and the ascending arc.

It’s a classic bit of strategy that having started talking about initiation, Fortune suddenly veers in what looks like a new direction and begins to talk instead about what happens when the first three swarms complete the ascending arc and return to the Solar Logos. She’s not actually talking about something else, for what happens between the primal swarms and the Logos is a form of initiation. When the Lords of Flame set  out from the seventh plane, they were little bundles of looping tracks in space vibrating feebly to the rhythm of the Logos. When they return, they are almost unimaginably more complex, having absorbed the vibrations of every plane and developed capacities of action and reaction on all of them.

The Lords of Flame have also picked up the capacity to form a group spirit, and developed that capacity through the hard labor of creating Planetary Spirits on each of the seven planes. This is crucial to what follows. As the Lords of Flame return to the seventh plane, the Solar Logos contemplates them, picks up the intricate rhythms of vibration they have learned from their long journey, and is conditioned by those rhythms, absorbing the lessons they have learned in the same way that they absorbed the influence of the Solar Logos itself as they set out; as the Logos initiated them, so they in turn initiate the Logos. In the process, the Solar Logos becomes the group spirit of the Lords of the Flame—or more precisely, the group spirit is absorbed by the Logoidal consciousness and becomes one of the modes or capacities through which the Logos can experience and act.

And the Lords of Flame?  As noted in a previous commentary, they become those beings that occultists and ordinary religious believers call angels. More to the point, most of them do. Some of the Lords of Flame have reached the point of evolution at which they are capable of coming into conscious contact with the Cosmic atoms that created them, and these leave the solar system behind and begin the long journey of a traveling atom in the Cosmos, to become Great Entities and Solar Logoi themselves after a vast interval of time. The others remain with the Solar Logos of our solar system and carry out the will of the Solar Logos, moving up and down the planes to keep the solar system in harmony. As their journey down and then up the planes brought the basic pattern of natural forces into being, they work through those forces, maintaining the balance of nature when the epigenesis of younger swarms threatens to pull it out of balance.

The Lords of Form return in the same way and go through the same process. As mentioned in an earlier commentary, they become the beings known as devas by some occultists and intelligences by others. Those of the Lords of Form that don’t make contact with their Cosmic atoms and begin life as traveling atoms in the Cosmos carry out the will of the Logos in the same way as the Lords of Flame, but their task is different. The Logos, as it mediates between its solar system and the Cosmic tides, is constantly evolving new archetypal concepts, and the Lords of Form take these and impress them on swarms of younger Divine Sparks who are still evolving.

Thus the swarms don’t simply repeat the same sequence of bodies and states; they pass into new shapes and new experiences.  Glance back over the history of life, on the one hand, or the history of human culture on the other, and it isn’t hard to spot some of the archetypal ideas of the Logos as these arrive on the scene—for example, the way that mammals and birds, though belonging to distinct evolutionary lineages, both evolved warm blood around the same geological period, or the way that Greece, India, and China all invented philosophy in the same few centuries. In terms of Fortune’s great metaphor, these are among the works of the Lords of Form.

The Lords of Mind, finally, pass through the same process as their two preceding swarms, and become another set of spiritual beings that mediate between the Logos and its solar system. Like the other two primal swarms, their job is to range up and down the planes, bringing the solar system back into balance when it has been disordered by some vagary or other of epigenesis, but they can do so in a far subtler way than the others.  The Lords of Flame work with the forces of nature, the Lords of Form work with the group souls of younger swarms, but the Lords of Mind are individualized and so they work with individuals.

The Lords of Mind are thus responsible for initiation in the sense that occultists usually use that term, the initiations of the ascending arc: they assist individual members of younger swarms who have completed the descent through the planes, and begun the return journey, to perceive planes higher than their own and bring down forces from those planes to assist the work of balance. These initiations of the ascending arc are by no means limited to occult lodges. Those churches and other religious bodies that preserve traditional sacramental rituals have their own set of initiations: for example, baptism and the ceremony of communion are initiations of this type, and so are holy orders when these are conferred by a bishop who has received apostolic succession.

Other initiations have survived in seemingly unlikely places.  The initiations of Freemasonry, for example, are surprisingly potent even though most Masons have no notion of the real meaning of the rites they preserve and enact so carefully.  It also happens, and not infrequently, that a Lord of Mind will guide an individual Divine Spark of a younger swarm through an initiatory process entirely outside of any organizational framework, or in the context of some organization or tradition with no initiatory tradition at all. When you encounter a case of spontaneous mystical experience, that’s usually what has happened.

Nearly always, the Lords of Mind remain as disembodied (or differently embodied) presences, communicating with their initiates in subtle ways through the higher planes of being. Fortune has it, though, that now and again it becomes necessary for a Lord of Mind to take on a body on one of the planes of manifestation. This is done with the help of an initiate on that plane, who lends her reproductive system to the process. Yes, we’re talking about virgin birth. Those of my readers who know their way around global mythology will recall how many important mythic figures are said to be born of a human woman impregnated in one way or another by a deity—or, rather less often, of a goddess impregnated by a human man. This is what Fortune has in mind here. When she described herself as a devout but very unorthodox Christian, she wasn’t joking.

Having dropped that tidbit to annoy the orthodox and give the rest of us something to think about, Fortune veers straight to a different theme. She reminds us that the Solar Logos has three primary aspects, reflecting the three great rings of the Cosmos, and goes on to envision the three primal swarms as representatives of these three primary aspects. While these three swarms evolved under the influence of the Logos alone, those that come after evolve under the influence of the Logos and its Regents, who are the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind.

The subsequent swarms are assigned, not to the three primary aspects, but to the twelve Cosmic rays that influence the Logos. Each swarm sets out from the seventh plane under the influence of one of these rays, and takes on the imprint of that ray. The group spirits of the later swarms, once they have finished their evolution take on a special role in the evolving solar system.  Only the three primal swarms have their group spirits absorbed by the Logos; the group spirits of the later swarms, once the Solar Logos has contemplated them and learned everything they have to teach, become the Star Logoi, exemplars of the influences of the twelve rays in the solar system, subordinate to the Solar Logos but distinct from it. (Later editions of the Cos. Doc. renamed the Star Logoi the Ray Exemplars, but here again, I find the original term more exact.)

With the birth of the last of the Star Logoi, the solar system is complete. At its center is the Solar Logos, surrounded by its hosts of angels, intelligences, and guardian spirits; the seven planes radiate out from it, each with its planet and Planetary Spirit, each inhabited by Divine Sparks descending and ascending the planes; around the outer rim stand the twelve Star Logoi, each mediating the energies of one of the zodiacal signs, each surrounded by its own cloud of spirits who have completed the journey through the planes and now dwell rejoicing in realms of light.

Those readers who know their way around the Qabalah, or more particularly around the specific version of the Qabalah discussed in great detail by Dion Fortune in her classic book on the subject, will find much of this image familiar, but not all.  Much more of it can be found in an equally ancient but far less heavily publicized tradition.  In the writings of late classical Neoplatonists such as Sallust and Proclus Diadochos, especially as interpreted by the great English Neoplatonist Thomas Taylor, Fortune’s great cosmic metaphor has its closest match. Read Sallust’s On the Gods and the World or Proclus’ Elements of Theology—again, Thomas Taylor’s translations and commentaries are the most revealing in this context—and it’s soon clear that you’re in the same cosmos Fortune has outlined in The Cosmic Doctrine.

This comes as no surprise. On the one hand, Fortune, her teacher Dr. Theodore Moriarty, and many of her close associates had a solid knowledge of occult philosophy, and at the time this normally included at least a nodding acquaintance with the writings of the old Neoplatonists. On the other, the entire Western occult tradition in modern times is a restatement of the Neoplatonic vision, as transmitted through the great Neoplatonic revival of the Renaissance.  This is one of the things that makes the Cos. Doc. so important as a work of modern occult philosophy: it presents, in the form of the nearest approximate metaphor, the vision of reality that has been central to the tradition it represents since ancient times.

With this chapter, accordingly, Fortune’s account of the genesis of the cosmos and the solar system draws to a close. In the months ahead, we’ll proceed to the third part of The Cosmic Doctrine and explore what it has to say about the process of initiation and spiritual development that awaits each of us, should we be willing to pursue it.

Notes for Study:

As already noted, The Cosmic Doctrine is heavy going, especially for those who don’t have any previous exposure to occult philosophy. It’s useful to read through the assigned chapter once or twice, trying to get an overview, but after that take it a bit at a time. The best option for most people seems to be to set aside five or ten minutes a day during the month you spend on this chapter. During that daily session, take one short paragraph or half of a long one, read it closely, and think about what you’ve read, while picturing in your mind’s eye the image you’ve been given for that passage of text.

As you proceed through the chapter and its images, you’re likely to find yourself facing questions that the text doesn’t answer. Some of those are questions Fortune wants you to ask yourself, either because they’ll be answered later in the book or because they will encourage you to think in ways that will help you learn what the text has to say. It can be helpful to keep a notebook in which to write down such questions, as well as whatever thoughts and insights might come to you as you study the text.

Questions and comments can also be posted here for discussion. (I’d like to ask that only questions and comments relevant to The Cosmic Doctrine be posted here, to help keep things on topic.) We’ll go on to the next piece of the text on December 18.  Until then, have at it!

83 Comments

  1. Just a quick note: I believe the pages for the Revised Edition: Chapter 17, “The Lords of Mind as Initiators,” are pp. 80-83 (not pp. 76-79). Thanks

  2. Pardon the length of this, I have been busy in the harvest, on retreat, and then buying a farm in upstate NY, so I haven’t posted in a while and have a lot to say.

    This is great chapter. Reading it again this morning before my meditation revealed new meanings that are hard to articulate, but I shall try. First, let me say that I have been meditating through the great American mystic Franklin Merrell-Wolff’s masterpiece “Pathways Through to Space.” So that is where my mind is currently, and his general thrust is much more in the current of my main tradition, TAT (Truth And Transmission) the students of West Virginia mystic and occultist Richard Rose. The retreat I recently came back from was a group self-inquiry retreat(more like an intensive) with two mentors, Art and Anima. So that is where my mind is generally. Self Realization in this lifetime is the goal.

    So our greater goal according to Fortune is “the at-one-ment of the Group Soul with the Logoidal consciousness, whereby the Logos recieved the fruits of the evolution.” This is accomplished by withdrawal “up the planes.” So as we focus up the planes, and resonate at higher frequencies as it were, the lower habits drop away. This reminds me of something Art once said to me: “you can’t break habits, you can only trade up.” I have seen how this has worked out for me. Ten years ago I had habits of drinking to get drunk, smoking weed every day and thinking in ways that limited my possibilities. I didn’t have the power to meditate or much else. These days I have habits of meditating and doing ritual every day, of going on semi annual retreats, and of countering negative thoughts with reason and perspective.

    One of Rose’s practices that TAT still carries on is of sitting in silent group rapport. Often with members present who have found what they are looking for in this life. To me this seems like “sympathetic induction.” Of course, just spending time with beings further along than you is induction.

    Going back to the Goal as stated by Fortune, I noticed in this reading that in the “at-one-ment” it is the Logos who recieves the fruits. This is because Group Soul, the “organized set of magnetic, capillary… stresses”, this entity that has gone through the evolution of the planes, IS the Logos. This is what Franklin Merrell-Wolff calls “Knowledge through Identity”, and as he says “God is either known directly through Identity, or He is not known at all.” There is something else here that I cannot say right now.

    Also, there is a difference between “at-one-ment” and “making contact with their corresponding Cosmic Atom” – Realizing their True Self.

    One last thing, Anima recently reminded me that there is a difference between Transformation and Transcendence. It seems like this evolution of the soul is like Transformation, but the making contact with the Cosmic Atom is Transcendence.

    As I have already gone on too long, and have other things to do, I shall stop for the time being, and while it seems worthwhile to think through these maps, I realize that they are metaphors, and no arrangement of words, images or ideas is the Truth. Thank you for your time and this book club, I look forward to it every month.

  3. Isaac, thanks for this. Delighted to hear that you’re meditating on Merrell-Wolff’s work! I found his Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object worth very close study and contemplation as well. I’m not familiar with Rose or his work — a useful reminder that there are more valuable teachings out there than anyone has time to find out about..

    Sympathetic induction is indeed one of the great advantages of spending time with those further along the Path. Of course there’s a downside, which is that some people lose track of the hard work necessary to get to the same place when you’re away from the presence of a more advanced soul — but that’s what daily meditation is all about, of course. 😉

  4. “It is a peculiarity of all vibratory objects, that they tend to tune with their own vibrations all objects of a slower rhythm than themselves”

    I was meditating on some my fears yesterday and what came out of it has some relation to this passage.

    I saw my fears and worries as little impish astral/etheric embodiments of fear itself. To be able to emit the vibrations of fear and to induce them in people, they are the vibrating fear itself. In other words, these little dirtbags are way more scared than I could possibly ever be and I can only have fear to the extent that I agree to vibrate (or dance!) to their rhythm. They are scared of us and what people are capable of and that’s why they prefer to act outside of our attention range and almost always indirectly.

    The way it is related to Dion Fortune’s passage above, is that these fear imps, having a slower vibration compared to the rhythm of humans, cannot tune us to their vibration unless we willingly do so.

  5. As a logical continuation from this… When a human is going through an initiatory process being attuned to these higher vibrations, they spend less and less energy vibrating in the lower range providing less soil for the ‘fear imps’ and other malevolent beings to grow in. My experience is that these lower grade beings, who are used to have me as their source of subsistence, are using all their teeth and claws to hold onto their feedlot. There is a lot of inner resistance on every step on my path and sometimes it is gut wrenching. I’m only afraid that I haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

    It sounds very much like the Watcher, only so far it’s coming more as a multitude of small entities rather than one ugly demon.

  6. 1. It seems fairly standard to describe angels as messengers of God, but the implication is usually of a one-way communication. So it’s refreshing to see a new wrinkle added, that angels convey messages from the universe back to God.

    2. So is the implication that the Cosmic atoms are outside of the universe? Because there’s the bit here about the Lords of Flame making contact with the Cosmic atoms, and then on page 95 of the Millennium edition, the text talks about Cosmic atoms generating atoms in the reflected universe.

    So the image that builds up in my mind is of the universe (our solar system) being a sort of dream-construct of the Solar Logos. Meanwhile, the external Cosmos is a sort of higher order reality, and my ‘substance’ is an emanation of a Cosmic atom moving around outside of the Logos-dream.

    Either I’ve got completely the wrong idea, or Fortune keeps dropping these little hints and then refusing to talk about them.

    3. In the Millennium edition, on page 113, it says that the Star Logoi are named the Ray Exemplars in earlier editions.

  7. “On the outgoing arc of evolution, initiation is performed by contact with the life of a swarm on the returning arc.
    Thus, initiation on the outgoing arc enables the initiate to cut across the arc of evolution, and to obtain the reactionary capacities by sympathetic induction, instead of by the lengthy process of experience. Initiation upon the returning arc is, however, a different process which will be considered in due course.
    The function of initiates on the outgoing arc is to enable their swarms to adapt themselves more speedily to the conditions of a newly-achieved plane, because they have acquired some concept of the nature of these conditions. Thus, initiation on the outgoing arc enables an initiate to immerse himself more rapidly in matter.”

    Forgive me if I am getting this completely wrong: Could a Lord of Mind be one of those beings on the outgoing arc? If a Lord of Mind wanted to perform a task on the meat plane, for instance, jumping into the body of a sommelier to physically taste wine (which would presumably not harm the sommelier, and most likely the sommelier wouldn’t even realize it) is this within the family of things Fortune is talking about?

  8. Ganesh, excellent! Yes, that follows precisely from what Fortune is saying.

    Cliff, 1) one of the things I like about Fortune’s cosmology is that God is still learning and growing. I note with some interest that this is also true in Alfred North Whitehead’s process theology, and it would be interesting to compare those in more detail. 2) Yes, the Cosmic atoms are not part of the solar system. Their movements, together with that of the Solar Logos, create the solar system and weave it together. Fortune in an earlier chapter compares the solar system to a dream shared by the Logos and the Cosmic atoms; what happens at this stage of the game is that some of the Cosmic atoms wake up. 3) Yes, that’s an artifact of the way the Cos. Doc. has been published. The original version, which was privately circulated used the term “Star Logoi;” the revised edition was the first one actually published, and said “Ray Exemplars;” the Millennium Edition uses the text of the original version and so goes back to “Star Logoi.”

    Kimberly, the Lords of Mind are indeed one source of initiations on the outgoing or descending arc, but there’s another source — the beings who are on the same plane on the incoming or ascending arc. When we were on the lower astral plane, for example, there was another swarm on that same plane which had already been to the material plane and was working its way back up, and they also helped initiate us.

  9. Ganesh’s understanding of the ‘fear imps’ is the most important awareness here, and the only means to true spiritual revolution. These are the “legion, for we are many” the Master Jesus expels from the possessed into the bodies of swine, causing them to leap from the clifftops and into the ocean. This is a parable of the spiritual cycles of Samsara. The possessed man of those times is the ordinary man of today, immersed in worldly concerns corresponding to the 7 infernal spheres connected with the 7 deadly sins. These can be understood through descending and ascending octaves and the laws that dictate their nature.

    By casting out these demons of fear, anger, lust, pride etc. we liberate ourselves. I would add, Ganesh, that these imps are real inhabitants of your internal worlds that you understand should not only not be nourished further, but eliminated completely.

  10. JMG
    Talking about approximate metaphors (I have always been a little unsure of the wine glass) pendulum clocks if placed on a common surface will synchronize (attune). https://www.nature.com/articles/srep23580 The metaphor cannot be exact perhaps, as vibration in deterministic terms leaves little room for immaterial mind.

    Incidentally, I did not know about Theodore Moriarty. Thanks for drawing attention to him and the ancient Neoplatonists. The name resonates with Sherlock Holmes and for some of us here in Britain, with 50s comedy radio; ‘Goon Show’; Milligan, Sellers, Secombe & Bentine. I guess the name was borrowed and had resonance in popular culture. The character they invented was elaborated and embroidered with contradictions.

    Much to meditate on this month … thanks

    best
    Phil H

  11. John–

    The theme of descending and reascending the planes–which appears in Fortune and unsurprisingly Blavatsky, given that the latter was a source for the former–has always puzzled me. My question comes back to “why?”

    Why would a being, who is already residing in the highest plane, descend into the lesser planes–on purpose–in order to be forced to work its way back to the state of perfection which it had already possessed? It seems like saying–well, I’m healthy, so I need to go get really, really sick so that I can have a laborious convalescence and spend an immense amount of time and effort healing so that I can be healthy again.

    Why would any rational actor do such a thing? The obvious path would be to simply remain healthy in the first place.

  12. I was studying figure 19 in the Millennial edition and I noticed that the column of globes shows that plane seven has one globe; six has two; five has three; four has four then instead of plane five having five globes as figure 16 shows, it has three. Then plane six has two and seven, one. I am a bit confused. Did I miss something somewhere?

  13. This may be explained in the book, which I concluded a long time ago was over my head—but how can God, who is by definition omnipotent, still be learning? Doesn’t the omnipotent, by definition, already know everything? I don’t get this idea at all.

    Also, I thought our host might be pleased to see this article which agrees with him on the use of unDruidly words:

    https://quillette.com/2019/11/19/please-stop-calling-yourself-a-feminist-badass/

  14. Ha, yes. As Merrell-Wolff states “the Illumined Man is actually present in His works, in His speech and His writings.” So meditating through a book such as this seems like a great way to encourage Induction!

    As for the downside, I have only to think of the stories the old timers at TAT tell… when Rose started teaching in the early 70s, he mainly had college age male students, and even though he said he wouldn’t come for them in a wheel barrow and that they had to exert tremendous effort, they still mostly hung around waiting for him to “zap” them. There is one story of a certain Jane who accidently got “zapped” with the experience of seeing everything as Empty, and ended up slobbering on the floor for hours. Apparently she didn’t have the capacity to see herself as empty, just everything else. So students waited for Transmission, but as Fortune says, the Initiator can only entrain up to the student’s capacity! It wasn’t until Rose was in a nursing home in the late 90’s and early 00’s that his remaining students realized he really wasn’t coming for them in a wheel barrow and some started “popping.” (To be fair, many of them did take his recommendations and exerted tremendous effort over many years.)

  15. Niconic, the only beings who have the right to say that this or that is the “only means to true spiritual revolution” are the fully enlightened. Are you claiming that status for yourself?

    Lievenm, hmm! Okay, fair enough. I was apparently misinformed.

    Phil, I’ve sometimes thought about doing a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in which Dion Fortune’s teacher was indeed that Dr. Moriarty!

    David BTL, you’re forgetting that before they descend to the material plane, souls don’t yet have objective consciousness — as Fortune says, they’re in what amounts to a dream state, and they don’t descend “on purpose” in the sense we’d use that phrase. They sink into deeper and deeper levels of dream, until they reach the material plane, wake up, and work their way back up the planes, becoming conscious in a full objective sense of everything they absorbed subjectively on the way down.

    Kay, you’re right that there should be seven globes on the lowest plane, not one. I suspect that the numbers in the circles have some other reference which isn’t clear from the diagram.

    Your Kittenship, but God isn’t omnipotent by definition. By and large, it’s only in the Abrahamic faiths that God is assigned that quality. In this chapter, Fortune mentions that when a swarm returns to the Solar Logos, it has reached a level of complexity comparable to the Solar Logos and could resist the will of the Logos. So the Solar Logos, vast and wise as it is, is still capable of learning and growing — it doesn’t have the static perfection that some theologies assign to the Deity.

    Isaac, oh dear gods, yes. I think it was Aleister Crowley who said that he found the best way to chase off most of his would-be students was to require them to do half an hour of honest work. I no longer accept personal students at all for much the same reason — over and over again, with painfully few exceptions, the people who’ve wanted to study with me personally didn’t want to do any spiritual work; they just wanted wallow in whatever ego-boost they could get from being a personal student of a moderately well known occult teacher, and parade that status around online. The people who are serious about doing the work are by and large the ones who pick up a book or a study course and do it, or simply pop in now and then to ask a question or get some advice.

  16. I htink the story of the Logos and three swarms is a metaphor of Love.

    The Logos is the conscious Self. The person one loves is outside self, on the Unmanifest part of its universe. Then Logos issues swarms as ideas and sensations to feel and tune in to the loved one. The first swarm is like a generic instinct to love; the second swarm is directed towards a particular person. And the third swarm is expressed as multiple little actions, shared stories, each with its particular track in time.

    At the beginning these swarms are only loosely connected vibrations, but when they return to the Logos, they are tuned in to the person one loves, and are almost as conscious as the Self. Then the absorption that Dione Fortune tells about takes place, and the Self becomes one with the conciousness of one’s representation of a loved person.

  17. Hi JMG,

    Okay, if you’re starting from the premise that God is not omnipotent, then it makes sense, although I still think the premise is shaky. Even if you postulate a whole pantheon of gods, if you keep asking “Who or what made them?” eventually you bump up against a Big Kahuna somewhere.

    Now, there are religions that postulate that the Big Kahuna is too big to be bothered with creating a bunch of stuff, but that’s not the same as the idea that the BK does not exist. However, if that’s what Dion Fortune thought, it’s okay with me.

    Spellcheck wanted to change “is omnipotent” to “is OMG…”

  18. The question of ‘Why the Descent of the Soul in the first place?’ is perhaps answered by the experience of life itself, when reflected upon.

    Reflecting on the past decades, I have learned immeasurably more from mistakes, delusions, fantasies, hardships and frustrations – and even from illness to the point almost of death – not forgetting the active malice, selfishness and treachery of others (and sometimes of course myself, not being a saint!) – than I ever would have drifting about in some idyllic state always good, wise, fulfilled,patient, talented, etc, and being praised and helped by everyone in an atmosphere of utter niceness.

    Quite simply, it works – and with all the potential waste and possibility of failure that it also implies, awareness of which lies behind the question.

    Without the descent you cannot rise again – in company with others – in a useful way.

    Maybe it should be called The Great Necessity? Necessary things are very rarely the stuff of daydreams…..

    It also raises the suspicion that will be quite a lot to do after this life, on the Earth or elsewhere……. No rest for the wicked, eh?

    Thinking about ‘getting rid of imps’: well, that surely is impossible? To try to do so is inhuman, and may lead to neuroticism and quite possibly an increase in the imp of Vanity at least. Think of all those poor deluded monks shut away in cells, tormented.

    One can only do, or be, just so much here. Still a dash of Lust, a bit of Vanity, a spot of Greed, etc, but – on the whole – not actually consumed by these things and unaware of being in their grip.

  19. I’m about half way through “The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception” (1906) and am finding many similarities to CosDoc. Do you know if Heindel also drawing on Blavatsky (whom I have never read) or was there some other common source or sources? I just ordered Taylor’s Sallust, by the way; maybe I just read too much! Although sitting in daily meditation is not new to me, the method of discursive meditation is very unfamiliar. I haven’t done it.

  20. I just wanted to thank you for doing this book club. I was able to glean how the Lords might interact with us and the sharing of knowledge with the Solar Logos, but the initiation part went right over my head. There has been so much in this book already that I would never have understood if not for your explanations. I lament these are only once a month.

    I know your time is already super busy, but I wonder if there might be interest in a paid service, once a week book club with your insights into many of the other amazing occult books out there. I know I’d happily sign up for such a service. I would have been lost after the first couple chapters, if not for you. Your insights have been invaluable to me so far in understanding “The Cosmic Doctrine.” Just something to consider down the road.

  21. P.S. While we’re on religious matters, I went back and checked Revelation, and my translation (based on the Douay) indicates that the anti-Christ will be a secular ruler, So I owe Francis an apology. He’s not likely to be the Antichrist. He’s just a really bad pope. God allows those from time to time, nobody knows why. My hypothesis is it’s so he doesn’t have to yell “Straighten up down there!” He just sends us a bad example.

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled Stuff Cutekitten Is Not Smart Enough To Figure Out.

  22. @ Ganesh Abuntu

    “My experience is that these lower grade beings, who are used to have me as their source of subsistence, are using all their teeth and claws to hold onto their feedlot.”

    Revised as follows, this seems to reflect our overall political and governence systems quite
    well.

    “My experience is that these lower grade beings, who are used to having the overall US governance as their source of subsistence, are using all their teeth and claws to hold onto their feedlot.”

    Antoinetta III

  23. Oleg, excellent. That’s certainly one of the things the metaphor can mean.

    Your Kittenship, one of the things that makes the Cos. Doc. different from many other mythic metaphors is that it’s not a top-down system. There is no Big Kahuna, just motion and space…and from motion and space, everything else emerges, including gods. It’s very counterintuitive if you’re used to top-down mythic metaphors, I know.

    Phutatorius, I suspect the influence is rather more direct. Heindel’s book was published in Britain at the same time as it first appeared in America, almost 20 years before the first privately circulated version of the Cos. Doc; Fortune was very well read in occult literature, and we know her teacher Dr. Moriarty was strongly influenced by American Rosicrucian literature — his book The Seven Aphorisms of Creation is largely based on The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians by, ahem, Magus Incognito. My guess is that Fortune read and studied Heindel’s Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and used it as a basis for her own work. Quite a few occultists of the time did: George Winslow Plummer’s Rosicrucian Fundamentals is another example, very strongly influenced by Heindel.

    Trubrujah, hmm! I’ll consider that down the road. In the mean time, I’m glad you’re finding these commentaries useful; once we finish with the Cos. Doc., it’ll be on to another occult classic (I’ve got several possibilities in mind).

    Your Kittenship, Francis is going to have to work overtime if he’s going to rise (or sink) to the standard of the really, really bad popes. Like any other human institution that’s been around a good long time, the papacy has had its share of world-class stinkers. Here’s one list of some of the top (or bottom) contenders. Consider this a little ray of hope — the Catholic church survived these, it can survive Francis…

  24. Hi JMG,

    Yup the Papacy has had some real winners. The Jewish would-be convert in the Decameron made essentially the same point you did. If he was Boccaccio’s Jew, I guess you’re Boccaccio’s Druid! 😄

  25. JMG, are you having a Wednesday post this week, or will you be busy w/Thanksgiving?🦃

    Sonkitten and I go out to a local restaurant.

  26. Somehow working on this chapter is immediately fruitful. A few topics I was meditating on in the last week suddenly come together into a single picture with the first few sentences of the chapter working as the glue.

    A part of my regular prayer is asking for blessings, guidance, and protection for myself and others. For some reason I felt uneasy about it. Not so much about the act of asking but more about the the feeling that they are somehow granted. And then it became clear – just calling out a divine name, even mentally, is already an act of creating a resonance with the being on the other side. Saying the divine name already creates some of their presence here and now. This is why it can be enough to just mention a name of a divine being to get rid of some grubby entities. Just mentioning the name already creates some level of protection and some level of guidance becomes available. This already is a blessing. Further on, when a divine name is vibrated as a part of a ritual, more of their presence becomes available – the ritual space, the practitioner, and other beings in the space become more attuned to the vibration of a particular kind of the divine energy and, therefore, more open to the initiatory process this divine being has to impart. Repeating a ritual or prayer or any other spiritual practice on a daily basis brings the practitioner into an even deeper and enduring resonance (tracks in space!) with the energies they call out for and that’s what gets rid of the nasty little imps that can’t stand any of it.

    For getting rid of them completely. At this stage I don’t know if it is a possibility. I only know that any time I tried to wrestle with them directly, I got dragged to their level and became more grubby and more like them as the result of it. In the terms of Cos Doc, it seems that the best we can hope for, when fighting them directly, is for them to turn into a push block – still here, still strong, and now even more important. On the other hand, somehow, ignoring them completely is as bad as declaring a war on them – they get plenty of food both ways. There needs to be some kind of a dance between noting their presence and not engaging with them any more than that, while, at the same time, actively attuning oneself to the beings and energies that these imps are repelled from. Maybe this way one day I’ll become stinky enough for them all to leave and stay away. :}

  27. “It is a peculiarity of all vibratory objects, that they tend to tune with their own vibrations all objects of a slower rhythm than themselves”

    This is especially true in music. The overtone series (predictable pattern of decay for all sounds) provides the three main intervals, octave, fifth, and third, for the foundation of all Western music: the major triad. In music samples taken from around the globe, one can hear the human ear’s affection for a droning bass and melody and/or harmony going on an octave or two higher. The reason atonal music sounds like *ss is because it attempts to ignore the natural favoritism of the octave, fifth, and third in music.

  28. Another fascinating post John, on the CD. I’m deliberately not reading the book, as I don’t want to create any confusion with my OBOD course, however, I’m getting an interesting background wash of ideas and concepts, that helps to paint a fuller backdrop to my course. Your helpful responses to the comments here really help in this respect, as much as the post itself. I still think there would be much merit in you producing a modern day based version of the concepts and ideas using modern metaphors that would be easier to understand, but I appreciate it would be a labour of love rather than a money maker.

  29. Part of what you said here implies that Mary, mother of Jesus, was an initiate. If so, how would that have come about?

  30. @Lady Cutekitten

    I just wanted to help clarify what JMG has said. For people coming from a culture steeped in all 3 Abrahamaic religious traditions it can be a bit of a headringer to realize there are world religions that don’t have a concept of The Final Big Kahuna Deity.
    The religions I know best don’t follow that schema – Buddhism and Hinduism. Their teaching is that it is a dimensionlessness beyond space-time – for lack of a better way to put it – that upholds everything including the grandest of all grand deities. All “beings” are better understood as an activity than as an actor – another teaching that’s a headringer if you’re used to traditional Abrahamic theology.

    [To be fair, I have begun researching into Esoteric Judaism and Meher Baba gave me a heavy dose of Esoteric Islam teachings to boot and it seems both of these Abrahamaic branches do indeed acknowledge the ‘dimensionlessness’ at the top end of the Kabalah tree. It’s just that the teachings given to masses don’t bother talking about it.]

    I suspect the lack of a final BK is one reason why Buddhism has become so popular among the Comfortable Class (I call them the Yoga Pants Class). Non-dimension doesn’t pass judgment on anyone good, bad or neutral so it’s a bit more difficult to use religion teachings to shame people into doing things they don’t want to do.

    @JMG @CD Readers

    Today’s teaching is making a lot of things mentioned in Pure Land Buddhism become more clear. For that matter, most of the Cosmic Doctrine is making a lot of things mentioned in Pure Land Buddhism more understandable! Now I have a much better idea of the actual role Amitabha, Kuan Yin Bodhisattva and Mahastamaprapta* Bodhisattva take in Sukavati. Ditto the role of Lapis Lazuli Medicine Buddha and his chief assistants Solar Bodhisattva and Lunar Bodhisattva.

    Also..to anyone whom would like to be added to my Dedication of Merits list of recipients send an email with your initials to kuanyindao @ gmail.com

    You can find my two explanations for it on these two threads

    1. https://www.ecosophia.net/october-2019-open-post/#comments

    2. https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/73482.html#comments

    *Mahastamaprapta translates to english as The Arrival of Great Strength – a reference according to Chan Master Nan Huai-Chin to the Great Strength of the Manifest once it has come due. Hence his name – Great Strength due to the power and wisdom of his Will. I notice Judaism teaches the name Micha-el also means “G-d’s Strength” and I suspect to Jewish yogis it’s in reference to the same thing.

  31. Oops

    Wanted to add one additional thing that Buddhism and Hinduism teach. Nothing is ever actually created. Whatever it is (including beings) can only be transformed. That’s why Buddhism and Hinduism constantly harp on Maya – the Grand Illusion. Everything is a ceaseless appearance of something being “created” that is constantly transforming and giving the appearance of solid self-subsisting creation that isn’t really true. Even modern physics is now saying that atoms appear to pop out of nothing and then disappear back to nothing. The Buddha took this and turned them into cornerstones of his teachings to help folks who want to investigate the nature of their own being – Impermanence and Emptiness.

  32. Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat,

    The evolving and developing Logos is not Infinite Unmanifest; it might be highest and more complex entity in our spiritual ecosystem, but it’s only infinitesimal expression of Absolute, Akasha, Brahman, God, One (pure and formless ground of being under any name you wish to affix to it) as are all manifestation within world of limits, by definition.

    A least that is my reading on Solar Logos/God relation.

    –changeling.

  33. Since humanity is currently residing on the material plane, which should be the lowest vibratory plane and thus, the farthest out from the Logos, we have traveled as far out on our outward journey as possible. We are thus poised to begin the trip back to the Logos, to begin the return journey.

    This is interesting to me because it means that we should have received many initiations on our outward journey through the planes by those swarms that passed by us on their return journeys. Maybe what we call the knowledge of the mysteries is really just the initiations we received about the stereotyped reactions that are present in the Universe during our outward journey.

    I wonder if we have to fully integrate them into our beings before we can begin the return journey, or from another point of view, is what we call enlightenment just the integration of these stereotypes. An enlightened person on the material plane is one who is ready to start the return journey to the Logos, one who has fully integrated the initiations received on the outward journey.

  34. Your Kittenship, I’d be happy with that title! The thing is, every other religion that’s been around long enough can match that collection of losers; even the Druid Revival, which is fairly young by your standards, has had some stinkers, though not yet on the same scale. (I’m sure we’ll manage it eventually.) My point, though, was that Francis is doing his church a fair amount of harm, and he may yet manage to cause a schism on the scale of the Reformation, but he’s got a lot of work to do before he can equal, say, Sergius III. As for Wednesday, yes, there’ll be the usual open post on the 27th.

    Ganesh, excellent! Yes, exactly.

    Kimberly, you’ll get no argument from me.

    Averagejoe, these posts will all be coming out in book form, so when you’ve finished the OBOD course you’ll have something to meditate on. 😉 As for a book of the same sort, hmm. I’m currently considering a book of basic occult philosophy for the complete beginner; I’ll think about doing something more detailed later on.

    Patricia, yep. Old occult literature has it that she was an initiate of a very high grade who prepared herself through many lifetimes of contemplation and compassionate service. In the life in which she gave birth to the Master Jesus, she was recognized in very early childhood by the Essenes as a soul of extraordinary power and wisdom, and received their training and initiations prior to her betrothal to Joseph, who was himself an Essene. How much of this is history and how much metaphor is an interesting question, but that’s the tradition.

    Happypandatao, interesting; it doesn’t surprise me that you’re finding common ground between the Pure Land teachings and the Cos. Doc! BTW, it’s Gabriel whose name is Hebrew for “Strength of God.” The name of Michael literally means “Who is like God?” — and yes, the “mi” at the beginning makes it a question. I think of him as the archangel of transcendence, the one who reminds us of the difference between what we are and what the Solar Logos is.

    Dan, exactly! In some of her other writings Fortune compares existence with one of those sailing races where each boat has to round a particular buoy and then return to its starting place. Life on the material plane is our rounding of the buoy. That’s one of the reasons she (and all the old occult teachers) insisted that you have to get your material life in order before you can start on the Path; if you can’t manage life in the material world, you haven’t rounded the buoy yet and need to take care of that first.

    E Hu, good heavens. Where have I heard that before? 😉

  35. Hi Onething,

    Well, here’s the latest on Francis:

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/analysis-why-pachamama-took-a-dip-23186

    JMG addressed the Pachamama issue on his other blog a couple of weeks ago. His opinion, if I remember right, is that Francis just trashed the Church’s egregor. (A process that probably started with Vatican II, although JMG and I didn’t get that far into it.)

    Rod Dreher has put up a lot of stuff on Francis, and Dreher has a broader view of Christendom than I have: he’s been a Baptist or Methodist, I forget which, a Roman Catholic, and is now Russian Orthodox, whereas I’ve only been a Catholic and know little about the teachings of the non-Catholic churches. So if you read Dreher’s Francis material you’ll probably get a wider view than I could give you. I know his highly emotional, girly writing style irritates a lot of people, but on Francis he is a good resource so I suggest you grin and bear it and delve into his stuff.

  36. We Catholics used to have a handy shorthand description for converts in the initial over enthusiastic stages, “more Catholic than the Pope.” This won’t work at the moment, too many of us are more Catholic than the Pope! 😄

    I mostly blame the College of Cardinals for this; they had to know there are few or no Christian Jesuits these days. (If I know, they know.). Harrumph.

    OK, back to Entertainment for the Erudite, sorry about the digression.

  37. @JMG – Wow! I have never heard that before, about Mary and Joseph and the Essenes! Thanks! Though she clearly was a soul of extraordinary power and wisdom; the Magnificat is one of the great songs of the Bible, equal to the Prophet Miriam’s song in Exodus.

    Yes, Dion Fortune’s likening a soul’s journey to a yacht race, where if you didn’t go down to the end point and come around it, you’d cheated, has totally stick in my mind. Though getting my act together in the material world is such a massive task even in a small apartment with so much done for me, it leads to the temptation to throw my hinds up and scream. Saturday meditations are excellent for that, being a double Capricorn with a heavy counterbalancing Moon in Gemini for the ditzy part of me.

  38. JMG, one of your predictions, that Antifa can only get away with it for so long, has come true:

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/384456.php

    So that’s another good prediction you made! I thought you’d be pleased to know.

    I hope that guy in the video did not sustain a boxer’s fracture.

    The esoterica will now resume.

  39. Lady Lolcat,

    The longer I live and contemplate what might be the nature and character of God, the more I realize how utterly unfathomable this entity is for us. We can use words like omniscience but what do we really know of how reality might actually work? I’m not sure what the Catholic theologians had in mind when they said God created the world ex nihilo but it either isn’t really correct or they have misunderstood their own dogma. What they probably mean is that from what would appear to us as emptiness, a universe was popped into being by God.

    What’s wrong with that is there is no such nothingness, and it makes it seem as though the creation is separate from God. This is impossible. Because the Hindus regard everything as God, they are the truest monotheists, as well as being correct. Do not trouble yourself with fears that this is blasphemy or that you most certainly are not God.

    There is no nothingness nor can matter cause itself, nor can a state of actual nothingness magically pop a universe. Considering this, the strongest argument for God is that there is a logical need for an existent principle, something which exists of its own nature and without cause. It is outside our intuitive experience of the material world and impossible for me to fathom, yet is a logical necessity. I believe in the RC dogma it is called the being who must exist. Therefore, the creation must in some way be out of the godhead itself because if not then matter would also deserve the title of God. There can hardly be more than one self existent principle! Since everything must arise out of God, whether by thought or something else, it is all part of God and who knows, may eventually enfold back into God. What this means is the the Hindus are correct and all is God. This does not mean at all that you yourself are the creator. Some think (and I tend to concur) that the whole universe is like the body of God. You might be like a hair cell. It’s a wonderful and terrible realization, that God is all there is, there is no outside to God, and no other game in town. God is so merciful, so gentle and respectful that we need not see this unless we want to.

    I am not sure what the RC Church teaches but I am fond of the Orthodox prayer to the Holy Spirit, in which it says of that being that He is “everywhere present and fillest all things.” This perfectly fits mystical teachings. It means the ether is real. It means God is everywhere. Or, if we think God is everywhere, this explains HOW. The Holy Spirit is the uncreated energies of God, which means it is part of God and precedes the manifestation of the universe. There is no empty space.

    People tend to have childish and magical conceptions. I mean magical in the fairy tale sense. They don’t think they need to know exactly how ESP works, but it has a mechanism. And God filling everything I believe is the mechanism by which He effects his works. If things were really separate, how would God do anything? With his magic wand? Because he’s the boss?

    So if we imagine some of this Cosmic Doctrine scenario unfolding as a manifesting universe, and leaving aside some idea of automatic attributes of omniscience, and if we keep in mind that the mind of God and the being of God are beyond our comprehension, yet if God has unlimited being and is literally within everything, the amount of information at His disposal is total.

    So this epistle was in hope of relieving some of your distress over that question.

  40. Archdruid,

    The lords of flame are the patterns of destiny, the vibrations most closely imitating the solar logos. After them come the lords of form, the characters that are developing to reach the vibratory state of the lords of flame. After them come the lords of mind, the individual habits that allow the character to develop.

    This is a really good description of the process of inner development. Each of our habits, characters, and destinies move in swarms. The habits must be changed individually, and each change in habit causes a subsequent change in characteristics and destiny one aligns with.

    I work on developing the characteristic of a clear mind, in the process my concentration, awareness, and consciousness also develop. The lords of flame project ahead of each change, making the space where the lords of form and lords of mind will conduct epigenesis. As I develop one skill, the lords of flame are already ahead laying the ground work for the development of the next.

    Regards,

    Varun

  41. Your Kittenship (if I may), we could indeed have a conversation about Vatican II — next week’s open post might be a good place for that. The very short form is that I consider it to have been an unmitigated disaster — they reformed everything they should have left alone and left alone everything they should have reformed.

    Patricia, you’re most welcome. I didn’t realize that story isn’t widely known — I originally heard it from a teacher I studied with in my teen years, and have encountered it in many other places since then. I suppose I hang out in weird circles…

    Your Kittenship, the question now is what will Antifa do, now that they face actual consequences. Will they crumple, or will they escalate?

    Varun, a good solid application of the metaphor. Thank you!

  42. JMG, that’s exactly what I’ve always felt about Vatican II. It was one of the worst things of The Sixties. And it’s become pretty widely known in recent decades that religious orders which stick as close to the Church’s old ways as they can are the ones that are flourishing.

    Onething, thanks so much for the long explanation! That’s a lot of time to spend on a grumpy old lady and I appreciate it! The reason the Church says God created everything ex nihilo is that that’s how the Bible starts out—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” That’s a ringing endorsement of the Uncaused First Cause. Not all religions care about the Uncaused First Cause. I once tried to explain it to my Theravada aunt across not only the religious barrier but a language barrier. I don’t think she ever did get why the UFC was so important, but we had fun!

    JMG, what will Antifa do? They will find out how wildly outnumbered they are in most places and switch to less public forms of terrorism like planting bombs. This is such a historically consistent pattern with such groups that if I lived in an Antifa area I’d be planning my escape NOW. Avoid the rush!

    Are there any Druid Revival stinkers whose sins against the faith you can, er, air?

  43. @ JMG and Your Kittenship:

    I look forward to next week’s discussion of Vatican II and the unmitigated flusted cluck that is Pope Francis’s papacy. I am not a Catholic, but as a paleoconservative, i have the utmost respect for the role the Catholic Church has played in the history of Western Civilization. With any luck, the Apostate Pope’s Reign of Error will be short, his departure from the Holy See unlamented and his papacy soon forgotten except as an object lesson.

  44. @JMG re “they reformed everything they should have left alone and left alone everything they should have reformed.”

    Straight out of the General Confession! “We have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done….”

    a.k.a. “Your weekly wake-up call.”

  45. Hi John Michael,

    As usual, the going is heavy.

    Is the Lords of Flame developing capacities of action and reaction, another way of suggesting that they have grown whilst also developing some sort of discernment? It is a worthy goal.

    Reading between the lines in your explanation, I feel there is a thought in there about guidance. The word: ‘Shepherding’, comes to mind. Incidentally, I feel that the word ‘guidance’ does not refer to the state of ‘control’, as that is an entirely different affair.

    Ah, I can see how some folks may have taken this particular chapter and thought to themselves: Hey, forget about the hard graft, we can create our own reality. Far out. As a hint, from my perspective, such thoughts don’t work out so well. 🙂 But if they want to try it out and see just how badly it fails…

    Cheers

    Chris

  46. In occult philosophy there are two seemingly contradictary theories on the ‘direction of travel’. One is infinite improvement – you can advance through each incarnation and even the gods have something higher to aspire to. The other is that things are cyclical and can only go so far in one direction before coming back the other way. How do these two concepts mesh together?

  47. “The intensity of life contained in the idea is untranslatable. One can receive it if one is capable of entering consciously this domain. One can transmit it to a certain extent if one is master of its vibrations and can let them pass and emanate from him.” ~ The Mother, 1955

    After reading your post I came across the above tweet from the Hindu intellectual & spiritual giant, and husband of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo. Felt it compliments the theme of this month’s post & your ability to illuminate this book for us very well.

  48. An important reminder from the Cosmic Doctrine Millenium Preface:

    “The Cosmic Doctrine is a condensed blueprint outline of God’s manifestation in this creation. Complex indeed! But what has tended to bother some about the Cos Doc teaching has been the almost total emphasis in explaining evolution simply as being the psychic nuts and bolts of
    God. Leaving one with the impression that God may be reduced from a Great and Infinite Being to a kind of mechanical Newtonian clockwork.

    However, there is much more to it than that.

    The higher up the planes you go, although esoteric theory tends to describe it all more abstract, in actual fact things become so much more complex, vibrant, vivid, bursting, and brimming with life in incredible profusion. It is another form of experience however. The broadest though simplest analogy would be to liken the the existence on the higher levels as something after the order of a Bach fugue — which could indeed seem to some a rather dry abstraction, but which to the attuned and educated ear is a revelation of divinity, harmony and celestial order.

    The reality is not easy to describe in concepts, let alone in words. How best to describe a rainbow to a blind man?”

    Can’t thank you enough for covering the Cos Doc in this series of posts. One the most fascinating books & internet discussions I’ve ever encountered!

  49. I believe Fortune is inferring that the souls who become humans must travel to the dense, material plane in order to become initiated because there isn’t any alternative. In Iolo Morgannwg’s prayer, he talks about the “knowledge of justice” developing into the “love of it” and this is in my mind the acceptance of the long process/necessity of falling down the planes and traveling back up them again. Just like a baby oak tree has to have repeated exposure to freezing temperatures in order to lose its leaves, our souls have to be proofed in a lengthy succession of different seasons.

    Atheists spend a great deal of time railing against the unfairness of it all. The first stage of being an atheist tends to be framing everything as a God is Omnipotent or No God Ever Existed binary. The second stage is despair and confusion over the known Universe being a chaotic but largely empty void. The third stage is challenging and mocking the arrogance of the faithful, and their bovine acceptance of the horrendous mess that is this plane, and let’s face it, the faithful can be just as arrogant, greedy, and awful as atheists. The above is a sadly honest portrait of me as a former atheist, however, until I got to know you all and JMG a bit better, I personally knew only two well-balanced people who truly believed in God/gods, the rest seemed like utter kooks or to not actually believe. Atheists want to take the short route: they declare themselves God (at least of their own petty dictatorship in this life) and they fantasize about instant omnipotence: “My world would be so much fairer than God’s world! The wicked would be punished and there would be no pain or death! A God who allows a child to get guinea worms is evil and capricious! Not the way I’d do it!” Though it can be solidly argued they lack perspective, it’s not like they are entirely lacking a point. The material plane is really nasty.

    How was I to love the idea of karma and being stuck in a glacially-slow testing range when I thought I’d only live once? Then bring in the idea of a Lord of Flame — a non-embodied entity among several exquisitely organized orders of non-embodied entity — guiding us along! Ha! My atheist brain couldn’t wrap around it. Thanks for this forum.

  50. Your Kittenship, I think the word you’re looking for is Omniscient i.e. “All Knowing”, not Omnipotent. I know, I’m a big nerd. Your question is still valid regardless.

    JMG,

    I would like to see a Sherlock Holmes pastiche with Dion Fortune and Professor Moriarty; you could also include ritual summoning of the Elder Gods and tentacled monsters.

    Also, if the Solar Logos is still learning, does that mean that each subsequent swarm has to try harder and harder to become comparable with it? On the other hand, subsequent swarms have the benefit of more helpers available to them from previous swarms. So I guess that would balance things out a little.

    Also, I would love to be a personal student of well known occultist but most of them are dead so its difficult. I’ll just settle for learning by the books. I’m happy to have books that were previously available only to members of secret orders.

  51. “It is a peculiarity of all vibratory objects, that they tend to tune with their own vibrations all objects of a slower rhythm than themselves”

    This phrase resonated with me (pun intended). So, I decided to meditate on it today, here’s the conclusions I got from it:

    1) Everything vibrates, perhaps everything is a vibration. So “the vibes” is not just hippie talk from the 60s and 70s its an accurate description of reality. Every-thing vibrates on a specific frequency or a set of frequencies, a spectrum, and with different amplitudes (which define the strength of “the vibes”). A library has one set of vibration frequencies, a bar has a different set and you won’t confuse the two because they are far apart. What creates the vibes? One answer that comes to mind immediately – the movement of the consciousness engaged in, I guess, different types of thinking.

    2) A practical application of the induction principle. The crowd you hang out with induces their vibes in you. Hang out with successful people in your area of interest and you become more successful in that area. As Proverbs 13:20 helpfully says: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”. Every reader of this blog is benefiting from this principle. 😉

    3) Occult and masonic initiations are an induction of higher frequencies in the initiate by their more advanced brethren (or sistren). The vibrations then lower naturally over time, but the initiate had a grasp of a different picture of the world and is unlikely to return to where there were before.

    4) Spagyric medicines work by way of induction. For simplicity’s sake lets define a spagyric medicine as a purified life force of a living thing, the frequencies of which have been increased by alchemical procedures. When it is consumed it induces higher frequencies in the user if their frequencies are lower, which is what happens when you get sick.

  52. Hi Polytropos,

    God is omniscient but also omnipotent. He’s pretty much all-everything. That view is basic to most of Christendom.

  53. Hi Kimberly,

    I think the biggest, and most basic, mistakes atheists make are assuming that they can understand the way God thinks, and assuming God looks at things exactly the way they do. If you can get past those two fallacies, you can usually get past atheism and be able to consider the numinous in a less constrained way.

  54. Your Kittenship, well, how about Celestin Laine aka Neven Henaff, a Druid leader whose Breton nationalism made him hate France so much that he sided with the Nazis in the Second World War, and formed a pro-Nazi Druid militia to help out the SS?

    Jacurutu, as I’m not only not a Catholic but not a Christian, and a Burkean conservative to boot, I’m not really qualified to speak about the Catholic church from any perspective but that of a magically literate outsider — but from that perspective, yeah, there’s a lot to say. The Catholic church shot itself through all four cheeks with Vatican II and I’m far from sure it will survive as an intact institution. More on this next week — by all means bring it up.

    Patricia, I think the Curia ought to repeat that one often!

    Chris, yes, exactly. Guidance doesn’t equal control — that’s why the Lords of Mind work with individuals, and the individuals in question are those who’ve chosen to put themselves into harmony with the Solar Logos.

    Yorkshire, over the very, very long term, the movement of each soul is a vast circle from the Unmanifest to the Unmanifest — “from the Great Deep to the Great Deep he goes.” Over anything less than the lifespan of a universe, it looks rather different.

    Shivadas, thanks for this. If I had a spare lifetime to devote to the subject I’d sit down with the Cos. Doc. and Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine and work out a concordance!

    Kimberly, thanks for this. One of the least helpful features of the prophetic religions is their insistence on judging gods by human moral standards — you’re doubtless right that that’s one of the major things feeding atheism.

    Polytropos, well, we’ll see. Sherlock Holmes has been done to death in fiction, and I’d have to come up with some really unusual angle — a tentacle or two wouldn’t do it. As for the Solar Logos and the swarms, no, remember that every new swarm that sets out starts by absorbing the Logoidal rhythm — that’s the basis of the Divine Spark — so swarm #116, say, starts out having picked up the lessons that many other swarms had to learn the hard way and teach to the Logos. As for your meditation on vibration, excellent — this is a great example of the way that discursive meditation works in practice, so thank you.

  55. Nazi Druids?!?!! 😳. I’m surprised Captain America hasn’t fought them in a comic book.

    Considering the way WW II worked out, I guess Dion Fortune out-magicked the Axis. 👏

    What about the Japanese? Did they do anything occult in the war?

    I have a movie called Onmyoji, about Japanese wizards. I forget who plays the good wizard, but one of my favorite actors, Sanada Hiroyuki, plays the bad wizard. The movie has all kinds of Western occult symbols thrown in for atmosphere. There’s also a lady with a wooden chandelier full of lighted candles on her head, which is certainly worth the price of admission even without Sanada.

  56. John, et al.–

    Re judging gods by human standards

    I hadn’t connected the dots until this morning, but human assessments of the flaws of the Kosmos strike me as being not dissimilar to something my grandson (who’s not-quite-five) said the other day. I’d asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied, “A bus-driver. And then I’d let all the five year-olds sit wherever they wanted and be as loud as they want.”

    Re cycles versus progression

    I’ve imagined the course being from Annwn (regressing into an infinite past) to Awen (receding into an infinite future), but in a cyclical manner along the lines of the following: imagine a rope slowly coiling itself, each coil being a cycle, but these cycles layering upon one another along an axis progressing in a dimension perpendicular to the plane of the cycle. But this axis of progression is itself coiling in a bigger cycle around yet another axis that is itself yet another cycle and so on ad infinitum as one keeps stepping further and further back.

    So the “endpoints” of Annwn and Awen are approached only asymptotically (sorry, I think in math), never reached though they bound the Kosmos in a very real way.

  57. @ JMG – This is not related to the book club reading, but It may be magic/spiritually related. After you recommended I ask the oak tree in my back yard for help, I meditated under it once a day for a week. (I normally check in with the tree once a week). Six days later, on last Monday, the kids’ old social worker, whom I had not heard from since late October, called me unprompted. She looked up their case and gave me good news about what the court records showed.
    I don’t know if this is quite a TSRW moment, but I found it interesting that the previous worker called me weeks after I had given up on hearing from her again about the matter, and that her answers were much more helpful than the last time.

  58. Your Kittenship, Fortune outmagicked the Nazis, but the Nazis also outmagicked themselves. Fortune’s war letters, published in the book The Magical Battle of Britain, are masterpieces of effective magical strategy — her approach was to focus on strengthening Britain and not attacking the Germans. The Germans, meanwhile, piled on the nasty magic, so they took the resulting blowback square in the teeth. It’s a great example of magical aikido — you don’t have to clobber the other guy, you just redirect his punch, his feet go out from under him, and he goes down hard.

    As for the Japanese, I’m sure they did, and I’m just as sure that the details have been systematically hushed up and you’d better have a first-rate reading knowledge of Japanese and access to some really obscure archives if you want to find out what was going on.

    David, a good metaphor!

    Ben, delighted to hear it. Keep talking to the tree!

  59. Funny, JMG, that you mention Neoplatonism in this post: a week ago I stumbled upon Gareth Knight’s blog, which he primarily devoted to Dion Fortune and her works (rather than himself – what a refreshing contrast to most of the self-promotion out there in the blogosphere). In one of his posts, Knight mentioned that he believed that the “source” of CosDoc was “external” and was trying to communicate Neoplatonic concepts to Fortune, but since she did had not studied Neoplatonism she did not have the appropriate vocabulary, so the “source” had to express itself through whatever seemed to be the most appropriate terms that were housed in Fortune’s subconscious mind. That would explain a few things…

    The one passage in this chapter of the CosDoc that delights me above all is, “[T]he Logos, however, works not in opposition to that which it has created, but acts as a synthesiser between the Cosmos by which it is influenced, and the organisation which now forms a conditioning influence in its universe” [Millennium Edition, p.110]. Certainly, the Logos has attained wisdom by this stage. I only wish all gods worshipped by humans could behave so wisely, rather than some [who need not be named] who prefer to be totalitarian tyrants who fly into a tantrum if anyone or anything doesn’t do things as They dictate (and then their human followers, naturally, imitate)!

    Thanks for mentioning the image of the sailboat rounding the buoy in your comment to Dan. Since I spent much of my teens racing sailboats, I can certainly relate to it! More to the point, though, it has saddened me over the decades watching numerous sincere “spiritual seekers” think that they can take the “fast lane” to God/enlightenment/moksha without first learning how to become a decent, responsible human being… and then seeing the “trainwreck” that they inevitably turn their lives into when they pursue such a path. I am not sure where this habit comes from: perhaps the culture of “instant gratification” that arose post-WWII jumped from the material to the spiritual realms. I, for one, am fond of the phrases “in the world but not of it” and “hands in the world but head in the forest” to communicate the need for a dual-vision that acknowledges the spiritual/occult realities that underly our lives while having to deal with the here-and-now and the need to treat both as “real” in their own way. Not that I am a master at it by any stretch of the imagination – but I like to believe that I try.

  60. @JMG – yes, the Curia would be much improved if they would read or listen to or say the General Confession – and take it seriously. Unless, of course, they were dead certain that what they were doing was right, and what they were not doing was not with the doing!

    But it’s simple enough for even a child to understand, and like many children, I didn’t think I’d done much wrong, but the “left undone” really hit home.

    But against the certainty of being absolutely right in all things, even gods strive in vain. Or why I love that quote from Simonides of Keos: “I have never known a perfect man. If you find one, let me know.” And his conclusion that he’ll gladly settle for one who does nothing wrong of his own free will. Hence the paraphrased quote above.

  61. I read a book many years ago about the Nazi leaders being enthusiastic, if inept, occultists. Sort of like the anti-Trump resistance.

  62. Here is some very powerful magic out Dark Ages Christianity – “The Breastplate (or, sometimes, the Lorica, which is a shrt of chain mail) of St. Patrick”

    “I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity,
    By invocation of the same the three in one and the one in three…..”

    ……Christ be with me, Christ within me,

    Christ behind me, Christ before me

    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

    Christ to comfort and restore me,

    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger

    Christ in hearts of all that love me,

    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

  63. Ron, I’ve come to think that the god you didn’t mention has gotten a very bad rap. There was a bumper sticker I used to see quite a bit a few years ago: “Jesus, save me from your followers!” He was apparently listening; I’ve spoken to a remarkable number of Druids and polytheists who have had no trouble combining reverence for the Christ with reverence for the gods.

    As for Gareth Knight, no argument there. He’s one of the great occultists of our time, and his lack of interest in self-aggrandizement is one of the reasons why.

    Patricia, no argument there. Simonides had his head on straight.

    Your Kittenship, I just imagine the reaction of either party to that equation! 🙂

    Patricia, I know Christian occultists who use the Lorica daily with very good results. It’s a good strong incantation!

  64. So is this kind of occultism similar to that practiced by the 1%, or is there a different kind for that sort of people?

  65. Lady Cutekitten – keeps snakes away? In Florida, that could be useful. Now for a spell to keep gators away – all three kinds (reptilian, University of Florida, and tail.)

  66. Hi John Michael,

    Fascinating. You always provide fodder for the brain.

    I reckon it is easier to move in harmony with where you find yourself. And control is an ephemeral circumstance. You know, I let the wallabies, wombats and kangaroos roam through the orchard and gardens (plus all rest of the birds and critters), and just try to work with them. Some areas are fenced off, but most of the place is free for them to roam. The thing is after a while, they all look after their own business, and I hold the dogs in reserve in case some species take things too far, or a little bit of randomness needs to be chucked into the mix.

    Years ago I read that the indigenous folks down here used to be baffled at the original Europeans insistence on attempts to dominate nature rather than just flowing with it. The specific example I read related to early European gardens. In these enlightened times people just fence anything unwanted out, and they possibly wonder why it is all so much hard work and things go wrong.Oh well.

    Cheers

    Chris

  67. Thanks, JMG, for the reply. I don’t doubt you one moment regarding Druids’ experience with Christ. The unnamed god I was referring to is more along the line of a couple of the other Abrahamic religions and some of the more Old Testament-oriented Protestants: you know, the whole global flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, expulsion of Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels, expulsion from Eden kind of stuff… Considering the large number of Christians around the world who one way or another, knowingly or unknowingly, pray to deities other than the Holy Trinity, often sanctioned by the Church, I’d say Jesus is a very reasonable god! The whole Pachamama episode aside, I have great respect for the Catholic faith as it allowed converted pagans to continue worshipping their gods disguised as Christian saints or the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Guadalupe being the most famous example).

  68. @JMG

    Oops. I knew it was one of the archangels but thought it was Michael because I was taught as a toddler that Michael was the head of God’s army because he was so strong. I remember being taught Gabriel was God’s herald and messenger. I wonder now if I got the two mixed up even back then.

    BTW, I had what I think was an epiphany the other day when reflecting upon some things taught in Meher Baba’s God Speaks. Baba talks about how crossing over from the Fourth Plane to the Fifth (the first of the mental-body planes) is a very dangerous test everyone is eventually going to take. At the final stage of being a Fourth Plane being one gets slammed with infinite desire. A final stage Fourth Plane being has mastered infinite power.

    Now comes the final test – what are you going to do with all that power at your beck and call? You have infinite power to satisfy all desires throughout the cosmos (not just your own but others too) but if you actually do so Baba says it’s catastrophic. It blasts you back to stone-form with no memory of your prior trek up to the final stage of the Fourth Plane. You will have to make the trek up to humanity over many, many eons all over again with absolutely nothing retained from your prior trek. I finally groked the test is about whether you will use your infinite power to overturn the law of cause and effect. Since it’s not possible to overturn causality (at least not as far as I know) the blowback if you try is ruinous. I now have a far better idea of what exactly the “devil” was doing in tempting Jesus when he was in the desert for 40 days and nights. Obviously he passed the test with ease.

    @Lolcat

    That part of Genesis clearly indicates to me that both Esoteric Judaism and Esoteric Christianity is well aware of the Beyond-the-Beyond as Sufi Meher Baba put it. Allah, God, Brahma, etc is two steps below Beyond-the-Beyond according to Islamic theology. It’s the place no one can go because if it is – as Meher Baba says “literally nothing” (Baba’s words, not mine) – not even Allah, God, Brahma, etc can go there.
    When Yogis, Mystics and Saints say “it’s that about which nothing can be said.” I, after several decades of fighting it – even though every mystic book I read stresses it – was forced to concede they mean it literally. Full stop. End of sentence.

    Weirdly however, they all say – whether Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, etc that literal “nothingness” is what makes every kind of “something” possible through all the Planes. Because “nothing” can not cease (because “nothing” can not be born) all the “somethings” throughout the Planes also never cease since they are rooted in that nothingness beyond space-time (space-time is time-in-motion and thus is born). “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So yes, that sentence is true. The Beyond-the-Beyond allows and upholds space-time and everything within it – including infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss which every being on this planet – including single-celled creatures – is on the path to become. 🙂

  69. To follow what Lady Cutekitten and Onething and others have been discussing, Christian thought from at least the Council of Nicaea on makes a heavy distinction between an uncreated God and a created Creation because it’s an important part of thinking on God, the Incarnation, and the Trinity.

    The divine is commonly thought of in Western thought especially around the time of early Christianity as eternal (existing out of time) and impassive (cannot suffer). Jesus is thought of as truly human and divine. While I can’t say for every human it’s safe to say being human is involves a part of time and suffering. Thus you end up with an eternal and impassionable inside time and suffering. There are various ways to avoid this situation but Orthodox Christian thought instead decided to embrace it as part of the incomprehensibility of the Trinity.

    One way I like to think of it ties into omnipotence, another attribute associated with God, with a common paradox “Can an omnipotent being create a boulder so large it cannot lift it?” If yes, can the being be said to be omnipotent if it can’t do that? If no, the same retort applies. If the answer is the omnipotent being while remaining the same being becomes a half that can and another that can’t lift the boulder, you end up with a being that can lift and can’t lift the large boulder. A paradoxical being that hurts to conceptualize but answers the question. I see a similar case with God with the timely and impassioned preceding from the other due to nature of being eternal.

    As a Christian I tend to see us as creatures in that we are created by God. However we’re also made in the likeness in God so we too are paradoxical beings. By the way, when I say we I don’t mean just humans but other various sorts of beings in Creation. Ultimately the goal God has is for us is embrace being His children even if we’re different from Him in a way different from the Son.

    To tie back to Dion Fortune, I’m thinking about the descent, turn, and future ascent up the planes in this way. The descent is the formation of our being branching down from a Divine Creator with the initiators being various agencies along the way. Now existing at the “ground floor” of the material plane our goal is to work our way up to join God as part of Him while remaining ourselves. It’s a rough road but it’s one He Himself did as well even though He didn’t have to.

  70. Ron,

    Adding to what JMG said, Yahweh is not such a tyrant either: Bill Pulliam once mentioned that Yahweh seems to want exclusivity from his followers but doesn’t actually care what other people do. As I understand it, this is also the standard Jewish opinion on the matter, across essentially all movements of Judaism, and I’d certainly hope they’d know.

  71. Spinky, I’m far from convinced the 1% practice occultism of any kind. Since I became a well known author I’ve had the opportunity from time to time to meet very rich people, and I’ve found them to be fragile, clueless, and pampered — the sort of thing you normally find in a decaying aristocracy that’s been sheltered too long from the consequences of their actions. You can’t practice occultism effectively with that kind of mindset; you’ll crack. Dion Fortune, the author whose book we’re discussing, came out of the British middle class — her family had risen out of the working class a few generations before her time via the steel industry — and most occultists of her time and ours have working class or middle class backgrounds, because occultism is hard work and people from those backgrounds know how to work. The 1% don’t — work is something they hire someone else to do.

    Chris, the fantasy of controlling nature is really deeply graven in Western culture. I hope we can outgrow it, and grow up.

    Ron, fair enough. One of the advantages of polytheism is that you don’t have to pretend that a god of hatred and a god of love are the same god!

    Happypandatao, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Tsuzua, Alfred North Whitehead suggested that attributes such as omnipotence are simply a form of metaphysical flattery. I tend to think he’s right, because once you grant any of the “omni-” attributes you land yourself in hopeless contradictions and paradoxes. Nor does it make any conceivable difference — if a god is sufficiently powerful to perform miracles and save souls, does it really matter if he can’t actually make a rock so big he can’t lift it?

  72. Re: omnipotence and omniscience

    While I think the simulation hypothesis is silly, it’s a useful metaphor in some cases.

    Imagine a universe simulation with an overseeing sysadmin. The sysadmin would be omnipotent in the sense of being able to make any change in the system, omniscient in the sense of being able to see any value in the system, and if the program is written to preserve the old states, this omnipotence/omniscience would extend to any point in the history of the simulation: a change could be made, then the system rerun from that point. The sysadmin would thus be eternal – in the literal sense of outside of time – in that sense.

    But these attributes would all be relative to the system.

    As for salvation, the sysadmin can surely copy a chosen entity from the system and put it into another system with different conditions.

    The question is, then: from the perspective of those inside the system, who revere the sysadmin and hope to be copied to a new system, how much would that matter?

    (As an aside, has anyone else noticed that taking the simulation hypothesis seriously should substantially undermine the “But it would break the laws of physics!” argument against the supernatural?)

  73. I just wanted to wish everyone that cruises by Ecosophia a safe and good holiday weekend. We are going hog hunting and having piglet most likely, for Thanksgiving. Never thought I would detest an animal, but these pigs are making me nuts with their rooting and there are limited ways to handle the infestation.

    Thanks JMG for a place to freely express yourself wrt most anything. And thanks for keeping the trolls and deranged at bay for us. We don’t need a safe space, just a free one!

  74. Whoever had their angels mixed up: Michael is the one with the sword or lance, usually pictured standing on Lucifer’s neck; Gabriel usually has a trumpet, which he’ll blow on Judgement Day, at which time we all get to explain our failings and unpardoned sins.

    JMG, in your experience, do the 1% know or care that one heck of a backlash is coming for their rapacious behavior?

  75. James, that works. Fortune says much the same thing in the Cos.Doc., interestingly: the Solar Logos (Solar Sysadmin?) is omnipotent in terms of the solar system he creates, but not in terms of the Cosmos.

    Oilman2, everyone I know who’s bagged a feral pig says it’s the best pork anyone ever tasted in the history of the cosmos. Happy hunting, and good eating thereafter!

    Your Kittenship, based on the examples I’ve encountered, it’s inconceivable to them that they should ever have to face even the slightest consequences for their actions. When the blowback comes — well, a song I loved in my teen years phrases it well:

    ..their small-town eyes will gaze at you
    in dull surprise when payment due
    exceeds accounts received…

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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