Not the Monthly Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: The Twelve Rays and the Seven Cosmic Planes

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 belts; it’s turning out to be as wild a ride as I expected.

As noted in earlier posts here, 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 3, “The Twelve Rays and the Seven Cosmic Planes,” p. 18-22.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 2, “The First Trinity,” pp. 26-31, and the first three paragraphs of the following chapter.

Commentary:

This is an extremely complex chapter in which a great many concepts are covered very briefly, so we’ll take things a step at a time. We pick up again where we left off, with the three great Rings—the Ring-Chaos, the Ring-Cosmos, and the Ring-Pass-Not—all in place. As in last month’s reading, it’s useful for what follows to imagine them at right angles to one another, as shown in the diagram below.

The text summarizes the points already made about the three Rings, and stresses that only the Ring-Cosmos can create anything, because the forces of the Ring-Chaos diffuse outward into infinity. The Ring-Cosmos has a limit—the Ring-Pass-Not—which prevents its forces from diffusing; instead, they act and interact among themselves and produce complexity. Notice here one of the fundamental principles of esoteric philosophy: creation requires limitation. To bring something into being is to accept limits. To reject limits is to guarantee that whatever you do will dissolve uselessly into the Void.

This is a very difficult concept for most people nowadays to grasp. Now as in Dion Fortune’s time, a great deal of pop spirituality fixates on the notion that limits are always bad and that you can and should free yourself of all limits. There’s a certain value to these teachings, since a great many people limit themselves in self-defeating ways. Believing that there are no limits can help people shake off limiting beliefs that they’ve absorbed from their parents, teachers, or culture, and accomplish things they didn’t believe they could do. The difficulty here is, first, that unfairly limiting beliefs aren’t the only kind of limits that exist, and second, that believing that there are no limits itself imposes certain very sharp limits on those who hold this belief.

One of the many cats Dion Fortune let out of the bag in The Cosmic Doctrine—it’s discussed in Chapter 25—is the reason why the fixation on limitlessness became so widespread in 20th century pop spirituality: it was one way for occult groups to create a readily accessible pool of force that could be directed by the group’s adepts. There were a number of such gimmicks, and most of the big public occult groups of the time used one or more of them relentlessly, teaching exercises to the largest possible number of novices that mostly functioned as ways to charge the pool of forces, and then selecting from among the novices the few who had the discipline, intelligence, and commitment to become adepts themselves and work with the pool of forces.

This doesn’t have to be done in a secretive and abusive manner. The more reputable occult schools, Dion Fortune’s among them, were quite open about what they were doing, and explained to participants how their contributions of force would be used. Churches by and large used to do the same thing. Read Christian writings about group worship from before the First World War and very often the concept of group prayer as a source of energy is all but spelled out. Of course you then have to have priests or ministers who know what to do with the energy thus collected, and that’s become increasingly rare as today’s churches embrace modern, up-to-date, cutting-edge notions of clergy training that guarantee that the clergy thus trained will be hopelessly ignorant concerning the magical dimensions of the ceremonies they perform.

It doesn’t help that many of the ceremonies in question have been revised by people who were guided by fashionable notions of relevance rather than any grasp of magical principles, and that many of the practices given to the laity to guide their end of the work have been abolished or neglected due to reforms with similar motivations.  In some denominations, as a result, the services no longer bring in any energy at all, and you get at best a pleasant gathering with some moral platitudes thrown in for seasoning, and at worst one of those undead churches that would not feel noticeably different if the minister and congregation had all been expertly embalmed.

In other denominations the energy still comes in, but since no one knows what to do with it any more, it sits unused and turns stagnant. It usually ends up discharging through the clergy using the normal outlet of the life force, and you get another sexual scandal. I’m not sure how many people realize that the decrease in miracles and the  increase in sexual scandals among clergy have the identical cause, but from the point of view of occult philosophy, it’s obvious.

The Cosmic Doctrine, though, was written for those who want to work with power, not for those who simply want to sit in the congregation and contribute power for the person up front to work with. If you want to work with power, you need to understand what, in a later chapter, Fortune will call the Law of Limitation. The principles that underlie that law are the ones we’ve been covering in the two chapters we’ve read already.

You embrace limitation when you want to create and sustain something; you release limitation when you want something to dissolve into the Void. As you create and sustain something, though, it takes on unexpected qualities.  In the metaphoric language of our text, the forces we’re discussing are movements of empty space, but as movement reaches its maximum complexity it produces a second kind of activity, which our text describes as light; when light, in turn, reaches its maximum complexity it produces a third kind of activity, which our text describes as sound.

This is one of the places where it’s crucial to remember that The Cosmic Doctrine is a system of metaphors meant to teach occult philosophy, not a physics textbook. In physics, movement doesn’t create light and light doesn’t create sound, except in certain jerry-rigged instances. In the metaphor we’re using, things are otherwise, and it’s worth spending time imagining movement creating light and light creating sound, and then considering what this might mean.   One point of the metaphor—there are others—is that movement, color, and sound comprise the three primary tools of the operative mage, and are combined in even the simplest magical working. Another point of the metaphor, more broadly applicable than the first, is that activity of one form can cause activity in other forms, and if you’re not paying attention, this can blindside you.

As force begets force, and the movements of the Ring-Cosmos flow back inward, the simple spinning movement described earlier breaks apart into a cascade of more complex movements, accompanied by light and sound. The first set of these complex movements are the Twelve Rays, which radiate from the center to the circumference and return to the center again. Our text calls them “a set of revolving spirals,” which may be confusing unless you know that the words “spiral” and “helix” were treated as interchangeable by a great many authors in Dion Fortune’s time. The Rays are streams of force that spin around their own axis of movement as they flow out from the center and return to it, and the meeting of the Rays in the center turns the center into a great cauldron of energies—in Fortune’s language, the Central Sun.

Each Ray is paired with the Ray that flows out in the opposite direction. For the purpose of the metaphor, the energies of the Ring-Cosmos are imagined as a disk spinning around the Central Sun, like an old-fashioned vinyl record around the spindle at the center of the turntable. Of each pair of Rays, one flows out along the upper surface of the disk and returns along the lower, while the other flows out along the lower surface and returns along the upper.

“This is a very deep truth, closely related to practical occultism,” notes Fortune. When she says something evasive and portentous like this, by the way, you can take it for granted that she’s hinting at polarity magic, the mode of magical working with sexual energies that was central to her inner teachings. You’ll find the basic theory, including an explanation of what she’s hinting at here, in her book The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage.

So we’ve got the spinning disk of energies with twelve Rays flowing out from the Central Sun and returning to it. The movements of the Rays then set up stresses in the disk that divide it into seven concentric rings. These are the seven Circles, which are also the seven Cosmic Planes. It’s important not to mistake these for the seven planes discussed in practical occultism; as we’ll see, the Cosmos is the whole of which individual solar systems (in Fortune’s terms, “universes”) are tiny parts, and the seven planes that you and I can work with belong to our own solar system, which exists in its entirety on the seventh Cosmic Plane.

With the development of the seven Cosmic Planes the evolution of the Cosmos is complete. The three Rings, seven Planes, and twelve Rays form the background to everything else that happens. (Those of my readers who know anything about the Cabala know exactly where these numbers come from and what they refer to; those who don’t can find the details in Dion Fortune’s book The Mystical Qabalah or my somewhat less evasive book Paths of Wisdom.) It’s what happens within that framework that will concern us from here on in.

What happens within that framework, first of all, is that the movements of the Rays as they cross the spinning Circles set off additional movements in space, which our text calls “Tangentials.” The Tangentials are brief movements of space that flow off at various angles, and when there are enough of them in a given region of the cosmos, they collide with each other. (In Chapter 4, Fortune explains that this happens where the Rays intersect with one another to form the Central Sun.) When two Tangentials set in motion by different Rays collide, they deflect each other’s motion, and start spinning around each other, forming a stable unit. Notice here another of the fundamental principles of esoteric philosophy: when you oppose something you lock it into place, and you lock yourself into a relationship with it.

Two tangential movements spinning around each other, locked into relationship with each other, and forming a single vortex: this is a prime atom. This is another of those places where it’s important to remember that the Cosmic Doctrine is not a physics textbook; the atoms we’re discussing aren’t the kind that physicists study. They are metaphors, remember, meant to train the mind rather than inform it.

The prime atoms are the building blocks from which everything else in the Cosmos is made. Some of them, as we’ll see, remain prime atoms, but others interact with other prime atoms and form composite atoms. The process is the same as the one that formed the prime atoms:  two prime atoms collide, deflect each other’s motion, and start spinning around each other, forming a stable unit. The process continues as the composite atoms absorb more influences and become more complex. Eventually, in place of a simple spinning, you get a pattern of motion that approximates an angular figure, with from three to ten sides.

The atoms, prime and composite, then sort themselves out through something not too far from centrifugal motion. Those prime atoms that remain unattached stay in the Central Sun. Those that have become composite begin to drift outwards, and settle out into one of the seven Circles: the three-sided composite atoms into the circle just outside the Central Sun, the four-sided atoms into the next circle out, and so on, out to the nine-sided atoms, which fill the seventh circle. And the ten-sided ones? We’ll get to those in a later chapter.

Toward the end of the chapter, Fortune drops two broad hints. The first is the recapitulation that assigns the numbers 1 through 5 to five different movements covered in The Cosmic Doctrine, and thence to five basic concepts. Those concepts are among other things the first five of the ten Spheres of the Tree of Life, seen from a particular point of view, and those of my readers who know their way around Cabalistic symbolism may find it interesting to explore the Tree of Life from this standpoint.

The second is one of the few places she gets close to explaining a concept that pervades The Cosmic Doctrine but is never quite explained in so many words. You will remember from Chapter 1 that the Ring-Cosmos rotates relative to the Ring-Chaos, and that this rotation forms the Ring-Pass-Not. You will also remember from Chapter 2 that the angle in which the Ring-Cosmos starts moving originally defines “good” for that Cosmos, while the angle of the Ring-Chaos, which is perpendicular to the original angle of the Ring-Cosmos, defines “evil.”

As the Ring-Cosmos rotates, in other words, it gradually approaches the angle of the Ring-Chaos, then passes through that angle and out the other side, diverging from it until it returns to its original angle (though it’s turned over and is therefore upside down and spinning in the opposite direction). Then, as it turns further, it approaches the angle of the Ring-Chaos again, passes through it, and returns to its original angle in its original orientation.

This is the basis for what occult philosophy calls the Days and Nights of Manifestation. This is the vastest of all the cycles that shape the Cosmos, the one that governs the rise and fall of universes. The rule here is simple: when the Ring-Cosmos is rotating toward the angle of the Ring-Chaos, that’s a Day of Manifestation, and when the Ring-Cosmos is rotating toward its own angle, that’s a Night of Manifestation.

Why? Because the Ring-Chaos is what sets things in motion. If the Ring-Cosmos were to rotate at its original angle forever, nothing would ever change or grow or evolve; as mentioned in Chapter 2, the Ring-Cosmos unchecked is static in the present moment. The Ring-Chaos provides the force that tips the balance and sets the Cosmos moving. So there are two Days and two Nights of Manifestation in each full rotation of the Ring-Cosmos. Each Day begins as the attraction of the Ring-Chaos overturns the static balance of the previous Night, and ends as those forces set in motion that haven’t established an equilibrium with the rest of the Cosmos are drawn out to the Ring-Pass-Not, the boundary of existence, and dissolve into the Unmanifest. Every Night begins as the remaining forces start to settle into their equilibrium, and ends as the wholly balanced and equilibrated Cosmos is disturbed anew by the attraction of the Ring-Chaos.

In itself, even if it wasn’t a metaphor, that would be of limited use to human occultists, who exist in an eyeblink of Cosmic time. What makes this useful is that every smaller cycle in the Cosmos has similar phases. This is true, for example, of the cycles of the day, the lunar month, and the year. Take the lunar month for an example. The period between the New Moon and the First Quarter is favorable for beginning anything new; the period between the First Quarter and the Full Moon is favorable for strengthening and consolidating things; the period between the Full Moon and the Last Quarter is favorable for making changes; the period between the Last Quarter and the New Moon is favorable for ending and letting go.

The reference to “the numbers of the secret calendar” is a reference to this. There are various systems for tracking tides of the sort just set out, ranging from relatively simple methods such as watching the phases of the Moon, to maddeningly intricate numerological and calendrical systems that take a lot of study to grasp. The point remains the same, which is that time is not just an undifferentiated flow; it cycles through different phases, and some of those phases are more favorable for certain activities than others.

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. There are a lot of images in this chapter, so take your time and try to imagine each one as clearly as you can.

As you do this, 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 September 12. Until then, have at it!

148 Comments

  1. John–

    I am (gradually) accepting that Reality is not an object of knowledge; however — dear gods! — this text is maddeningly opaque. I reread the chapter last night in preparation for today’s post and I still got less than half (honestly, less than a third) of what you elucidated here this morning. I’ll keep at it, and thank you for doing this study. I’d never have gotten even this far on my own.

  2. David, remember that this text was originally circulated solely among an inner circle of Fortune’s students: that is, people who already had an extensive training in occult philosophy, and were used to the style of writing Fortune uses — not a small thing! That is to say, yeah, it’s maddeningly opaque. I spent a long time pounding my head against it before I finally read enough other occult literature to be able to make sense of it.

  3. MOVEMENT —> COLOR —–> SOUND

    Perhaps a fair analogy to this process would be the pollinator gardens I planted; first I worked the soil, adding manure and transplanting the starts, which is movement; then the purple flowers of the Anise Hyssop grew, which is color; and last came the buzzing of the bumble bees, which is the sound. This then created a little cosmos, or ecosystem, that has its own, self-sustaining life with a regular pattern of movement, plant growth, color in the flowering and sound in the arriving bumblebees with the Day of Manifestation, the growing season; and Night of Manifestation, in this context, winter.

  4. John–

    I don’t know how the rights of such things work, but if you haven’t already considered the idea, I’d encourage you to explore the possibility of producing an annotated edition of The Cosmic Doctrine or perhaps a solo work of Commentaries.

  5. John,
    Reading this made me think of the relation of freedom to structure. For example, there’s a great deal of creative freedom within the structure of a sonnet or a haiku. In mathematics (where I’ve contibuted some original results in combinatorics) there’s a great deal of creative freedom within a set of axioms and rules of logic. But there comes a time when the possibilities of a structure become exhausted, at least where major breakthroughs are concerned. (You had mentioned this in a much earlier column in connection with musical theatre, which was nearing that point.) So, I’m thinking, with societies. Consumerism must have seemed very liberating at first to people who grew up in relative want and some of the expressions–the car culture of the 1950’s for example–were wonderful. But now that structure’s being exhausted (among other things, by literal resource exhaustion), and ready to dissolve, and some other organizing principle will arise in its wake.

  6. Violet, an elegant meditation on the theme! Thank you.

    David, not only have I considered it, I’ve got a publisher lined up. 😉 Since Dion Fortune’s works went out of copyright last year, there’ll be no obstacle to a book of commentaries — the same publisher will also be bringing out a new printing of the revised edition.

    Greg, excellent! Fortune talks about exactly that process later in the text — you get a new influence, it shakes everything up, then the new influence gradually gets integrated and equilibrated and things settle down into a rut until the next new influence comes along. No question, we’re ready for the next influence.

  7. I found the discussion of limits as necessary for creation and manifestation rather liberating 😉 as well as making a whole lot of sense. Limitlessness as powerlessness was an eye-opening thought.

  8. “…to become adepts themselves and work with the pool of forces.” Not to mention the large bank accounts thus engendered. These teachings were rarely, if ever, given for free (at least in the latter half of the last century) and many were quite costly in both time and money. Many organizations amassed huge amounts of wealth and property by opening up to one and all, provided they could afford the programs.

    Yanocoches

  9. Regarding the need for limits it makes sense that if you wanted to concentrate energy you’d need to keep it in an insulated container. It makes magic sound like a Carnot heat engine where you don’t want any more energy leaking away than is absolutely unavoidable. Makes me wonder if there’s a magic equivalent of CCHP and quadgeneration that wring every last drop of work out of it.

  10. To JMG, I dug out my copy of “Art of the Osage” by Garrick Alan Bailey and was intrigued by the resemblance of the traditional cosmology of the native Osage people to Dion Fortune’s Cosmic Doctrine.

  11. John–

    Re the forthcoming Commentaries

    Glad to hear it! I shoulda figured you’d already be on top of that 🙂 Looking forward to seeing it in print.

  12. Presumably the annual cycle ought to work the same way as the lunar cycle, e.g., fall being for making changes, winter for letting go. But would the winter solstice correspond to the new moon, or would you start somewhere else? (The cross-quarter days have always made more sense to me for definition of seasons, e.g., Samhain to Imbolc equals winter.)

  13. I’m picturing the recent and awesome pictures of the stable, perhaps mutually supportive atmospheric vortexes on Jupiter. All things in motion, motion balanced by equivalent yet opposite motion, all in a dance of motion that defies human expression. Perhaps I wax overly poetic, and this is clearly a sign that I need to study a great deal more in order to have the necessary vocabulary for expression. Either way, I appreciate this book study. Thank you.

  14. In response to a previous comment, I was also thinking about the idea of limits and creativity. When I studied the music of J.S. Bach for the first time, the teacher said that Baroque music had very strict limits, and that Bach remained within those limits as a composer, and yet created a vast amount of exquisite music. And he created it under strict time pressures, which makes it all the more amazing to me.

    Reading this way, with you as a guide, is really interesting. It is hitting on so many things that I try to think about, but just have trouble grasping. thanks. Kathy

  15. John, my shallow understanding takes the metaphor of the ring-cosmos and ring-chaos in such a way that I see the ring-chaos generated at every point of the ring-cosmos in opposition to the movement of ring cosmos. It’s this “every point” relationship that establishes the shell of the ring-pass-not, so each point has it’s own thrust block and with all the rings and rays inside allows for the massive complexity of a universe. So evil, as spin toward limitless un-manifestation, is ever present. I know that good and evil “are not ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as you understand these terms.” However, in your recent KW4 comments you described San Francisco (really well…) as influenced by either the luciferien or ahrumanian type of evil. Do those types of evil relate to the ring chaos evil (positive/negative)?

  16. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Thank you for blogging about this. I am glad indeed to know that your annotated edition is in the works.

    I would be interested to read more about how, as you write, “activity of one form can cause activity in other forms, and if you’re not paying attention, this can blindside you.”

    Re: limits. @ Greg Simay commented on the creative freedom of the limits imposed by haiku, for example. As a poet myself, one who favors the 5-7-5 form, I heartily agree with that.

    Appreciatively,

    MILLICENTLY LURKING

  17. John,
    Thank you so much for all the work you do, it is making such a difference in my life.

    This week’s discussion of limits fits in well with the discussion in the comments last week about the other native American archetype embodied in modern America- the Wendigo. The unending hunger and insatiable greed of the Wendigo has taken over our social system (now I know my enemies name).

    My first instinct is to fight it with everything I have – oppose it with all of my being. But if I understand correctly if I try to do that I will be locking the Wendigo in place and defeating myself. And a direct confrontation with the forces of the Wendigo would be suicide anyway. (it has the numbers, the money, the guns, and if I am honest it also has many people smarter and more clever than me.)

    So how to defeat the Wendigo? Ultimately, I think that its limitless greed and hunger will cause it to devour itself. But it is doing such damage to everything else on its way to self-destruction that simply letting things run their course is not something I am willing to do. So I guess it is time to research, meditate and pray on how to turn the Wendigo’s strengths and limitless greed against itself. Find a way to help the Wendigo dissolve into the void far sooner than it would naturally.

  18. Thank you John, I find your posts really thought-provoking (I’ve been thinking about archetypes all week). I wonder if you could expand a bit on how churches used to collect and then use energy – was this built into the liturgy somehow? You mention writings that discuss this – is there anything you’d recommend reading?

  19. No limits: i read Dion Fortune’s text and thought about how similar it seems to Edgar Cayce’s body of work. From an academia point of view, in the past, one solution to jobs going offshore was to have everyone acquire health care skills: certified nurse assistant, licensed practical nurse, just the entry level to ensure employment. Now I think everyone should know how to build themselves a dwelling: we have the milestone of acquiring a driver license, why not include a “builder license” instead? Dwellings come from our forefathers Masonic tools: plumb bob, Square, apron, trowel.

    Commenting further on education systems, I’ve read recently that a student can have a $45 tablet and learn advanced reading, perhaps writing, and arithmetic. This as the state of Colorado switches to a four-day school week. If you can pass the SAT, so be it. If you can pass the Medical College Entrance Exam (MCAT), good on ya.

  20. “Notice here one of the fundamental principles of esoteric philosophy: creation requires limitation. To bring something into being is to accept limits.”

    Not just esoteric philosophy – it’s common logical sense that Creation implies Form, and Form implies limits, i.e. the boundaries between whatever-it-is and whatever-it-isn’t.

    This being an essential underlying theme for any Christian theodicy, it’s encouraging to hear that Dion Fortune made the point too. All wisdom must reject the monist mush which you amusingly term “pop spirituality”.

  21. A Central Sun (which since it appears we’re leaping exuberantly between astronomy and physics metaphors, we might also call a nucleus), from which building blocks made of paired entwined helices diffuse outward and interact to form more complex structures… this part sounds oddly familiar!

    (The analogy is imperfect and only seems to hold within a small portion of the overall picture. Still, I wonder what Dion Fortune would have thought of her Dipolar Notional Atoms having such a close biochemical parallel.)

  22. Re: the implications of movement –> light –> sound

    I thought immediately of animals in the sea, communicating. Fish dance to communicate over short distance, to specific individuals, usually. Almost all creatures move, for their own basic needs to eat, mate, escape, catch, instinctively.

    Adding light displays, they can communicate greater complexity, and very quickly – octopus or deep sea creatures flashing complex information about moods, prey and mating status. Without obstruction, light also travels far, and purely. Fewer animals do this. this. Anyone with eyes can see your light, even if they don’t know exactly what it means. But it is easy to block with matter in the way.

    But creatures that are very far apart, with coral atolls and plankton clouds in the way, they sing, long deep songs. Blue whales are the prime example ( on land giraffe and elephant rumble like this through the ground,too). Whales have language and dialect and ritual. Whale song can travel much farther, but slowly, and can be harder to perceive without having the right hearing apparatus, and other sounds can interfere more easily, because of the length of time between messenger and receiver; changes in the medium vibrating may also alter the sound, and subtly the message.

  23. >In physics, movement doesn’t create light … except in certain jerry-rigged instances.

    Motion producing light was actually rusky-rigged: Pavel Cherenkov won the 1958 Nobel Prize for demonstrating it, although a limey (Oliver Heaviside, he of the famous step function) did the math to show how a while before. The effect is very much like a sonic boom, but in a dielectric medium rather than an acoustic one.

    If you aren’t being super strict in interpreting her words, though, the principle of changes to more-concrete oscillations (like the electron orbitals that give atoms their volume) giving rise to less-concrete oscillations (like photons) is fairly general in physics, and can be observed in quite a few contexts.

  24. JMG
    “when you oppose something you lock it into place, and you lock yourself into a relationship with it.”
    Ah … yes … I remember it well.
    best
    Phil H
    If I may, it looks as though there is going to be a fairly informal meet-up of Greerites in London, some time. Seems too early for Cosmic Doctrine but some are picking up on candidate British archetypes as a point of interest. I have been contacted and told my previous attempts to leave my lightly disguised email address as initial contact did not work. Try again philsharris2002 and then the usual yahoo.co.uk

  25. Fortune’s comment about divine trinities being based on the triple rings caught my attention before I could even get into pondering the discs and rays, and my medication today was focused on which part of the Christian trinity would be linked to which ring. Based on the order in which they arise, Father/Son/Spirit would correspond to Cosmos/Chaos/Pass-Not. I thought this seemed odd at first – the “evil” ring linked to Jesus, the most explicitly merciful, generous, and compassionate of the persons of the Trinity. But the more I reflected, the more sense it made.

    The Son, after all, is also the only member of the Trinity to die, and his death and resurrection could be seen as an allegory for the process of created things being drawn out to the edge of existence, dissolving, and then passing back into creation. He defeats death by submitting to it, just as Fortune says that one destroys evil by refusing to anchor it with resistance.

    This perspective suggests that Christ’s role in Creation is as a disruptive force preventing stagnation and accretion – appropriate for a revolutionary messianic figure who preached against the accumulation of wealth and exhorted his followers to “hate the world”. As Fortune says, the Ring-cosmos would become rigid and static without the Ring-Chaos pulling against it. As the Logos, he creates by separation: to name something is to distinguish it from other things. The association with the ring of the Devil is hinted at in the Qabala, where “Moschiach” is equivalent in Gematria to “Nachash”, the Serpent of Eden who causes mankind to be cast outward from the unchanging comfort of paradise.

    The rituals of Christianity can thus be seen as techniques to harness the force of the Ring-Chaos and apply it carefully to the human soul as a purifying agent, “meeting hate with hate” as Fortune prescribes in order to banish the sin that obscures humankind’s view of God. Rather than denying one’s sins, and so locking them in place by resistance, one confesses them, allowing them to dissolve in the blood of the sacrificial Lamb.

  26. I’m very pleased to hear you’ll be publishing this commentary as a book. I never thought a book this short could be so DENSE.

  27. Dear JMG.
    I have been meditating in your “Law of limits”, here you come at it again in this comment of the cosmic doctrine!
    I am afraid this text of Dion Fortune is way “out of my league”, but still I wait eagerly for your monthly post and I am starting to read the book not trying to understand it (beyond the literal words), but to allow it to make movies in my head. For those like myself with very little education and interest in art or music, always prioritizing the analytic part of the brain, it is a challenging but exciting experience.
    God bless you!

  28. JMG,

    When I read the description of the Rays, I got a different image than what you depict in the blog post. My edition of the Cos Doc states of the Rays that they “must be thought of in pairs, each one being in special association with its opposite number, so that the true movement is a figure 8 [depicted in my text as a figure 8 on its side, looks like the infinity symbol], the outgoing flow being above in one half of the circle, and below in the opposite half.”

    So the image I got was all the Rays going out on one surface of the disc, as you put it like the surface of a vinyl record, from the center to the periphery in the same direction and all coming back on the opposite surface all in the same direction toward the center and crossing as they reach the center to form the figure 8 symbol on its side. All Rays on one surface are moving from the center outward, and all Rays on the other surface are moving from the periphery to the center, then crossing to the other surface at the Central Sun, which in my mind increases tremendously the power of the center and where, as Fortune states, “the synthesis of all the forces, and the balancing of them” happens. (If I can figure out how to develop a graphic image of what I am talking about, I will post a link to it.)

    Anyway, it so happens that yesterday I was soaking in an herb bath and musing on the movement of the Rays, developing the image of them in my mind, seeing them, then starting to feel them, and suddenly I realized that I was seeing the attraction of male and female to each other, the polarity of attraction as I imagined a Ray coming toward me, turning, and heading back to the imagined other, and a Ray leaving him and heading toward me, the Rays crossing in the space between us, arriving, turning again and heading back, a movement that set up an oscillation of energy. This image was quite profound and revealing to me of the energies of sexual attraction. And I realized today when I read your blog post that the crossing of the Rays as they circulated from me to him and him to me created the “Central Sun” between us which in this context I interpret now as representing the relationship formed between two people. The relationship is a third entity created from the polarities and the movement of the Rays. And the relationship, symbolized by the Central Sun image, is the synthesis and the balancing of the forces of attraction between male and female. (And I realize writing this that the metaphor could extend to a multitude of different beings, bodies, situations…)

    When I first read this chapter, I had a rather ho-hum response, so I read it a couple more times but didn’t start to get a true feel for the concepts until my epiphany yesterday in the bathtub compounded by your explication today.

    Thank you!
    Yanocoches

  29. Does the metaphor for the ring cosmos carry through to the readings that astrologers use to let us know what will occur and how we can perceive and act in accordance with the cosmic movements? There seems to be congruence between the spinning rings and time, the universe containing the celestial bodies and the metaphor that astrological readings for individuals and the movements of space, and their metaphorical effects upon individuals. We all start our infinitesimally tiny spans of existence at slightly different times so our metaphoric positions in the ring cosmos are unique.

    As concerns limitations, I once had a course in expository writing given by a rather brilliant professor, Larry Sullivan. In this course we learned how to limit the topic, concentrate upon and use the didactic method to get our points across, and create an essay that gets our points across. During that course I wrote an essay about the hierarchical structure of the universe. It was sophomoric, the explanation being that the cosmos at the time was supposedly doughnut shaped, so using that shape I expounded upon what it’d be like to be part of a real gigantic doughnut in the next higher realm. I discussed briefly what would happen if a being in this larger world ate the part of the doughnut we were in, and included speculations and probabilities concerning this. It’s from this course that the concepts of limitlessness [diffusion of the metaphorical movement] and limitation [Which gives the metaphor power and cohesion] are very real to me.

    I will watch to see how I am reacting to the phases of the moon, and the day! What cool concepts.

  30. David, glad to hear it. Our culture is so fixated on notions of endless expansion into emptiness — see the religious emotions that have gathered around the idea of space travel for a good example! — that it takes a leap of mind to realize just how useful and necessary limits are, and how they empower us.

    Yanocoches, no question, there were a lot of loudly publicized schools in those days that were basically cash cows for the people who ran them. The better grade of occult school asked for a modest membership fee — basically, enough to pay a share of the overhead for the school itself — and a lot of teachers, Fortune among them, pointed out that when you’re asked to pay lots of money for occult instruction, you’re being fleeced.

    Yorkshire, an excellent metaphor! The answer is yes — one of the benefits of discursive meditation is that it allows you to extract much more from a given set of occult practices.

    Danae, fascinating. I haven’t read that — will see if the local library system has a copy.

    David, glad to hear it. Yeah, I try not to waste prose — and this seemed like a project that needed to be done.

    Dewey, square on the mark. The equivalent of the New Moon is the spring equinox; you set things in motion in the spring, you bring them to completion in the summer, you harvest and sort things out in the fall, and you leave things fallow in the winter.

    Imbrium, you’re most welcome. Those vortices would make great themes for meditation!

    Katherine, to my mind, it’s because Bach worked within very strict forms that his music is so good. As Gyorgi Doczi pointed out in The Power of Limits, beauty is the product of energy interacting with limitation, and the greatest beauty comes from very high energies interacting with very strict limits.

    Coboarts, that’s one way to construct a metaphor, but it’s not the one Fortune is using; see if you can figure out, by “thinking through” her metaphors, why she chose to picture it the way that she did. As for Ahrimanic and Luciferian evil, that distinction comes into being later on in the process — we’ll get there in due time.

    Millicently, you’re welcome and thank you. As for the way that actions in one mode can trigger other actions in different modes, have you ever ridden in the kind of car that, once you push it above a certain speed, starts to vibrate? The action of driving down the road (movement) sets up rhythmic patterns in the car (sound) that, pushed far enough, can actually damage the car.

    Jim, you’re almost there. What do you do instead of opposing something? Empower its opposite. Don’t fight the Wendigo, figure out which forces move in the other direction, and strengthen those, starting with yourself and working out from there. Don’t participate in the Wendigo consciousness yourself — that means, for example cutting way back on your own consumption — and try to open up gaps between the Wendigo and the things you care about, in as many ways as you can, so that it meets less resistance and does less damage in its inevitable rush outward to the Void.

    Squalembrato, good. You’re paying attention.

    James, sure. Let’s imagine a church service; you’ve got the congregation in their pews and the priest at the altar. The priest goes through a prescribed set of words and actions which stir the emotions of the congregation, and they pour out their emotional energy toward the altar in response. If the priest knows what he’s doing, he’s going through a series of inner activities at the same time, which direct those energies along specific channels; there are also spiritual beings — “angels” is the usual term in Christian practice — who assist with the handling of the energy. At the peak of the service, the flows of energy reach a crescendo and extend “upwards” (metaphorically) to the god who is worshiped in the church, and the god responds with a “downward” flow of power, which depending on your denomination may be embodied in the Communion wafer or simply stream out over the congregation, and through them into the world. That’s the whole point of a Sunday service. As for books, I read a bunch of them back in the day but it’s been a very long time; the one I still have, which is kind of idiosyncratic but interesting, is C.W. Leadbeater’s The Science of the Sacraments.

    Jenxyz, sure, but you’ll have to figure out a way around the very popular habit of using control over real estate to parasitize off other people. That can be done, but it’s going to take some work and some serious changes.

    Robert, well, Dion Fortune was a Christian — a distinctly odd sort of Christian, but a regular communicant at her local Anglican church, and the author of a very well-regarded work on Christian mysticism, Mystical Meditations on the Collects — so it’s not surprising that she would get that! As for “monist mush” — a nice label, that — I probably should do a post on that one of these days. The difficulty with pop-culture monism is that it mistakes half of a truth for the whole truth; of course that’s where most of the really ghastly mistakes come from…

    Walt, I wish she’d lived into the era of the new biology — I think she would have done a lot with it.

    SaraDee, hmm! I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it’s a fine metaphor.

    Joel, interesting. I don’t have a background in physics, so didn’t know that. Thank you.

    Phil, glad to hear it. I’d gladly down an ale with the rest of you if I could!

    Fred, fascinating. Yes, that does make sense, doesn’t it?

    Kfish, welcome to occult philosophy. No question, it’s hard work.

    Elodie, thank you! When you “allow it to make movies in your head,” you’re doing exactly what Fortune wants you to do, and training your mind through the metaphorical images she presents. Keep at it, and you’ll find that the ideas will start to make more sense.

    Yanocoches, yes, that’s what I thought early on in my reading, too. Notice, though, the words right after the infinity symbol: “…the outgoing flow being above in one half of the circle, and below in the opposite half.” So the figure 8 isn’t to be taken quite that literally.

    Larry, yep. Astrology is among other things what happens to these vast and relatively simple Cosmic cycles when we get down to the scale of a single individual on a single planet in a single solar system. As for limitation as a tool in writing, dear gods, yes — half the reason most people have trouble writing well is that they try to write about too much, and so are reduced to vague floundering. Focus and limitation are essential there!

  31. So…things can get diffused into the void? But I thought nothing can get past the ring pass-not. Yet I see the ring chaos is outside of it…so the universe leaks? If the ring chaos generates forces…and they tend to diffuse toward the unmanifest …and the ring chaos is outside of the pass-not, then how does evil affect us?

  32. “One point of the metaphor—there are others—is that movement, color, and sound comprise the three primary tools of the operative mage, and are combined in even the simplest magical working.”

    Am I on the right track if I connect movement, color, and sound to Druid concepts of nwyfre, gwyar, and calas? Meaning, movement is the source or life force (nwyfre), color represents the fluidity of change towards one state or another (gwyar) like movement through the spectrum, and sound is the densest, most palpable form (calas). I know we’re not supposed to be so literally scientific with CosDoc, but I find it notable that sound in general is a slower moving energy wave, with bass sounds being the most penetrating, heavy, and hard to manage because of their big wave pattern. Every operative mage, from what I have come to understand as I study your system of Druid magic, begins with an intention/movement/nwyfre, follows this with a magical ritual/color/gwyar, inevitably changing consciousness on the material plane/sound/calas.

    Fortune features a recap where she ominously warns “You will meet these numbers again.” Oh dear. I tried to understand this section through my own unfortunate sneezing. I would like to share my analogy if it is at all helpful to anyone:

    Cosmic anatomy of a sneeze:

    1. Irritation/Histamine… Ring
    2. Sneeze… Manifest
    3. Wiping nose… Evolution
    4. Intersects with conscious thought… Form
    5. The choice to prevent more sneezing with self-care or the choice to ignore sneezing and face unknown consequences of ignoring whatever is causing the sneeze… Life

  33. Hi John Michael,

    It is nice that things are quieter this week. Oh boy, did you take us places last week! 🙂

    The human population on the continent recently passed 25 million. The day it was announced I heard a news report where a lady breathlessly proclaimed that the potential population on this continent was unlimited because, well the reason given was that human innovation was unlimited. Of course such claims fail many tests, but you know when I heard the lady speak, she really believed the claim. I later searched for the audio but have been unable to find it (not that I searched very hard for it as I’m busy on other things).

    Interestingly, I note that light is often part of Christian motifs and I guess that there is no coincidence there.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that light in the context that you wrote about, can also be the source for a local paradigm.

    Cheers

    Chris

  34. Onething, things within the Ring-Pass-Not don’t actually go out into the void. They simply dissolve into their most basic energies and are absorbed into the formless swirling energies of the Ring-Cosmos. We’ll be getting into that in more detail in later chapters.

    Kimberly, good! Making such connections is a good habit if it helps you expand your understanding of the text.

    Chris, I hope she doesn’t have to learn just how wrong she is by way of any of the really ghastly things that happen when a continent gets lethally overpopulated…

  35. Addendum to my previous comment: I want to make clear that when I referred to your term “pop spirituality” as “amusing”, I was being admiringly and not condescendingly amused. I’ll probably filch the term for my own use in the next round of arguments with my nearest and dearest…

  36. JMG
    Darkest Yorkshire has hit on an intriguing metaphor with heat engines (conversion of heat energy into kinetic energy / movement / electricity) and with methods to increase the efficiency of the conversion: quote: “Makes me wonder if there’s a magic equivalent of CCHP and quadgeneration that wring every last drop of work out of it.” Seems from your JMG reply, there is.
    I looked up quadgeneration and got this https://patents.justia.com/patent/9035482
    Now this design is all about discs, action and reaction, and limits, and a new and different design compared with the Nikolas Tesla ‘disc’ turbine of yesteryear. I note in passing that Nikolas Tesla had something of a cult following among New Age folk who included a research engineer friend of mine a decade or so ago.

    The above is a bit by-the-way but is intro to a thought on the way metaphors have been put to work in language in modern times. It is a commonplace that the mechanical clock came to dominate a model of meaning in the Clockwork Universe (apparently Newton actually did not like the comparison because it left God out of it). But the concept of ‘force’ applied to purpose still lingers, and we have the ubiquitous ‘energy’ applied to thoughts and to personality and to co-ordinated or synchronised group thinking and so on. We recognise ‘energy’ as an attribute.

    And latterly there is much talk of computers. It occurs to me that historically these concepts were not available. Thus, perhaps, in earlier times attributes of personality were more likely to provide close metaphors when vocabulary was needed to ascribe meaning. I think also of breath or wind or other poetic simile recruited for metaphor. These earlier terms of course use the direct experience of events that are already part of the stuff of mind.

    So light, colours, sound comprise the ur-language of the mind. Seems reasonable to me.

    best
    Phil H

  37. “To bring something into being is to accept limits. To reject limits is to guarantee that whatever you do will dissolve uselessly into the Void.”

    Suddenly, I see
    Why oh so many “poets”
    Can’t write a poem

  38. What do you do instead of opposing something? Empower its opposite.

    …..and now I see the elephant. For a long time I have wondered were you find the “ropes” the “fans” the “walls” the “hoses” and the “columns” that have made up so much of your writings over the years. You have been building an “elephant” to help shove the Wendigo into the void!

    Retrotopia, LESS, Butlerian Carnival, cycles of history, the gods, magic etc. etc. they each made sense on their own but now I see that they are part of a over all strategy to deal with the Wendigo.

    It feels like I am standing on a ridge line and I can finally see where I need to go and how to get there.

  39. JMG…
    I’m a little confused by your Ray Motion Diagram. When I grappled with the visualizations for this section, and re-read the text I came to a pretty unambiguous view of the rays as all rotating in the “same” direction.

    I did a hasty revision of your image to describe what I was seeing in my minds eye and posted it here: http://7goldfish.com/public_files/RayMotionRev.png & here: http://7goldfish.com/public_files/RayMotionFig8.png

    I’m not sure where I went wrong with this, as it would allow for the “figure 8 motion” that was described here:

    “Now these Rays, these circular Rays, which are reflected back from the Ring-Pass-Not, must be thought of in pairs, each one being in special association with its opposite number, so that the true movement is a figure of eight, the out-going flow being above in one half of the circle, and below in the opposite half.”

    I assumed that the “circle” referred to was the circle of the ray.
    This also has the interesting property that the cosmos-sphere has one half that is tending to be sucked into the central sun, and one have that is tending to be expelled.

    I also spent a great deal of time trying to figure out if the “hubs” of each of the rays landed within the 4th of the “Great rings”

    Also, thanks so much for these posts, they are very helpful.

  40. Fascinating! I was refreshing myself with “projection of the shadow” and noticed there are a lot of striking similarities between Jung’s ideas of this and what we’ve been learning from The Cosmic Doctrine. The conscious and the unconscious being similar to ring-cosmos and ring-chaos, and I am guessing reality itself being the ring-pass-not, and then realizing we go on a constant back and forth between the conscious and unconscious, always changing ourselves so that our psyche doesn’t become static. I honestly didn’t make the connection before that the ideas in The Cosmic Doctrine would be useful in helping to explain who we are on a personal level. It also all lends further credence to the idea that Jung was more of an occultist than a scientist.

  41. “I’m not sure how many people realize that the decrease in miracles and the increase in sexual scandals among clergy have the identical cause, but from the point of view of occult philosophy, it’s obvious.”

    *slaps forehead* Of course it is! (Now that you’ve pointed it out!)

    “..movement, color, and sound comprise the three primary tools of the operative mage, and .. activity of one form can cause activity in other forms…”

    A few months ago I ran across an article depicting bird songs visualised as flowers. The link below isn’t the one I originally read, but it gives the general idea. During a meditation just after this, I had a vision of birds “singing” flowers into their shapes, each bird having a particular resonance for a particular flower. Exhilarating, and not easily put into words, but it suggested to me that magery may not only be practiced by humans.

    https://designawards.core77.com/Visual-Communication/30854/Chirming

    Come to think of it, some of these images are not unlike Rays radiating from centre to circumference and returning to centre again – although not always in a count of Twelve.

    “The period between the New Moon and the First Quarter is favorable for beginning anything new; the period between the First Quarter and the Full Moon is favorable for strengthening and consolidating things; the period between the Full Moon and the Last Quarter is favorable for making changes; the period between the Last Quarter and the New Moon is favorable for ending and letting go.”

    Now this description rings true for me, in the most practical way, as “tuning in” the four phases of a menstrual cycle is the central clinical work in the TCM approach to functional infertility that is attributable (either partly or wholly) to the physiology of the woman.

    The First Menstrual Phase is a new beginning as a new egg is selected to ripen in the ovary. The Second Menstrual Phase is for strengthening and consolidating the egg. The Third Menstrual Phase (begins at ovulation) is favourable for making changes – fertilisation, movement of blastocyst and implantation, all active processes, may take place during this phase. The Fourth Menstrual Phase, is, of course favourable for ending and letting go with the period flow, UNLESS, the activity during the Third Menstrual Phase has switched the whole Cycle over into the First Pregnancy Phase (which means new beginnings in a larger and different cycle) instead. The “tuning” process means tailoring each week’s treatment (and also advice) to match the phases, almost exactly as you have described them here!

    Thanks for many new things to think about.

    And, if I may? As I’ve missed the window of opportunity…
    Just a quick word of personal thanks to the following who sent links, messages and/or added to my understanding in the discussion of autism in the last thread – Slithy Toves, Will J, Beekeeper, Lunar Apprentice, Daniel, and Tamhob.

  42. Robert, that was how I read it, so no worries. I’m not sure if you get this sort of thing on your side of the pond, but over here certain kinds of spirituality are very much a part of pop culture — an embarrassingly large number of people take up yoga or mindfulness meditation the way they get the latest hair style or go to the hot new vacation resort town, because it’s fashionable and all their friends are doing it.

    Phil H, that’s an excellent point, If computers are around long enough, we may see metaphors based on them becoming as important to popular thought as steam and hydraulic metaphors have done.

    Will, ding! We have a winner. My advice to aspiring poets writing in English has always been to master the sonnet form — not just fourteen lines of iambic pentameter with a certain rhyme scheme, but also the way that the first eight lines present a certain view of things and then the final six put in a twist that redefines it. If you can write a good sonnet, you can write pretty much any kind of poetry well, including free verse — but if all you do is free verse, your odds of being able to write any kind of poetry except the Vogon type are pretty low.

    Jim, good. Very good.

    Harry, the line you quoted seems to me to support the diagram as I’ve drawn it — “the outgoing flow” being the flow outward from the Central Sun, which goes above the disk on one side of the disk and below the disk on the other. I relate that to the way that the disk of the Ring-Cosmos is attracted toward the upper arc of the Ring-Chaos on one side and repelled by it on the other, causing the Ring-Cosmos to rotate: the outgoing flow, being drawn outward by the influence of the Ring-Chaos, is attracted to it, while the incoming flow, being drawn in by the influence of the Ring-Cosmos, is repelled by the Ring-Chaos.

    That said, of course, there’s only one person who can explain exactly what Dion Fortune meant when she wrote those lines, and she’s resting comfortably in a cemetery in Glastonbury these days, so if your interpretation works for you, by all means pursue it.

    Prizm, hmm! I hadn’t thought of that comparison at all, but of course you’re quite correct. I should probably fast-track my post on Jung as an occultist…

    Scotlyn, you’re most welcome. It’s a very rich text with a lot of things that can be unpacked from it. Many thanks for the birdsong flowers — those are fascinating!

  43. John–

    If the 3 rays, 7 circles/planes, and 12 rays correspond to the 3 (non-Earth) elements, 12 zodiacal signs, and 7 astrological planets assigned to the 22 paths (or rather, to paths 11 through 32) of the Tree — which is what I’m assuming you were referring to — then is an interaction between zodiac signs (rays) and planets (circles/planes) which somehow creates the tangential atoms, or am I pressing the correspondences too far? How does this symbolism of the rings and the planes and the rays tie in with the Tree generally?

  44. Phil, that turbine is an interesting sounding thing and good metaphor fuel but I don’t know enough engineering or physics to be able to visualise it without drawings. I actually meant something else by quadgeneration though. This is a good site about the systems I had in mind https://www.clarke-energy.com/news/. The ‘Power’ section shows the different things that can be done with generators to make them more efficient. The section ‘Gas Types’ also has a lot of interesting information about several different industries.

    I’ve spent time thinking about how other thermodynamic concepts could apply to spirituality – particularly whether spiritual changes and development could be described as adiabatic, isothermal, isochoric, isobaric, isoenthalpic…the whole family of iso- prefixes. I was reading Robert Thurman’s Inner Revolution and when he said that in Tibetan lore enlightenment is accompanied by a bright flash of light I thought “Does that mean enlightenment is an exothermic reaction?” That led to spending a while wondering where that energy would come from, whether it increases the amount of energy in the body, and the possibility that it’s not directly enlightenment but accumulated spiritual gunk being incinerated and returned to the cycle by the process of enlightenment. I also wondered if in contrast Zen enlightenment would be isothermal. It sounds very Zen. 🙂

  45. Re: poetic form

    Actually, in my humble opinion as non-English speaker and non-poet, I think haikus are much too easy in English because there are so many monosyllables! You can easily write a line composed of five monosyllables. In Japanese they seem to be more limiting (and therefore perhaps more fruitful) because there, you often can’t avoid polysyllabic words. Vice versa with rhyme, which may be too easy in Japanese (and Latin, and Ancient Greek) and is therefore not so appreciated in classical poetry. Actually, what we call rhyme was regarded as unfelicitous diction in classical Latin and Greek poetry and only came in use through popular Christian poets.

    Which is to say, yes, the more limiting the better 🙂 ! Scaldic meters like King Harald’s last poem at Stamford Bridge make your head spin…

  46. Following on the collective power of a church train of thought, I get the sense that perhaps it’s best to NOT join a church (grove, coven…) until I, as an individual, am spiritually prepared to participate in group power workings.

    That goes directly against what we’re taught as Christains growing up – that the church is there to nurture and foster spiritual growth in members of its congregation from the cradle on – and hints at something, well, let’s be kind, something slightly less philanthropic.

    Ive had this craving to join a druid grove for years now, if for no other reason than fellowship and guidance, but now I see that maybe that’s not the best way to go. That I need to become a little more me before I can really become we.

    At the same time, I now realize that you have basically demonstrated for us how a “church” is supposed to work, with you in the e-pulpit and the rest of us as your e-congregation. You feed your creative process with our energy, and return power to us through your insights, writings, and personal guidance.

    So maybe, in a sense, I’m already part of a church, even if it’s a rather idiosyncratic one…

    Is that off the mark?

  47. Hi JMG,

    Yanocoches, yes, that’s what I thought early on in my reading, too. Notice, though, the words right after the infinity symbol: “…the outgoing flow being above in one half of the circle, and below in the opposite half.” So the figure 8 isn’t to be taken quite that literally.

    I read your commentary about the circulation of the rays first before reading the CD text and and your graphic seemed very reasonable. When I read the CD text about the ways the rays traveled, I got confused, but the idea of a figure 8 made more sense as I tried to visualize the motion. Now your response to Yanocoches has me really confused. Just asking, but it seems to me that this motion should be illustrated perhaps as two smaller circles and that the motion comes up from the center, travels to the outer edge, dives under towards the center and then comes up again completing the circuit. Otherwise to me it seems as if there are two directions in relationship to the center, as the rays travel from one edge to the other wither on top or bottom. Is my assumtion that the rays originate from the center incorrect?

    Thanks

  48. Please excuse this question if you’ve already answered this somewhere or if it is ridiculously elementary – this is challenging going for someone (me) who has always struggled with anything abstract. The days and nights referenced above, are they literal, 24-hour days and nights or do they represent much longer periods of time – or do they not represent actual time as we think of it at all?

    Thank you for the diagrams, they are making it a bit easier to understand. Creating illustrations in my mind in order to understand concepts is how I got through school; when I went to college to study to be a translator, I visualized all the foreign languages and syntax I was learning by moving words and pictures around in my head. I’m a bit out of practice, though.

  49. @ Harry Pottash, thank you for the diagrams. The second image is the way I have envisioned the Rays in a figure 8 movement except I would have put the outgoing current on the top for some reason. (But it probably doesn’t matter in space, right?)

    JMG,
    Thank you for the discussion. Like Harry Pottash, I interpreted the “circle” to refer to the circle made by the Rays as they travel around the ring. I went back to the first chapter for the description of the Ring Cosmos as it gets moving. I never visualized the Ring Cosmos as have one polarity on each side but being half and half. The first chapter says:

    “Now the first circle must be conceived of as having an upper and a lower surface. The upper surface of the *outflowing* arc may be conceived of as positive, and the lower negative. The reverse being the case in the *inflowing* arc.” (emphasis with asterisks mine) So as I see it, the upper surface is positive on the way out and negative on the return, making the surface half positive and half negative. Same then would be true for the lower surface, only the opposite polarity. So the sides of the disc formed from the Ring Cosmos are not of a uniform polarity but half positive and half negative.

    This makes more sense to me as a way to describe how the dynamic of the spin via attraction and repulsion to and from the Ring Chaos happens. The positive half of the upper surface lifts up and is attracted to the Ring Chaos. This attraction happens in both halves, the positive half of the lower surface is attracted to the bottom half arc of the Ring Chaos. Once the positive halves pass their respective arcs of the Ring Chaos, the negative halves take over and cause the repulsion of the Ring Cosmos away from the Ring Chaos. This would set up a sure, one directional spin. Once the disc reaches the 90 degree angle, because of being repulsed by the negative sides, the positive aspects take over again, the upper positive surface, now the lower, heading toward the bottom half of the Ring Chaos and the lower positive surface, now the upper, heading toward the top half of the Ring Chaos.

    I wish I had the computer graphics skills to be able to make a computer image for what I am seeing. And I hope my verbal description makes some sort of sense. I can see this and feel this so clearly… and actually used my lunch plate today to make a moving example for myself just to make sure. (Got crumbs everywhere.)

    Yanocoches

  50. David, sounds like a great set of themes for meditation. 😉

    Matthias, there are also two other things at work in a classical haiku in Japanese. First, there must always be some kind of seasonal reference, however subtle; second, the poem is structured so that one of the words (the “hinge word”) can be read in two different ways, with two different meanings. (Japanese has a lot of homonyns, and haiku are always written in the kana syllabary rather with the kanji ideographs, to make it possible to play off both meanings). So it’s an extremely demanding form with strict limits, which is one of the reasons that so many of the greatest poems in Japanese have been written in it or the closely related waka form.

    Tripp, if it’s done honestly it can actually benefit anyone who’s willing to participate in it. One of the secrets of the life force is that the more flows out of you, the more flows into you — so if you spend every Sunday at church pouring out emotional energy, and it’s being handled by someone who knows what he or she is doing, you go away feeling refreshed and revivified. Another is that if you’re doing this in cooperation with a god, there’s a return flow of energy from the divine to the human which can be very intense and very beneficial. On the other hand, you get churches and other religious bodies which have become corrupt and predatory, where you’re just being used for your energy and there is no return flow from the divine — you get the benefits of increased flow, but there are various costs as well.

    As for the virtual Church of Ecosophia, yes, we’re basically doing the same kind of working on the mental rather than the astral and etheric planes. That’s also very common, and so far it seems to be working well.

    Kay, yes, they originate from the center, but they don’t dive through the center to the other side when they pass through the center.

    Beekeeper, I should have explained that, shouldn’t I? “Days and Nights of Manifestation” is a bit of terminology much used in occultism, and it refers to vast cycles of time, billions of years in length, during which entire universes come into being, work through their life cycles, and go out of existence again.

    Yanocoches, exactly — and the division of the disk of the Ring-Cosmos into positive and negative halves is exactly reflected in the division of the Rays, six of them going outward from the Central Sun on the upper surface and six of them going outward on the lower surface.

  51. Matthias,

    I agree that a haiku is too lax,
    At least the way it’s done most times here.
    They do it different in Japan, relax*,
    So if you’ll be kind, and give me your ear:

    There must be a reference to a season,
    And a pun of some sort or another.
    And thus like our host says, for that reason
    I think a Japanese haiku is a bother.

    To write, at least, but to read there are none
    I like better than a haiku well done.

    *not meant to be insulting, but needed for rhyme.

  52. JMG, it seems,
    that all my comments this week
    will be poetry.
    With that said, thank you for this
    post to make sense of the work
    The Cosmic Doctrine.

  53. Hi Prizm and JMG,

    In my edition, published by the society of the Inner Light in 1976 there is a “Corrigendum” to the second chapter which states “The interworking of the two Rings is like the conscious and subconscious mind of man.” p. 17

  54. Thank goodness the rays are within the plane of the Ring Cosmos!
    When I read the text, I was envisioning the 12 rays projecting into the 3 dimensional space of the Ring-Pass-Not, like rays drawn from the vertices of an icosahedron to its center!
    From here on out, does all the action of the rays and their tangentials and prime atoms occur within the plane of the Ring Cosmos, or will there be structures above and below it?

    I remember, from the old blog, that you mentioned that a man and a woman who were attracted to each other sexually, yet who had good reasons never to consummate the attraction, could make use of that power for magical workings. I am beginning to see the context for those workings in Dion Fortune’s writings.

  55. Tripp- Amen! I also feel like Wednesday nights are my Sunday mornings, when I sit down to hear Brother Greer’s latest sermon and then head to the comments to discuss it over coffee. Then Magic Mondays over at the other blog serve as ‘Wednesday night’ study group, presenting another collection of ideas to ponder. It’s as spiritually and intellectually nourishing as any church I’ve attended, though I do miss the in-person fellowship.
    –Heather in CA

  56. Regarding the Rays: the second diagram in the original post shows all of the rays on the top surface of the Ring-Cosmos disc radiating out from the centre. Might that be contributing to the confusion here?

  57. About the Church discussion-does this mean that a church with a more conservative liturgy-say, 1928 Prayerbook Anglican, Tridentine Mass Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox (who never really went in for liturgical modernism) would handle the energies raised by the service better? Those types of churches always felt more natural and, well, holy to me-especially when compared to your typical megachurch that can’t decide if its having a Sunday service or a rock concert!

  58. Thanks about the haiku! I don’t speak any Japanese, so only suspected there was more to it than the syllable count (Genji somewhere mentions that his generation prefers other seasonal references than did bygone poets).

  59. So according to the rules of haiku, my offering from 2 weeks ago was better than I thought:

    Wharton set the stage
    to wax poetic all day
    Return brevity!

    There’s the seasonal reference. In fact a full annual cycle of them.

    “Set the stage” fits your description of Spring perfectly.
    Both “wax” and “all day” suggest the long days of summer.
    And “Return brevity!” is an obvious cry from Autumn for the return of Winter. (I rather long for cooler weather by this time of year, living in the humid South without AC…)

    “Wax” is the pivot word, meaning either growing/increasing, or hardening/preserving. It’s not exactly in the center, but does it have to be?

    To satisfy Matthias, there’s not an overabundance of monosyllables – 7 of 17 seems reasonable, plus 2 dubs and 2 trips, the 2 most complex words being “poetic” and “brevity,” which convey the entire meaning of the poem by themselves as a bonus.

    Apologies if this wanders too far afield or comes off as too self-congratulatory. It shouldn’t be, since someone else clearly wrote this haiku through me!

    🙂

  60. Hi John Michael,

    It is certainly possible that hard lessons will be learned. Water is the limiting factor down here, next I’d have to suggest that the old soils won’t stand for too much flogging. But we’ll certainly try and give it a go. 🙂

    I was reading Mark Twain’s, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn stories this morning and it occurred to me that he writes with a local voice. As I wondered about that, I got to thinking about what you wrote recently about the impact of ‘place’ upon humans, and I had then wondered if Mark Twain was described as the ‘father of American literature’, because he tapped into the local sensibilities which had attuned to the energies of that land, rather than simply aping the work of the Europeans? Dunno.

    Cheers

    Chris

  61. I’ve finally finished reading the comments of Kek4 (and did that naming convention make anyone else think of Vatican 2?) 🙂 The idea of Europeans wanting One Big Battle has specific historical as well as mythological roots, and is relevant to the question of resisting or getting out of the way of a problem. These days we think of maneuver warfare as the best and most modern form of war, and associate war of attrition with pointless slaughter in the trenches of WW1. War of maneuver was actually practised earlier by medieval mercenary armies who weren’t keen on dying, and who profited the longer the war went on. War of attrition was developed in the early modern and modern eras by nationalist and revolutionary armies that regarded high casualties as an acceptable price to pay for a quick and decisive victory. So in that sense it could be said dancing around the problem made it go on a lot longer (see: The Hundred Years War). 🙂

  62. I was thinking about the process
    Movement -> Light -> Sound
    Taking it very literally, I came up with this:

    Winter time in my socks
    Scooting across the carpet
    Finger near sister’s ear
    Spark
    Howl
    More movement
    Head pressed into carpet
    Flash of realization
    “should have sparked younger sister”
    Cry “uncle”

  63. A question and an observation…
    Are the rays like rays of light (you’re either in them or out of them and if the latter their effect is minimal) or more like fields (in that their influence decreases as you leave their center but tapers rather than dropping off suddenly)?
    And..the Central Sun must be a powerful and complex place with all those rays coming and going!

  64. JMG, just to make sure I’m understanding right: the “tangentials” are new lines of force generated by the oppositional (i.e. right-angled) interaction between the rays and the seven rings, correct? Or is it a way of referring to the interaction of the rays with the spin of the ring-pass-not?

    Also, are “composite” atoms created by multiple tangentials if different angles intersecting, or are they built up from the interactions of “prime” atoms?

  65. ” The conscious and the unconscious being similar to ring-cosmos and ring-chaos, ”

    I don’t see the mind this way at all. I see the mind more like a big ocean, and our conscious minds are on the surface. The conscious mind has different tasks, but the unconscious mind is with the program of the well being and survival of the entity. Yes, it can sometimes have a different agenda, as it doesn’t engage in falsehood. But in no way could I see the two as having opposite agendas, as the ring cosmos and chaos. To be sure, both of those latter are necessary for balance. They make perfect sense to me as being like the creator, maintainer and destroyer of Hindu theology, and also as being like the law of entropy. But in that last case I have thought for a long time that we are missing an opposite to entropy, a force for order.
    The conscious and unconscious minds are all of a piece.

  66. Hmm. I see myself as a monist, although it was years before I put a label to it because I didn’t know. Gee, it is the meaning behind my moniker here. I didn’t learn it from any pop spirituality. It came to me through intuition, deep contemplation.

    So it will be interesting to see your take on this if you write about it someday.

  67. Dear JMG;
    you wrote to Jim:

    Jim, you’re almost there. What do you do instead of opposing something? Empower its opposite. Don’t fight the Wendigo, figure out which forces move in the other direction, and strengthen those, starting with yourself and working out from there. Don’t participate in the Wendigo consciousness yourself — that means, for example cutting way back on your own consumption — and try to open up gaps between the Wendigo and the things you care about, in as many ways as you can, so that it meets less resistance and does less damage in its inevitable rush outward to the Void.

    Could you please explain what you mean by “…to open up gaps between the Wendigo and the things you care about,…”

    Thank you
    Ilona

  68. Darkest Yorkshire,

    The possibility that spiritual states correspond to actual brain changes from energy inputs during them is one I have been interested in for some time. I did not understand all of your post unfortunately, but anyway, I believe there is more than just one type of enlightenment. That there could be a flash of light seems plausible, but remember that the light spectrum is wider than visible light and so I think that there can be states which ‘feel’ like light, just as certain spiritual insight is attributed to the 3rd eye being functional, and that might be quite correct even if it wasn’t a flash.

    One of the near death experience researchers on children postulates that there are areas of the brain which can be activated, and thus permanently more alive after an NDE. I think this is really an idea whose time has come. People have some weird idea that spiritual states, or miracles, exist in some realm which has nothing to do with the brain. Yet the brain is involved and has its areas of involvement for all our activities and experiences. And even though the person’s consciousness may have left the body behind, since the body did not die, even the recalling of the intense event could activate the brain. He postulates the right temporal lobe. And some epileptics have intense spiritual experiences at the onset of attacks. Not all do because different areas of the brain are vulnerable to the misfirings of epilepsy.

    My opinion about myself is that I had an intense spiritual experience many years ago and it quickened some part of my brain so that I no longer process the same way as before. At the time I was a Russian Orthodox Christian so I attributed it to the Holy Spirit, not least because the whole thing happened due to my reading of a book written by a monk on Mt. Athos, mostly about the Holy Spirit’s role. The introduction by his acolyte was nearly as long as the book and was written in an utterly different and more intellectual style. The combination was powerful. The acolyte explained that the Holy Spirit is the uncreated energies of God. (Ether anyone?) I’ve always found that to be a rich phrase for contemplation and it made sense that the energy that quickened my soul and brain was of this source, me being the bride in the bridal chamber and saying Yes to my ravishment.

  69. (clears throat)

    Some poets may amass in swarms
    For a haiku slam in this forum
    But all of us toast
    Our jovial host
    For his pragmatism, good cheer, and decorum.

  70. For the imagist, crisp couplets, nicely
    defined, sharp like cheese, bright like wine, suffice.

  71. Onething,

    Your metaphor of the conscious being on the surface and the subconscious being an ocean is great! It does remind me a bit of a passage from the Bible, something to the effect of one being like a boat on the sea, they could easily be blown and drift about. Basically being powerless and with no navigational control.

    The conscious thus being something perhaps like a boat or anything floating on the surface of the subconscious is a useful tool for how the mind works. Thinking of the conscious as how you navigate the subconscious, more primal aspect of our being, one would definitely hope to be in a bit more control how they are navigating. Otherwise, the subconscious, or ocean, could easily be fraught with waves, wind and other navigational hazards (ie; being controlled and overwhelmed by the primal). So I think this is a great image to have in mind when thinking of how the conscious and subconscious work as one. I also think this what Fortune had in mind with how the ring-cosmos and ring-chaos work together. They along with the ring-pass-not are an entity which cannot exist without the other pieces. When there is no ring-chaos, there is no ring-cosmos nor ring-pass-not. Then there is only unmanifest. Ultimately, these are all symbolic ways to visual how things work so that we can better understand them. Whichever makes the most sense to you, work with it. I keep getting a better understanding of things by applying them to things I am working with or reading.

  72. E. Goldstein, yes, everything from here on in takes place in the disk of the Ring-Cosmos — and yes, that’s what I (and she) was talking about.

    Kfish, you’re quite right, of course. I’ll make some time to fix that.

    Tolkienguy, yes, having a liturgy that hasn’t been desecrated in the name of the great god Relevance will do a lot. It’s also important to have an officiant who has the necessary training and experience to direct the energies through the structures of the sacrament, but any reasonably devout person who has adequate experience with prayer and contemplation, and knows the theology of the sacrament being worked, can do what needs to be done if the liturgy is well designed.

    Matthias, neither do I, but I read a lot of books in English about Japanese culture back in the day, courtesy of growing up with a Japanese stepmother.

    Tripp, funny.

    Chris, good heavens. Who calls Twain the father of American literature? That would be Washington Irving, the first American author to make a name for himself in a field other than theology, and who published his first significant work in 1802.

    Yorkshire, fascinating. As I recall, though, the British high command in the First World War was obsessed with the idea that they could force One Big Battle to defeat the Germans, and kept on being frustrated by the fact that the Germans shrugged and kept up the war of attrition.

    Jim, I like that!

    RPC, good question about the Rays; I don’t recall Fortune defining them that exactly. Yes, the Central Sun is a boiling cauldron of energies!

    Fred, the Tangentials are created by the intersections of the Rays and the seven Circles. As for composite atoms, Fortune’s prose isn’t quite clear in this chapter; it could be read either way. We’ll be talking much more about atoms in the next chapter, though, so things may get clarified there.

    Onething, there’s monism and then there’s monism — I suppose that you could say that monism is not all one thing. 😉 Yes, I’ll get into that in the future post.

    Ilona, sure. It’s a metaphorical way of talking about figuring out how to shelter the things you care about from the forces in contemporary life that could otherwise damage those things. For example, I’m acutely aware of the way that contemporary mass media flattens out the thoughts and imaginations of people into a kind of lowest-common-denominator mush; that’s a central reason why I don’t own a television and stay away from mass media generally. I’ve opened up a gap between my mind and imagination, on the one hand, and the mass media on the other, so that the Wendigo-consciousness of the media goes tumbling past without affecting me.

    Kimberly and David, you know, this is turning out to be highly entertaining. I may get around to writing that sonnet yet.

  73. A good non-jerry-rigged example of the

    Movement -> Light -> Sound

    line of thinking came to me (through my wife…from whence so many good things come):

    Northern Lights! (Or Southern Lights for that matter.)

    Movement of the solar wind in the ionosphere excites particles that give off light, and when strong/complex enough, those lights will sing a song.

    When I was 26 I got to witness the full show in Spokane, from the overlook above the Spokane River in Brown’s Addition. Brilliant view to the north. Magical is the only word needed to describe it. Absolutely magical.

    When I saw them again near God’s River in Manitoba on the eve of my 33rd birthday, it was a great example of not having enough movement to make the light very complex (only white and green, no blue or gold or red or purple), and those weaker/less complex lights in turn sang no song at all. My brother and father, who had never seen them before, thought they were amazing; having seen the real McCoy myself years earlier, I knew there was a lot of potential that wasn’t manifesting.

  74. Onething said:
    “But in that last case I have thought for a long time that we are missing an opposite to entropy, a force for order.”

    Isn’t life the opposite of entropy? That force for order? The rationalists say it isn’t so, but that doesn’t do much to convince me.

  75. JMG said: “that’s a central reason why I don’t own a television and stay away from mass media generally. I’ve opened up a gap between my mind and imagination, on the one hand, and the mass media on the other, so that the Wendigo-consciousness of the media goes tumbling past without affecting me.”

    So that’s what we set in motion when we started news-fasting in ’06? And when we got rid of the tele altogether in ’08. And the flat refusal to own or engage in video games since game consoles came in Atari 2600 varieties. Putting space between us and the Wendigo…that makes plenty of sense. Though we didn’t have such a great descriptive term for it until, um, last week? (Thanks again, Ray!)

    And a lot of those choices were made for the well-being of children – whether for me by my parents, or by me for mine. Children are the ultimate imposition of limits! Being a parent is a beautiful and powerful thing, but extremely limiting.

    Likewise, in order to manifest beauty and power in our children we must impose limits upon them. There is a real parenting crisis occurring today because parents refuse to impose limits on their children. Letting them do whatever they want to do doesn’t make them mature. Not enfolding them in your arms doesn’t make them strong and independent. It leaves them feeling adrift and alone. Borderless and unmanifest. I fear for a society composed of such amorphous shadow people with no feel for boundaries.

  76. In the King and Blackwood versions of the story, the Wendigo wins decisively; at the end of the Blackwood story, the Indian guide, one of the last survivors of the group that meets the monster, flees, and “the terror of a whole race [drives] him.” This is not a critter you want to fool around with. Rick Yancey’s Monstrumologist survives his encounter with the Wendigo. I am not giving anything away because there are 2 more books in the series. The Monstrumologist and his assistant, a teenage boy who narrates the stories, survive, but are emotionally scarred.

    So, how do you fight off the Wendigo? All 3 stories suggest you can’t; the Monstrumologist and his assistant survive only because the Wendigo decides to eat other folks, as happens with one character in the King version. The Wendigo is possessed by hunger; the more it eats, the thinner, and hungrier, it grows. We can readily see how such an insatiable demon can aptly characterize America’s spiritual sickness. But as the reader above asked, what can we DO about it?

    When I first read about the wendigo (Blackwood’s “The Wendigo”), I thought of a remark Jesus made, that “This kind [of demon] will not come out except by prayer and fasting.” Since the Wendigo is the incarnation of greed, taking and taking and taking, maybe one could starve it out—fasting, praying, giving. Although you won’t see that on page or screen because it wouldn’t make a very exciting story! But if the Wendigo might somehow exist as a diseased part of the national consciousness, who knows? Enough people working together might just be able to whip that sucker.

  77. “Who calls Twain the father of American literature? That would be Washington Irving, the first American author to make a name for himself in a field other than theology, and who published his first significant work in 1802.”

    Not Charles Brockden Brown? Check out Wieland (1798), for example. Actually, to be on topic here. I have been reading and contemplating Ch. 3 of Cosdoc and following the on topic comments here. Last night I lay awake thinking “movement, light, sound.” My dreams, however were not cooperating last night.

  78. Oh, dear, this did not make sense. Does it go through the center or not?

    “Kay, yes, they originate from the center, but they don’t dive through the center to the other side when they pass through the center.”

  79. On the topic of limits, some more thoughts:
    A simple haiku is not good for all:
    Sometimes you can tie yourself in a knot,
    And, if stuck, under a single style’s thrall,
    Be unable to express what you want,
    Stuck by the limits you yourself impose.
    And yet, without them, there’s no art to flaunt.
    Instead, all you get is ordinary prose.
    So the trick then is to know what to do,
    With the various art forms you know, who knew?

  80. My first poem written in loose Fibonacci Meter.

    1 Life
    1 Is
    2 Rhythm
    3 Patterns form
    5 Repeating changing
    8 Never twice equal, evolving
    13 From chaos ringing the cosmos, manifest new forms.
    21 Learning the lessons, of rhythm, harmonies are found, improvising amidst the noise.
    34 Dancing routines hiding passion in formality, infinitesimal masked cells. These bodily avatars born, manifesting spirit.
    55 A waltz is a waltz, but this dance is never that dance, every step unique, still a waltz. The dance moves forward, a returning to the refrain, stepping between a difference in the dance between those refrains: back, forward, refrain.
    89 Dances gathering, as bodies, tiny or sublime, together various dances… and repetitions, similar dances dancing close. Every dance a dancing dancer, every dancer a dance of the infinitesimal. The steps recognized through time by living traditions. Delicate precise, finely honed, are these cherished life traditions, abyss ever close.
    55 So forgetful is this world, the multitude of forms vanish, unheard back into the background static eternal, lost to the abyss. Response, nature selected, can… prolong the dancing. Recognition in harmony.
    34 Some dances, like gems, last quite long. In crystalline steps repeated time uncountable. The life of lasting mineral, repetitious peace.
    21 Evolving patterns, most complex, recognized in life. A new dance springs out of the old.
    13 Some quickly go cold, rushing sparks. Torching its own mind.
    8 Some can dance around extinction.
    5 Quiet grace remains
    3 Beautiful
    2 Wisdom
    1 True
    1 Love.

    Note that each section can be split into subsections at golden fractions of syllables. For example:

    21 Evolving patterns, most complex, recognized in life. A new dance springs out of the old.
    =
    13 Evolving patterns, most complex, recognized in life.
    5 Evolving patterns
    3 most complex
    5 recognized in life
    8 A new dance springs out of the old.

    A ‘perfect Fibonacci meter would follow this distinction down to grammatical clause, to syllable count of words, and even to stress; but in practice you just go a could of iterations down from the number. Thus, lines with smaller numbers of syllables are a little more strict, and build to larger ‘lines’ which are more flexible.

    My Haiku entry, in honor of Tripp’s repetition of his own poem.

    Tripp’s a falling leaf
    Enlightening Ray springs through
    Hear rustling branches.

  81. JMG — It was Hemingway who said that _Huckleberry Finn_ was the beginning of modern American literature. Since Hemingway was himself in rebellion against most of what made up earlier American literature I would guess that he didn’t think anything before then was of much value.

    I much prefer formal poetry to free verse. Have written a few sonnets, a villanelle, and for the First North American Discworld Convention, I wrote a pantoum. Used to do haiku when I was about 12, and read a lot of them in translation. I took a seminar once on literary style in which the professor had us do exercises in taking one author’s work and rewriting it in the style of another–turn a scene from Hemingway into Faulkner, for example. I recommend such exercises to an aspiring writers as a way to see how different authors achieve their effects.

  82. For Tripp: Haiku for a summer’s night

    Summer’s symphony
    As small creatures shriek and sing
    Songs of life’s thriving.
    ***
    Sighs the velvet warmth
    Noisy night-life in the hush
    Southern summer night.
    ***
    Astonishing lights
    Blinking, twinkling, finish soon
    Fireflies in June.

  83. With the Days and Nights of Manifestation, I got to thinking about the way civilizations rise and fall. Just when it feels as though the Wendigo will finally overcome and darkness will destroy everything once and for all, the Ring Cosmos reaches the end of its movement towards the Ring Chaos and flips over to the other side, where it is now being repulsed by the Ring Chaos. The balance shifts and light starts to return. Our civilization seems to be right around that inflection point where the flip is made (but on which side?). More and more people seem to be aware of the destructive and damaging nature of our society, as though the influence of the Ring Chaos is right around that critical point. Now the tide is changing and people are beginning to think about doing things differently; creating a new kind of society with different characteristics.

    Using this model, the darkness can actually never finally destroy everything; it will only build up to that inflection point of almost utter-domination of evilly evilness, and then things will start to change in the opposite direction, back towards the center as the Ring Cosmos begins its movement away from the Ring Chaos. But then, the cosmos will only be balanced for a brief moment before the spinning ring is overturned again and the whole process starts anew.

  84. JMG,
    Before I got to “What makes this useful is that every smaller cycle in the Cosmos has similar phases,” the diagram made me think of the precessional cycle as 2 sets of days and nights, each day/night around 6,000 years long. You wrote “every” smaller cycle, so I guess this notion applies here?
    Berserker

  85. A composer set out to achieve musical infamy
    With sonatas for theremin, organ, and timpani
    When all along
    The limits of song
    Should be tried before attempting a symphony.

  86. Hi John Michael, Phutatorius, and Rita,

    I bow to your more learned selves in this matter of literature. 😉 Incidentally, I attribute the quote to William Faulkner who was no lightweight himself.

    Cheers

    Chris

  87. @Darkest Yorkshire
    Thanks for the link. Yes, I am familiar with combined heat and power (CHP) and district heating (DH).

    Denmark deployed a lot of localized electricity generation and DH after the first oil shocks in the 70s by using CHP. They used coal in those days as primary fuel and extracted the most they could from the usable heat fraction; that is from hot water circulated to DH when sufficiently above room temperature.

    Energy (‘the ability to do work’ by the physics definition) requires a ‘working substance’. Making from that something more than a metaphor for the workings of the mind, has seemed problematic for me. Physiological processes of course need energy (physics def.) from food and they dissipate heat, (and the brain for example needs a lot of primary fuel consumed at roughly isothermal conditions), and clearly the processes interact with organized output from the ‘mind’ transmitted via electrical phenomena and chemical interaction. The ‘working substance’ of the mind however seems to be signals of recognition (form rather than energy) and is not localized in the brain but a condition of life itself. Life is essentially signaling utilizing form.

    For what it’s worth here is my take on some phenomena of the mind and their ‘energy’. I am using here the terms energy and work as in common parlance and as used for example in alternative ‘energy’ healing. This ‘energy’ also ‘works’.

    One does experience internally ‘light’, ‘movement’ and ‘sound’ and these might be what I referred to in a comment to JMG as an ‘ur-language’ of the mind. (The latter is a somewhat arguable concept that I made up). Yes, it was a long time ago, but I remember meditating on ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ and realizing these terms were not adequate. Perhaps in the same meditation I witnessed internally a complex unwanted aspect of myself resolve into ‘a form’, and then perhaps with a nudge or a ‘consent’ from ‘me’, drift to a far periphery and dissolve into fragments of ‘light’. This was more than a form of words and there were physiological consequences. DF’s images and your term ‘spiritual gunk’ have reminded me of the occasion.

    There are many phenomena of the mind experienced in an instant. On occasion they seem ‘timeless’ or a-chronic. Smile. Stopping my smoking habit was of such an instant but differed from the’ dissolve-into-light fragments at the periphery’ that I just described. It came as an opportune gift externally through ordinary communication but with my consent changed me of the instant. It left me still ‘a smoker’; just that I no longer smoked.

    I wonder about some actual experiences of starlight – particular stars – and the potential of ‘gifts’ a bit more than metaphorical. I must ask JMG on Magic Monday sometime. I have stories – one good one about Wordsworth and one or two of my own. But this comment is more than a bit long.

    best
    Phil H

  88. Onething, I’n not entirely sure I understood all of my post either. 🙂 It’s a mind stretching exercise where I look up science and engineering concepts, try to understand them as best I can in their own terms, then think about whether this could be a useful metaphor for spiritual of social change.

    In the Tibetan tradition it isn’t the enlightenee who sees the flash of light. People meditated in huts on the sides of hills and people in the towns down in the valleys would see the flash and think “there goes another one”. At one point it was happening so often Buddhism took on a distinct millenarian outlook as people started to wonder how the world might change if a sufficient number of people became enlightened to reach a kind of critical mass.

    What you said about spiritual experiences permenantly changing the brain, there have been many attempts to do that artificially with hallucinogens, trepanation, and various forms of light, sound and electromagnetic stimulation.

    JMG, it’s amazing how strong the lure of one big battle is even when the alternative is still a relatively fast and equally effective way of achieving victory.

    In the First World War the high command wanted the breakthrough into the near-mythical ‘open country’ that would end the war at a stroke. What actually finally worked was ‘bite and hold’ where a small piece of territory was attacked, overrun and defended against enemy counterattack, then the process repeated somewhere else. It wasn’t a decisive battle but the process still wrapped things up in relatively short order. It was so effective a strategy the British Army was still using it in the Falklands (where it confused the Argentinians, who were expecting an immediate all-out attack on Port Stanley).

    The drive for a big battle appeared again in the Second World War. In 1943 RAF Bomber Command was devastating the Ruhr war industries. Then they accidently started the Hamburg firestorm and the whole effort got distracted by attempts to deliver a ‘knockout blow’, especially to Berlin. It’s now reckoned that if the stranglehold on the Ruhr had continued, the entire Nazi economy would have collapsed sometime in 1944.

    It doesn’t have to be full-scale war either. From what I’ve read recently about the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike, there were three or four opportunities for the miners to have won quickly and effectively, but subtly. One was continuing the overtime ban instead of going on strike (although I suspect that would have resulted in the power stations burning oil to preserve coal stocks as they did in the strike). There was a slightly different negotiating strategy that could have got them everything they wanted in practice if not on paper, and arrangements with other unions (like they had with the steelworkers at one point) could have taken some other industries out of the fight peacefully. But those possibilities were thrown away for a showdown that tried to recreate the overwhelming victory at Saltley that had won them the 1972 strike, but at Orgreave in 1984 it just handed every advantage to the police.

  89. Anybody reading my comment just now addressed to Darkest Yorkshire –

    I described therein a long-ago occasion when an aspect of myself ‘dissolved into fragments of light at the periphery’. I might have got away with this, but who now can tell? l do not recommend anybody trying this ‘route’, however, unless they are within a wholly trustworthy and transparent environment. And there are not too many of those.
    On the other hand, the gift of stopping smoking and/or not watching TV perhaps, despite a few downsides, can be accepted with gratitude if it comes. Smile.
    best
    Phil H

  90. Dang, this is turning into a nerdy Ecosophia version of Epic Rap Battles! Mr. Ray, touche’. And my response:

    Leaf glides down to earth
    mingling makeup in stone soup.
    Compliment to Rays.

    Of course I meant no offense with my original poem, Mr. Wharton. Perhaps I should have changed the 2 syllable name to Homer, or Shakespeare instead. Still, this is fairly fun. Back at you…

    Onething, thanks for your offerings!! I’m feeling you this morning, sitting in the rain at the farmers market.

  91. Will J. –

    You do better …. with more beauty
    Handling the form ….of haiku writing
    Than my amateur attempts …. at Anglo Saxon alliteration
    The horn of mead …. is in your hands

  92. Boys Mom said “It’s as spiritually and intellectually nourishing as any church I’ve attended, though I do miss the in-person fellowship.”

    Agreed! And, agreed! Maybe we’ll find our people nearby one of these days…

  93. On the subject of creatures like the Wendigo, here is a story I used to tell many years ago, but never published anywhere. It may hint at a strategy to defeat him.

    Ssts-Ssts

    Every people and every land knows the tale of Ssts-Ssts, but rarely is it told in words. Rarely, too, do the old tell it to the young, for it is too hard a tale for most men and women to tell once they have met Ssts-Ssts and survived. As for those who have met him and lost their souls, the dead — even the living dead — tell no tales at all.

    Ssts-Ssts is the most beautiful creatures in the world, but also the most terrible. In outer form he resembles a great serpent: his body is long, lank and legless, and he slithers as he goes. But Ssts-Ssts has no tail; instead, he has two hideous heads, one at each end of his body. Ssts-Ssts is always fiercely hungry, but the only food that can satisfy his hunger — even for a brief moment — is a human soul. He goes up and down upon the world seeking men and women, to feed his hunger with their souls. If he meets you, he will try to eat your soul; and if he eats your soul, ever after you will go through the bare motions of life as one of the living dead, a man or woman without a soul.

    Ssts-Ssts was created to embody in his very flesh everything that men and women find most hard to take. He is perfectly repulsive, hideous, nauseating, terrifying, loathsome — and every other such word that describes him as well as these do. Whenever you meet him, your stomach turns and your gorge rises; your muscles turn to water and your bowels loosen; your tongue cleaves to the roof of your mouth and you cannot even scream; words fail you altogether — and your mind flees away into the innermost darkness, gibbering madly as it goes, so as to hide from the horror that is Ssts-Ssts.

    If you spend all your days and nights in the company of your fellow men and women, you may never meet Ssts-Ssts. He does not like brightly lit feasts, where men and women eat and drink and laugh together. He does not go where two people lie together, their souls as entangled as their bodies, each completing the other. He does not hunt young children who are wholly absorbed in their games, nor young women talking over their lives as they draw water from the same well, nor young men as they test their strength and courage against one another.

    Rather, you are more likely to meet him when you are alone or lost or lonely. It may be that you have strayed into a deep dark forest, far from the paths of people. It may be that you have sailed alone to a far-off beach cut off from the mainland by high cliffs. It may be that all your kin have been taken from you, or have abandoned you. It may be ….. any such occasion of solitude, even if it occurs in the middle of a crowd of people. Then suddenly Ssts-Ssts may present himself: you see his form advancing upon you, you hear how it slithers as it draws ever nearer, you smell and taste his presence, and your sense the feel and texture of his coils before he ever draws near enough to throw them around you. And your mind flees gibbering away, unable to face Ssts-Ssts.

    At that time it will not matter how you may have prepared yourself to meet Ssts-Ssts, whether you have cultivated determination or courage, swiftness or strength, love or compassion, wisdom or purity, or any other such ability or characteristic of a perfect human being. However brave and ferocious you may be, your will and your courage will fail you. However swift or strong you may be, your muscles will turn to water and you will be unable either to flee or to fight. However loving or compassionate you may be, Ssts-Ssts will be beyond your love and compassion, for he has been created by the High Powers that shape our world precisely to be beyond anyone’s love and compassion. However wise you may have become, your mind will cease to function and your wisdom will desert you. However pure you may have become, your bowels will loosen and overflow, and wash away your purity in a flood of your own filth.

    There are only three courses of action that are open to you when you meet Ssts-Ssts. Two of them are almost the same, and will not help at all; only the third course of action will save you from his hunger.

    Nor can you choose which of the three you will follow, if ever you happen meet Ssts-Ssts. Rather, the choice will be made for you, wholly apart from your fears and desires. The choice may lie deep in your flesh and blood, your bones and sinews, in the body that has shaped you into the person that you are. Or, perhaps, which course you take may be a mere accident, nothing more than a matter of chance. Or again, it may be that some Power will guide your choice at that moment, for your weal or woe. One thing alone is certain: you cannot prepare for Ssts-Ssts before the moment.

    When Ssts-Ssts has hunted you down, when you meet him on your way, there are only three things you might do. Two of them are almost the same, and will not help at all.

    You might run away, fleeing as far and as fast a leaf that is blown before the storm. For Ssts-Ssts this is no challenge at all! However fast you flee, Ssts-Ssts can go much faster. He will slither after you, one horrible head facing forward, the other backward. When he had caught up to you, he will stretch out one of his long necks, open his great jaws, and snap! he will pierce your soul with his teeth, tear it from your fleeing body, and devour it at a single gulp. Then he will leave you alive, having taken from you the only thing of value that you ever had. Ever after, for all your remaining days, you will go about the world as one of the living dead, a man or woman without a soul.

    Or you might cower, curling up like a new-born baby on the ground, whimpering with dread and despair. This, too, is no challenge at all for Ssts-Ssts! He will slither up to you, reach out with one of his horrible heads, open his great jaws, and snap! he will pierce your soul with his teeth, tear it from your huddled body, and devour it at a single gulp. Then he will leave you alive, having taken from you the only thing of value that you ever had. Ever after, for all your remaining days, you will go about the world as one of the living dead, a man or woman without a soul.

    But the third choice is the only right one, though you cannot make it for yourself, or even prepare yourself for it. Whether by luck, or because of the kind of person that you are, or because some Power has made the choice for you, you stand fast and watch your doom as it approaches you. If you do this, Ssts-Ssts hesitates; it is so rare that his prey ever looks at him while he approaches. He becomes cautious. He slithers toward you sideways. When he is near enough, he curves his two necks around so that he can reach you with both his heads at once: one head draws near at your right side, the other at your left. Now if there is anything more horrible in all the world than looking Ssts-Ssts directly in one of his faces, it is looking Ssts-Ssts directly in both of his faces at once. And if there is anything more horrible in all the world than having him seize your soul in one set of his great jaws, then rip it from your body, it is having him seize your soul in both sets of great jaws at once, then tear it apart while it is still within you, and rip its sundered halves from your body.

    Even so, you stand fast and watch your doom approach you. You can do nothing else, because your will and courage have failed you, your muscles have turned to water, your mind has fled away gibbering, all your love and wisdom and compassion have deserted you, and your bowels opened and buried all your purity beneath a stinking mess. Since you can do nothing else, you stand fast and watch. Ssts-Ssts draws near to you and reaches out with both his horrible heads at once, the one at your right hand, the other at your left. Both heads draw near, both great jaws start to gape open — and then, just as he is about to seize your soul and tear it asunder, Ssts-Ssts is finally able to look himself directly in the face, to gaze into his own eyes. Ssts-Ssts had forgotten how perfectly he had been created, but now at long last he sees himself as he truly is — a perfection of beauty and a perfection of terror —, so that his great hunger abates for a while. No longer does he hunger to devour the souls of men and women, but he turns from you, satisfied at last — for a season only! Ssts-Ssts withdraws from your presence, blessing you as he goes. And this blessing is so replete with Ssts-Ssts’s own beauty and terror that you will never be able to tell the tale as it must be told.

  94. Time to try some free verse:

    Some more meditations for you to Steele,
    If you’ll just lend me your ears,
    Imagine you’re by a Lake.
    It’s only there because of limits.
    If the water could just flow
    Wherever it wished,
    Soon there’d be nothing left.
    In the same way,
    A Ray of sunshine,
    Is only there
    Because clouds block the rest.
    Some would say
    It’s Trippy to think,
    But oh what a boring world,
    A world without limits would be!

  95. @Greer John, thank you for mentioning Dion Fortune’s books are all now available outside copyright. With that news I searched for, and found, found an on-line, free, downloadable source of – apparently – all Dion Fortune’s books!

    https://archive.org/stream/ThroughTheGatesOfDeath/Dion%20Fortune/Cosmic%20Doctrine#page/n0/mode/1up

    I was intending to download it to my Kindle.

    However, better yet, THERE IS AN OPTION TO HAVE THE TEXT READ ALOUD on-line. It is this audible option, in particular, I wanted to share with the community.

    I am listening to it now and I am finding Cosmic Doctrine much, much easier to digest in this format (actually a dual format as it highlights a sentence or two at a time and reads that aloud, so you can double-check your auditory comprehension with the written text.

    Anyway, I was trying to figure out how I could get with the reading program without going into cross-eyed trance and I find this very much preferable to literally reading it (which increasingly turns into skimming).

    Thanks again. I am enjoying this now! Again, maybe it is just me – but I find this a lot easier to take in. So, see: some technology is useful!

  96. Says Tripp,

    ” Isn’t life the opposite of entropy? That force for order? The rationalists say it isn’t so, but that doesn’t do much to convince me.”

    First of all, yes. But that is just the surface of the question. What is behind life? How is it so astonishing? I don’t exactly know what the force for order is, but I call it the Mind of God, or even the Logos, or Word. Kastrup would simply call it consciousness.

    For that matter, I have my own interpretation of the Christian Trinity. God the Father is God the Mother, as there is a serious issue with Christianity having a tripartate God with no acknowledgement of the feminine. God the Father is the best candidate because for heaven’s sake, to give birth and to have the potential to give birth (The Void of pure potential) is feminine. But to have a cosmos and life forms as we do seems to require a tremendous organizational force. Numbers and rules and laws and shapes are everywhere. Polarity, I believe, is mechanical. A word is a label, a limit, a deliniation, a categorization. These things are masculine and the understanding of and useful organization of things is a masculine trait. Since Jesus was a man anyway and he is supposed to represent that Word of God, I find that makes sense. Now the Holy Spirit really has no gender but I do see it as perhaps more masculine. It is the all pervading energy that ties the whole universe together. It is the life force, the reason that the center is everywhere. God the Mother is the unmanifest, the Holy Spirit is the bridge, and the Word is the Mind of God who makes manifestation.

    But it’s a bit more than just life. “Life” requires a substructure that is also a product of the force for order. There are many things in place in the world of matter before life makes its debut. It’s the whole shebang.

  97. “Empower its opposite,”

    Is that what you tried to do,
    In Green Wizardry?
    In that good book, you gave tools,
    To us, taught how best
    To walk away from the beast,
    And leave far behind,
    The insatiable hunger
    Of the Wendigo we fight.

  98. ” The Wendigo is possessed by hunger; the more it eats, the thinner, and hungrier, it grows.”

    Perhaps then, when the Europeans came here, they got possessed by the spirit of the Wendigo.

  99. dear jmg-
    i’m not usually moved to respond to essays about esoteric matters–not my field after all. but, you have made a comment to which i feel compelled to respond. “Who calls mark twain the father of american literature?” you ask. allow me to respond: virtually everyone including faulkner, hemingway, eugene o’neill and william dean howells. isolated voices have posited emerson for the role, with some justice, on the strength of his poetic contributions and washington irving is justly celebrated for his uniquely american voice in the early republic. however, when faulkner dubbed twain the father of american literature and hemingway pointed out that all subsequent american literature must be traced directly back to huckleberry finn, truer words were never spoken.
    Nunc dimittis servum tuum.

  100. Not attempting poetry, though admiring other people’s–my last attempts were in high school, post-breakup, and obeyed no laws of man, god, or taste. ;P But I do remember arguing theory in a way-too-early English section, where I hadn’t done the reading but came out of my cloud of sleep and hatred when one of the Interchangeable Sophomores protested (I believe) Poe’s rules of poetic construction because poetry should be spontaneous and come from the heaaaart, and I said that was true if you wanted to produce the kind of poetry you write on the back of your social studies book, using hearts over the i’s, and a Discussion Ensued, after which the TA asked if anyone but the two of us had read the assignment.

    There’s a moral here somewhere.

    Pogonip, you mentioned King and the Wendigo, and that got me thinking about how much of Pet Semetary deals with the consequences of ignoring limitations or thinking you’re special enough that they don’t apply. There’s the obvious, of course: POV character has several examples of how bringing things back from the dead is a Bad Idea, and does it anyhow. But there’s also the fact that getting to the creepy Wendigo place is a matter of crossing a clear barrier; the precipitating incident, which involves (IIRC) a driver thinking the speed limit doesn’t apply to him and the kid (who, to be fair, knows no better) leaving the limits of the yard; and even the family tensions, a lot of which involve either the main character or his father-in-law not recognizing interpersonal boundaries.

    King is another of those authors where I realize that publicly he has no more occult knowledge than slightly nerdy pop culture would account for, and yet there are moments–like the Dark Tower series, in which six Beams, each divided in two, hold the multiverse together, and Insomnia, in which the universal struggle involves the Purpose and the Random, with hints of a Greater Purpose beyond both–where the correspondence makes me think there’s something going on there.

    As a general note: I was meditating on Geburah and limitation in general on Wednesday, and particularly how they interact with Hermes, who’s both one of my patrons and all about boundary-crossing. The thoughts that came to me are a) travel and trade and theft are all possible *because* limitations exist, and b) crossing a boundary, or going beyond a limitation, should be an act of conscious will.

  101. I did a careful re-read of the chapter, particularly the section on the Rays, then looked at the blog post again. I realize that I was mistaken about a continuous figure 8 movement that would produce clockwise and counterclockwise movements. The Rays move in the same direction but have a different directional trajectory, one starting its journey above and the other below the Ring Cosmos. The Rays, as I understand the text, begin and end at, and give rise to, the Central Sun.

    I think what confused me about the graphic in the blog post was the impression I got that the Rays simply keep traveling around the disc without stopping / starting at the Central Sun. And with the horizontal depiction in which the rays hug the Ring Cosmos, it’s more difficult to see the movement of pulling apart and coming together of the Rays as they exit and enter, leave and return to the Central Sun. It just looked to me like movement on a race track.

    I made a drawing of what I envision a cross section of the disc with a pair of Rays might look like. It’s posted at https://i.imgur.com/7Ew7TS0.gif I drew it so that the Rays have more of the figure 8 form and more dynamic tension between the opposing pairs.

    And as I have meditated on the movement of the Rays as metaphor the following thoughts occur to me:
    – The myth of the hero: the call to adventure, the leaving, the awakening and transformation (or death and rebirth), the return home
    – The eternal return
    – Birth to Life to Death, returning to the origin
    – The push – pull ( push me / pull you, pull me / push you ) of relationships of all kinds, the tension created by pulling apart and the explosive energy created by coming back together, like when some people have the best sex after a big fight. (Yeah, I had a relationship like that a long time ago, didn’t last long, but it’s a powerful dynamic.)
    – The waxing and waning of the moon phases, the ebb and flow of the ocean tides

    The Rays fascinate me for some reason. Maybe because as DF says, they are the first purely Cosmic movement, i.e., movement that occurs strictly within the Cosmos. The movement they make seems so primordial, so fundamental, so (dare I say it?) archetypal to me.

    Thanks,
    Yanocoches

  102. As I was on my walk this morning, I visualized the rays and the concentric circles, working it around in my brain. The best image I came up with was the idea of a chocolate swirl cheesecake, where the surface of the cheesecake is the plane. Some immortal hand with a cosmic squirt bottle of melted chocolate lays out 7 rings coming out from the center of the batter, then takes a toothpick, and draws 12 rays coming out from the center to the ring cosmos. As the toothpick crosses each ring, the chocolate swirls and eddies with the cheesecake batter, forming prime atoms of deliciousness. Motion: the chocolate being poured and dragged. Vision: the contrast of light and dark locked in opposition. Sound: nom nom nom…

  103. While out doing yard work again, a few thoughts I felt worth sharing..

    I’ve noticed that with each chapter the work and images gets move involved yet it all builds on what we learned previously. It’s a great reminder for us that in the world we live in, you will never find something that goes from not being there to being well developed instantly. Things, whatever they are, do take time to develop and have a process to go through. The twelve rays and cosmic planes don’t just develop. It takes the ring-cosmos forming which then develops the ring-chaos and ring-pass-not to balance things. As it further develops to continue being balanced, then things become more complex.

    We have a great example of this sort of development. It is the world around us. An ecosystem over the course of a season may make it a bit clearer. After the winter, the new sprouts come up, the new leaves form on the trees. As the season progresses, opportunities for more plants to sprout and/or grow are allowed. Some plants overtake others in the course of a few days or weeks or months. It is rare that there is any one dominant species and if there is, overtime something will cause it to weaken allowing another species the opportunity to flourish. The seasons come and go, the cycles continue. There is always something growing stronger, something grower weaker, and something coming to replace. As a system grows more complex, things develop on that complexity. This does allow more opportunities for the ring-chaos to weaken the system but it also in turn always more opportunities to put a hold on or find a thrusting point from the ring-chaos.

  104. When I was reading Fortune’s description of the rays and concentric circles, I misunderstood and visualized the rays as figure 8s entirely on one surface of the disk, with the center as the crossing point. I then visualized concentric circles essentially all over: within the round halves of the 8s, and any available space between them–spinning off from the rays’ currents like eddies in water. (Wrong though it may be, the image in my mind is really beautiful.) Based on this (mis)understanding it then seemed to me that the Metatron cube was a representation of rays, circles, and angles. Now I see that I got the wrong end of the stick, yet I’m still left with an intuition that the Metatron cube is somehow a representation of what we’re talking about (i.e., the cosmos). I could be wrong though…wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe it will become clearer as we go.

    The thing that really jumps out at me from this chapter is the fractal-ness of the cosmos. I’ve been having a lot of synchronicities since we started reading CosDoc, most of them revolving around synchronicity itself, magic, and Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance. All of these center on some principle(s) of resonance which clearly reflects/is the fractal-ness of the CosDoc.

    Re: limitation being necessary for creation, and limitlessness as chaos/diffusion: I will spare you my attempts at haiku or sonnets, but have greatly enjoyed those that have been shared so far. Anyway, this shed a lot of new light on Hexagrams 59 and 60 of the Yijing (I Ching). 59 can be confusing in application because it’s seldom clear whether the dissolution it speaks of is good or bad, in human terms…but of course that depends what you’re asking about, and whether it’s summer/the full moon, or winter/the waning crescent. And 60 is often frustrating to receive, but now that I grok it on a deeper level, will be less so.

    Finally, for those expressing interest in how to deal with what I have heard referred to as the windigo/wetiko “mind virus,” I recommend the chapters “Windigo Footprints” and “Defeating Windigo” from Robin Wall-Kimmerer’s lovely book _Braiding Sweetgrass_. The perspective she gives is, as I recall it anyway, very resonant with JMG’s advice.

  105. Re: Dion Fortune copyrights

    As far as I can tell, Dion Fortune’s works are NOT in the public domain at this time. Archive.org seems to be treating them as if they’re a lending library: most of them have a note that you need to join a waiting list for them. That wouldn’t be the case if they were in the public domain.

    The best (or at least most comprehensible) page I’ve found on US copyright is at: https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain

    That seems to say it depends on whether the copyright was renewed. If it was, they’re still under copyright unless they were published before 1923. If not, they’re in the public domain. I have no personal knowledge if the copyrights were renewed, but I presume Archive.org does, in fact, know.

  106. This sentence…

    “The Ring-Chaos can never build anything, because whatever forces it may originate diffuse, unconfined into outer space, but the Ring-Cosmos, in conjunction with the Ring-Pass-Not conserves its forces.”

    …brought to mind a cauldron, which, by its restricting nature, allows something within to be created – more so than would simply throwing one’s “ingredients” simultaneously into the air. The same can be said for the creation of ritual space (I’m thinking here of more solitary types) to contain and thereby amplify (and allow for the generation of) something. I’ll not speculate on the nature of the something because my childhood churchgoing experiences fell firmly on the flat side of the spectrum previously mentioned. Kinda like sparkling water bereft if its carbonation enhancing bottle-top with all the qi dissipated.

    JMG, unlike gnat who likes audio, I find I meditate best (is that what I’m doing? Certainly not following the rules if so) with the text on paper and a pencil in hand. Many years of practice (and profession as an editor) make this easier than “sitting and thinking.” Should this practice of thinking through writing (including without a separate text but writing as a way to plumb my own mind) NOT be considered the kind of discursive meditation you’re encouraging us to do here? And if so, retraining is indicated?

  107. Hi Isabelcooper!

    I haven’t seen the movie, but in the Pet Sematary novel there are hints that the Wendigo isn’t the only bad guy. In a persistent undercurrent, Louis Creed fantasizes about ditching the wife, kids, and cat whenever they become troublesome, and we readers get the impression his in-laws may have picked up on this and that’s why they aren’t crazy about him. So I suppose the Wendigo could argue that it was merely giving him what he really wanted. We in turn might point out that he didn’t want to unload the family in such a tragic way, but then subtlety and tact have never been recorded as Wendigo traits.

    The running (sorry) theme of the story is people fleeing when they should stand and fight. Jud’s running from his guilty conscience about getting Louis involved with the Pet Sematary ,and about his earlier adultery. Rachel and her parents are running from the guilt and horror of Zelda’s death. Louis is running from himself. This theme carries all the way through to the end of the book, when local skeptic Steve Masterton gets a chance to learn about “stuff they never told you about back in the Atheist Society in Saint Louis.” Me, if I got an offer like that, I’d carry every gun I had and lots of ammo, invoke Saints Michael and Joan, and go forth to learn about evil and maybe even kill off some of it. (I don’t know when Wendigo season is in Maine but I figure the game wardens are probably pretty lenient with archangels and their hunting companions.). I bet our host and most readers would do pretty much the same, invoking the Celtic or Druid gods of righteous battle. Pretty much every religion has such a figure, and the opportunity to get some cosmic questions answered once and for all would be hard for most of us to resist. But Steve Masterton, in Pet Sematary, runs.

    Now, if Pet Sematary is starting to remind you of an entity that consumes and consumes and consumes, and of the people who flee from the problem, who would rather run, and even die, than address it—well, me too.

  108. @Robert Mathiesen thank you for telling the story of the Ssts-Ssts. I needed, so much – so much, the reminder that it withdraws only for a season.

  109. Thinking of stasis, darkness, and silence. Laying in a hospital bed, resting while the rings rotate back to a balance between movement, color, and sound, and their opposites.

  110. Tripp, fascinating. I’ve never seen them, so didn’t think of that. As for opening up gaps around the Wendigo, exactly — and of course people can’t discipline their children if they haven’t first learned to discipline themselves. Fortunately that venerable institution, the School of Hard Knocks, provides remedial education programs…

    Pogonip, good. Again, you don’t oppose it, you do the opposite instead. Prayer and fasting — turning your attention away from your own ego toward something bigger and more important than you are, and deliberately taking less than you want — would certainly do that.

    Phutatorius, hmm! I’m not familiar with Brown. Thanks for the pointer.

    Onething, the rays return to the central sun, but they stay on the same face of the disk as they do so. They don’t go from one face of the disk to the other when passing through the central sun. My diagram in the post may help…

    Rita, okay, that doesn’t surprise me. Hemingway’s certainly entitled to his opinion. As for formal poetry, much agreed; I enjoy writing sonnets and villanelles far more than free verse, since the forms force me to explore new word choices and ways of expressing a thought.

    Stefania, excellent! Yes, exactly. It’s the same insight you find in the I Ching: when Yang reaches its maximum it transforms into Yin, and when Yin reaches its maximum it transforms into Yang.

    Berserker, spot on target. In fact, we’ll be discussing precession in a later chapter, in exactly these terms.

    Chris, and I’m rather a Faulkner fan; I just disagree with a notion of American literature that leaves out a couple of generations of good writers.

    Yorkshire, those are excellent examples. Thank you.

    Robert, thank you for this. The equivalent creature in the Puget Sound country is called aya’hos. The intrepid Gordon Cooper (now Grand Archdruid of AODA) and I once went searching south of the Fauntleroy ferry terminal in West Seattle for the stone where, in earlier times, young men would go at night to face the aya’hos; it was a somewhat rougher customer than the ssts-ssts, for if you ran from it, it would twist your head around and your corpse would be found sprawled on the beach the next morning. If you held your ground until its heads saw each other, though, it would become your tamanous, your guardian spirit, and it was one of the mightiest of the klale tamanaous, the “black” or warrior spirits.

    We didn’t meet the aya’hos. On the other hand, when Gordon tried to take a picture of the stone, a camera that had been working perfectly up to that point let out a truly ghastly grinding noise. The repairman said he’d never seen a film drive mechanism convert itself into scrap metal so completely….

    Gnat, glad to hear that works for you. Me, I prefer a physical book in my grubby paws, but de gustibus non disputandum est and all that.

    Onething, or in Jung’s terms, that’s the archetype that seized them. A case could be made…

    Jaymoses, it’s always seemed to me that this was an attempt by a particular generation of authors to rewrite the history of American literature in the image of their own preferences. I certainly don’t deny Twain’s stature as a major American author, though a very uneven one — I don’t know anyone who bothers to read The Gilded Age any more, except for academics — but he and the specific kind of fiction that follows from his better work aren’t the only current in American literature by a long shot. Nor is Twain as sui generis as his fans tend to think — Twain himself was building on foundations laid by Irving and others, including — despite Twain’s own brilliantly funny denunciations of the man — James Fenimore Cooper.

    Isabel, too funny. Do you think they keep those Interchangeable Sophomores in a warehouse somewhere, and dole them out to classes a few at a time? 😉

  111. How often, in a poem (or song lyric) do you get the sense that the author had to twist the phrase to make it fit? That might seem like less “honest” expression, but then again, it might give the author license to use language which is so honest that he/she needs an alibi… which would not be available if there were not limits imposed by the form which had to be satisfied. Or, to express emotions that would be too intense to speak directly. (These samples will be familiar to many of us, I suspect.)

    “Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground”

    “And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight”

    “How I wish, how I wish you were here
    We’re just two lost souls
    Swimming in a fish bowl
    Year after year”

  112. Thanks, JMG, for providing such a rich commentary on CosDoc! In particular, Fortune’s descriptions of the Tangentials was so cursory that I found it really difficult to understand them based on what was in the text. Good to know, too, about the Days and Nights of Manifestation: I am fascinated by how at one moment CosDoc is referring to the Kabala and the next moment to some key points in Hindu cosmology and concepts of time!

    An aside: I just so happened to be reading Hall’s “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” yesterday and near the end of the chapter “Qabbalistic Keys to the Creation of Man” (p.352 in the edition I am reading, to be exact) I came across the phrase “Ring Pass -Not”! The context is the banished Adam not being allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum due to a cherub swinging a flashing sword in a circle. Now, “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” was published in 1928 and I believe that CosDoc was accessible only to Fortune’s inner circle of students between 1924 and 1949. Would I be right in assuming that Manly P. Hall was “well connected” to Dion Fortune in the 1920s? If not, it seems to be a hell of a coincidence!

  113. Hi John Michael,

    The intellectual side of ‘Culture wars’ is your natural sparring ground, so mate I concede to your greater prowess, and gently point you in the direction of the nearest bar so that we can enjoy a dark ale and a yak! 🙂 My previous comment can be interpreted, as me politely suggesting that I have no dog in that fight, and if anything I was guilty of repeating what Faulkner wrote. I was not claiming the cloak of expertise, but merely responding to the question that you asked: “Who calls Twain the father of American literature?” Otherwise I would have politely dropped the whole discussion. Anyway, he clearly made that claim for his own purposes, and you know, cultural cringe is a real thing which is often used to berate local efforts whilst elevating lesser folk. It is a bit like stealing manna from others and I don’t have much time for such rubbish. In conclusion, I believe the whole messy and pointless discussion can be summed up neatly as thus: He started it! 🙂

    What fun we have here in this polite little corner of this dreadful interweb thing.

    Spring has sprung here (despite the snowfall yesterday) and weird things are happening to the plants due to prolonged autumn of several months ago. I suspect that eventually the plants will adapt, but this global weirding thing is going throw us humans some seriously weird curve balls (that is a baseball analogy and hopefully I’ve used it correctly) that are going to cause a few hunger pains and headaches. It is a shame that not enough folks are interested in plants.

    Cheers

    Chris

  114. Hi John,

    For a long campaign against the Wendigo, starving it out is the way to go, but if you’re just impulsively deciding to go into the woods, arming up with St, Michael would be the way to go.

    And don’t move to Maine. Place ain’t been right since Stephen King learned how to type. 😁

  115. John,
    And to think a week ago I just half skipped over the Pythagorean Mathematics chapter in Manly P Hall’s ‘The Secret Teachings of all ages’ as it was a little too over my head and I just didn’t ‘get it’.
    I’ll have to go back and actually try to get my head around that chapter to see if it relates here.
    I suspect that’ll help me with understanding Tangentials/vortices/atoms.

    There’s allot going on in this chapter. I’ll work to get my head around this over the next month as much as possible. But I’d still like to know will the intensity keep ratcheting up each month like this? or will further chapters spend some time unpacking all that’s introduced in this chapter.

    I’ve seen these numbers 3/4/7/12 numerous times in different contexts and never felt fully comfortable understanding them. I feel this is not something that can be taught at one sitting, it’s best reading/thinking/meditating in different contexts and will eventually assimilate into our consciousness.

    -KNS

  116. @JMG: I have my suspicions! I had this theory that they grew them from last years’ batch, like potatoes, but that’s sort of unfair to the noble potato. Either that or they just re-use the last lot: a dye job, a quick fashion update, and they’re back in service.

    @Pogonip: Ooh, good points! I also have read the book but not seen the film.

    It says something about me, likely, that I’d taken Lewis’s attitude toward his family as the sort of thing that even the most otherwise-devoted spouse and parent has moments of at times. I’ve described my attitude to kids, pets, and men as being basically the same–very cute, fun to play with, but I prefer them to be someone else’s problem at the end of the day. And my parents, now that I’m old enough to hear these things without being Scarred for Life, have mentioned moments when Emi and I were young and extraordinarily bratty and they’d have liked to leave us for the coyotes. So I’d sort of overlooked the fantasies you mention*, but that’s an excellent point.

    And I think you’re entirely right, both about the theme–the use of the Wendigo ground is also a form of running, of course, from the inevitability of death and the irreversibility of even “bad” deaths–and about the Steve Masterson angle. I’ve always found that a frustrating trait in protagonists: if *I* got to fight the Wendigo or slay vampires or transform into a magical girl and battle the forces of the Negaverse, I would be all over that action, and the “but I can’t believe this and I just want to be normal” folks are baffling, and make me want to slap them upside the head.

    * Or I’d taken them as part of the general bleakness of the book in general. King’s view of human nature is at its lowest ebb in this and Cujo, IMO, and I’m not sure whether that was down to the late seventies/early eighties, or cocaine, or what.

  117. Lathechuck – what totally relevant quotes for readers here in the Mountain West. We sure have seen fire and rain* — and Satan is surely laughing his head off at the way Lady Gaia is getting her own back. Or, whoever else is the patron godling of poetic justice.

    *And breathing smoke and smog in between unpredictable monsoon rains.

  118. JMG
    The Anarchists’ in Covington are channeling you again. Looking for the source to a couple of drawings https://blog.lostartpress.com/2018/08/20/name-the-image-source-a-call-for-help/. Turns out they are from ” Power of Limits” by Gyorgy Doczi. Part of one of the images they were looking for looks a lot like I would envision a ray looking later in time. No mention of DF, CD or you 🙂 Having just read Jung’s Synchronicity – maybe a little….

  119. My sentences du jour say that the Ring Cosmos is concerned with the future, and the Ring Chaos is concerned with the past. So that would mean that the Ring Pass Not is concerned with the present? Also seems to imply that one set of rays flows with the timeline (ie., from the centre to the edge of the Ring Cosmos) and the rays on the flip side of Ring Cosmos flow against the timeline (towards the centre).
    If I have read this correctly, Fortune is saying that time is more like a radiant emanation, rotating outward from a central point, than a one-way single line, and that there is two-way traffic between the time source (a non-rotating ‘singularity?’) and wherever we are on the Ring Cosmos Disk.
    Or maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill…

  120. I tried to post this earlier and lost it to a weak cell signal, so if it comes through twice, just delete one of them please?

    Anyway, this idea of industrial culture and its accelerating destruction playing the part of the Wendigo is doing good things for me. Today, every time I thought about grabbing my Android I would stop and mentally associate that action with opening up a portal through which the Wendigo could penetrate my inner space (and family), get a foothold and create desire, and almost every time I passed on the idea and went and did something else.

    Ecosophia is about the only thing I look at on the internet, for heaven’s sake, but sometimes checking up on it leads me down other rabbit holes, and some of those rabbit holes I could probably do without. Very little of any of that occurred today, and instead I ended up finishing a new much-improved product label, getting it to the printing company, getting a new business contract out of the result, plus a couple of very promising new leads!

    (And hey, I’m still caught up on my Ecosophia. Just doing it at the library where the network connection is strong, and I know I won’t waste the time I lost on the first attempt at this post. Win-win-win.)

    Which is all to say, I really love this new mental imagery, and find it extremely practical on the ground. Lots of own-goals averted already!

  121. Your comment about the flow and use of the life force in a church service/mass in the main post and further comments about the same to Tripp et al, is most enlightening. However, it has made me ponder situations where the life force of a congregation of people is deliberately stirred in a non-religious setting (for example, a rock concert, or a speech by a politician or “motivational speaker”). Where does it go? How does the object of the congregation’s attention deal with this life force if he/she is not a trained mage? Undoubtedly many of them are able to “feed off” this energy, whether consciously or unconsciously. Sex and drugs/alcohol are common outlets for these celebrities/public figures, but some of them seem to go through life unscathed by these outlets of the life force. I suppose these questions come my mind because as a very introverted person, I feel “drained” on the rare occasions that I am involved in such situations (and therefore avoid them like the plague), but when I attend traditional religious rituals or visit ancient places of pilgrimage I feel “charged”.

  122. Not really intended for posting.

    @JMG
    “Jim, you’re almost there. What do you do instead of opposing something? Empower its opposite. Don’t fight the Wendigo, figure out which forces move in the other direction, and strengthen those, starting with yourself and working out from there.”

    So very different from what works for me.

    Empowering the opposite would create a ridge (or problem – same thing) which would become more and more solid and be a growing problem.

    For me it is observing and/or communicating into understanding that reduces the ridge which can start at a mere disagreement that grows and grows.

    “What you resist persists.”

    “Know thine enemy.”

  123. Doing the reading and pondering the limitations of metaphors to describe what we experience or maybe better said, the composition of the world. Our language describes things as they exist in reality – reality is that which can be described in distance, time, and form – and our brain spends it time in non-reality. Well maybe not your brain, but my brain is certainly in non-reality much of the time! Non-reality for me is fantasies of the future, imagined outcomes of conversations or someone’s response, trying to figure out what someone is thinking, worrying about people, and rationalizing the past or hyper-fixating on it. Non-reality isn’t “bad”, it’s just not a place to make decisions from because its not real, its just stuff my brain is doing.

    What Dion is describing is another reality as she saw it, and its a struggle to understand it. I don’t expect to be walk up and see a cosmic ray, and find it using google maps, but at the same time there is another layer between reality and the non-reality of my brain that is out there. I’m going to keep reading and pondering it and I suspect it just click into place at some point!

  124. One other thing I wanted to add to my last comment was the cosmic timing on the activity in question. I noticed on the way home from town last night that the moon was in the second quarter of its cycle (waxing gibbous), so it was the perfect time for strengthening and consolidating existing positions. In this case, it was turning an already good product into a better one. Curiously, I had some trouble last week getting the print shop work done (the owner was having family issues and her assistant wasn’t doing any printing in her absence) during the “beginning anything new” quarter of the moon…

    Another interesting bit of timing, last week I finally got my dear old Camry, Carla, towed to the scrap yard – she had been rotting in the woods for the last 2 years – only to find out that the price of scrap steel had just dropped from $7/cwt the previous week to $5/cwt at that time. Had I timed that action better, and towed her in during the “ending and letting go” quarter of the moon my $150 check from the recycling center would have been $210.

    Hmmm. Synchronicity? This kind of stuff is definitely interesting to me, and the applications don’t seem to be purely esoteric in nature!

  125. LatheChuck,

    I’ve had Pink Floyd lyrics swimming around in my head for the last 2 days now, and just wanted to say thanks!

  126. “The Ring-Chaos must always be thought of as having its affinity with the outer space of the Unmanifest, and a tendency to return to unmanifestation. It looks towards the past and ever seeks the conditions of the past.”

    This reminded me of traditionalists.

    “The Ring-Cosmos endeavours to focus, as the Ring-Chaos endeavours to diffuse. The tendency of the Ring-Cosmos is towards the future.”

    This reminded me of the so-called progressives.

    ” … the forces which the Ring-Cosmos radiates into that space within its circumference cannot pass out again because they are confined by the influences of the Ring-Pass-Not. Therefore, they act and interact among themselves, producing ever greater and greater elaborations of influences.”

    This reminded me of the so-called echo chamber.

  127. Thank you Yanocoches, Harry Pottash, Onething, Kfish and others who posted about understanding the movement of the rays. Your comments and JMG’s responses have helped me a very great deal in understanding this concept.

  128. @ Tripp.

    I was just giving you a tease. Your haiku (the earlier one) was the most sensible comment to be directed at me in the last month. But if serious Haiku wars were to break out, one must be prepared for battle.

    @ all

    Have I got the image right that the out going Rays are the ones attracted to the Ring Chaos, and indeed they correspond to birth and the manifestation of something closer to the Logos into the rings they reach out to?
    Also, are they attracted to the Ring Chaos because in order for the cosmic to become particular and mortal it needs limitation, which is in turn based upon a static opposition of Cosmic and Primeevil force?
    Is the shedding of limitation akin to death and with out limitation the forces bound up in opposition separate with negative evil floating out and the cosmic force opposing it dying to the world and nuzzling back into more central spiritual realms, so that death is a ending of the dynamic opposition which sets the limitations inhabited by life force, and when that marriage of Cosmic and Chaotic energy reaches divorce the temporal and contingent realities built upon that stop block diffuse?
    Furthermore the cycle of turning to line up with the cosmic or chaotic planes corresponds to times of preponderant creativity and divergence exploration climaxing as the ring approaches the ring chaos; in turn the phase of repulsion from the ring chaos corresponds with a preponderance of selection and informing pruning and pulling inward. Evolution depending on the remnant of one Ur-day acting as a seed crystal to the following dawn; from which branches out a cacophony of derivative forms to select out in the next cycle?
    Finally, at the extreme, where the Rays turn inward around the edge of the Cosmic Disc, how is it that they reflect off of the Ringpassnot, and are they at that point still Rays of the Logos, or have they become reflections of the chaos that can never be seen, except via the consequences which manifest among the created, as the Gorgon can only be witnessed through the reflection in the shield?

  129. Hi Isabelcooper,

    King has said he was so high he doesn’t even remember writing Cujo. When he finally sobered up he read it and thought, “This is good! I liked it!” I myself would have preferred more of the dog’s point of view and less that of the pre-car-breakdown Donna, who was a very unpleasant person.

    Newer editions of Pet Sematary have a foreword where King explains that his then-toddler son ran onto a busy road. King just managed to catch him, and, of course, thought what-if…

  130. Tripp – My first wife died (cancer) 13 years ago, survived by myself and our 17-year old son. Even though we were long-divorced by that time, I still can’t sing my way through those lyrics. I’m glad to hear that you appreciate them, too.

  131. I find it a bit odd that you understand at least one of the church’s problems better than most of its members. Won’t be mentioning magic there anytime soon however. Would rather have an even chance of someone listening.

  132. Just a reply to a comment made many comments ago. In physics light is always generated by motion or requires motion. When you pass (move) electrons through a wire filament the heat (atoms oscillating/moving) generates light (this is the principle of the Edison light bulb). Rapidly accelerating charged particles produces electromagnetic waves (i.e. light) which is what happens every time you turn on a radio transmitter. In a laser, light is made to rapidly move back and forth between two mirrors all the while generating more light via stimulated emission. In fact light is comprised of photons, which are perpetually in motion until they are absorbed causing electrons to move to higher atomic and molecular energy levels until they drop back down generating more light. I can give many more examples (lightning aurora etc.) and in all cases motion is involved.

  133. One thing I note with interest is that if you consider the zodiac signs as corresponding with the twelve rays, the linked pairs of opposites are always fire-air and earth-water. In most occult philosophy of which I’m aware, fire and air are considered “masculine” elements while earth and water are “feminine”. In other words, despite the tendency of many occultists to focus on sexual polarity, the polarity discussed here seems to be along different lines. Within the Zodiac, the opposition of elements is based on fluidity/rigidity rather than activity/passivity. “Dry” earth pairs off with “moist” water, while “dry” fire pairs with “moist” air.

    My guess would be that the more fluid elements, being more responsive to the pull of the Ring-Chaos, project out from the center along the attracting side of the Ring-Cosmos. Meanwhile their opposite numbers project out along the repulsing side as a counterbalancing act of resistance. Not sure what this would mean in practical terms – something to meditate on tomorrow, perhaps.

    JMG, do the rays complete a single rotation from center to the edge and back in the span of one day and night of manifestation?

  134. Ahem, cough cough ⊕ RE: the image of the Rings.

    RE: your previous post about origins, reminiscent of Ancient Greek accounts of emergence from primordial chaos as well as Tolkien’s creation story in Silmarillion.

    Salve.

  135. I have questions about how the Ring Chaos affects the Ring Pass Not and the Ring Cosmos. Since there is an impenetrable barrier between them, what is the ring chaos effect upon the ring cosmos and visa versa? I can understand from the text that the Ring Cosmos is related to the diffuse nature of the Ring Pass Not’s near boundary, but the only use I see for the Ring Chaos, is that it was the result prime mover, and what the ring Pass Not and the Ring Chaos use as a push block that started the original and secondary motions, started by the prime mover in the Ring Chaos. Is that all there is to the Ring Chaos’ effect upon the Rings Cosmos and Pass Not? That it is also the metaphorical past?

  136. Dear JMG,
    do you are interested in some recent book over “Magic”?

    Then maybe you could be interested in this book (if you don’t already have read it)

    Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe
    by Ph.d. Radin Dean

    which exposes and summarizes the current “state of the art” of scientific investigation over “magic”

    Have a nice day

  137. JMG,

    Say that you have (for example) a moon phase that is auspicious for beginning things, in a season of the year that is suited to ending and letting go–which influence would dominate, or does it depend on various factors? (I have a feeling that your answer is going to be something along the lines of, “Well, that’s what all those maddeningly intricate calculations I mentioned are for…”, but if it’s possible to give a broad overview or general rule of thumb, I’d be interested)

    Still enjoying this book club very much, although not able to participate in discussion very often due to technological constraints. Many thanks!

  138. This might be a minor point but my mind keeps sticking on it. I think Harry and Yanocoches have a point about the flow of the Rays.

    There is a configuration that is consistent with both the figure 8 and the text that specifies, “…the outgoing flow being above in one half of the circle, and below in the opposite half.”

    Draw a figure 8 on its side with force arrows.

    Draw a Circle around it.

    Bisect the circle with a horizontal line (should pass through the x of the figure 8).

    Draw a stick figure standing on the top of the circle.

    Draw a stick figure standing on the bottom of the circle.

    Now you’ll see a figure 8 with the outgoing flow being above (from one perspective) in one half of the circle, and below (from the opposite perspective) in the opposite half.

    https://twitter.com/UniverseWeAre/status/1035187999238250497

  139. Thinking about the Ring Pass Not– It really seems very like the Event Horizon ofa Black Hole. Once past the event horizon, matter cannot get out again, and nothing outside can see what is happening inside. Not sure what that might mean for Fortune’s model but it is at least an interesting synchronocity.

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

Leave a Reply