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LIBER NULL & PSYCHONAUT
(Two Complete Volumes)
By Peter J. Carroll
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 1987 Peter J. Carroll
All rights reserved.
This course is an exercise in the disciplines of magical trance, a form of mind control having similarities to yoga, personal metamorphosis, and the basic techniques of magic. Success with these techniques is a prerequisite for any real progress with the initiate 3° syllabus.
A magical diary is the magician's most essential and powerful tool. It should be large enough to allow a full page for each day. Students should record the time, duration and degree of success of any practice undertaken. They should make notes about environmental factors conducive (or otherwise) to the work.
Those wishing to notify the Order of their intention to begin the work are invited to do so via the publisher.
To work magic effectively, the ability to concentrate the attention must be built up until the mind can enter a trance-like condition. This is accomplished in a number of stages: absolute motionlessness of the body, regulation of the breathing, stopping of thoughts, concentration on sound, concentration on objects, and concentration on mental images.
Arrange the body in any comfortable position and try to remain in that position for as long as possible. Try not to blink or move the tongue or fingers or any part of the body at all. Do not let the mind run away on long trains of thought but rather observe oneself passively. What appeared to be a comfortable position may become agonizing with time, but persist! Set aside some time each day for this practice and take advantage of any opportunity of inactivity which may arise.
Record the results in the magical diary. One should not be satisfied with less than five minutes. When fifteen have been achieved, proceed to regulation of the breathing.
Stay as motionless as possible and begin to deliberately make the breathing slower and deeper. The aim is to use the entire capacity of the lungs but without any undue muscular effort or strain. The lungs may be held empty or full between exhalation and inhalation to lengthen the cycle. The important thing is that the mind should direct its complete attention to the breath cycle. When this can be done for thirty minutes, proceed to not-thinking.
The exercises of motionlessness and breathing may improve health, but they have no other intrinsic value aside from being a preparation for not-thinking, the beginnings of the magical trance condition. While motionless and breathing deeply, begin to withdraw the mind from any thoughts which arise. The attempt to do this inevitably reveals the mind to be a raging tempest of activity. Only the greatest determination can win even a few seconds of mental silence, but even this is quite a triumph. Aim for complete vigilance over the arising of thoughts and try to lengthen the periods of total quiescence.
Like the physical motionlessness, this mental motionlessness should be practiced at set times and also whenever a period of inactivity presents itself. The results should be recorded in your diary.
The Magical Trances
Magic is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will. The will can only become magically effective when the mind is focused and not interfering with the will. The mind must first discipline itself to focus its entire attention on some meaningless phenomenon. If an attempt is made to focus on some form of desire, the effect is short circuited by lust of result. Egotistical identification, fear of failure, and the reciprocal desire not to achieve desire, arising from our dual nature, destroy the result.
Therefore, when selecting topics for concentration, choose subjects of no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional, or useful significance—meaningless things.
The legend of the evil-eye derives from the ability of wizards and sorcerers to give a fixed dead stare. This ability can be practiced against any object—a mark on a wall, something in the distance, a star in the night sky—anything. To hold an object with an absolutely fixed, unwavering gaze for more than a few moments proves extraordinarily difficult, yet it must be persisted in for hours at a time. Every attempt by the eye to distort the object, every attempt by the mind to find something else to think of, must be resisted. Eventually it is possible to extract occult secrets from things by this technique, but the ability must be developed by working with meaningless objects.
The part of the mind in which verbal thoughts arise is brought under magical control by concentration on sounds mentally imagined. Any simple sound of one or more syllables is selected, for example, Aum or Om, Abrakadabra, Yod He Vau He, Aum Mani Padme Hum, Zazas Zazas, Nasatanada Zazas. The chosen sound is repeated over and over in the mind to block all other thoughts. No matter how inappropriate the choice of sound may seem to have been, you must persist with it. Eventually the sound may seem to repeat itself automatically and may even occur in sleep. These are encouraging signs. Sound concentration is the key to words of power and certain forms of spell casting.
The part of the mind in which pictorial thoughts arise is brought under magical control by image concentration. A simple shape, such as a triangle, circle, square, cross, or crescent, is chosen and held in the mind's eye, without distortion, for as long as possible. Only the most determined efforts are likely to make the imagined form persist for any time. At first the image should be sought with the eyes closed. With practice it can be projected onto any blank surface. This technique is the basis of casting sigils and creating independent thought forms.
The three methods of attaining magical trance will only yield results if pursued with the most fanatical and morbid determination. These abilities are highly abnormal and usually inaccessible to human consciousness, as they demand such inhuman concentration, but the rewards are great. In the magical diary, record each day's formal work and whatever extra opportunities have been utilized. No page should be left blank.
The transmutation of the mind to magical consciousness has often been called the Great Work. It has a far-reaching purpose leading eventually to the discovery of the True Will. Even a slight ability to change oneself is more valuable than any power over the external universe. Metamorphosis is an exercise in willed restructuring of the mind.
All attempts to reorganize the mind involve a duality between conditions as they are and the preferred condition. Thus it is impossible to cultivate any virtue like spontaneity, joy, pious pride, grace, or omnipotence without involving oneself in more conventionality, sorrow, guilt, sin, and impotence in the process. Religions are founded on the fallacy that one can or ought to have one without the other. High magic recognizes the dualistic condition but does not care whether life is bittersweet or sweet and sour; rather it seeks to achieve any arbitrary perceptual perspective at will.
Any state of mind might arbitrarily be chosen as an objective for transmutation, but there is a specific virtue to the ones given. The first is an antidote to the imbalance and possible madness of the magical trance. The second is a specific against obsession with the magical practices in the third section. They are:
Attaining these states of mind is accomplished by a process of ongoing meditation. One tries to enter into the spirit of the condition whenever possible and to think about the desired result at other times. By this method, a strong new mental habit can be established.
Consider laughter: it is the highest emotion, for it can contain any of the others from ecstacy to grief. It has no opposite. Crying is merely an underdeveloped form of it which cleanses the eyes and summons assistance to infants. Laughter is the only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played upon itself.
The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and ghastly events which surround one. It is not for us to question the universe's apparent lack of taste. Seek the emotion of laughter at what delights and amuses, seek it in whatever is neutral or meaningless, seek it even in what is horrific and revolting. Though it may be forced at first, one can learn to smile inwardly at all things.
Non-attachment/Non-disinterest best describes the magical condition of acting without lust of result. It is very difficult for humans to decide on something and then to do it purely for its own sake. Yet it is precisely this ability which is required to execute magical acts. Only single-pointed awareness will do. Attachment is to be understood both in the positive and negative sense, for aversion is its other face. Attachment to any attribute of oneself, one's personality, one's ambitions, one's relationships or sensory experiences—or equally, aversion to any of these—will prove limiting.
On the other hand, it is fatal to lose interest in these things for they are one's symbolic system or magical reality. Rather, one is attempting to touch the sensitive parts of one's reality more lightly in order to deny the spoiling hand of grasping desire and boredom. Thereby one may gain enough freedom to act magically.
In addition to these two meditations there is a third, more active, form of metamorphosis, and this involves one's everyday habits. However innocuous they might seem, habits in thought, word, and deed are the anchor of the personality. The magician aims to pull up that anchor and cast himself free on the seas of chaos.
To proceed, select any minor habit at random and delete it from your behavior: at the same adopt any new habit at random. The choices should not involve anything of spiritual, egocentric, or emotional significance, nor should you select anything with any possibility of failure. By persisting with such simple beginnings you become capable of virtually anything.
All works of metamorphosis should be committed to the magical diary.
Success in this part of the syllabus is dependent on some degree of mastery of the magical trances and metamorphosis. This magical instruction involves three techniques: ritual, sigils, and dreaming. In addition, the magician should make himself familiar with at least one system of divination: cards, crystal gazing, runesticks, pendulum, or divining rod. The methods are endless. With all techniques, aim to silence the mind and let inspiration provide some sort of answer. Whatever symbolic system or instruments are used, they act only to provide a receptacle or amplifier for inner abilities. No divinatory system should involve too much randomness. Astrology is not recommended.
Ritual is a combination of the use of talismanic weapons, gesture, visualized sigils, word spells, and magical trance. Before proceeding with sigils or dreaming, it is essential to develop an effective Banishing Ritual. A well-constructed banishing ritual has the following effects. It prepares the magician more rapidly for magical concentration than any of the trance exercises alone. It enables the magician to resist obsession if problems are encountered with dream experiences or with sigils becoming conscious. It also protects the magician from any hostile occult influences which may assail him.
To develop a banishing ritual, first acquire a magical weapon—a sword, a dagger, a wand, or perhaps a large ring. The instrument should be something which is impressive to the mind and should also represent the aspirations of the magician. The advantages of hand forging one's own instruments, or discovering them in some strange way, cannot be over-emphasized. The banishing ritual should contain the following elements as a minimum.
First, the magician describes a barrier about himself with the magical weapon. The barrier is also strongly visualized. Three dimensional figures are preferable. See figure 1 on page 20.
Second, the magician focuses his will on a visualized image: for example, the image of the magical weapon, or his own imaginary third eye, or perhaps a ball of light inside his own head. A sound concentration may additionally or alternatively be used.
Third, the barrier is reinforced with power symbols drawn with the magical weapon. The traditional five-pointed star or pentagram can be used, or the eight-pointed star of Chaos, or any other form. Words of power may also be used.
Fourth, the magician aspires to the infinite void by a brief but determined effort to stop thinking.
The magician may require something which he is unable to obtain through the normal channels. It is sometimes possible to bring about the required coincidence by the direct intervention of the will provided that this does not put too great a strain on the universe. The mere act of wanting is rarely effective, as the will becomes involved in a dialogue with the mind. This dilutes magical ability in many ways. The desire becomes part of the ego complex; the mind becomes anxious of failure. The will not to fulfill desire arises to reduce fear of failure. Soon the original desire is a mass of conflicting ideas. Often the wished for result arises only when it has been forgotten. This last fact is the key to sigils and most forms of magic spell. Sigils work because they stimulate the will to work subconsciously, bypassing the mind.
There are three parts to the operation of a sigil. The sigil is constructed, the sigil is lost to the mind, the sigil is charged. In constructing a sigil, the aim is to produce a glyph of desire, stylized so as not to immediately suggest the desire. It is not necessary to use complex symbol systems. Figure 2 shows how sigils may be constructed from words, from images, and from sounds. The subject matter of these spells is arbitrary and not recommended. To successfully lose the sigil, both the sigil form and the associated desire must be banished from normal waking consciousness. The magician strives against any manifestation of either by a forceful turning of his attention to other matters. Sometimes the sigil may be burnt, buried, or cast into an ocean. It is possible to lose a word spell by constant repetition as this eventually empties the mind of associated desire. The sigil is charged at moments when the mind has achieved quiescence through magical trance, or when high emotionality paralyzes its normal functioning. At these times the sigil is concentrated upon, either as a mental image, or mantra, or as a drawn form. Some of the times when sigils may be charged are as follows: during magical trance; at the moment of orgasm or great elation; at times of great fear, anger, or embarrassment; or at times when intense frustration or disappointment arises. Alternatively, when another strong desire arises, this desire is sacrificed (forgotten) and the sigil is concentrated on instead. After holding the sigil in the mind for as long as possible, it is wise to banish it by evoking laughter.
A record should be kept of all work with sigils but not in such a way as to cause conscious deliberation over the sigilized desire.
The dream state provides a convenient egress into the fields of divination, entities, and exteriorization or "out of the body" experience. All humans dream each night of their lives, but few can regularly recount their experiences even a few minutes after waking. Dream experiences are so incongruous that the brain learns to prevent them interfering with waking consciousness. The magician aims to gain full access to the dream plane and to assume control of it. The attempt to do this invariably involves the magician in a deadly and bizzare battle with his own psychic censor, which will use almost any tactics to deny him these experiences.
The only method of gaining full access to the dream plane is to keep a book and writing instrument next to the place of sleeping at all times. In this, record the details of all dreams as soon as possible after waking.
To assume conscious control over the dream state, it is necessary to select a topic for dreaming. The magician should start with simple experiences, such as the desire to see a particular object (real or imaginary) and master this before attempting divination or exteriorization. The dream is set up by strongly visualizing the desired topic in an otherwise silenced mind, immediately before sleep. For more complex experiences the method of sigils may be employed.
A record of dreams is best kept separate from the magical record as it tends to become voluminous. However any significant success should be transferred into the magical diary.
Though one may get to fear the sight of it, a properly kept magical record is the surest guarantor of success in the work of Liber MMM: it is both a work of reference with which to evaluate progress and, most significantly, a goad to further effort.
Excerpted from LIBER NULL & PSYCHONAUT by Peter J. Carroll. Copyright © 1987 Peter J. Carroll. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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