There are two paths to enlightenment: the ascetic and the ecstatic. The ascetic way is the renunciation associated with hermits, monks, and priests who practice fasting, isolation, and celibacy to renounce the world's attachments. But the ecstatic path is more accessible to modern people who wish to engage in family life, the social sphere, and the world of work.Read More
In certain Native American spiritual traditions, the universe was described as an infinite series of emanations of the Great Spirit. The Native Americans’ Great Spirit is closer to the monist God-as-everything than the monotheist God-as-separate-creator. The Great Spirit is understood to be the existential ground of being that everything else exists within.Read More
Ritual bathing is a major part of many magical traditions, including but not limited to witchcraft. Many religions have some form of ablutions or magical bathing—the Islamic wudu and gusl, the sacred Hindu dip in the Ganges, and the Christian baptism are all examples of traditional religions employing ritual baths.Read More
Many spells call for meditating upon our goal, visualizing certain colors & scenes, or praying to specific deities. Some books refer to these practices interchangeably while other traditions draw firm lines between them. A traditional Buddhist would not consider meditation as part of a ritual magic spell to be ‘real’ meditation, just as a devout Catholic would be dismayed at the use of prayer in a pagan ritual. So where do these techniques intersect and where do they differ?Read More
Scientists and philosophers have puzzled over this question for ages without agreement. For many, discussing the c-word in academics is taboo - as the gaping hole in our vast library of human knowledge, it’s best left unmentioned. However, quantum physicists, neuroscientists, and cosmologists are slowly breaking these taboos now, using modern discoveries to bring new light to these ancient questions.
I reject the materialist notion that the mental state spontaneously arose out of physical processes simply through natural selection. I don’t reject natural selection - it’s an excellent description of how forms change over time. But the process does not explain the development of the subjective experience. It may even articulate how subjectivity developed neurologically, but that still doesn’t explain why. What is the purpose of awareness?Read More
Some say that the mantra itself is irrelevant: that repeating any sound ad nauseam will produce the desired results of one-pointed relaxation and trancelike focus. Find out for yourself by experimenting with all of the mantras mentioned above and see which ones work best for you. Ultimately, your preference won’t necessarily signal the rightness of one mantra over another, it will just reveal what works for you. If gibberish effectively brings you to a state of one-pointedness focus, then more power to you.
But if you believe that there is something miraculous in the nature of sound and language, in the relationship between vibration and meaning, then it’s not a far stretch to imagine that words themselves could be magical and that their repetition could focus their creative power to produce meaningful results.Read More