Don’t Know It Until I Say It

Those of us who engage in mystical, magical, and meditative activity face a paradox of recording information. It’s useful, it lets us review things, but there’s also, well, some problems.

Sure, it helps to write things down as you might read them. Also, after awhile you end up with a pile of notes and no time to read them. There’s also a little self-pressure to review such things. It takes the fun out of “holy shit, I had an insight.”

Yeah, you may write down great wisdom. But sometimes mystical insights are of the moment, and the future readings might not help. “The mind is a bird on fire” might be a good album name, but what were you talking about? Were you high? Can you remember?

Writing down deep experiences can become its own purpose – and squeeze out your other activity. When you’re trying to record your deep experiences, you might focus on the record and not the doing. When you’re ready to write it down, you might not do the meditation or spellcasting or whatever you need to do to have something to write down.

These are what I’ve experienced. I assume, perhaps arrogantly, you’ve experienced some of them. I also assume you found who other issues of writing down mystic experiences I’ve not had – or aren’t aware of. Let’s commiserate if you want to email me.

Anyway, such negatives are almost enough to make you not want to record your insights for posterity – or whatever.. But I actually have found a very good reason to do so that has nothing to do with future review or recording the wisdom of your ages. To write down or otherwise portray your mystic experiences helps you understand and process them.

You know how it goes, you have something in your head and you can’t quite understand it. But when you write it down, sketch it out, do something to put it in an understandable form you learn. The act of communicating helps you understand what you experienced.

Sometimes you write things down or whatever to talk to yourself. You might not look back on it or reread it or whatever, but at least you get it when you record it. That’s fine, but maybe the act of writing down an experience lets you process it.

I found this doing a mix of art and trying to figure how to write down my various experiences. I noticed when I wrote down things that happened in meditation as small bits of text, like the little chapterlets of The Tao Te Ching, I got them. The target audience was me at that moment, but worked better than just taking direct notes.

So when you record your various experiences in magic or meditation, remember one reason is to figure out whats’ going on right then. Don’t ignore the moment.

Even if you find the moment is the only time you pay attention to what you wrote down.


Elemental Thoughts and Respect

My own religious and mystical practices are, blatantly, syncretic.  I could hold forth on my fusion of Western mysticism, Taoism, Buddhism, various religious, plus whatever I found lying around.  I’m of the firm belief religion is an interface one constructs to connect with the universe, and I’m eclectic in everything else in my life.  I’d like to tease out one part of that for a discussion of the Four Elements – Air, Earth, Water, and Fire.

I was recently contemplating the ways some of we mystics invoke the four Elements – they are oft associated with the Quarters of the world and thus guardian spirits.  Indeed, I have similar associations with my own daily invocations.  It struck me that tying elements to various guardians is appropriate as these elements represent the very life we have on earth.  Indulge me, if you will, on a deeper exploration of these elements and some mystical thought.

Earth of course is where we all come from, and what we are made of.  It is the soil in which our food grows, on which we live, and to which our bodies return.  There is no life without Earth – I mean it’s also where we keep all our stuff.

Water is vital to every living thing as we all need water – in many ways the cornerstone of life.  It is our oceans and their great dynamic energy, it is our blood and bodily fluids.  There is no life without Water.

Fire is the sun, the heat that drives the great engine of our planet.  The heat ensures life can exist, the light fuels the plans upon which we depend.  Our bodies are great chemical reactions that produce heat as well – we are Fire.  There is no life without Fire.

Air is the atmosphere, the breath.  Much like water, we are constantly in an exchange with the air that allows us to live.  It is also our speech, our communication.  There is no life without Air.

It’s appropriate we tie such elements to whatever guardian forces we invoke, from angels to the Guardian Beasts because these elements are why we are alive.  When we call upon the elements or beings associated with them to protect us it makes sense.  In fact, associating such guardians, such preservers and pillars of the world seems appropriately respectful to the foundations of our world.

With these associations in mind, my own daily invocations take on a deeper, more urgent meaning.  I not only understand the powers I call upon deeper, I also have developed more respect for them.  There’s something visceral when you invoke Fire (or the Archangel Michael, or the Vermillion Bird, etc.) and also think of the sun, of life, of plants growing.  There’s more respect.

There’s also a little healthy fear.  We depend on these Elements for life – and humanity has made a good job of trying to screw them up.  To invoke guardian powers of these forces, wether you think of them as metaphorical or alive (or both) is to remind oneself life exists in a balance, and we depend on that balance.

I present this not just for fun and conversation, but as a personal insight on why mystical correspondences are so important – they make us think.  A simple contemplation of my daily activities led me to a deeper, more visceral place of respecting my environment and my own occult practice.  Even a simple musing might lead you to some great insight and thus greater connection.

And perhaps, a little appropriate fear.

– Xenofact