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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Part 2 of Esther's Story - Now Online (for this week only!)

Part 2 of Esther's story continues our Purim weekend for just a few more days.

New Unveilng "Study Guide" Page on Website

Unveiling - Table of Contents and Study Guide

Just got a new webpage loaded - a Seasonal Study Guide.

People who have advance copies of Unveiling (really manuscript drafts) have been reading them slowly. Yes, Unveiling is a pretty meaty book. (In the latest proofs, its about 450 pages of text, then there are references. And I still need to produce the Index.)

But it's not really the length. And it's certainly not hard to read. The style is easy enough, and lots of stories.

The challenge is that it brings up stuff that we have to process. And when that happens, we each have to put the book down, and take a little time for the "processing."

This happened to one of my friends who was reviewing it. And then it happened to me, just the other day. The ("final-final") proofs came in; I started reading through from the beginning, once again.) And the thing about reading proofs is - there's enough time between reads so that I become emotionally "sensitized" once again. It's one thing to write the words; it's another to read them as a "reader."

And now that I'm reading them as a "reader," some of the stuff comes up and just punches me! And this is even though I've actually written the words down, and then read them many (many) times.

So yes, Unveiling takes time to read. It's really about the emotional processing involved.

So I had a lovely experience this last weekend. I was invited to participate in a Purim celebration at a local synagogue. I helped the children learn a little dance; I provided the girls with pretty dancer's veils to use, and the synogogue had lots of rhythm-making instruments for the boys. (What fun! Noisy, but fun!)

So we all had a good time. But this motivated me to put up Esther's story (from Unveiling, Chapter 8) onto the web - and I'll keep it there, just for a little bit. (For this coming weekend, I'll pull back on Esther, and put up the bit about Scheherezade - in honor of the Persian New Year, Nowruz.)

All this tied in with something that I'd been thinking - that we really needed a "Seasonal Study Guide." Something to correlate Unveiling with our dance practice, and with the energies of the different seasons.

So go visit
Seasonal Study Guide, and you'll see the Table of Contents, and a brief description of content, organized by season.

And do honor Esther by visiting her page - Esther and Purim.

Creating Personal Energy

Personal Energy or Ch'i Training - How to Get It and Use It

This blog, and possibly several that I'll post after this, will address a topic brought up by Donald Michael Kraig (DM Kraig), author of Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts (see link below). Don, who writes on the Llewellyn website blog, recently posted a brief discussion on how we generate magickal energy. Don's post referenced one by a gentleman referred to as "Frater A.I.T.," on personal energy work. A little extreme, maybe, but to-the-point.

The essence of Frater's message is that if we are to be effective with "magickal" work (that is, using our intention and will to create reality as we desire), then we must be doing some form of "personal energy work." Frater A.I.T. references the "Middle Pillar," which is an energy-draw-down exercise well known in esoteric circles. In fact, Israel Regardie, one of the 20th century's leading esoteric masters, wrote a book on this subject, The Middle Pillar.

There are actually four things that we need to do, for effective magical (or "magickal") work:

  • Access personal energy, or ch'i,
  • Remove (or at least ease) the tension blocks in our bodies that keep us from accessing and circulating our personal energy, or ch'i,
  • Build and circulate our ch'i,
  • Direct our ch'i, or intrinsic vital energy, according to our will.

In The Middle Pillar, Regardie makes two very useful points supporting the above. First, he identifies the importance of clearing out the tensions (both physical and psychic) that would inhibit our free flow and use of personal vital energy. On p. 86 of The Middle Pillar, he states,

"... unless some method is devised for distributing [the awakened energy] and thus relieving the pressure, the center itself will in the course of time suffere derangement through over-stimulus, and there is bound to ensue some serious disturbance to the nervous and psychic system.

Freud, Jung, Reich, and others have all identified the association between emotional or "psychic" tension and tension in our bodies. Ida P. Rolf, founder of Structural Integration (Rolfing-TM)noted the same.

One of the clear goals of hatha yoga is to prepare our bodies for increased energy flow, and one means of doing this is to open up the various tight spots where we tend to store "stuck" psychic or emotional residue, along with physical tension and pain. Eckhart Tolle further describes the existence of our pain-bodies, in The New Earth. (While Tolle does not associate pain-body with our tendency to store aspects of it in our physical bodies, this is well-known to both practitioners of hands-on healing methods as well as practitioners of body arts, such as T'ai Chi Ch'uan.)

Regardie's second useful point has to do with circulating this vital energy, or ch'i. He quotes from the revered Chinese manual, The Secret of the Golden Flower (p. 88):

Therefore you only have to make the Light circulate; that is the deepest and most wonderful secret.

All this is to set a background for discussion.

The Middle Pillar brings energy down from higher consciousness. When a person is able to do this, he or she can then circulate the energy.

An alternative means of accessing personal energy - not necessarily igniting the various centers, but certainly a good way to bring in energy - is to use the Taoist method of the Microcosmic Orbit. This leads to the same kind of energy circulation as is described in Middle Pillar instructions as "Circulating the Body of Light."

After being reminded, by both D.M. Kraig and Frater A.I.T. (through their blogposts) of the importance of energy circulation, I added various energy-development and circulation exercises back to my daily routine. In particular, I began with the Chinese Silk-Weaving Exercises, which I initially learned many years ago from a book by Michael Minick (now sadly out of print).

In future posts, I'll describe some of the results of my practice. For the moment, let me add my encouragement to both D.M. Kraig and Frater A.I.T. with regard to energy practice. However, allow me to specifically recommend yoga together with basic T'ai Chi and Chi Kung. If you can find good YouTube vids on the Silk-Weaving exercises, please share. (I may have to make and post my own.) These practices, being more physically-based, will have a greater likelihood of energizing our physical bodies and clearing out stress points. Then, it should be easier to do the more cognitively-based exercises, such as the Middle Pillar.

Best wishes to all.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Flu-Colds - an Excellent Tiime for Pain-Body Checkout!

Woke up early this AM with the flu-cold that had developed overnight in full control; all sorts of achy-painy things, it hurt just to move. And of course, in this kind of state, my energy is really way down.

So I lay there, not feeling as though I could get up, and not feeling as though I even particularly wanted to, and of course, all this pain-body stuff starts working its way through my head. (Pain-body, b/t/w, is a term coined by Eckhart Tolle, he describes it in his book, A New Earth, and I reference it - a fair bit - in Unveiling.)

So the best way to handle our pain-body stuff is to just love it, embrace it, accept it. And when we are really low-energy, we can't resist, we can't fight it, and it's hard even to get ourselves distracted. So I'm looking at this cold/flu, this whatever, as a really good pain-body processing time. And, oh yes, indexing.