TagAustin Osman Spare
A great deal of blather about the practices of Raja Yoga exist, and a great way to fuck someone up at worst, or impede their progress at best, is to provide them a gate into a dangerous territory then give them a sloppy map. Much of it, sadly, can be traced back to Crowley’s histrionic rubies-in-the-shit approach to writing. Look at Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising, and the confusion leaps out at anyone with experience. Wilson claims that counting the breath, a technique to aid concentration in novices, is a watered-down form of pranayama, which according to him is the real means to achieve these lofty states. He asserts that mantra, a form of concentration, is a device used for achieving pratyahara. While I respect some of Wilson’s acid-drenched project, and realize that he often claimed to have both provided disinformation and hidden messages in his texts to spurn further research (like any Joyce scholar would), I also believe that at times he simply hid his sloppiness (New Falcon was his publisher, for christ’s sake) behind these conceits. I also disagree intensely with publishing a mass-market book with disinformation-it is one thing to send a student on fool’s errands, it is another to knowingly deceive thousands with whom one has no relationship. To provide my personal example, after reading Prometheus Rising I began practicing pranayama with a mantra for ninety minutes a day, getting up at four thirty in the morning to get in the time, then hoping in the shower and going to work. I had no clue that focusing on a mantra would induce all manner of altered states, because I always assumed it was, per Wilson, the pranayama that did that. Likewise, reading a sloppy account of the actual territory of the altered states like the one Crowley offers in Book 4 helps little. The fact that a real madman, Austin Osman Spare, provides clearer instruction in doing this type of thing with his coded passages on the Death Posture-which is really just advice in what Daniel Ingram outlines as ‘Buddhist Magick 101′-should say something about just how clear the advice that the Post-Theosophist crew offer is.
How incredibly useful:
My aim here is to introduce the philosophers Deleuze-Guattari[i] to readers perhaps unfamiliar with their work and indicate something curious about their work, which is that it appears to have some sort of relation in a practical sense to the concept of the sorcerer. Whilst not a central figure in Deleuze and Guattari?s work, the sorcerer and the witch are themes that do crop up in their texts more often than might be expected and play more than a simply ?metaphorical? role. I think that Deleuze and Guattari can provide a resource for those interested in sorcery, magic and witchcraft in two ways: firstly they can provide theoretical tools which can challenge or at least complement structuralist, constructivist and historicist accounts and so can be of use to researchers attempting to understand these phenomena; secondly, they can provide a theoretical resource for those within the magical community who at times attempt to theorise their practise with what are essentially philosophical concepts.