Zhongyongdaoist

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  1. In my previous post I intended to show that there was no rigid relationship between magical instruments or weapons, and any of the elements, rather these instruments are symbolic representations which, in traditional magical theory at least, had a deeper relation which might be called "resonance" with the represented elements of other power, and was more than that of mere suggestion, as modern interpretations would maintain. However, I left some matters insufficiently developed and that bothered me to the point that I resolved to write something to clarify this by further examining the nature of both fire itself and magical authority and how they relate. I worked out the outline and sources, but then became too busy to put them into a coherent form, this post and my next one will deal with these matters before returning to the question of the polarity of left and right in Chinese and Western magic. In volume II of The Hermetic Museum, in the second part of Michael Sendivogius' "The New Chemical Light, Concerning Sulphur", is a treatment of the four elements, and while I read many such treatments of the four elements back in the Seventies, this one stands out in my mind and was very influential to my later thinking, as I suspect it may have been to the founders of the Golden Dawn, and very likely influenced A. E. Waite's treatment of the Kings as seated on a throne, since Waite was definitely aware of the text, the following being his translation from the Latin. On pages 137-38 we find the following discussion of Fire: "out of fire of an inferior purity were created the stars" In my previous post I mentioned that the Golden Dawn adepts Lotus Wand was related to the Zodiac, since the Zodiac consists of stars which are created of fire, this is a further link between the Wand and Fire. "and of it is fashioned the vital rational soul, which distinguishes man from all other animals, and makes him like God. This rational soul <138> was divinely infused into his vital spirit by God, and entitles him to be regarded as a microcosm, or small world by himself" This brings us to the notion of what I described as "magical authority", and in the Abrahamic strand of the Western Tradition, magical authority is derived from the human resemblance to God, while after the fall it is dormant, like fire in a flint, but can be stirred to action through the appropriate procedures. As noted above I will talk more about this magical Authority in my next post. Here is an interesting quote from Alexander Wilder's translation of Iamblichus seminal work on Theurgy, usually referred to in its Latin title De Mysteriis, On the Mysteries: All of which points to the ancient notion of the sacrality of fire in both Abrahamic and Pagan traditions. With this background it is no wonder that in the initiatory rituals of the Golden Dawn, the officer of Water says, "I purify thee with water", and the officer of Fire says, "I consecrate thee with fire", and thus to the initiate is revealed, right at the very beginning and repeated over and over again, one of the most important secrets of practical magic, whether he or she picks up on it and realizes how to use it in practice is another matter. In the above discussion I implied some of the traditional relationship between fire and and magical authority, which could be the basis of a magic wand as a scepter and representation of the magician's authority, in my next post, which will follow shortly, I will examine the notion of magical authority itself. ZYD Edit: Fixed a problem with line spacing.
  2. Wands seem to me to invoke the intellectual and mental nature of magick more than the Sword. Swords seem to me to invoke destruction and transformation/breaking things apart than the Wand. Also, "fire" and "sword" are often mentioned together in the Bible and are referenced in the Gospel of Thomas as well. This seems far more intuitive than the Wand's association with the will and the Sword's association with evocation. This being said, the sword in Daoist magick has more of a universal function, if I understand correctly. So you're right about these things being culturally and geographically situated. Thank you for clarifying your thinking, I shared some of Nungali's misgivings about it, but decided to address the matter of the Loshu first and leave swords and wands to him. Having seen this answer, and granted it is only a quick summary, so far at least I find it superficial and noncontextual, so let me provide some context. Let's start with the wands association with the "will", as I have said here: begins with the early Nineteenth Century reframing of magic as primitive Mesmerism and the wand as a directing instrument of the animal magnetism through the mesmerist's will following the usage of Mesmer himself. The original purpose of the wand is rather more in line with a royal scepter, or other "staff of office", and thus refers not to the will, but the authority of the magician to perform his rites, which is why the second Psalm, as a remembrance of the divine adoption of man, is used as a preparatory in the grimoires. On the other hand the sword has a very direct association with evocation as military magic, even to its origin in the Roman Military rite of evocation: So that the Wand and Sword represent the different aspects of the divinely bestowed authority of the magician, the wand authority and the Sword his threat of force for noncompliance. While this Military context is not clear from the grimoires, viewing Goetic Evocation within the context of military magic has suggestive implications for the notion of spiritual warfare, and also to the references in some grimoires to the operator and exorcist, or the probably related karcist (I am relying on my memory, which is generally reliable, for this, but given time I could come up with suitable references. I remember being puzzled by the usage when I first saw it in my teens a long time ago.). Within the context of the Golden Dawn which you reference there are two wands for practice, the Lotus Wand which is for general purposes and specifically for working with the element of fire the "Fire Wand", which takes the shape of stick with a flamelike drop on one end, thus resembling a candle, a very suitable symbolic reference to a positive manifestation of fire. The Lotus Wand of the Adept on the other hand is dedicated to and consecrated by the powers of the Zodiac, and the Lotus which surmounts it is specifically a symbol of the Tetragramaton, and represents the Divine Lordship of all within the confines of the Zodiac. Again within the Golden Dawn context, there is a Sword and an elemental dagger, a lesser bladed weapon with the sword being dedicated to the Sepirah Geburah and its manifestation Mars, all of which reinforces its martial interpretation and use in "Military Magic" and thus evocation. The dagger is purely an instrument for working with the element of air, with throwing knives being one possible example. That said, in the decades in which I have studied the traditional systems of four, five, six, and even ten elements, I have read enough to be able to understand how many things could be useful symbolic representations of them in different contexts, and am loath to get dogmatic about the matter, and also, I always prefer creativity anyway. Chinese magic also has it military magic and its swords are usually dedicated to and consecrated by the Seven Stars of the Dipper. There are symbolic ones made of peach wood as well as metal ones which are usually engraved with or otherwise have representations of the Seven Stars on them, but aside from that the Daoists have a large number of magical weapons ranging from staffs to magical whips. Indiana Jones might have found the last to his liking, they might have been helpful in the Temple of Doom. Well, that's all for now, I will try to get back to the Loshu and divine/human polarity shortly. ZYD
  3. I have many posts on Dao Bums which deal with this type of thing both Chinese and Western, here is one of them: I am very busy right now, but I will try to have a fuller discussion at some point. ZYD
  4. Left-right polarity in Taoism

    I am very busy right now, but I will try to have a fuller discussion at some point. ZYD
  5. our world / earth as a simulation

    And your familiarity with Plato is what exactly? Have you read any of the dialogs, or even a competent introduction to Plato's thought? Or are you limited to quoting polemical rhetoric from rival schools, that you have picked up somewhere? These are, as far as I am concerned, merely rhetorical questions, I am not interested in your answers because it is obvious that you are already a "born again" worshiper of Diogenes and have closed your mind to all else, whereas I am not a worshiper of Plato, and in point of act when I first read Plato in my teens I thought it was ridiculous and said so for more than a decade. During that decade I did a lot of work with spiritual traditions both Chinese and Western, I am not some "academic intellectual" who is contents simply to talk about such things, I have done everything I can to live them, both then and in all the time since. It was only when I had to look deeper into Plato to understand the thought of others writing centuries later that begrudgingly and over a period of years, during which I read the dialogs and works about Plato and ancient Greek philosophy, and yes even all six volumes of W. K. C. Guthrie's A History of Greek Philosophy (Cambridge University Press), that I began to realize that there was actually real value in his work and ideas, and I respect that work and the person who wrote it, and I would respect anyone who had a real and informed criticism of it. Just to show to show yourself and others how much you don't know: Diongenes was a mere child when Socrates was executed in circumstance too complex to detail here, so your chronology is all wrong, and he seems not to have staked his life on anything, except possibly eating tainted octopus, or playing with vicious dogs: And yes, I do know why the notion that he died of "an infected dog bite" can probably be dismissed as polemical rhetoric from a rival school, and I have the sense to avoid such mistakes, whereas you apparently don't. Based on what you have said and the mistakes you have made so far I see no reason to respect you or your criticism, either of Plato or of myself, with that in mind I see no point in continuing this discussion. ZYD P. S., I had written all of this post before discovering, as I noted above in the first quote above, that the rideforever had changed the ending and maybe other aspects of his post, but I hope that what I have already said makes clear that I am not someone who is merely clinging "to Plato's legs": I was a rigorous and independent thinker, as well as spiritual explorer, for several years before I read Plato the first time, when I was "sixteen going on seventeen", and misunderstood him, and practiced as I noted above, for over a decade, before I studied him the second time and gained a better understanding of him. I was practicing yoga when I was ten and read Aleister Crowley when I was twelve, as well as books on Tibetan Yoga when I was thirteen or so, these and other works including the Tao Teh Ching, as it was called at the time, were all things that I read before I read Plato and they also colored my own interpretation of and subsequent rejection of Plao. I could say more but I don't see a point in doing so and will draw the matter to a close now. I have other things to do with my time than comment further and in point of fact must head out to do some of them now. ZYD Edit: Corrected a spacing problem in the last paragraph of the P. S., I literally had to run out the after posting it door to meet some commitments.
  6. our world / earth as a simulation

    I am sorry, but you completely misunderstand Plato, who unlike those others you mention, never yelled at anyone, rather following the lead of his teacher Socrates, he asked them questions, questions designed to bring out the presuppositions and logical consequents of anything which they were proposing, thus bringing them to criticize their own belief systems in ways that they usually reserved for other peoples belief systems and possibly to realize that their belief system was just as silly as those that they rejected. I have tried to clarify this in an introductory thread on Plato I started a few years ago: Back in the early 1980s I was reading Plato in a public place and a guy came up to me and said that he had started reading Plato himself a while back and said “You know, I think I know less now then I did before”. To which my reply was, “Good, you're making real progress” and then I explained to him what I am about to explain here. Socrates "Ritual" is that of the lesser or prefatory mysteries and these are rituals of purification or "catharsis" as the Greeks would call have called it, from which which get the medical term “cathartic” and derived meanings, such as a “cathartic experience”, in which clears out a lot of junk and resolves issues. Socrates “cathartic” ritual is designed to clear the mind of false and conflicting opinions, and that is why I categorize some of the dialogues as “cathartic”. What I call the “cathartic” dialogues are those which are usually referred to as the “Socratic” ones, supposedly Plato's devoted portrait of his master doing what Socrates did best, which was ask niggling questions, and yes it is certainly that, but there is also a real purpose to it and that is made clear in the following quote from the Sophist: This quote is long enough, but gets the basic point across, anyone can read the quote from the Sophist by following the link and then reading the rest of the post. I hope this clarifies at least one problem with this discussion which is otherwise, like discussions all over the internet, a hopeless muddle of unexamined presuppositions and ignored consequents and, as such a mess way more complex then I care to address. ZYD
  7. Anger as Power

    OK, thanks for the clarification. To me it sounds like you are doing well with this, you have some basic knowledge, thinking about it you have some ideas, you have experimented and got results which you have analyzed and noticing "strange" side effects you stepped back for further analysis, and have already worked out some new ideas on the subject, looking to investigate further, you've decided to join Dao Bums in the hopes of getting some good feedback and direction for further study and research. Does that about sum it up? ZYD
  8. Anger as Power

    I have watched this conversation a little bit because of a historical interest in traditional uses of anger for magic and energy development, it has a long tradition going back to shamanic techniques rooted in war magic and warrior training. Let us be clear this is weigong, external cultivation, and not neidan, which requires inward training and complete calm, and so some of the criticism voiced so far, are not relevant, if greatsaiyaman is only interested in weigong types of practices. I have emphasized some passages in greatsaiyaman's posts to show that he seems quite aware of what can go wrong, and wants some sort of serious discussion on the matter, not advice from people who have not paid much attention to his posts, but want to lecture him about them anyway, though they have raised some valid and good points, I prefer to listen to someone a little longer before I start to either praise or criticize their ideas or actions. So, taking as a starting point, greatsaiyaman, why do you "believe that anger can be transmuted into raw spiritual power. I also believe that anger can be just as useful as love."? Is this something that you have read about, tried and found successful, is it something that you are learning from someone, or is it the result of some spontaneous experiences that you have had? Where I have seen this type of thing done in a Chinese context it is usually done after a fair amount of training, and more often then not either in a martial arts setting, or in some cases, Chinese Sorcery, in both of which extreme and potentially dangerous training methods can be used, with that in mind, the one thing I will say upfront is that someone who is trying to do something like what greatsaiyaman is talking about, should have a good knowledge of TCM and preferably be under the guidance of a teacher to avoid problems, which from what I understand, can be very difficult to recover from if things have gone too far. ZYD
  9. A Science of Wu Wei?

    The Sage doesn't rule as ordinary rulers do, by buying loyalty with rewards, or gaining submission through fear of punishments, he rules by De, 德, virtue a "power" that as I have noted earlier achieves its end by bringing all things to their highest potential, this is the type of power that the Sage in his Wisdom values as he realizes that rewards only encourage greed and a grasping nature, and punishments develop obsequious and fawning behavior, which may only be front for resentment and eventual treachery. These are species of deformity, and not the best that people can be, only a virtuous Ruler can bring out the best that people can be and realize genuine omnipotence, the real power to achieve his ends and not the faux power which the ambitious King or cruel Tyrant seeks, and this genuine omnipotence is achieved only through self-cultivation. Going back to the Neiye, there are many sections of interest, but I will start with these as indicating how "omnipotence" is achieved: This character, 德 de, "virtue", rendered as "inner power" and since in the last line, 果, guǒ, is fruit, it might almost be read as as saying that virtue allows "All the myriad things, to be plucked like fruit", an image probably intended to convey the ease with which the Sage governs, though taken at its worst it's right up there with "straw dogs". Since as the text affirms: 14 Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good; 15 Punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad. rewards and punishments are not an effective form of government, so the Sage Ruler who possesses the 全心, "unimpaired mind" does not rely on them but relies on 心氣之形, "The perceptible form of the mind's vital energy", what we might describe as a "charismatic" ability to influence people, based on, but I don't think limited to, visible manifestations: 3 It will be known in your countenance, 4 And seen in your skin color. to achieve his goals, for once he/she has a stable mind, "All under the heavens will listen". It is interesting to note that the Neiye emphasizes both speech and listening in some of its teachings, so much so that I came to the conclusion that it could be taking about a technique of "efficacious speech", a way of talking that is rooted in an inward understanding of what it is that the words are pointing to, and which the Sage understands and can connect with, giving his speech extra power to convince people to act on them. The basis of these powers is the cultivation of shen, 神, and it seems that omnipotence is rooted in omniscience. I will talk about that in my next post. ZYD
  10. A Science of Wu Wei?

    I'm sorry to be so long to getting back to this thread, but in terms of what I was looking at, it was starting to expand in a lot of interesting directions, most of which would be interesting expansions, but way beyond what I had originally intended, and worthy of its own exposition. Also I had also been putting off things that needed attention and I finally had to take care of them. So I spent several hours yesterday going back to review what I was working on a week ago and after thinking about it will probably work on a separate discussion of it and will try to wrap up what I started here soon and should be able to start posting the conclusion of this by midweek, it still may take two or three posts to conclude. ZYD
  11. A Science of Wu Wei?

    i am actually interested in this part. How can the 'work' be not seen? Is he an invisible sage or something? Well, maybe he could be invisible if he wanted, but his influence is not visible except in those affected by it, but since he does not draw attention to himself and his influence is like gravity or for that matter like light itself, the source of all visibility, is invisible and only in many ways a deduction from its effects. The sage through his self cultivation has achieved the realization of the li of Dao and as such like the sun which radiates the light which is necessary for the growth of plants radiates another Light which penetrates many things, and helps those who are open to its influence in ways that they may not know and perhaps could not even imagine. In order to examine this I will have to return to discussing the Neiye, something which I will do in my next post. As long as you find my posts interesting, and I hope that others do also, I will continue. For those interested Mr. Woon has discussed his ideas at some length in his introductory post, where among other people responding to his proposed interpretations, dawei our admin, has asked the type of questions that I would ask. Since his ideas about wuwei are examined there, I don't see much point in discussing them in detail here. ZYD
  12. I Think, and Only I

    I am rather in agreement with your position and took Transactional Analysis as a basic model to which I gave a Fourth Way " many 'Is'" expansion as a teenager circa 1967-8. Much later I was to discover the psychological interpretation of Plato's Republic as outline of personality and possibly guide to psychological integration. You might find this link to a post by John Ubersax, a contemporary Christian Neo-Platonist of interest: Psychopolis: Plato’s Inner Republic and Personality Theory When I was writing my series Plato and Platonism 101, I recommended more of his posts as part of my introductory post, if you like the above, the links in this post may be of interest to you: Ubersax is, as I said, a Christian, and I of course am not, but he has an excellent understanding of Plato in a contemporary context, which is why I did and still do recommend him. ZYD
  13. A Science of Wu Wei?

    I would also be upset at "being called a (New Age) holist", I might jokingly call myself an old age holist, but more accurately, I am a Rationalist with no fundamental ontological commitments, but whose "working model" of reality has been "Platonist" since around 1980. Based on my analysis of the problems which face modern physics, I believe that a strong case could be made for the reintroduction of formal causes and that they could be modeled a hyper dimensional "forms" which guide the symmetry breaking that leads to the experience of "common sense" reality. Naturally this model could also be used to lay the foundations of a fundamentally scientific understanding of "such fairy tales", if by science you actually mean those doctrines which have been explored experimentally modeled mathematically, and can actually be considered to be the source of modern science and technology, and which is different from "modern materialism", which is a set of dogma's that was not the result of scientific investigation, but rather of the revival of Epicureanism in a religious setting by Pierre Gassendi where it made significant inroads into Seventeenth Century Protestant thought within this religious framework, and where it was part of the religious beliefs of such people as Newton, Locke and Boyle, deeply religious Christians of a nonconformists, in its original meaning, orientation. It was also adopted by such libertine rakes as John Wilmont, the second Earl of Rochester, hardly a person who made any significant contributions to the foundations of experimental science. I could go on and trace its development through the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, through Diderot and the Baron D'Holbach and Karl Marx and the "left Hegelians", but that would take us as far afield as ancient Chinese Cosmology. In short as much as "materialism" may have become an accepted dogma among late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century scientists, such materialism was never a part of experimental science, but rather a norm that became imposed on scientific investigation for extra scientific reasons. All of which can be shown by suitable citations of accepted scholarly works in the history of science and philosophy. I have taken the time out for the above to make my own position as clear as I can in a short space since it is a rather unusual one, and definitely not "new age holism", however strange it may otherwise seem. With that in mind if you are not interested in an approach that could lay the foundations for a Twenty-first Century scientific understanding of wuwei, but rather only concerned with reductionist interpretations rooted in the Nineteenth Century, I will be happy to be free of the responsibility of finishing my discussion and absent myself from this thread. ZYD
  14. A Science of Wu Wei?

    The problem is probably not with this interpretation of wuwei, but with the underlying cosmological assumptions of ancient China in which there existed a lost Golden Age under the "rulership nonrulership" of the ancient Sage Kings. A return to rule by Daoist sages using wuwei would mean a return to the conditions of this time and an end to all strife by the harmonizing influence of the Dao. The fact that moderns would dismiss such "magical" thinking doesn't make it any more appropriate to assume reductionist notions are useful for understanding what the author intended. I don't see much point in discussing the matter further at this time, as it would lead far afield into matters early Chinese cosmology etc., with which I don't care to deal right now. ZYD
  15. A Science of Wu Wei?

    The first two are a couple of my favorite quotes, the type of thing that I really resonated with when I started reading the Dao De Jing over 50 years ago: What is important here is the appearance of 自然, zìrán, with meanings such as, nature / natural / naturally, with a strong suggestion implied by 'We are as we are, of ourselves!', that "nature" as in human nature, the type of "nature" that would be implied by li as formal cause, that the work of the rulers of the "highest antiquity" were concerned with the actualization/realization of potential and not with making the "people" into something as an efficient cause would, by acting on them directly and obviously as opposed to doing something which was behind the scenes, or otherwise not an obvious action which helped them to realize their "self-nature". Unless someone wants to claim that the section in bold is such a bad translation as to be completely misleading, and then I hope to back that up with a cogent argument, the text seems to be quite clear and the "work" of the sage is done in a way that no one cane see. Finally, this quote which came up when I did a search on the occurrences of ziran in the DDJ: Thus he helps the natural development of all things 辅, fǔ, to assist / to complement / auxiliary 自然, zìrán, nature / natural / naturally and does not dare to act 而不敢為 而, ér, and / as well as / and so / but (not) / yet (not) 不, bù, (negative prefix) / not / no 敢, gǎn, to dare, venture; bold, brave 為wéi, do, handle, govern, act; be In the above two things are clear, the way of the sage is to assist things by the realization/actualization of the potential of ziran, and most importantly that the sage "does not dare to act", where act is wei, and wei is clearly distinguished from the preferred form of "assistance" fu, so based on this one might almost say that fu, not wei, is more accurate then wei not wei. The parenthetical comment "(with an ulterior purpose of his own)", is the translators suggested interpretation, and has no more authority than the reader cars to give it. So the implication is that the actions of butchers and lumberjacks and by implication anyone who may use the "li" or inherent pattern of something as part of their "making" process, which may be a Daoist method, is at least as far as the Dao De Jing is concerned not the way the Sage works through wuwei, and probably not even the type of work which the Sage undertakes through wuwei. Light may be shed on the matter by a look at the Neiye, so I will return to it in my next post. Oh, in case you are wondering ziran appears in he Dao De Jing five times. ZYD