Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Physical Body: Why is it so important?

There is a tendency in ‘spiritual’ circles to fall into a fallacy about the physical body. The thinking goes something like this: I am a spiritual being having a physical experience; therefore, if I could just shuck this body, I could be a more spiritual person. I was, in the past, involved with a group that actually expressed this as the spirit, that part of us which is a part of the All, being trapped or imprisoned in the body. Our goal then was to set aside the physical as much a possible and pay close attention to the spiritual. This tendency to try to disregard the body is especially strong in the Abrahamic religions where this thinking was taken to ridiculous extremes (and may still be) of asceticism and mortification of the flesh.

I could go on about why this state of affairs has come to pass but I do not want to turn this into a rant. Rather, let me take a more positive tack and recount something that has been shown to me in meditation a number of times.

Many moons ago, I was deep in meditation when I saw in vision the world around me in shades of blue with electric lines of energy connecting me and all things around me. In this instance, I became aware of a disturbance in the climate of my area and, sure enough, later that night, we experienced a storm. This “matrix” view of the universe has repeated itself to me on a number of occasions and each time it has had a profound effect on me, showing me the basic interconnectedness of all things. Unlike some, I do not see this as being one with everything nor do I feel it as a melding of myself into all things. I retain my sense of separateness but understand that I am “wired into” the All in ways I can not begin to understand intellectually.

What I do understand though is that my physical self is an important part of this phenomenon. The body serves as an interface to the matrix of energy that I see. In some ways, one might describe it as an antenna through which I perceive the various forces around me – whether they be forces that pertain to my physical senses or forces that touch me on other levels. If I were not in a body, my perception would be wholly different and my experiences would be those of a spirit and not those of a human being.

Most spiritual systems will agree that we, as humans, are here to learn and grow, to become better people. Some might even go so far as to argue that humans are on this planet to evolve spiritually through the various experiences that physical life has to offer us. What is clear to me through my experiences with this matrix of energy is that we need our bodies in order to have the fullness of experience necessary to spiritual growth and evolution. If we take care of those bodies with disciplines such as exercise, good nutrition and meditation, the physical is better able to perceive the more subtle dimensions.

Lest my readers think I am trying to develop a second career as a spiritual counselor, let me relate this to the realm of the paranormal. How many times have you heard a paranormal investigator say something along the lines of “dang, I wish I could see what these people are seeing!” Then that individual goes off to the local fast food eatery, has a greasy burger and follows it with a cigarette and a little too much of the local beer. If we accept, even for the sake of experimentation, this idea that the body is a sort of antenna to subtle energies, what “frequency” do you suppose this individual is tuning their body to? I would be inclined to think that the tuning might be a little more physical and a little less subtle.

I would submit that this investigator might have a little trouble picking up energies outside the realm of the workaday senses unless they happened to be really gifted in that area. Ask an experienced medium or magician what happens when they overindulge and most will tell you that their work suffers or that, at least, they have to compensate for that overindulgence. While I have known people who could pick up subtle energies and converse with spirits over a glass of whiskey and a cigarette, those folks are the exception rather than the rule in my experience. We ordinary mortals are much more likely to be able to perceive the inner realms if we take some care with our bodies and view them not as an encumbrance but as a vital part of our soul complex.

There is a reason why magicians, preparing for a major working, will sometimes spend considerable time in preparation, including periods of light fasting, prayer and meditation. The idea is to harmonize the physical with the other parts of the soul complex and to bring the full person to bear in the work to come. While we all have habits that are not the most healthy, the wise magician and, in my mind, paranormal investigator, knows that taking some measure of care for their body will only increase the chances of their success.


Museums: A Matter of Curiosity

I have been reading Josephine McCarthy’s excellent book Magical Knowledge 1: Foundations slowly and deliberately over the past weeks. I am finding the book to be an excellent primer on visionary magic and, as always happens when I read some new text on magic, I think of you, my readers. Here is a quote from the book, where the author is discussing the process of enlivening a statue with the consciousness of a deity:

Therefore, an ancient statue of say, Sekhmet, is very likely to retain echoes of her power. If a magician, who is adept at inner communication, visits a museum, he is very likely to pick up on the calls and demands of this deities as they try to communicate through the images. It is important to note that the power is within the original statue that was ritually enlivened, not the generic image. So, a copy of the image will be just an image and nothing more.

Now, oddly enough, I can attest to this experience with this goddess personally. Many moons ago, when I lived in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, I had occasion to go to an exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts with some magically inclined friends. We wandered through some preliminary display rooms before emerging finally into the main hall of the museum. The centerpiece of the display was a fourteen foot high statue of Sekhmet.

The power of the goddess swept over me as soon as I entered the room and it was all I could do to keep my feet. I literally had the desire to prostrate myself before this statue and it was only with difficulty that I kept my attention in the present moment. Even as I did so, I was aware of a substrate of my mind approaching a temple of the goddess, the temple walkway lined with hundreds of smaller versions of the statue before me. I could almost feel the hot desert breeze wafting over me in the air conditioned comfort of that museum hall and I wondered how it was that everyone around me seemed to be so . . . collected.

I wandered from case to case with my friends, continuously aware of the powerful presence of the Lady and doing my best to give her honor even as I pretended to study the artifacts on display. It seemed a very long time before my friends were prepared to move out of that room and, even once I had a wall between me and the statue, the intensity of the experience dimmed but did not go away entirely.

After this experience, I have often wondered why it is that we do not hear more reports of museum hauntings. While the manifestation of the consciousness of a goddess might be rare, museums are loaded with items that could serve as storehouses of psychic energy – for example, items that were worn at the time of the traumatic death of the wearer – that could generate some interesting “imprint” style hauntings under the right circumstances.

In addition, items of ritual and magical significance from varying cultures are often on display in museums. I am thinking particularly of museums I visited in Arizona and Washington DC that were loaded with Native American artifacts of all kinds, including items used in ritual practice. I have said before and I will say again that indigenous medicine people bear powerful magic. For those with senses attuned to such things, that magic and the spirits that work with it are evident in exhibits. I am sure that the same could be said of exhibits from a variety of other cultures, both ancient and modern.

Our habit of cavalierly digging up and displaying the grave goods of ancient peoples could also serve as a source of hauntings and worse. Many ancient people buried their dead with specific intent based on their concept of the afterlife and disturbance of those remains could very well serve to unleash the unpleasantness associated with disturbing their dead. The Egyptians, of course come to mind in this regard, but we can look to the Norse as well. Disturbance of one of the ancient burial mounds of these people produced draugr, a real live, capable of ripping you apart, sort of zombie in the sagas. While I don’t take the stories literally, I suspect that the old Norse guarded their tombs with pretty fierce guardians and that disturbance of those tombs, even after all these years, would be liable to unleash those guardians. I imagine that the only thing that saves archeologists and museum staff from a lot of psychic unpleasantness is that these guardians have likely weakened over the centuries since they were not being tended in the traditional manner.

Nevertheless, given the perfect storm of “imprints”, ritual objects and grave goods, one would think that museums would be pretty haunted places. While one does occasionally hear such a story, it still seems that haunted houses get all the attention. Why might this be?

In magical circles, non-magical people are sometimes derisively referred to as mundanes. Oddly enough, I think that this is what saves most people from having haunted experiences in museums. I had my Sekhmet experience with a group of magical folks and none of them had the same experience, although some did note the strong energy coming from the statue. I admittedly had the most mediumistic ability in the group so it is logical that I would have the strongest experience.

Most ‘mundanes’ have had any psychic ability (and I think almost everyone has some ability) beaten out of them by the Western educational system that teaches them that, if they can not touch it, it is not real. So many people do not have the sensitivity to perceive what is going on in the inner realms around them and, when they go to museums it is for “educational” purposes i.e. enforcing the paradigm. Add to this that museum staff tend to be scientific folks who are very invested in the sensory paradigm and you have an additional layer of protection. Finally, there is the ridicule factor that prevents many people from reporting their paranormal experiences and, viola’, you have perfect storm of investment in the sensory paradigm to counteract the potential for haunting in a museum.


Gargoyles

Before I begin this week’s missive, I wanted to take a moment to note that the blog is now over a year old. As I go into year two of this endeavor, traffic on the blog has increased somewhat and I am hearing from my readers more. I am very grateful for this and particularly happy that readers are sharing their thoughts with me.

As such, I want to ask you, the readers, what areas of the paranormal you would like to see covered in this blog. Are there particular creatures or incidents that you would like to see reviewed here? What might I do to improve your reading experience? Please feel free to comment and let me know how you would like Monsters and Magic to evolve.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program . . .

I saw this very interesting set of witness reports on Lon Strickler’s Phantoms and Monsters site the other day. One sighting of a creature described as a gargoyle would be remarkable enough but the researchers who reported on these incidents actually recorded multiple encounters with this creature. One of the witnesses described this being as something “straight from hell” and noted that he wished that it would go back.

While it is certainly possible that one of the Intruders assumed this form in order to scare the beejesus out of people, I would note that the gargoyle is actually a man made construct that was designed to be fearsome so that it could accomplish its purpose.

A Gargoyle at the Cathedral of Meaux

Historians and archeologists, of course, have endless intellectual arguments about what purpose the gargoyles served on cathedrals and other medieval buildings – other than their obvious use as decorative rain spouts. Even the most bland academic recognizes that these “rain spouts” were carved to resemble fierce creatures for a reason and some posit cautiously that they were intended to scare away “evil spirits” while laughing behind their hands at the superstitious Church and the peasants that followed it.

Magic users recognize the purpose of a gargoyle right away. It is quite common for a mage to have a house guardian, a thought form that is created, charged and assigned to protect the home from physical or psychic invasion (or both). Such a creation needs a home, something to bring its energy into the physical plane thus you will often find statuary in a mage’s home that serves as a physical base for the house guardian. Gargoyles are simply house guardians for the buildings that they inhabit.

Remember that, back in the day, masons were more than stonecutters and, even if they were not, almost all important buildings of the time were blessed by the rites of the Church, thus charging their gargoyle protectors. While the belief in magic has died in many hearts, even today one notes people looking up with a mixture of fear and/or awe at these statues, thus feeding them a little residual energy to keep them going. This does not even take into consideration the magic workers who actively “feed” these guardians around the world. A sort of magical restoration project if you will . . .

Returning to our witnesses in PA, I would first note that the area where these encounters took place is in Pennsylvania. I sometimes suspect that the whole state of PA is one giant window area/portal. Either that or there are just a lot more paranormal researchers on the ground there than elsewhere. In either event, whether one is looking for Sasquatch reports, UFO’s or monsters of various kinds, PA is often a good place to start.

So, if we recognize gargoyles as powerful thought forms created to protect churches and public buildings in Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US, we begin to have a frame of reference for these sightings. One of the hazards of thought form creation is the issue of limitations.

Put simply, magic users are generally taught that, when they create a thought form, it should have a built in shut off switch. For example, if one were to create a servitor thought form that was designed to assist in the creative process for a certain project then the servitor would be programmed to dissolve to its constituent parts once the project was complete. This avoids the very real danger which we see in the narrative of Alexandra David-Neel where she created a tulpa without specific intent and then was forced to dissolve the thing when it started to go rogue.

We can not know exactly what limits or shut offs were placed on the gargoyle guardians without extensive occult research. Given the hubristic attitude of the Church at that time (e.g. the thought that the church would go on to the End Times), I suspect that the time limitations placed on gargoyles would have been minimal and that, as a result, some of them have developed limited sentience and gone on to “do their own thing”. Voila’, a magical being of significant power that would be quite capable of appearing to a witness under the right circumstances.

I can not answer the “why Pennsylvania?” question except to say, as before, that the Land there seems to be riddled with portals. I lived for a short while in the foothills of the Catskill range, just north of PA and, if there is as much spirit activity in the mountains of PA, as there was in my old home range, I would give credence to almost anything reported there. While I doubt that the gargoyle thought forms are dangerous (unless you happen to be chiseling your name in the side of a church) or that they can take physical form, they are certainly powerful enough to manifest to physical appearance. I have to wonder, too, if some magical work in that area was not drawing the creatures; it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a “rogue” gargoyle might be discovered and used as a guardian by an existing magical group.


Stormeye’s Real Life Adventures: Superstition Mountains

I mentioned in my last post that there are places in the world where humans are not welcome. I thought I would expand on that thought in this post.

I lived in the Phoenix, AZ, area for 13 years in my late 20’s and then into my 30’s. Looking back, I can see that my sojourn in the desert was Spirit’s way of stripping me of a lot of the emotional baggage that I carried with me from my youth. I really began my spiritual quest while I lived in the “Valley of the Sun” and that quest took me to some interesting places both spiritually and physically.

Anyone who has lived in the Phoenix area for long, and particularly in the East Valley suburbs like Tempe and Mesa, knows the location of the Superstition Mountain range. The Superstitions, as they are called, are a directional touch stone – look up, find the Superstitions and you will know which way is east on that vast desert floor. There are also mountains in the south (South Mountain), west (White Mountains) and north (forgot the name) but it is the Superstition range that really attracts the attention in the East Valley.

The Nde or Ndee as the tribe known as Apache call themselves believed that the Superstition range was home to their thunder beings, called the Idnahin if I remember correctly). If you have ever lived through a desert thunderstorm in that area, you will quickly understand why – storms often come up over those mountains and then move out over the valley floor. If you have never seen the Superstition range, here is a travel blog with some images. While they are not incredibly tall, these mountains epitomize to me, the jagged, spare beauty of the desert.

I spent a lot of time hiking in AZ, getting outdoors to clear my head, commune with Nature and generally try to establish some sort of spiritual practice tied to the Land. My hikes took me into many of the mountain regions of the area, from the urban fitness trail at Squaw Peak – in the middle of downtown Phoenix – to the more isolated Pass Mountain Trail in Usery Mountain Park. I can not say that I had a favorite spot but my first hike up the Peralta Trail to a structure called the Anvil in the Superstitions really hooked me. Although it was something of a drive out to the Superstitions from where I lived, I tried to make it out there as often as I could.

Now, those who know something of the history of the place know the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine. That story is easily accessible on multiple sites and I will leave it to the reader to research the tale if he or she is curious. The interesting thing to me about this tale is the notion that no one is ever going to find this gold mine since it is protected by vengeful Native American spirits. Those who seek the mine are insured of a disastrous outcome, either meeting their deaths on the mountain itself or by cursed bad luck elsewhere. Most people shrug this off as “superstition” but that does not stop the locals, who have been there for some generations, from whispering about unexplained disappearances in the area.

My experience of the Superstitions seemed to bear out this caution from the locals. On my first couple of visits, I stayed on designated paths with other people nearby and, other than noting a distinct sense of being watched as I passed near some rock formations overhead, nothing really gave me the “willies”. As I became more experienced in those mountains, however, I would at times follow game trails or other natural walkways off the beaten path so that I could enjoy the solitude of the desert.

It was during one of these sojourns that I first discovered that this land was not as friendly as it seemed on the tourist trails. I had hiked in some distance on one of the major trails when I noted a game trail running off to the right into a small canyon. This looked like an interesting place to explore so I followed the little trail. I had rounded some rocks about 25 to 50 yards in and so was out of sight of the main trail when I walked into a wall of darkness.

I mean this quite literally. One moment, in my perception, I was walking in bright sunlight and, the next, the light had taken on the dim filtered aspect of a cloud covered day. I stopped, feeling a little chilled, despite the warmth of the day (it was already in the high 80’s and headed for a high in the 100’s) and looked behind me. Everything looked normal except that I had the perception of looking through dark glasses and my hackles were standing up as though I had just heard the growl or a cougar at close range. My inner senses were shouting “danger” but I was not “seeing” anything that would provoke that sense.

Nonetheless, I began to back slowly out of the little side canyon, talking quietly to whatever might be there and letting it know that I meant no disrespect and that I was leaving. An oppressive stillness filled the air, the air of expectancy that fills the atmosphere before a storm lets go with its full fury. I backed around the rock outcropping that seemed to be the demarcation point and moved into warm clear sunlight. It was as though nothing at all had happened and, for just a moment, I wondered if I had somehow fallen asleep and had a nightmare. I walked up to the rock outcropping and looked around the corner. In my perception, despite the bright sun in which I was standing, it was darker in the canyon than it should have been. Just to be certain, I stretched out my hand. I could feel the “barrier” of cold and hostility. There was nothing more that I could do and I certainly did not want to tangle with whatever was in that canyon so I hiked on.

In Scottish faery lore, there are two courts of Sith (Sidhe in Irish Gaelic – the faery folk) – the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court. The Unseelie were those faery beings who were actively hostile to humans, for whatever reason, and they and their haunts were avoided like the plague. I make no claim that what I encountered that day in the Superstitions was an Unseelie court faery but it certainly was a nature spirit that appeared to be aligned to the destructive aspect of storms and it was not happy to have a human encroaching on its space.

My advice to those who would like to visit this lovely places is to travel in groups, stay on the main trails, camp only in designated areas and be sure to have camp set up and light sources available before dark. Also, if you have that experience of hackles rising or any bodily feeling that you associate with danger, whether you see anything or not, clear the area.