Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane (Plus a Treatise on Mantras)

It's Saturday afternoon in New Jersey. I have done all of my weekend errands early, like everyone else in the state the last two days, because tomorrow we are under a "state of emergency". Hurricane Irene is supposed to bring fire, flood, earthquake, a plague of locusts...oh wait, that was a literal reading of the Book of Revelation. Sorry about that.

Someone from the Fire Department knocked on my door a couple of hours ago, to give me a hurricane preparedness pamphlet, and to tell me that power would be out for a very long time if it did go out, as the electric company was only stopping at stations long enough to make them safe before moving on. I looked at the pamphlet, which was from the town's Office of Emergency Management. I'm surprised we have one of those. We don't even have a police department in this town (we use State police).

In any event, I suppose it's not bad to be too prepared, but I do think that's what this is. I just read somewhere that the brunt of the storm is heading for Atlantic City, and may wipe it out. With all due respect to those who live there (who I hope are evacuated), I sincerely hope that happens. Atlantic City could stand to be razed and start from scratch. It's really become a hell-hole. Maybe Trump will finance it.

My indoor cat is fully prepared for this, snoring away on my bed. I am also prepared, as I managed to fight the crowds in the grocery and liquor stores yesterday, and I also have two boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I've removed every possible thing from my porch and patio that could turn into a projectile in high winds, and I've prepped the basement for flooding. I have a plan for vacuuming out water every few hours--provided the power does not go out. And there is a tarp secured over the root cellar door. Where I live, I can't do more than that. In retrospect, maybe I should have brought cat carriers inside if I have to evacuate, but again, I don't think that will happen.

This is going to be a "personal intuition versus scientific weather forecasting equipment" weekend. I am told that this will be the most catastrophic storm to hit New Jersey in 25 years. I'm not sure I believe it will be any worse than the torrential downpours we had 2 weeks ago--which did flood my basement, but not in a catastrophic way. By this time tomorrow afternoon, it will already be winding down. I was told the big threat was that it would be a Cat 2 or 3 when it reached here. My "intuitive" prediction was that it would make landfall and weaken to a Cat 1 or less before hitting New Jersey and New York. So, guess what category Irene is now? Yep, a 1. With a less organized center of circulation. We will see if science or personal intuition wins out in the end. I suspect we will both be right--some places probably will be hit hard. But I doubt here will be one of them.

You'll be reading plenty about the hurricane elsewhere, so I figured I would turn to the topic I'm focused on during the wait--Enochian magic. I'm reading several books at once right now, and one of them is Lon Milo DuQuette's excellent "Enochian Vision Magick". This is one of my first forays into Enochian, but I've been told by practitioners that this is easily a one-stop-shopping guide to Enochian chants and ritual. It's also helpful that Lon's writing style isn't obtuse--he's very clear and straightforward, and gives easily understandable examples. This is true of all of his books.

For those of you who don't know, "Enochian" is the term for the language spoken between Adam and the angels, before the "Fall", traditionally. This was a language and system revealed to Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Apparently the men received this rather complex system, but never used it themselves.

In reading the opening section with his chant, I can't help but notice some similarity, at least in cadence, between this:

Pa Med Fam Med Drux Fam Fam Ur Ged Graph Drux Med Graph Graph Med Med Or Med Gal Ged Ged Drux.

And this, from the "prana pratistha" (establishment of life) in the Kali puja:

Om am am hrim krom yam ram lam vam sam sam sam hom ham sah

Yes, different sounds, but using monosyllables to establish something. In the former case, the Enochian chant is used prior to scrying (as part of a much longer chant), and is a prologue to the work. In the latter case, the chant is to "establish life" in a murthi or image--hence, I do not recommend that you use this second chant at all. I don't use it. I'm not trying to establish "life" in an image. (This is a ritual used when Hindu temples are opened, and prayers are said over the carved images being installed there--in this case, a Kali temple).

In Hinduism, such monosyllabic mantras are called "bijas", or "seed" mantras. They are derived from the primary sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet laid out in the Maheswara Sutras. The number of syllables used is significant. Most mantras used in pujas have 24, 28, or 30 syllables, and are referred to as gayatri, usnig, and anustup mantras respectively (creation, preservation, destruction).

There is a mantra referred to as the "gayatri" mantra that has two variations: "Om bhuh bhuvah svaha tat savitur varenyam bargo devasya dimahi dyo yo na pracodyat", and "Om tat savitur varenyam bargo devasya dimahi dyo yo nah pracodyat". The second variation is a true Gayatri mantra, with a meter of 24. The former is the gayatri including the mahavyahriti (great utterance). They both refer to that goddess known as Gayatri, a goddess of learning, and "mother of all the Vedas", though the deity invoked through this mantra is Savitri, who is usually not worshipped directly, but known as the "rouser".

This tells you a lot about the working of the mantra. It is meant to bring true knowledge, and it does so through an invocation of Savitri, the "rouser" (i.e., one who stimulates the kundalini flow from its sleepy base of the spine towards the sahasrara chakra at the top of the head). The chakras below the anahata (heart) are thought to be "survival" chakras--they represent impulses that help us in our mundane, day-to-day lives, and in survival. From the anahata upward comes spiritual knowledge (and the anahata is known as the center of the "Virgin Birth"--the birth of true spiritual man), and raising the kundalini consciousness to this level and beyond allows us to become aware of that knowledge. Hence, the mantra's association with the Sun--that which "illuminates us".

But back to the bijas. According to another book I've read, "The Tantra of Sound", reciting these bijas leads to a slowing of the heart rate and of bodily functions, so that one can enter a still, meditative state. It puts one "in between the worlds", you might say. The idea of sound connecting us with this other Mystery is incredibly old; if you think of the notion of the Harmony of the Spheres, you can work backwards from that to these Indian ideas that are thousands of years old.

Speaking from personal experience, I can say there is a connection. For years I did puja daily, and sometimes I would recite mantras for 3 hours straight. That definitely changes your consciousness, without question. In Lon's book, he prescribes a formula that includes 18 minutes of chanting, and this does indeed lead to an altered state of consciousness. It's hard to cultivate awareness when you're hearing so much external noise--both in the physical world and in your brain. Mantras are a way to overcome that noise with noise. It tricks you into a deeper awareness.

Ramakrishna's wife, Sarada Devi, once said that mantras were necessary, as there was "too much distraction in the Age of Kali" (Kali Yuga) for humans to focus their minds. From my own workings, I think she is right. A case of fighting fire with fire, in a sense.

With that--it's only a few more hours til storm time. Not sure if I'll be able to sleep upstairs with rain pounding on my skylights. Maybe I should just recite my mantras to drown out the rain...

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