Sunday, July 5, 2009

Liminal Gnosis

The Liminal Gnosis
There is a commodity which is infinitely more malleable than anything else in the universe. Controlled or not it can have devastating effects on perception, analytical functions and on the body. Its control is the basis of magick and an understanding of it is the lynch- pin of individual integration and stability.
The pioneers of psychology erroneously named it the unconscious mind; erroneously because it evident that this is the only mind function which operates all the time, even during catalepsy or deep hypnotic states. As the approach to psychology became more sophisticated it was relabeled ‘the subconscious mind’. This label is also misleading, albeit unintentionally, since it intimates a hierarchical order and, thereby, a mislocation of self. It also suggests domination of one mind function by another and whereas this may be so it is, in the individual who has no control over it, the so-called subconscious which has dominion over all other functions. This mechanism is seen in an exaggerated way when a subject acts out a post-hypnotic suggestion.
Illustration: The subject is told that five minutes after waking he will remove his clothing without embarrassment. It is important that the scene is set for his disrobing and his conditioned reflexes removed with the suggestion that at that particular time all onlookers will be unable to see him because of any “imagined” invisible force field or similar device which will excuse his self consciousness. Even if he is the most prudish person imaginable and there are a dozen members of the opposite sex present he will carry out the suggestion. When asked why he has performed such an obviously uncharacteristic action, because he is unaware of the post-hypnotic-suggestion, he will produce a rationalization. (Few people care to admit that they act irrationally). His justification, in which he firmly believes, might be one of the following.
1. I suddenly became very hot.
2. My skin was hurting all over.
3. I wanted to see the reaction.
4. I wanted to know what it felt like.

All these explanations would be as inadequate to the subject as to the observer but, presented by the subconscious function with such an intolerable situation, any excuse is better than nothing.
In its negative mode the function of the mind into which post-hypnotic-suggestion may be implanted is responsible for psychosomatic illnesses, neuroses and unwanted vices. The subject in the illustration would experience a feeling of great release if the true reason for his bizarre action were explained to him. Although he might not understand the mechanism involved, the realization that he had been carrying out an implanted desire would come to him as a great relief and the need to fret over his incongruous action would disappear.
Everyone displays symptoms analogous to this. That the simple explanation of implanted desire is not usually appropriate and that more complex issues need to be investigated is the basis of this section of the book.
It was stated above that the terms ‘unconscious’ and ‘subconscious’ as applied to particular categories of mind are erroneous and misleading. Equally inappropriate are all other terms which seek to exemplify and compartmentalize the functions of the mind.
Even the signifcation ‘Kia’ should not be interpreted as intending separateness since Kia may rightly be observed as permeating the whole organism, the body and its activities being a phenomenal expression of it.
The task of the magician is to integrate the mind functions, even conscious functions can be obscure, and to access the subconscious functions which, when allowed to remain dormant, cause the organism to function on a reactive rather than a rational basis. The adept is the person who has achieved this and who is rationally responsible for his actions.
One method of integration involves accessing and interpreting dream or ‘astral’ activity the two being considered in this context as identical.
Everyone remembers some dreams. The majority of them, however, seem to be reabsorbed by the subconscious function of the. mind and ultimately forgotten unless they are ‘broken’ at some time during the following day by an occurrence or word which stimulates a picture memory from which a part or the whole of the dream can be reconstructed. That most dreams are inaccessible to the to the conscious functions is an indication that a censorship mechanism is at work and it is this mechanism which the magician seeks to override.
Accessing and using dream material is a painstaking business. The most effective way is to write down dreams immediately on waking or to write down any images which linger on into wakefulness. Several minutes should be allowed for this after every period of sleep so that the mind is permitted a period of reverie or autism into which dream images can project themselves. After a few weeks of practice the magician will find not only that he has a vast amount of material at his disposal but also that his ability to recall dreams improves almost exponentially.
As far as interpretation is concerned two courses of action are recommended. Each dream should be examined at the time of its recollection since recent actual events may

a) form the context of the dream or
b) present a problem which the dream attempts to solve or
c) present a moral or ethical problem which the dream seeks to abreact.

After some weeks of this the whole dream record may be studied in order to seek out recurring themes. The earlier interpretations may provide Keys to an understanding of thematic dream activity. During this process he may wish to study the psychology of dreams but he should be well aware that he is the only authority in the context of himself.
In studying his dreams in this manner the magician benefits in more ways than the integration of self. He also acquires an ‘alphabet’ of symbols which are comprehensible rather than being arbitrary or imposed and these can be used to good effect in ritual work or sigilisation. In recording and analysing his dreams be will also discover particular ways in which his conscious and subconscious functions interface and a knowledge of the ways in which information is restricted will also be of great benefit in formal ritual work. Since the area of dreaming began to be explored many reasons for this function have been suggested. Of these, the following provide the best means of ingress into the strange plane of consciously uncontrolled astral activity and most dreams can be examined in the context of one or more of them.

1) Wish fulfillment.
2) guilt expression.
3) encouragement.
4) inspiration.
5) solution of problems, actual or moral.
6) expression of potentialities
7) revelation of primitive forces (atavisms)
8) compensation - for considerations or actions desired but prohibited by
conscious functions.
9) perseveration - problem solving by repetition, usually thematic
10) ideation - projection of possible actions; dreams in the place of experience.
11) Reminiscent/premonitory - what happened, what might happen.

When observation and analysis have been performed to the magician’s satisfaction, when he has confronted and eliminated those complexes which the censorship mechanism attempted to conceal from him, he can then move on to implanting ideas into the ‘non­conscious’ function of the mind. in other words, he moves on to working with the positive aspects of the dream function. Before attempting sigilisation and other advanced techniques he should experiment with the mechanisms involved. One course of experimentation can be undertaken through the Liminal Gnosis.
Entering the Liminal Gnosis through erotic imagery
The Liminal Gnosis is a development of the state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. In this gnosis the subconscious function tends to cast out spontaneous images which can be observed by the conscious mind in its analytical mode. These images are often referred to as being of an ‘astral’ nature. In examining these images the magician begins to build up a rapport with his subconscious functions, with that facet of himself which, if uninterrupted, is capable of working miracles. Without this rapport magick cannot be performed and rapport does not occur until the magician has learned not to interfere with the gnosis . It is this non-interference which is a difficult skill to master.
On entering the Liminal Gnosis it is the tendency of the mind to allow spontaneous images to occur until they are noticed by the analytical function. When this happens the conscious mind revolts and jolts the self back into wakefulness. It follows then that autism in itself is insufficient. The magician is not aiming to consciously direct his phantasies but to observe those images which occur spontaneously and, through non­intervention to analyze them. As with many magical techniques the method of improvement is repetition.
The magician must be capable of recognizing when he has entered the Liminal Gnosis and since that state is so ephemeral and fickle his best course of action is to provide a stimulus for the subconscious function rather than to exercise his patience.
To avoid the interminable waiting which unaided observation necessitates the magician should allow a normal autistic reverie or daydream to develop into an uncontrolled but analysable liminal experience. In order to do this he must implant the mere germ of a notion into his subconscious function at exactly the right moment. One method of approaching this difficult task entails the use of sexual or erotic imagery as follows:-
The magician abstains from sexual activity of any kind for a period until his frustration is intolerable.
He exacerbates this frustration by reading erotic literature and perusing books and magazines of an exclusively sexual nature. When frustration becomes intolerable, on retiring to his bed in a state of physical exhaustion he visualizes an intensely sexual image as though it were a still photograph. He also imagines that he can smell those perfumes most apposite to the visualized image. If he is unable to imagine smells he arranges to have that particular perfume, preferably an essential oil, in an evaporator near his bed. The visual and olfactory senses are the only ones he uses at this stage since they are the only two senses which do not apparently rely on motion through space or time. Should tumescence occur through concentration on the image he does not allow it to disturb the process. He uses it positively to create a strong sense of physical yearning throughout the entire body, but his body remains still and ready for sleep. Sleep does not occur. As the magician enters the liminal Gnosis it is as though a switch has been flicked in his mind and the still picture of his image has become a living environment in which his sexual frustration is abreacted. Should the magician find himself suddenly wakeful he repeats the entire process or picks up on an image received whilst in the gnosis and begins again from there. If sleep ensues he makes careful note of his dreams and continues to practice the technique until success is achieved. Success is marked by the ability to create such an ‘astral’ environment at will and by the ability to recognize the nature of the experience at the time of the experience; that in one sense it is real and effectual while in another sense it is not.
This procedure serves to introduce the magician to the Liminal Gnosis.
Having achieved and experienced it he may then use if for whatever purposes he wishes.
He might use spontaneous imagery in autopsy or self-enquiry (see Self-Initiation), in which case a detailed record should be kept and analysed during periods of greater lucidity. Such images may also be used for divination following the same process.
Sigils may be liminally reified. In this case a pictograph or, preferably, a photo-image is used as the key. Once the Liminal Gnosis has been entered and the desire begun to fulfill itself in that reality, the magician allows sleep to intervene, this time in the Temple, not in his bed. This is an unusually good sigilisation technique since the main barrier to successful sigilisation is the interference of the conscious function and its constant dial­ogue. In sleep this cannot happen and the desire becomes real on whichever plane is intended. The faculty which some adepts have called the ‘magical memory’ can be more easily stimulated in the Liminal Gnosis than in any other state. The magician locates the earliest incident he can positively remember and uses this as the key. The images which flow from this assist the location of previous incidents which can, in turn, be used as keys to regress ad infinitum.
The Liminal Gnosis may also be used to explore the paths of the Tree of Life, the elements, the Enochian Aethyrs and the Egyptian god-forms. It may be used to come to an understanding of the pseudo-magical powers of levitation, analgesia and control over others.
The magician who practices these techniques will readily realize that the state of mind entered through the Liminal Gnosis is the only state of mind in which magick can be successfully performed. It is referred to as ‘Liminal’ only when it is achieved in the manner outlined above.


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