Working on a new book recently – i.e. the one I intend for publication after “Licence To Depart” comes out on May 11th – I wanted to create a story that combined elements of science fiction and fantasy with the occult. More specifically, I wanted to create a plot-device which would enable one character to teleport from one place to another. The actual method of teleportation was essentially a MacGuffin to introduce the main action of the plot, i.e. the various adventures that occurred at the destination points, and the implications in terms of character development arising therefrom. I therefore threw together something off the top of my head, which as far as I was concerned was unrelated to anything of which I had previously conceived in my study of the occult, but was instead pure fiction.
Then, that night I had a lucid dream about my fictional plot-device – and it worked.
I hasten to add that of course I did not physically teleport from one place to another, it was all action taking place within my lucid dream. Nevertheless using this fictional plot-method in my own lucid dream I realised I had invented a new method of Clairvoyance.
At this point I shall just digress on the nature of Clairvoyance. In the Golden Dawn Clairvoyance is not the same thing as “Remote Viewing” or “Auric Vision.” It is not so much about seeing things which are occurring on the physical plane as it is about discerning the contents of the Astral plane. This is why I have to chuckle when I hear about doctors in hospitals putting things on shelves too near the ceiling, so that only disembodied spirits would supposedly be able to see them. When people who have an NDE inaccurately report what is on those shelves, these doctors claim that clairvoyance must be a hoax. To which I have to say, “No: your own definition which you have made up of Clairvoyance is a hoax. I could have told you before your experiment started that it would not provide valid evidence of real Clairvoyance.”
The classic method of achieving Clairvoyance in magic is to astrally project through a “magic door” which consists of a symbol of a magical force – e.g. a Tattva. What one sees beyond that door will be an astral representation of the qualities which that symbol represents. Ultimately, by undertaking this astral journey, one may come to learn how to manifest that magical force in physical life.
The Tattva-method of Clairvoyance is a well known practice in western occultism, but it has a potential draw-back, in that all the phenomena encountered will ultimately remain within the paradigm established by the Tattva symbols. What if, for example, one wanted to explore a magical force which was unrelated to the Tattvas – which was outside the paradigm? I keep talking about “Tattvas” but of course they are only one set of symbols in use in occultism. It is entirely possible that instead of a Tattva one could substitute something else which is more appropriate to the magical force which one wants to explore – and then use the astral projection method on that instead.
However, what if one had exhausted all the known sets of symbols in all forms of occultism … and one still wanted to explore something that was outside the paradigm-limits of all of them – what then? What if, indeed, one wanted to explore the outer limits of what is possible and impossible? It is here that the creative use of Fiction as a Magical Tool comes in useful – as I believe I had inadvertently discovered with my experiences with my plot-device.
Philosophically this is somewhat difficult to describe fully, as ultimately the only way to satisfactorily describe something which is capable of transcending all paradigms of thought is to stand outside all paradigms. But if I do that, am I not then speaking from another paradigm, albeit a new one? Whatever – I shall describe it in terms of the astral plane, as that is what I am comfortable with. What is fundamental to realise is that the so-called astral plane is not tied to any particular belief system, but applies to the entire Universe – the Known, the Unknown, Past, Present, Future, Alternate, Potential, Speculative, Fact and Fiction. From Earth to the far reaches of the Cosmos and all points in between. On the Astral Plane, it does not matter whether something is true or false in Physical Plane terms, but whether it is a Real Astral Phenomenon or not. Moreover, its reality as an Astral Phenomenon again does not depend on truth or falsehood – because if it is perceived it must exist in some sense or other – but on how important or significant it is – which is a subjective value judgement.
To illustrate my point: take for example the Archangel Michael. Is he true or false? Fact or fiction? He is undoubtedly a Real Astral Phenomenon. I imagine that fundamentalist Christian might go further and claim that he is actually true – because the Bible says so, and the Bible as we all know is not fiction. 😉
What however about Cthulhu – an entity created by the author HP Lovecraft, who is on record as stating that he himself knew that this Great Old One and the rest of the Mythos were fictional? Is it then valid for people like Kenneth Grant or Phil Hine to go and perform magic rituals based on the assumption that Cthulhu is in fact real? In a certain way – yes it is, because it is no more outrageous than claiming it is possible to create an Artificial Elemental, which has been an established magical practice for more than a hundred years. If we assume that creating Artifical Elementals are possible, then it should certainly be possible to create Artificial Elementals out of characters who are fictional creations, whether they be Cthulhu, Gandalf, or whoever. In fact, it should be easier to create an Artificial Elemental based on a fictional creation – as opposed to say one who has been invented de novo – because the former will have a back-story already written which helps the magician to fully realise them.
The only qualification I would have to make is that whilst such a Fictional Magical being or indeed thing may produce effects on the physical plane – as indeed we must hold out the possibility of it being able to if we subscribe to the validity of Artificial Elementals working at all – the Fictional creation remains on the astral plane. It is not a paradox between truth and falsehood, it is just that truth/falsity only applies to the physical plane, whilst different rules applies to the Astral. So whilst I might be impressed by someone who was able to take a piece of Fiction and make a successful magical operation out of it, I am less than keen on people rabbiting on and on about their astral experiences as if they were “true” in the physical-plane sense of the word.
So the moral of this blog-post is: if you want to achieve anything in magic, do not get hung up on whether it fits in with any particular milieu – or whether you are comfortable working with that milieu at all. The creative magician can always find a solution, because in a very literal sense, you are only limited by your imagination.
Hang on! If artificial elementals are real, perhaps that means the Archangel Michael is an artificial elemental? Perhaps that means that … whisper it… God is both Fictional and Real! If this statement does not get me lynched by both Christians and Atheists then nothing will! 😉
5 responses to “Fiction Is Stranger Than Truth”
And how about the method?
Speaking for myself, I see things in terms of astral projection and lucid dreaming. What I did was (before starting) is think along the lines of: “there is something I want this character to achieve – hence I am going to imagine a time when it has occurred, and a fictional method of how it occurred.” Remember at this point I was only thinking about trying to come up with material for a book, but the actual effort of going through this thought-process actually set-up the astral experience which I later had.
This is not to say that astral projection is the only possible method of incorporating fiction into magic. I did hear a story that Gareth Knight once created a ritual using god-forms drawn from the works of JRR Tolkien, which apparently went well.
Bookmarking this Alex…lots to think about here. I’ve been working on an article that touches on some similar thoughts as well..but I particularly love how it worked out for you in the end. Fiction and Magical Workings…can you imagine the possibilities!!!!
Would you be interested in some collaborated work? I run a large network of blogs/and a group called The Infinity Network.
We have an E-Zine and would love to feature your work and generate you some traffic back to your webpage.
The email I left is valid and we can be reached any time, If you follow the link to our webpage we also have a Chaos Magick chat room if that is better.
Thanks for the offer! Although I am not opposed to the idea, over the next five months or so I expect to be incredibly busy, so I could not guarantee contributing except rarely. Good luck with “The Infinity Network.” 🙂