telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-02-04 11:33 am

Others

Projection is finding that only detractors are guilty of sin
Where faulting contingent extraneous factors about your own life
Result in a cleanly appearing absolving of burden or strife
Which only conceals all the rotting of conscience that happens within

It’s here that the narcissist thrives when they see all the flaws in our culture
Because it can only be others who taint it and warp it with lies
But lies upon lies only make for a fantasy through their own eyes
Which makes them the valiant hero when really their only a vulture
telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-02-01 06:58 pm

Dark Alternative

Dark Culture or the Dark Alternative scene is a social millieu which includes musical and aesthetic subcultures that feature dark, macabre, taboo or transgressive themes. Dark Alternative contains a spectrum of various different subcultures - many of which with unique perspectives and aesthetics, however connected they may be.

Some subcultures that are included in the Dark Alternative scene include:

Cybergoth
Darkwaver
Deathrocker
Doomer
Goth
Gothabilly
Horror Punk
Metalhead
Rivethead
Trad Goth

Though these subcultures are effectively unified in the Dark Alternative scene, most of the attempts to solidify them into a term have assumed the universality of the Goth subculture. A part of the reason why Dark Alternative exists in the first place is because of Darkwavers breaking off from the earlier Goth culture. But both by outsiders and those in the community, distinct subcultures have consistently been folded back into the Goth label. Though there are certain Goth purists, there are also some Goths who have actively perpetuated the concept of Gothic subtypes.

For me, Goth is very loaded, and doesn't adequately represent several existing subcultures, as well as various other Dark Alternative subcultures which often lack their own identity. A good example of this would be Witch House, which frequently defies solid classification. The best attempt I've seen is to conflate it with the concept of Nu Goth, but I think this term is not especially helpful. With this in mind, I've been looking for more appropriate terms to represent people who belong to Dark Alternative culture, while allowing people to identify with the specific subcultures that it contains.

Inspired by the Doomer or Doom Metal subculture, I thought of a term to describe people into Dark Culture or the Dark Alternative scene:

Gloomer

In my opinion, Gloomer is simple, casual, fun, and very self-aware. It reflects the general mood of not only a lot of the people who enjoy this culture and the media we produce, but also the broader themes of the music and art we all enjoy - without going into the extremes represented. I think that this is a useful term and I intend to encourage others to use it - especially when they enjoy darker music that doesn't succintly line up with Goth or Rivethead subculture.

On a related note, I've also taken to using nominal suffixes to describe younger members of alternative subcultures. So for instance, you could use Gloomling for young Gloomers and Gothling for young Goths. I think that their usage is more self-aware and honest about how we are as teens and preteens, without being as condescending as something like Baby Bat for young Goths. Personally, I think it is even more adorable as well.

Here is a list of diminutive subculture terms:

Cyberlings for Cybergoths
Darklings for Darkwavers
Deathlings for Deathrockers
Doomlings for Doomers
Gothlings for Goths
Gloomlings for Gloomers
Punklings for Punks
Metalings for Metalheads
Rivetlings for Rivetheads

I'm definitely curious how one might adapt all of these terms into other languages. All that being said, I think the term Gloomer gives people an option to participate in our scene without feeling pressured to use or not use other subcultural classifications.
telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-01-15 12:54 am

Apathy

They’re speaking quite loudly with haughty indignance
Revealing their chances have dwindled and faded
To make their true mark on the world they’ve created
While moaning and screaming with seething malignance

Their grievances found with the people they pester
Is nominal next to their toxic behavior
If only as children they’d had more exposure
Instead of allowing resentment to fester

If even a purposeful path they can follow
It’s buried in mindless indulgent pretension
Abandoning reason, denying dissension
They threaten detractors with words ringing hollow
telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-01-09 10:35 am

Pages

These tomes transport our minds into a place
Removed from living’s ordinary pace
Both poetry and prose they make us cry
With words impressions find their wings to fly

The varied themes in words do tantalize
Between the lines with passion exercise
They speak to all the struggles that you know
Within a realm that only you can go

Within the gilded pages of a book
As visions with the open eyes to look
Upon the paper where the words were made
They fill our hearts with all our dreams displayed

These pages as they are they are a gift
Which we into our fantasies do drift
telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-01-06 02:31 pm

Moonlight

Moonlight it shines ever brightly it glows on the edge of the basin
Hauntingly gazing The Moon through the dark with the light it does hasten
Darkened the depths of the water beneath it does shimmer with moonshine
Mirroring all the crepuscular features it sings to the skyline

Blowing the wind finds a path through the thicket of evergreen pine trees
Greenery turning to darkness it swallows the moonlight with great ease
Swaying and rocking the leaves and the branches they dance with a measure
Marking the coastline the forest it beckons the night beasts with pleasure

Pulling the tide as it fills up the heavens with luminous power
Reaching the peak of its monstrous potential upon the twelfth hour
Primal encompassing fear trepidation and curious urges
This does The Moon in the sky represent every night it emerges
telaestheticist: (Default)
2019-01-03 10:23 am

The Dark

In this strange realm it seems there is no peace
A place where you’d not want to live or die
Above our heads the storms they do not cease
The darkened clouds they dominate the sky

But this the weather is not why I rue
I tell you now the world is not so flawed
It is in fact those mediocre few
That taint our world with pestilential fraud

The dark and grey reminds me of the heart
The nuances that life is really for
For all the pain in us that does depart
It still remains as memories evermore

Those people who engage in guile and hate
Who lie and steal our momentary bliss
They do not have a lonely, dreadful fate
Instead they have a life without abyss

The void is dark and has a lot to teach
Reminding us the meaning of our fears
By challenging perceptions out of reach
It shows us all is more than it appears

And through these lessons we embrace the night
We find a peace in things that are obscured
Though some react with ignorance and fright
We build upon the things that have endured
telaestheticist: (Default)
2018-12-17 05:04 am

Sacred Spaces



Roman household altar to Ianus, Vesta, Venus, Bacchus, Apollo, Saturnus, Fortuna, Minerva, Sol Invictus, Diana, Iuppiter, Mercurius, Dis Pater, and Iuno



Shinto household altar to Tenjin-sama and Amaterasu Omikami



Kemetic household altar and shrine to Bastet, Ma'at, Heru, Djehuti, Anpu, and Amun, as well as Ptah, Sekhmet, and Nefertem (The Memphite Triad)



Germanic household altar to Woden, Thunor, Ingwine-Frea, and Freo (custom woodburned god poles)
telaestheticist: (Default)
2017-08-07 09:43 am

Electronic Music Subculture

Electronic music, and music in general, is one of my biggest passions. It took a long time for me to develop my own palette, and along the way I have seen and interacted with many different music scenes within the broader electronic music spectrum. I have come to love the themes an aesthetics in these genres, and have also felt that the music, as a whole, is ultimately it's own subculture - despite the differences between the various scenes.

Recently, I found an old post from the early nineties on a rave music website which described what the author thought was the six distinguishing features of electronic music

Their list was:

1. Youthfulness, not age.
2. Groove, not just bpm.
3. Techno is Pansexual.
4. Techno is Global.
5. Techno is Cosmic / Spiritual.
6. Hopeful, not escapist.

After spending some time contemplating this list, and taking a look at my own opinions on these genres, I examined this list, modified the definitions, and expanded it a little bit for myself.

1. Technology is ageless

What carries on the tradition of any good music is ultimately the young, but in an umbrella of genres such as this, which focuses on the soundscapes produced with technology, ultimately maintains its youth, and so do those who enjoy it - regardless of age. Furthermore, it is the enthusiasm applied to the often unusual sounds we can make which itself embodies the youthful quality of artists with fancier toys, and the other kids who enjoy them.

2. The groove is intangible

Many different genres are defined by the BPM, the formula, the mood, or the themes incorporated, but the halmark of the best kind of electronic music, whether the beat is repetitive or chaotic, or whether it is noisier or cleaner, is how well it explores the groove. Finding a groove, or grooving to the music, is undefined.

3. Technology is asexual

Technology is androgynous - so is the music. It is not that electronic music is blatently progressive in its view of sex, but rather that the aesthetic is not neccessarily defined in sexual terms, though it can most certainly incoporate it.

4. Electronic music is a buffet

Electronic music freely and broadly samples from various different cultures, attitudes, aesthetics, and ideologies. Though it may often be derivative, or hapharzardly vauge, those musicians and fans who stay true to this philosophy, greatly benefit from it.

5. Technology is magic

The atmospheres and aesthetics explored in electronic music have an ecstatic quality - both for purposes of social engagment, personal transformation, and the exploration of raw human experience. But more than that, the very exploration of these eerie sounds, and their very alien context compared to the breadth of the history of human music, is otherworldly. Whether you are spiritual or not, listening to the music is a mystery to be engaged in.

6. Electronic music is a journey of self-discovery

Though electronic music can be used to abnegate, or let go of inhibition, it's ultimate purpose is to embrace all experiences, and find the existential meaning they bring to you. And finding what kinds of electronic music you enjoy, with all the immense variety that's available, is a journey that presents new and interesting challenges everytime you find new beats.

7. Experimental, not arbitrary

Though the use of sampling, synth sounds, drum patterns and effects, can most certainly seem random, their use is rooted in experimentation - not only in the artists who create it, but in the fans who listen to it. One of the best elements of electronic music is that it is so incredibly diverse, and so open to cross-pollination by other genres, other ideas, and other people.

8. Transgressive, not progressive

Though many people who might commonly listen to electronic music have more liberal views on a variety of subjects, the reason why there is so much variety in these genres is because the music itself does not neatly fit into any particular ideology, but rather, focuses on how one can mix and manipulate boundaries, and how we can explore it in different ways.

9. Creativity over accessory

Both when it comes to what gear musicians buy, and the kinds of outfits and accessories the fans wear or use, what you DO with it, and how it expresses who you are is far more important. Though these things don't have to be rigidly defined, there should be a very real sense of your intentions when you make such decisions.

10. Modulation over emulation

With music production, music fandom, and technology as a whole, ultimately everything is a "patch" applied to something else. Emulation can be valuable - whether you're creating a track, a look, and idea, or a piece of software, but only at a limited capacity. Modular thinking is much stronger, and more stable, and emulation should never be the entire focus.
telaestheticist: (Default)
2017-08-07 08:08 am

The Miasma

When I was around twenty six years old, I used to live on my own in a very small studio apartment just outside my hometown. It was a rather dark period of my life, and was just before I had to leave my place of employment to go on public assistance for my psychiatric conditions. Due to the compounded stress of both work, family, relationships, and social networking, my physical health and well-being began to decline. My living space became very disorganized, and as I started to isolate myself from friends and family, my sleep began to suffer.

I am a member of the Pagan community, and have practiced various forms of traditional polytheism for more than ten years of my life. Though I was and still am a deeply spiritual person, and have had amazingly powerful positive experiences, at this period of my life, my previous commitments to devotional polytheistic practice had began to fall away, and were replaced by feelings of complete despair and confusion.

Initially, my experiences started as a feeling of great uneasiness that would not only keep me tossing and turning in bed at night, but began to wake me up from a dead sleep, and I would try desperately to fall back sleep. Days and weeks would go by, and each time I had an experience, it would become even worse than before. As the feeling of uneasiness would increase, I began to notice strange noises and sensations. Initially I wrote them off as being the sounds of my cheap air conditioning unit above my apartment window, and the poor insulation in the walls around me, but eventually it became too intense to ignore. Like clockwork, I would wake up in the middle of the night, and would feel an ominous presence in my apartment, with a faint rumbling noise that I couldn't make out.

As these experiences became more frequent, and the feeling more intense, I began to have disturbing nightmares before I awoke from deep sleep. It would always be in dark and desolate places, and it always involved me dying in freak accidents or traumatic events. One night, I had an intense dream of driving around in a desolated city in the middle of the night, and I lost control of my vehicle. After I crashed into a large tree, and my vision within the dream started to fade, I heard what sounded like small children laughing at me. I woke up completely startled, and barely got even a few hours of sleep that night.

A few nights later, I remember waking up from a dead sleep, and had the immediate awareness that I was still asleep. I had complete awareness of my bedroom, but could sense that I was still in bed. Around the corner from the wall bed I was sleeping on was my kitchen, which is tucked away in a little alcove. During this experience, I could sense that there was something moving around, so I attempted to leave my bed. All I could manage was pushing myself with all my might directly onto the floor between my bed and the kitchen. A few moments later, small feet tall black figures ran past me towards the front door, and the last one stopped right in front of me while I was on the floor. I heard the sound of devilish cackling and I immediately woke up back on my bed.

Several weeks went by without incident, so I cleaned up my apartment, and tried my best to repair my poor sleep and hygiene habits. My life continued to be stressful however, and I always had the fear of what else might happen lingering in the back of my mind. For several more days, I would wake up in complete sleep paralysis, and what was once a subtle ominous presence with barely audible noises, soon became a dominant malevolent presence, with a hellish sounding growl. Eventually, this presence began to manifest, and I would be stuck in a sleep paralysis with the silhouette of a tall and featureless figure hanging out at the edge of my bed. Each night if would get closer and closer, to the point that I had several nights in a single week where this figure would be lying next to me in bed while I was experiencing my sleep paralysis.

At this point, I began to become more proactive, and in addition to meditating regularly, I started to engage more with my existing spiritual practices, however modestly. Things began to die down for a while, but I knew that until I was able to fix this issue, that things would continue. I started to research related sleep paralysis phenomenon, and what particularly stuck out to me was the common experience throughout most ancient cultures of a malevolent spirit that would latch itself onto a vulnerable victim and try to drain them of their health and happiness. It became clear to me that, in a similar manner to the Ancient Greek concept of miasma, I had drawn this negative spirit to myself because of my poor physical and emotional health.

After spending a few more days improving my situation as best I could, I still felt uneasy in my own apartment, so I decided to spend the night with some close friends. They were renting a home together, and had offered me a couch to sleep on over the weekend. After having a long discussion about my experiences, and hearing their own personal interpretations, I ended up falling sleep. Not too long after, I remember waking up in a sleep paralysis, seeing the very dark inside of their strange living room. What I saw, heard, and felt next is something that I will never forget as long as I live. Standing in the middle of the living room in front of the couch I was sleeping on was an elongated figure. It was about seven feet tall, with long arms and spindly dagger-like fingers. Though its shoulders were wide, its frame was gaunt, and its entire body was covered with grayish brown skin, that looked like decaying flesh. Its eyes were deep black caverns, and it's mouth was a gaping maw of pure darkness.

After a few moments, it rushed over to where I was laying, and crouched itself directly over me, making the loudest and most intense guttural growl I have ever heard. As I was being pinned to the couch, a feeling of complete disgust and anger washed over me. I was tired of being afraid and confused, and I knew that it was time for me to rid myself of this spirit that I attracted through my miasma. My mind immediately went to the gods and goddesses that were most sacred to me at the time, and I thought of them as a combined force of power and authority. I gathered all the strength that I could, and finally managed to speak what I wanted to say to this creature. I looked at the malevolent spirit in it's face, and in a strong voice I said, "In the name of the highest gods, leave!"

In an instant, I awoke from my final sleep paralysis. The presence was completely banished from my life, as if it had never existed in the first place. It felt as if fifty pounds had been lifted from my chest, and I was finally able to breathe again after nearly six months of horrific nightmares and sleep paralysis. I have never had this issue again, and have become even more devoted to my spiritual practices. Though my positive spiritual experiences have helped give me focus and meaning, this experience helped me to understand the value of emotional and physical health to one's spiritual well-being.

On several occasions since then, I have had opportunities to not only share this experience with those who are willing to listen, but to even help others through their sleep paralysis experiences. If there is any piece of wisdom that I can give you, it is to not only take care of yourself, but to realize that when necessary, the most powerful forces against these negative forces are the things that are most meaningful and sacred to you. Genuine faith and trust are anathema to the malevolent spirits which may seek to harm you.
telaestheticist: (Default)
2017-08-07 01:51 am

Contemporary Folklore

Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to expand my horizons with many online and offline social groups. I've not only networked through pagan and traditional polytheist circles - making and maintaining friends and acquaintances through those avenues, but have also spent a lot of time forming connections through music, art, gaming, and geek culture communities.

Though many of the people I've interacted with through these contemporary cultures usually come from either a Christian or Secularist background (especially the latter), there is most certainly considerable overlap between ostensibly pagan groups and heavily nerdy pursuits. That being said, save for a few recent exceptions, I've seldomly seen the interaction examined in any sort of detail, which I find rather disappointing and ultimately limiting.

For those of us who ended up coming to a pagan, polytheist, occult, or otherwise alternative spiritual path or tradition, what I'm about to say is already pretty familiar....

Many of us, at least in the west, were raised in some sort of Christian tradition, and the reasons that we came to alternative spirituality, at least as I experienced it, were informed by animistic and/or polytheistic spiritual experiences which were not addressed or recognized, and often either ignored or forcefully discouraged. Though we would eventually find source materials and contemporary literature which examined these other spiritual ideas, there was not much in the way of material that would satisfy our pagan yearnings when were were all children.

But what we did find, presented our first taste of mythological and folkloric ideas, through media that was not only accessible to us, but created in a format that appealed to the creative, exuberant, and explorative qualities that children most often embody. What I'm speaking to of course, are the staples of fantasy and science fiction: art, literature, music, and gaming.

When I was growing up, some of my first experiences of mythology were from the ideas I found in fantasy books, fantasy movies, and video games. I still have fond memories of watching movies like The Labrynth, and later movies like Conan The Barbarian. I also remembering having a sense of wonder from being to explore a fantasy setting in a video game, and I would later explore this further in tabletop RPGs when I was older. But when I was in grade school and middle school, a lot of the material from games I would play found their way into games of pretend, in art and personal stories I created, or in adaptations of those ideas to my first attempt to form pagan philosophies about the world around me.

With all this in mind, I think that in a way, these sources of medium can sort of serve as approachable introduction to folklore, and can help to inspire future generations to examine ideas they would not otherwise find in Christian religions, at least in the west. It is worth noting that many of the video games we've played come out of Japan, where there is still a polytheistic culture through Shintoism - or at least a pluralistic approach to divinity through Japanese forms of Buddhism (though the two are often blended together). There is a certain sense of irony that their culture would help to inspire these ideas in western cultures, and though I don't think it is always intentional, I think it is ultimately a blessing.

Some of what I've said here has already been addressed... in a negative sense. Many Fundamentalist Christian groups have decried the "Satanic content" of video games, art, and literature, and that likely will always be there in some form or another. To me, that is something that we can't entirely avoid, but I think a little controversy is good, ultimately.

The ways in which these mythological ideas are often quite subtle, and usually presented in a neutral manner - through the creation of fantasy world that is more loosely associated with historical cultures or beliefs. I don't think that these media need to necessarily inspire pagan or occult conversion, and many if not most of the people that create them don't hold to views that resemble them, but at the very least I think they can help to instill a sense of wonder, and appreciation for the folkloric history of human cultures throughout history.

But for those future generations who find themselves gravitating towards alternatives, it can grant a sense of comfort and inclusion to otherwise isolated children and adolescents, and help form positive memories for more mature explorations in the future. That being said, I think it is important to make a clear distinction between these fantasy worlds and historically consistent cultural traditions, in the formation of intellectually honest beliefs. I'm a polytheistic reconstructionist, and though I have a clear bias against loosely defined and overly romanticized spirituality, I think that having solid foundational definitions are valuable to people practicing any kind of spiritual path. But to me, that is ultimately the strength of these sources of media, in that by presenting folklore in an entertaining manner, like the many plays and casual fairy tales of old, we can open the door to so much more.

I think that the popularity of these sources of media have been heralding the return of at least an appreciation of folklore by modern culture, and have the potential to include many more people in what we do through alternative spirituality. With that in mind, I think it is our responsibility to lead and assist future generations as they come to the fold.

I look forward to what the future brings...
telaestheticist: (Default)
2017-08-07 01:49 am

Modern Hellenistic Concepts

Imagine for a moment that you're a young child or a teenager, and after finding that the religion you were raised with wasn't working for you, you took your first steps into other religious beliefs. You looked into other sects of your own faith, and half a dozen World Religions, but you eventually concluded that none of them were right for you. Over a few months or even years, you find yourself in the realm of alternative spirituality. The first thing you would probably notice is the sheer mass of books, resources, websites, and groups - all of them declaring their uniqueness, but many of them with much of the same basic beliefs and themes. And being a teenager, you are drawn to all this variety, because as a young person, you are exploring all of the different experiences you can, in an attempt to find what means the most to you.

Over time, you'll find yourself going through several different paths, eventually finding one that suits you, and though you'll still be involved in the larger community, you'll gradually gravitate closer an closer to a more select group of people with a similar spirituality. In time, you'll eventually discover that the community at large full of "special" people, who despite their motivations to the contrary, are labelled by society as pretty much the same thing: Pagan/New Age/Occult. You'll find that though some people are proud and devoted to their chosen paths, that many will drift into a vague classification - likely Eclectic Neopaganism, New Age, or Occultist - without any specific group affiliation or the maintenance of in-depth discussion.

For most of us into alternative spirituality, this is a strongly repeated scenario. So much in fact that those who do eventually pick a solid path, whether it is Alexandrian Wicca or Hellenismos or Rosicrucianism, are in the strong minority. Most of the people in our community are so vague in their path, that even the terms Neopagan or Occultist are too much of a label for them - sometimes offensively so. Now, you could certainly argue that this attitude is fostered through isolation and prolonged frustration, and though you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that, it's not the whole story. This attitude extends far further into the substratum of our culture than it ever does our psychology or metaphysics. This has to do with the history of those beliefs, and what shaped them.

If you look at most modern alternative belief systems, you'll find that there are two main branches:

1. Traditional
2. Romanticist

The first branch includes Polytheistic Reconstructionist traditions such as Asatru, Hellenismos, Kemetic Polytheism, Religio Romana, Natib Qadish, Mesopotamian Polytheism, Rodnovery, and the like. It also is thought to include African Diasporic Traditions such as Voodoo and Santeria, as well as Traditional Witchcraft, which despite it's modern appeal, is rooted in oral tradition in Europe extending back to the Middle Ages.

The second branch includes Wicca, Druidism, Golden Dawn, Thelema, New Age, and every other modern occult tradition or modern mystical tradition you can think of. Though these paths have several important historical antecedents, they are clearly modern reinterpretations of ideas, and most of them do not make reservations to the contrary.

The important feature of both branches is their European bias. Alternative forms of spirituality as we know them, are a product of European culture and society - most notably in Britain, but extending into most if not all of Western Europe. Though things like Wicca and Druidism have a decidedly polytheistic flavor in comparison to ceremonial magick traditions like the Golden Dawn, they all invariably share their roots in the same early occult traditions of the late 19th century, which were themselves inspired by the Renaissance. The second, and most vital quality that connects all these paths together, is their emphasis on magical practice - often in tandem with or in replace of traditional religious or devotional practice. Bearing this in mind, you start to realize that most all of Neopagan and Occult paths are essentially following a line back to the core of what has been dubbed The Western Esoteric Tradition. This has been used to describe everything from Qabalah to Egyptian Magic, but what that effectively translates to, at least in the minds of those who practice it, is Hermeticism.

But that begs the question: What is Hermeticism?

Hermeticism itself is used as a buzzword to describe Hellenistic views during the late Roman empire leading into the Christian era - also called the Hellenistic Period. Hermeticism is used so frequently because of it's ubiquity in modern thinking, and because of the proliferation of Post-Renaissance occult interpretations, which rely (at least in some part) in Hermetic teachings. But Hellenistic, as the more appropriate term here, includes not only Hermeticism, but Greek Mysteries such as Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, and Orphic Tradition, but also the cult of Mithras, Christian and Persian Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Mysticism.

So what people are really getting at with all of this vague labeling, whether they want to admit it or not, is that they are basically practicing Greek Magic. Though that may seem a bit broad of a generalization, it's important to realize that all of these mystical traditions, all of the ceremony, the tools, the hierarchies, the orders and covens, etc... they all are rooted in Greek or at least Greco-Roman cultural ideas about spirituality and especially mysticism - the very word mysticism is Greek. Despite all the ways people try to make their paths appear differently, they all come back to this older time and older way of dealing with things.

All that being said however, it's important to realize that the Hellenistic Period played host to a myriad of different traditions - as was evidenced by my above statements. It was a time in the late Roman Period, where lots of different faiths and traditions were in contact, and despite how much the Greeks and Romans "hellenized" these ideas, they were pretty diverse. As it happens though, from both a technical and mythological perspective, Hermeticism is probably the most syncretic as well as distinct form of magico-religious belief system that came out of the Hellenistic Period. It is not only well-suited for magical practice, but is designed for it - so much in fact, that it created a religion around it.

And there in lies the essential point of what I'm getting at here:

Hermeticism is a religion - albeit one that has evolved considerably over time, but one that still exists to this day. It exists in modern occult traditions like the Golden Dawn and Thelema, in lineaged and even solitary forms of Wicca and Contemporary Witchcraft, in New Age philosophy, and even some forms of Druidism. Hermeticism is not only a religion centered around magic, but is a wholly syncretic tradition that preaches universalism over cultural consistency, and uses a metaparadigm as an over-arching framework to contextualize all of the different mythologies it incorporates.

The problem is that many people in both the Pagan and Occult community are in denial. Neopagans get upset with Reconstructionists because they are too traditional and less universal, and freeform Occultists get mad at the initiated because they follow a structured code, and respect the gods and spirits, instead of being morally ambiguous and apathetic. What little Hermetic philosophy still exists in these traditions is largely discarded in favor of ego. Instead of following a Wiccan Rede or the Hermetic Quaternary, so many fluffy-bunnies and stagnating neophytes have no rules, and broadcast their once secret magical traditions to all those who pay attention. The amount of those who claim to have power, but accept no code of conduct or responsibility, despite how close their paths are to Hermetic concepts, greatly outweigh those who do.

Though I am personally a devotional Polytheist, and I don't ascribe to Hermetic philosophies, I do practice mysticism and magic when needed - much of which is inspired by the Greco-Roman world. I read books, do lots of research, and use my creativity and intuition to design rituals suited for the often difficult task of creating effective spiritual change - when mysticism and magic presents itself as the ideal solution to a task or problem. I have my own religious beliefs, and they help ground my mystical practices, but so many modern Neopagans and Occultists do everything they can to deny religion in favor of magical practice. What they fail to realize is, the Hermetic ideals that link them to Greco-Roman culture also link them to Greek and Roman Religion, where things like philosophy and mysticism were other layers or aspects of Religion, but they were largely separate from public religion. It is this kind of practical separation that is lacking in alternative spirituality - that kind of discretion and propriety is lost on many of those we associate in our community, and it needs to be welcomed back into the fold.

Some final thoughts:

It is my opinion that Hermeticism, as a philosophy of belief, conduct, and magical practice, are needed for the newer generation. Not just for Contemporary Witches and Occultists, but for all those who are interested in studying reliable concepts of mysticism. It's influence on modern society is immense, and should not be taken for granted - now more than ever. It is my belief that all of the hyper-sensitivity among Pagans and Occultists is largely due to their inability to find a balance between their desire to be unique and their desire to be together. So much of their core philosophy is rooted in the universalism of mankind, but the distrust and fear many of them have harbored has displaced those noble virtues from their hearts. The best way to heal that kind of resentment is to learn and grown. Accept that things are much bigger than us, and realize that our path to understanding is not just about our own wants and desires, but about connection - between ourselves, our families, our friends, and our gods.
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:10 pm

The Spark

We write the tales of joy
Sharp words we do employ
From deep within the heart
The purpose of our part

We walk on virgin roads
And work in stranger modes.
With care we do progress
Despite the great distress

With passing of the times,
The poets and the rhymes
With love they do infuse
The blessings of the muse.

Around the world and back
We're kept along the track
By muses as they speak
They make the boldest meek

And blessed are the ones
That find her when she runs
In circles through our heads
While sleeping in our beds

In dreams is where she lives
Through inspiration gives
The words we hope to use
The blessing of the muse
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:09 pm
Entry tags:

Rage

From darkened corners of my inner mind
With vicious hatred and a pain severe
Emmerges feelings of a beastly kind
That manifest from angst and greatest fear

From skin to bone they painfully create
A dwelling sense of fundamental grief
These adverse feelings they do not abate
They will maintain until I find relief

Frustration yeilds a vastly simpler thought
When its not found this feeling does abide
A semblance of control is what is sought
Within my heart resentment does reside

Its through acceptance of my feelings here
That I can live in balance without fear
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:07 pm
Entry tags:

Bawdy

This is our great temptation
That comes from our intent
Into our inclination
It follows our descent

Of that which isnt mentioned
It speaks without a word
Within the heart contentioned
In this it is preferred

Without the clearest motive
Our game continues on
Inside our minds distortive
About what we will spawn

In truth there isn't much
That we will not include
In sight and smell and touch
And hear with attitude

The fun is in the guilt
We all construct about
The structures we have built
And things that we seek out
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:05 pm
Entry tags:

Vintage

The hanging grapes upon the verdent vine
Throughout the many lands in which its grown
Becomes the charming drink that is called wine
Indeed its quite the venture to be known

For women and for men it has been made
It's inspiration to assembled masses
To drink and to enjoy is how it's stayed
As its gladly poured into the glasses

With pleasure we do find it is to drink
And though it can be quite the awful bane
It warms our hearts and makes us want to think
Into our hearts and minds it will remain

A soulful pleasure it will always be
A greatly blessed comfort unto thee
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:03 pm

Organic

Nature is our greatest teacher
Spawning every living creature
Void of prejudice or guile
Leaves our world quite versatile

Freely giving, never taking
And continually making
All the wonders of the earth
We ourselves are of its birth

Lacking sorrow or compunction
Lends it to a greater function
That of living and of change
With the varied, and the strange
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:01 pm
Entry tags:

Affirmation

To my father and my mother,
In my world there is no other,
Quite as giving or as true,
Or as caring, as you two.

Even through the paths unknown
You make sure I'm not alone;
In the troubles and mistakes,
You are here for both our sakes.

Loving in so many ways
Always there to give me praise
Giving guidance and respect
Splendid that we do connect

Full of purpose and devotion
Sending you my deep emotion
I am greatful to be yours
Allies that this son adores

It's my heart I do express
That I wish great happiness
For our family and you both
Know this is my solemn oath
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 12:00 pm

The Wayfarer

He the cunning navigator
Is an adept conservator
Paths sincere he does surmise
Carefully he holds supplies

Working trades with great finesse
Each detail he does address
With great skill he does assure
That the methods are secure

Speaking frankly and direct
By his word is great respect
To his guidance we rely
And his zeal we can't deny
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 11:59 am

The Trickster

He the joker plays the part
Making fooling quite the art
Jesting with a playful tone
His sharp wit is thusly shown

Speaking with a cheerful theme
Sometimes with a dopey scheme
Nonetheless a thoughtful fellow
Even when his mood is mellow

Oh the stories he recants
And the ways he often rants
Smiling widely with a grin
Its the fun we'll find him in
telaestheticist: (Default)
2013-06-05 11:57 am

The Integrator

His technique is great and bold
With machines it can be told
There is not another man
Knowing gadgets as he can

He constructs for you and me
Widgets of great artistry
With his hands and focused mind
Manifests the skillful kind

His is through the mechanized
That we know is greatly prized
It is far from automatic
Craftsman of the systematic