Let’s face it, you don’t get involved with the occult unless you’re a little fucked up. Often, it’s little more than a demonstration of Krishnamutri’s whole “what does it mean to be well adjusted in a sick society?” trip. Which is all well and good, and even true. But we occultists are, whatever the cause or character of our condition, fucked up. (I could go through the litany of my many disorders, but it’s kind of a downer. Don’t worry. I’m not excluding myself here.) Just remember, should this thought anger or depress you, that “normal” people in the United States believe they have to develop a personal relationship with a godman who got himself mutilated to death in order to atone for the deleterious effects of a primeval fruit eating incident.
So, being batshit crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It does, however, present challenges if one actually wants to attain. There are layers to the modern Western Psyche that make “Lord of the Flies” look like Romper Room. To a certain extent, as products of this society, we too have those layers and pathologies. We instantiate these things, as they say. Moving beyond them requires more than just intellectual critique. One must be constantly vigilant about the sorts of games they are willing to play with words in order to justify retreat into a pathological approach they learned in childhood.
It is quite easy for an occultist to develop numerous and sophisticated semantic smog machines. The nature of a symbol being open to infinite interpretation, one can justify any sort of horrific bullshit simply by abstracting the question upward and framing, say, Straussian Neo-conservatism in terms of Qabalistic metaphor. Sometimes you will even find this sort of thing being utilized by people who will agree with you when you say “the map is not the territory.”
The above being said, it bares remembering that some maps do actually describe territory better than others. If you have a Cthulhoid map filled with strange geometries that you got while dreaming about an illicit encounter with a Deep One, it is not likely to get you to the store and back without a certain amount of confusion. Of special concern are the maps that are based on the preconceived ideas you brought with you into this lunacy.
These were developed by an individual even more fucked up than you are now. That being you, before you started to expand your horizons beyond the ordinary kith and kin of Wal-Mart and MTV mass culture. At best, they are well thought out perceptions concerning the little sliver of reality you were able to experience between expulsion from your mother’s womb and eviction from her house. At worst, they are simply retarded. A mass of prejudices and superficial reactions based on the world-view of the people you found yourself getting stoned or drunk with just after you began masturbating regularly. In any case, partial.
Esoteric attainment involves going beyond the merely partial to the… less partial really. More interesting, more ambiguous. Holy Books become cyphers rather than instruction manuals for being human. Politics becomes a reflection of a greater, deeper reality than just the primate mud-slinging of Faux News and “controversies” over the Dixie Chicks. In order to get there, however, you have to be willing to let some of the old programming go. Old values can either get reevaluated, or become reified into mystico-political “philosophies” that demonstrate how the world would be a much better place if every one were just like you.
I promise you, it would not. It would be monotonous and monochrome as a missive from Mathers. Like a church social where everyone wears grey. In other words: fucking boring.
The point of today’s tirade is that we need to learn to separate spiritual experiences from the ideas that come into our head after we have them. These are roughly akin to the protest one hears from the muscles after the first few times working out. Your ego is stretching. It hurts, and wants to find some balm in the Gillead you have thrust it into. So it makes up a lovely little story that tells you you’re special and that your ideas are destined to become the New Paradigm if only you can convince others by use of all these lovely symbols you’ve memorized.
It can sometimes be useful to engage in symbolic exegesis. But without perspective, the understanding that, in the end you’re just as fucked up as everyone else, it can turn you into a monster.