Maybe I’ll start teaching #hermetics…

Instead of marketing myself as a private yoga teacher. This came up in conversation when Sam was here, the fact that I could try marketing myself to locals who can afford a minimum of $75 an hour for private instruction. I’ve got 28 years of experience in yoga. And meditation! My introduction to both occurred at once, when I enrolled in two six-week intensive, college credit classes during the summer 1998 at Rivier University in NH. I wanted to get some non studio credits out of the way so I could focus even more on painting my junior year. I took Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism and The Psychology of Communication.

During my first experiences with basic, hatha yoga, the meditation was of equal importance.

I like the fact that with my introduction to yoga, there was a simultaneous introduction to experiential learning in meditation. We used the basic method outlined in Lawrence Leshan’s How to Meditate. See? I still remember the f-ing title. I’ve been recommending it ever since is why.

The class was taught by a couple in their early 70s, thereabouts, and met twice a week for 3-hours a session. During each class we sat for meditation for 20-minutes, and also did 40-minutes of very basic, democratic asana. The rest of the time we discussed our reading and writing assignments, the history and philosophy part.

It took awhile, but I did get the RISD liberal arts department to accept BOTH of my grade A credits. I got into a phone fight with the head of the department while I was still in NH. Must’ve gotten a notice of the rejection of that course in the mail… I’d done my homework though, and had checked to see that Rivier was fully accredited before I enrolled. I’d worked hard too! Taking two classes together was so intense I couldn’t work my normal menial summer job at the same time. I wanted my As, see… As part of Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism I’d vowed to do the 20-min sit and 40-min yoga every single day the entire 6-weeks of the program, while completing all the reading and writing assignments of course. This had a profound and lasting effect.

There were some total bullshit liberal arts classes at RISD, like one where you grew a plant and kept a journal of its progress for a semester. Didn’t waste my brain cells on that one but I’d heard about it and snorted. I’d slammed the phone down on the department head, after he said I “must be crazy” if I thought he was going to accept those credits. I decided to wear him down. When I got back to school in the fall, I brought all of my heavily highlighted course books and all my papers for the class tied up in a nice, little bundle with a bow. I dumped the lot on his desk and said, “You can’t tell me this isn’t as much real work as a lot of the classes you’ve got going here.

I got my way.


How might I market myself?

If I do this, I’ll still teach whatever yoga (cardio and strength training) would be appropriate to the client, but I’ll include the meditation and advise from the beginning that meditation takes priority. Five minutes is a good place to start for beginners.

Kabbalah, Magic & the Great Work of Self Transformation

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My new read

I’m still reading Initiation into Hermetics, but I’ll be in that for 2-3 years if I stick with it. It’s more like a bookshelf of encyclopedias crammed into one tomb of practical exercises than a mere book, and it’s not all that user friendly in figuring out the practical application of all the insanely difficult, mental exercises. As in the first chapter title of Kabbalah Magic, Though Only a Few Will Rise. And this is another set of practical exercises – “A COMPLETE COURSE” – though I haven’t gotten that far into it yet.

The first ritual detailed is the LBRP, which I already know. I wouldn’t include the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentegram in any yoga teaching program! It’s far (+1,000,000) more esoteric than any asana class or (the lite description) “relaxation exercise”.


My visitor

Figures that it’s suddenly much warmer and brighter outside, the last morning my friend is in town. She’s at the airport now… We had a last afternoon of sight seeing and hanging out yesterday. I’ll post some pictures once I get clearance.

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I’m all into archangel Gabriel still.

Stopped by New Renaissance Bookstore yesterday for a second time. She picked up some things for the kids. I got two goldstones, specifically for working with the archangel Gabriel, and a pear candle (ditto). I’d been looking for another of the inexpensive, great light & long burning apple candle. All they had was pears. Then I revisited this site and noticed that his/her “angelic thoughtform” is a pear. All right then! They’re the same price as the apple shape and probably just as good.

Meditation & a customized “Middle Pillar” ritual

We happened to see black, beeswax, tapered candles at the food co-op the last time we were there…

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My view before yesterday’s morning sit & hermetics. The PNW is dark in the winter.

I’ve been both cursed and blessed. Sometimes even now I still look around and wonder how I got here. Of course I know! I’ve grown a tremendous amount though… pauses to think about the return to art. When I “put it down” in favor of socializing and endorphins, I always had in mind that I could return later, because fine art isn’t ageist. Of course I didn’t think about it in those terms exactly. I had no idea how things get for women past a certain age in the working world. Men too, but much less and much later.

I’d have never had a serious, intimate relationship again if I’d have stayed in NYC. I know this for 100%, gut certainty. And now? Cooking, shagging, a cat and a dog, a secluded lifestyle, daily meditation, hermetics, witchcraft… But no money. Zero earning power, and absolutely every time I’ve had my hopes raised, it’s turned out to be a false hope.

Video says I need to focus on why I want what I want. This would mainly serve as a vibrational correction for the doubt and despair of noticing its continued absence.

  1. I need to get a solid foothold in regular, well-paid illustration work because I need to earn money & art gives me the most joy.¹
  2. I’d regain some independence and purpose.
  3. I need a reason to be.
  4. It’d inspire and focus me and give me tremendous energy.

I’d gotten one bite on my latest Craig’s List Portland ad. If it’d been a real opportunity it’d have kept me busy for 3-4 months, paid a NYC worthy salary and given me a whole boatload of drive and purpose. After I’d talked to the agent I had a couple reasons to think it wouldn’t happen, but this morning I found out for sure. Some tears rolled down my cheeks during meditation.

OK then! Forget about it. Take a nap. Skip exercise if you want. Fuck it.

I’ve been working on visual notes & studying to create a personalized version of the hermetics Middle Pillar ritual… I’ll fill in some information on the correspondences (chakras, archangels, planets etc), but this is enough to do the intoning and (not pictured) the energy moving exercises. This ritual needs to be practiced standing and takes about a half hour.

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¹Not that I’m being elitist or anything! The corporations around here aren’t interested in hires over 35, no matter HOW qualified, as they’ve made abundantly clear.

 

 

Annoyances can be like games, tests of your powers of mental avoidance

Blocking shit out is a VIRTUE in hermetics.

You want to be able to focus on shit you want to attract and foster, and extremely honed focus is a skill that requires constant practice. I never heard of anyone really working on that in Astanga. In my experience, and observance of that world when I was in it, The Cult seems to mostly produce more obsessiveness and attachment. Useful tools though, the asana, when not fixated upon.

Super late start today! Granted I was hiding in my room from like 7pm on last night, avoiding jam night, indulging in a Magicians & tequila binge until midnight. Pretty sure my next episode is #11, and I’d started on 3 or 4. (Read & enjoyed all 3 of the books and I don’t much mind the made-for-TV elements of the show.) Since I can, I slept in until 9:30, not including temporary feline interruptions.

I’m going to take the bus downtown on a field trip today! Need a new hoodie FFS. I finally retired my beloved, worn to DEATH Aeropostale. Try as I might, I could never find a satisfactorily form fitting and heavy replacement. I’m pretty sure I only paid about $30, during one post Christmas sale about 10 years ago. I’d go there every winter and order up a ton of stuff. Charlie googled up an okay looking example at Gap this morning though, so I reserved one and I’ll go see. Maybe I’ll have lunch at Veggie Grill too…

I’m planning on “plein air” as soon as it gets into at least 50-degree weather.

Seriously WTF is up with all this New England weather in Portland this year? Le sigh. Too cold. But… look what’s on its way.

I know I just got my huge, studio easel back after 20 years, but the thing is I want to do more outside drawings and water media, including watercolor, watercolor, watercolor. I now have a shit ton of paint!¹ My old easel is mostly suited for oil painting, or acrylic if you can deal that. You also can’t lug it down to the waterfront to work on a touristy kind of promotional piece. I need to be doing more architecture. I should toss in some government buildings. I want to be downtown more again, and this is the kind of work I want to produce so…

I did a little bit of that last year – link 1, link 2, link 3 –  when I was tentatively getting going on spending longer amounts of time on drawings and making more of a commitment to a level of finish above “doodle”. These were volunteer illustrations for the cool, though unorganized Sustainable Today. It could’ve gone further, but then they wanted something on the level that should be billed for at least $5,000, and they waited too long to ask. Fall and winter last year I was still working frantically toward anything that could cover my second apartment, but all those efforts were not quite right. (At least she tried.)

Maybe all I need, eventually, is studio space downtown

I’ve got my doubts about oil painting working out downstairs in the dining room. It’s not a dedicated space and there would be ventilation and clean-up issues. Working in oil is also SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE. I’ve decided that the universe needs to pony up significantly first. All of my spiritual practices of the past six months are pointed in this direction, like an army of missiles. That’s what it’s all in service of, so we’ll see.


Maybe I’ll exercise tonight, maybe I won’t.


¹ Since I’ve started working in traditional media again, out here in Portland, I’ve decided that Utrecht is my favorite brand. Other companies make interesting novelty colors. I like some of the metallics and “shimmers”. But overall the consistency and spread is best in Utrecht. You don’t get all this oily goop that spits out.

 

 

#ashtanga #yoga & seated #meditation

Man, did I need that. I resist mightily but I do still require a certain amount of “serious” yoga.


Warmup: (10/30×6=4min) jump rope

Yoga

  • Suryas & fundamentals
  • Primary+ (With the usual, added LBH. I also did Janu Sirsa C because I’d noticed the balls of my feet were a little sore last 2 workouts. And I managed another EPRK. Seems good for me.)
  • Urdhva D, 3 drop backs & 3 ticks I finally did 3! Why does this feel so much more complete?
  • Finishing to the Sirsasanas.

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Padmasana

  • 30min seated meditation, 5min savasana

Adversity can be good for your #meditation and thought control practices!

It gives you extra incentive to direct your thoughts elsewhere. It was really hard to settle today but I did and the art thoughts and joy bubbled through here and there.

I missed a day of meditation yesterday for the first time in over a month. I kind of wanted to just have coffee and chill out before I left for my new part-time job, and I totally meant to sit in the afternoon, but all the drama over the easel sort of negated that. At least I didn’t flip out and have a crying fit! I took action, and also an advil for the inevitable headache, helped Ch in the War Room for a little bit and went to bed early. 

Today I will draw. I’m working on “Her” a little bit and I want to rough out the beginning of a new idea that popped up during meditation. (If thoughts insist on popping up, which they will, artistic inspiration are the ones you want.) It’ll be an interior scene with at least one person and one pet (preferably both) in it.

Word of the day is #tonglen. Thank gods for #meditation

The start of my day needed a near immediate do-over

But at least I deleted the screen shots of the nastygram from my mother. Just did my morning meditation, which was a bit difficult, and did the banishing ritual which comes right after the sit.

I wasn’t in a great mood last night and came to a section on tonglen in a current reread, When Things Fall Apart. You can practice breathing in pain that you are feeling & exhaling relief of the suffering to all those experiencing the same.

“On the in-breath, you breathe in whatever particular area, group of people, country, or even one particular person… maybe it’s not this more global situation, maybe it’s breathing in the physical discomfort and mental anguish of chemotherapy; of all the people who are undergoing chemotherapy. And if you’ve undergone chemotherapy and come out the other side, it’s very real to you. Or maybe it’s the pain of those who have lost loved ones; suddenly, or recently, unexpectedly or over a long period of time, some dying. But the in-breath is… you find some place on the planet in your personal life or something you know about, and you breathe in with the wish that those human beings or those mistreated animals or whoever it is, that they could be free of that suffering, and you breathe in with the longing to remove their suffering.

And then you send out – just relax out… send enough space so that peoples’ hearts and minds feel big enough to live with their discomfort, their fear, their anger or their despair, or their physical or mental anguish. But you can also breathe out for those who have no food and drink, you can breathe out food and drink. For those who are homeless, you can breathe out/send them shelter. For those who are suffering in any way, you can send out safety, comfort.

So in the in-breath you breathe in with the wish to take away the suffering, and breathe out with the wish to send comfort and happiness to the same people, animals, nations, or whatever it is you decide.

Do this for an individual, or do this for large areas, and if you do this with more than one subject in mind, that’s fine… breathing in as fully as you can, radiating out as widely as you can.”[7]

I practiced a little bit of that… This morning brought a new challenge! And I failed to maintain equilibrium. Whatever! I’m going to eat some delicious leftovers and get to work drawing.

It’s a good time to practice razor focus & thought control #election2016 #hermetics

So now I’ve read through the first couple chapters of Franz Bardon’s Initiation Into Hermetics, the theory and the first chunk of the practical exercises. I haven’t started practicing any of them yet exactly, though with my background in yoga and meditation  – not to mention minor dabblings in witchcraft, herbology, tarot, candle magic, gemstones and essential oils etc. –  I’m definitely already out of the starting gate. I’ve been meditating daily since October 9th or 10th this stint. Usually it’s 22min but sometimes, like today, it’s 40.

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INITIATION II – THE PRACTICE OF MAGIC

Each exercise to be practiced at least 14 days (for those with some prior development) before moving onto the next. You start with 5min twice daily and then add 1min per day until you’re at 10min twice daily.

  • Thought control

    • This is more like thought observance, but it’s different from my seated meditation because you’re supposed to see what you remember AFTER. I tried it once after my morning sit. It’s surprisingly hard! I will have to add it though, when I start my hermetics project for real. I’m just waiting until after the birth stage of my current thing.
  • Thought discipline

    • This talks about performing all tasks with complete awareness, and what THAT means repeatedly pushing away any thoughts that have nothing to do with the task at hand. Unless you’re a US politician that means you shouldn’t be thinking about what just happened here. I was reminding myself of that this morning: BatcaveFocus on something else! Something you’ve selected as personally relevant. I decided to think before practicing the banishing ritual. That’s right. Morning’s are my favorite study time.
  • Mastery of thoughts

    • This is about avoiding thoughts! It’s the closest to the seated meditation I already practice. When I first learned formal, seated meditation (29 years ago, age 20) I developed a technique for myself of moving my inner awareness in a clockwise fashion around my area of focus.This was the edge of the nostrils, watching the breath, as per a very traditional method.
    • Outrunning my thoughts? It would help me get away from the verbal language thoughts anyway, not sensory impressions or strong emotions.

That’s six weeks of specific work right there, and I need to keep a detailed, hand written journal. What I really want is this though of course I can’t have it. I’ll be forced to use a recycled notebook because poor.

journal

I consoled myself with the thought that the fancy journal is made with leather, and though my diet has returned to the dark side, it doesn’t mean I should be supporting that industry.

I’ll need all my notes for the self analyses exercises of the next section.

My #heartchakra got SERIOUSLY flooded today #meditation #masoniccompass #graveyards

I’m starting to get the hang of meditation, me thinks.

1/2 bhekasana, need to do yoga, old-fashioned magic & meditation journal, grimoire, leek pizza. I need to be an artist!! thoughtform. I’m already practicing further than the first exercise.

I haven’t added any practice from the hermetics book yet after all, except to try to make thoughts sort of solid, before returning to my focal point. I wanted to remember them later. So I’m starting off further out of the gate because it’s a 22min, formal sit in padmasana and then I go do some stuff (like putting in contacts) before getting to the remembering. I should add another session at night but the discipline is harder after beer 🙂


I did a little painting but… I think I need a bigger watercolor palette and also I’m not good at watercolor landscapes. I went a little nuts with it & had to put it away and have breakfast. I think it might look like a Rorschach test with colors.

It’d be GREAT to get my old easel from NH, but I’m not sure mom would be up to the task & it wouldn’t be cheap.


Still practicing the Lesser Banishing Ritual daily. I’m getting better at it, and the visualizations.

Yesterday Ch and I went to Riverview Cemetery and I gathered 3 different dirt samples for future years. The country’s first female cop is buried there, and she lived to be 97. Her energy would be perfect for reversals! But it was raining, at times pretty hard, and so we just wandered randomly. Didn’t find Lola but we didn’t really try all that hard.

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Took a particular liking to this tree, for some reason

I took one by a big, rough hewn monument whose name plate had fallen off without replacement. The wild card! I took a second by a huge sequoia and the last by a random guy’s marker with a Masonic compass on it. #YouReallyDOLearnSomethingEveryDay

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g

masonic-compass-copy

Therefore, the letter ‘G’ in Freemasonry signifies Gnosis, Generation and the Grand Architect.Gnosis (Greek for knowledge) in its simplest form is “knowledge of thyself” or the Great Arcanum, Daath (Da’ath – Hebrew for knowledge). Philo also refers to the “knowledge” (gnosis) and “wisdom” (sophia) of God. This fact we find in the biblical passage Proverbs 2.6; “The Lord gives wisdom (sophia), from his face come knowledge (gnosis) and understanding (sunesis).”

The single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect‘s tools and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons.

The SQUARE is an instrument adapted for plane surfaces only, and therefore appropriate to Geometry, or measurement of the Earth, which appears to be, and was by the Ancients supposed to be, a plane. The COMPASS is an instrument that has relation to spheres and spherical surfaces, and is adapted to spherical trigonometry, or that branch of mathematics which deals with the Heavens and the orbits of the planetary bodies.

The SQUARE, therefore, is a natural and appropriate Symbol of this Earth and the things that belong to it, are of it, or concern it. The Compass is an equally natural and appropriate Symbol of the Heavens, and of all celestial things and celestial natures.

Oh and then we stopped for lunch at a small but very charming McMenamins (Fulton Pub) that we hadn’t been to before and when I saw this I knew I had to try it. (Was delicious. I got a pint.)

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Too poor for friendships

Just did my morning sit & banishing ritual practice, but before that I sent Juliet an email I’d been putting off. I cannot go to the triple 50 birthday party in Nashville! I’m way too poor. When Ch offered to get me a plane ticket, I was just getting ready to start at the latest menial job, and I was counting on saving some money for things like cabs, dinners and other entertainment. You need money to hang out! If only they’d meant the 3-days a week they’d promised. Perhaps I should’ve tried to negotiate, but when I’d tried to get reimbursed for at least a couple hours after a last minute cancelled shift at the last place they really doubled down on the abuse.

The people who are paid the least have to work the hardest, and they also suffer the most abuse.

As a corollary, those who speak up in those conditions suffer immediate consequences. If your opinion were important in the slightest a company would not immediately disregard the schedule described during the interview. That’s just the way it goes. I used to stick up for and support those I saw getting abused in the workplace in NYC. I was really popular with the mailroom people, with the cleaning staff… Unfortunately this attitude has not helped me, karmically, on the west coast.

Anyway I kept moving “look for plane tickets” in my iCal. It came up again today… How much money would I want to bring with me? Considering I haven’t seen these long term friends of mine in two years, I’d want to be able to let loose. In the old days I know I’d arrive with about $400 cash.

The chances of my earning any money at all before the end of the year are slim. I haven’t been posting in Craig’s List for awhile because the Portland page resulted in only one client, and I totally lost money on that set of illustrations. That’d have been ok it they led to new clients but it did not. This morning I looked in the ads for creatives. I saw one for chainsaw artist in Sherwood. They’ve got a bunch of old trees and logs they want made into art, but they don’t have much money. They want to pay in meat, lol. Not that I know how to carve with chainsaws but that’s a pretty typical listing.


If I got lucky enough to make some money before the end of the year I could check out the ticket prices then, but it’s probably not going to happen.

Around me burns the pentagrams and within me burns the six-rayed star.

six-rayed-star

Thank gods for seated meditation anyway. My seat was strong today. I’m getting used to practicing khechari mudra, in my padmasana, along with the jnana mudra when kitty allows. Sir Henry was still napping during this morning’s session and I had the added “assist” of something I wanted to avoid thinking about. Therefore the mind will try to think about it, and a defensive block can be good if you’re after stillness. I went very deep at some points.

Right after meditation I practiced the banishing ritual for the 2nd time. I’d been playing around with seeing what I remembered, last night. It was a lot! I’d made this cheat sheet yesterday

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I’ll have it completely memorized soon for sure.