A tale of redemption and of holy emptiness
Every man and every woman is a star.
I stood in that dry garage feeling the heaviness of my breath, temples aching. Idly, I stood for a moment. Thought coming into focus. A new experience dawned on the horizon. Something I’ve never experienced before. It was like… something missing, yet present.
My brain caught up. “Holy shit, that’s emptiness”, I blurted out loud. Realizing the enormity of what had occurred. I had crossed the abyss.
Sunyata is the Sanskrit word for emptiness and refers to the unsatisfactoriness of clinging to material objects. For me, experientially, it felt like a shining void that would come into focus any time I concentrated on an object.
The idea that the material world is unsatisfactory is not a shocking one. To take a dip into subjective experience through various types of meditation and inner exploration seems to be something that many people don’t think about. Clinging to the idea of an ego or a “self” that meditates is a massive stumbling block for spiritual types. A mistake that seasoned meditators and master magi seem to make unless someone points it out to them or they undergo specific initiatory training. Yet, I understand the subconscious reticence. After all, to lose the “self” is to lose everything.
The map I was following used comparative contemplative, esoteric, and mystical maps of spiritual awakening, themselves translated into Thelemic and Qabalistic Tree of Life terminology. It described crossing the abyss and the onset of emptiness as attaining Magister Templi. Followed by the semi-permanent appearance of emptiness as the grade of Magus, and the permanent installation of emptiness as the illusive Ipsissimus.
Visiting my brother and sister in-law’s that day my experience of reality got weirder and weirder. Along with experiencing emptiness vaguely occupying objects I began to see light around people. I assume this was their auras. Rainbow-like and bright. This occurred for some time and my excitement rose. I experienced spirit contact twice that day. The first was Pan. Qabalistically, when the adept crosses the abyss they land in spiritual territory known as the Night of Pan. At the onset of the presence of Pan, I donned my finger-horns and playfully began chasing my nieces and nephews, high stepping and giggling.
Later in the day back home, I was contacted again. This time by Nuit. I made some remarks in my journal and wrote the symbol Φ. The Greek letter phi. This, aside from looking like a vagina (representing the Mother who birthed the cosmos!), is a place holder for the golden ratio. The golden ratio is a mathematical ratio denoting the ratio of the addition of two quantities divided by the larger quantity is the same as the ratio of the larger divided by the smaller quantity.
(a+b) / a = a / b = Φ
You see this in nature as golden spirals in seashells and pine cones. In Greek architecture with the Pantheon and golden rectangles. The pyramids in Egypt are loaded with golden triangle architecture. You have the internet, look it up. It’s basically a mathematical representation of infinite being or, dare I say, emptiness.
In Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Dispossessed’, the main character tells a joke. He says that, mathematically speaking, if you shoot an arrow at a tree and ‘half’ the distance between arrow and tree repeatedly the arrow will never hit the tree. This of course isn’t true in the material world, but in the world of mind and imagination it is true! This is a perfect example of how sunyata, emptiness, permeates our world as a property of consciousness.
From ‘Life’s an acid trip we’ve got used to’, Joel Biroco writes, “In actuality the world is only yourself projected outwards from an imagined ‘hub’ of the body, the body itself a coalescence from the same nothingness as the world, and you are that nothingness, that unknown mysteriousness that is the only reason to be here: to know it.”
The Ipsissimus knows this emptiness intimately as a property of their consciousness. When doing magic he drops down to Magus, knowing, “the Magus is bought and paid for by a world”, again Biroco. If there’s no world there’s no need to change it with magic. Jason Louv puts forth in ‘John Dee and the Empire of Angels’ that magicians with advanced insight into this nature perform less sorcerous type operations, trying to change reality, and instead spend more of their time immersed in the nature of consciousness. Jason Miller and Gordon White, two noted authors and magicians, along with Louv, have all stated that the number one most important aspect of steady magical practice is not sorcery, enchantment, divination, or spells, but meditation. The daily grind and discipline of practicing a meditation technique. Of focusing the mind and cutting out the bullshit of daily life.
I was beginning to understand this that day. To enter deep territory. My life and my practice would never be the same. Often in the years to follow I would beat myself up for feeling I wasn’t doing enough magic. This personal mystery has been balanced as of late. But I had seen, deep within me, that material things wouldn’t soothe me. Neither magic nor money was needed to fill this emptiness.
Lastly and humbly I leave you with this. That the most popular symbol in occultism, the pentagram, is awash with the cosmic mysteries of the golden ratio.
Every man and every woman is a star¹.
¹ Liber AL vel Legis, 1:3 – The words of Nuit, mind you.