Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hermetic Teachings and how they can inform vegan paganism

Laurie Cabot, one of my teachers (and a great one), uses the Kybalion as a text to educate her students on the laws of nature/the universe/magick. The language is arcane and the authorship is controversial, but what I like about the Kybalion is that is has the potential to serve as a framework to discuss spirituality, magick and religion from a perspective outside any of our current religious "labels." The texts are attributed to and/or inspired by the original teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes Trismegistus himself is a mysterious figure...who may have been a great teacher/adept or was a personification of the messenger God, Hermes (and also often assimilated with the Egyption God, Thoth).

The core of the Kybalion is what the authors called the seven laws or principles. Here they are in a summary:

The Law of Mentalism: the Universe is mental, or of the mind. It is “a mental creation of the ALL” – everything is thought into existence by God/dess the ALL or in scientific terms, “the objective intelligence.”

The Law of Correspondence: “As above, So below. As below, so above.”

New physics = every particle of matter contains all others. Same with our concept of time: “as then, so now” posits this may explain many “hauntings.”

Herbs, gems, etc. for spells and rituals have specific energies and qualities to draw in what we seek, also colors, etc. – all of this is to do with the Law of Correspondence.

The Law of Vibration: Nothing is at rest. Energy moves. Matter is never inert. Different rates of vibration = different texture, temperature, etc. Same with brain waves – alpha, beta, theta, etc are different rates of vibration.

Kirilian Photography measures vibration (aura photographs)

Our aura is part of our vibrational quality. We send messages thru the vibrational quality of energy and work magick by sending vibrational messages that participate in creation.

Law of Polarity: polarity is the key to power in the hermetic system. Kybalion = everything is dual – everything contains its opposite. Opposites are really two extremes of the same thing.

All objects, moods, and states have positive and negative poles, like circuits, thru which energy passes. You need never be stuck in one spot. Magick works with this polarized energy circuit.

Being centered is powerful because it taps both poles.

“In the middle is virtue.” – Roman proverb.

Einstein said: “Time and space are modes by which we think, not conditions in which we live.”

Law of Rhythm: How polarized, ever vibrating energy moves is a rhythmic dance. Energy moves in circles. Like ripples in water. There is an ebb and flow movement in spirals.

Rhythm = the measured motion between extremes. Everything is continually becoming its opposite. We are in constant change of “becoming” (Heraclitus)

The Kybalion says “the pendulum or rhythm swings ever toward first one pole and then the other.” And, “the pendulum ever swings, but we may escape being carried along with it.”

Self mastery = directing our own energy. Yet still working with the rhythms of nature. The great wheel of life. Birth/death/rebirth of all things – moon cycles, tides, seasons – are all the natural expressions of rhythm. We need to find a way to integrate our rhythms into the larger rhythms while still achieving our goals.

Law of Gender: everything has masculine and feminine components. Tied to polarity. Use of gendered terms to explain polarized qualities of energy (yin/yang).

Feminine = receptive

Masculine = projective

This is not about locking us into gendered roles of our culture – actually the opposite because it suggests all people contain both qualities/genders.

Due to the value of balance a certain androgyny is valued in lots of magicks and magical systems/cultures.

Look at many creation myths – how the goddess contained the god within herself, etc.

Law of Cause and Effect: everything causes everything else. Not always directly but thru the ripple effect of how energy moves and because ALL is connected.

The Universe is a web – not separate but all connected and part of a whole. Magicks seek to utilize this cause and effect intentionally.

So thru magick we seek to solve our own problems, reach our own goals – but we are also held in check by the greater whole of which we are a part and regulated by ethics. The Rede, which is an expression of cause and effect, says what we send out we get back threefold.

  I think the Kybalion and its principles speak to veganism when we look at cause and effect. The concept of the whole System as connected (in fact inherently One) speaks to how we treat each other, other animals, plants, and the earth itself.  

Laurie Cabot comments on the lessons of the Kybalion in her early book, "The Power of the Witch," in a way that seems to me to draw a clear link to veganism:  

“As witches we believe we are meant to know how everything works – earth, air, fire, water, stars, planets, spirits. This knowledge is available to us. Furthermore, we are responsible for knowing how everything in the universe works because we are responsible for the universe.

“Our mission is ecological; we are here to balance energies, reconcile opposites, and right wrongs by mentally projecting that all things be corrected. It is our responsibility and yours to promote health and life in all its forms.” (pg 176)

My idea of how to pull all this together is to say we are here to learn, to evolve spiritually, and to raise vibrations of good/spirit for all. Of course they all overlap because of the ways we are all connected. This includes:

Healing for earth: sustainability, repair, reduce environmental impact

Healing for creatures: veganism/reduction, animal welfare with the goal of animal abolition

Healing for people: equality, rights, sexual education/reproductive rights, sustainable food markets/environmentalism, veganism to increase the global food accessibility (to grains, other plants), education to spread healthy and sustainable practices

Healing for spirit: helping damaged spirits cross over, doing ritual to create balance and raise vibrations, support other entities in their work

Healing for ALL: do the best we can to correct imbalances, which all ties together to benefit the ALL, which of course includes ourselves and our loved ones

Veganism is a great path to all this because it:

Makes us healthier personally (feel better, have more energy and ability to do all the work, also more well being, etc)

Makes us “cleaner” channels for spirit to work with and help us do the work

Reduces environmental impact on the earth, other creatures, and other people

Is a major part of the solution for world hunger, climate change, animal cruelty/exploitation, & health crises in many populations

I will probably talk about magick, activism, and veganism more in connection to the Kybalion so I just wanted to put some of this out there.   So, the the words of that work, "As above, So below."   blessed be!

Kitchen Witchery: Food Blessing

Like the mainstream tradition of “saying grace,” this is about blessing our food and being thankful for it. Blessing food can be done at all stages of preparation – even harvest. Some kitchen witches perform blessings over their crops as the grow, bless bulk ingredients (like flour, sugar, spices) before putting them in the pantry, or etc. Yet anyone can bless their plate before eating at least.

Here is a simple pentacle invocation and food blessing. You can use it over ingredients while you cook and/or over the plate before you eat.

Draw a pentacle in the air over the food with your finger or a cooking implement:

Say a few words of your choice. You may develop a set kind of little saying which you repeat automatically before each meal or you could wing it based on the day (or a bit of both). Here is an example:

“I bless this food and I thank the God and Goddess for the nourishment I am being given. Bless the earth for feeding me and for caring for us all. In the correct way and for the good of all, blessed be.”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lammas Blessings (taking stock of the bounty in our lives)

I'm a bit late posting about Lammas, but it is because I have been kind of taking the holiday season in and contemplating what to write. I looked around at what lots of other pagans online wrote about their holidays and a certain theme resonated with me.

It has to do with the bounty of the harvest...not only material, which is great (I'm a badass farm-stand stalker this time of year)...but also spiritual bounty.

At Imbolc especially, I attended a ritual where we stood before a priestess invoking Brede and said aloud my goals for the coming seasons. I can see how taking stock of the bounty my ritual and lived - workings has given so many gifts to me.

I became vegan after years of being vegetarian last October (as you will know if you have read Gwen's and my earlier posts). At Lammas I can be thankful for all the blessings the vegan path has given to me. I feel healthier, my allergies are improved, I have better focus and less stress. I feel that I am more in tune with my conscience in terms of my personal relationship with animals and my consumer patterns. My vegan journey has been a huge blessing to my paganism. That's why I blog about vegan paganism in the first place, and there is so much rich bounty still to be harvested.