First a disclaimer, and a warning! I write here for who sees, who has attained the Dao and wishes to share it. To the enlightened one who seeks in compassion. To whom has crossed the Abyss, and is thence led here and further yet. This is for no “I,” but only for all forever and everywhere. This is no key but a map to weapons.
To the aspirant “beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do,” turn away! This is a book “without pictures or conversation.” For you, there is no point.
Here my names are 立德 (L.D., 50 and 500), oblitero omnis obscurantis, profectus progressus processus perfectus (a translation from 元亨利真, the I Ching motif), quo qua qui qua quo (which I endeavor to answer).
I shall not be as the White Rabbit, nor much as the Caterpillar who asks, “who are YOU?” nor even as the Cheshire Cat who tells you what lies in each direction. Here you are already at the tea-party, I must assume. I suggest some nonsense riddles without answer, and which you may find quite stupid, but thereby find yourself quite suddenly in the beautiful garden at the croquet-game.
Eureka, and this is Our Will. Therefore I am shrouded in Twilight to turn away the delusional creatures who are led by either the Light or the Darkness, but that the blind and the agnostic may gain thereof, of sweet nectar and strong weapons, thereby to benefit all!
Alice in a Hall of Mirrors; Aphorisms for the Wise
Contrasts in contrasts, worlds in worlds, Truth even amidst it, and truly inseparable and inutterable, but only in a very literal sense.
The Serpent in two great forms, the Ouroborous and the Helix. Such symbols are pervasive and not exclusive, indeed without “taking” space nor time nor anything. The different symbol-sets all span everything and capture one another. The Avatamsaka Sutra does not even come close to doing justice to it all.
Why the mystic tongue? What am I communicating to you now? All the mystics were right, and obviously not in the sense commonly conceived, and you know exactly what I mean. Here is a tongue for navigating this. I think it helps very much.
This is magic and science and whimsy. This is a thread (tantra) of hopeless effortless action. This is will-less Will, as nothing when deeply probed, but called “de” and “dao” and various other things.
Look what I am doing, and perhaps imitate me in that way. The meta-meta-meta-meta-patterns which matter. Even putting it into conceivable forms, notice and feel and whatever. Know that, and of what I am right, and follow. Therefore this is leading by example to answer quo qua qui qua quo, in all senses.
This is an effort to aid the navigation of those already here, whom I may call “magicians” and “mystics.” Here is an effort to radically change the world through words, and in no conventional “scientific” way, therefore a “spell” and a “mantra.” Here also is my putting it into the world by my hands and movements, in accordance with the existing media and infrastructure and forms and pathways, therefore a “ritual” and a “mudra.”
Here and Next
The Abyss itself is only the rabbit-hole again, and there is much again beyond it. Everything is fractals in fractals, and everywhere you are you shall find great infinities ahead and behind. Even immediately ahead is a Pool of Tears.
‘Well!’ thought Alice to herself, ‘after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)Alice in Wonderland, ch. 1
Here was a benefit of falling down, and of course there is much more. The adventures continue and recurse ever and ever. Surrender yourself [not to God, nor to Chaos, not to All nor None,](of course, this much is obvious) but only to whimsy, and not that either.
At every moment there is a choice, to live or to die. And that choice is made from various recursive and interweaving subjectivities. So the mind that says “I” chooses first to die, but not the body. And another part again dies and dies until you are left with whatever, or not. But you must be alive to be here at least, and what then? Again as the Footman answered unto Alice, and in the advice of the Caterpillar and the Hatter and every other which wise inhabitant, whatever. But some things are wrong—and I bid you as Alice’s guides did, firmly but conditionally, to do your best to avoid them.
Therefore all this is whimsy and nonsense, and as I have assumed you are already here, and know of what I speak. What now? I have sought to learn magic, and indeed this is magic. I have sought to learn science, and indeed this is science. There is still sense outside of Wonderland, and therefore value to be found even in words like these. That others, bored of the riverbank and the books, should see you and be lead to that 众妙之门.
Much is obvious, again in terrible and marvelous recursive layers of Truth ad infinitum, that given Wisdom’s Sword, (which I presume you have) which was also the Key to the fifteen-inches-high door, you may cut through yourself, and I shall not bother much with these things. You know them already and love much to be reminded, but I will not to so waste your time. Therefore struggle and flail. All the mystics were right as always. Yes, beyond all the deaths is beauty but also pain and also madness, and in exactly this sense.
Here is an instruction, feeble and incomplete and much to be continued, for the aspiring White Rabbit.
Summertime, Shanghai. Having imbibed previously much magical wine, and now the rays of moonlight (I recall it was a full moon; perhaps the fullest of the year; something significant), Selene shew unto me something sublime, which I have long kept sacred. Verily a Scourge was bestowed unto me, ephemeral blue. And I was later told that this is the ancient symbolic color of snake-skin.
I also saw that night a dream, and another dream I cannot remember well. But the one I can remember is this: that there were many horses, who galloped all about Abyss, great and terrible. And with the scourge in my right hand, I too galloped amid the horses and encouraged them into the Abyss.
The next day I spoke of the first vision to a friend (the Shanghai urbanite whose company I was staying at, and who was my connection to the Daoist underground), but without mentioning the dream. And he asked me whether the scourge was given for me to lash myself or others, and I realized that it was for both.
I’ve crystallized my Will and made it manifest in these fun little things. Therefore I am 立德, initialed L.D. (50 and 500, but also “Liddell,” Alice), and O.O.O. oblitero omnis obscurantis, and P.P.P.P. profectus progressus processus perfectus, and Q.Q.Q.Q.Q. quo qua qui qua quo. OPQ, 345…
I can say that the significance of the Daoist master’s words to me was in telling me my aspiration name. I’ve been given a Catholic Baptism in the Baptist church, been empowered by an authentic lineage Daoist master, been confirmed to have strong Buddha-fate (佛缘) by an ordained Chan monk. Lots of fun things. Coincidences if you will. Powerful ones.
Go look at the Greek and Hebrew gematria for 50, 500, and 550 (L, D, DL). Lots of relevance. From some article I once read, or maybe some rumor I heard, somebody showed gematria is no better than random chance; probably true—therefore useless to the fool. But therefore the wise may understand, may gather something from amid the vast chaos, something to act on, from which to act.
To the wise then, I explain a mechanism of the spell or the divination or the other magical item, which is by no means (probably) the only mechanism: it is something to grasp, and something powerful. Amid the overwhelming and useless EVERYTHING, it is something, and through that SOMETHING everything is accomplished.
Variazione I, Rectus
So for example by Googling “550 gematria” we could come across this page, and find
Which happens to fit nicely with the whole scourge thing, and many ideas I’ve already had around it. There are other avenues—550 = 2*5^2*11, and Crowley says somewhere that 11 is the root of all magic. There is more in the 50 and the 500, and in other divisions. There are other points of significance one could spend much time and effort with, perhaps to great fruit. But I have not.
The Sword of Wisdom is a Sword and not a text. It is an instrument to be refined and to be bestowed. Always mind this saliently in your efforts to guide or to help. “Give a man a fish…,” but glimpses at Truth are not fish but opium.
Be as alkahest, and teach the production of alkahest, for the Scourge manifests also as alkahest, as does the Sword. Destroy, destroy, but do your best to inspire rather than frighten! Many have run away from me, fearing perhaps to be dissolved into some terrible delusion of a HIDEOUS NOTHING.
Or else it is fear of change, for I am changing and different and Other. This is the function of the Scourge to solvere pre coagulare, and I am destroying all that is “good” even as I destroy all that is “bad,” while in another sense I am destroying nothing.
See here for a poem on that position from which I stand, beautiful and hideous, helping and hurting with my Sublime Selenian Snakeskin Scourge, herding toward the Abyss, around which they circle but which they enter not! Yes, even I was frightened by the Abyss even as it appeared to me in the dream. And I knew not why I encouraged others to it. But now I know.
The Scourge is of snakeskin to remind of the serpent-forms, which are often a viable terminus. We reduce and reduce, then choose to live or to die. That which lives, lives often as the serpent, as the ouroboros, and as the helix, but one in another in another again, ubiquitous and reflexive and recursively interweaved! Ah!
Omniscient omnipresent Serpent, Thou hast formed Thyself for the Scourge and hast granted thyself unto me by thy servant Selene! Ten thousand times all glories and praises and gratitudes unto you! But these are but ten thousand platitudes. Yet I cannot but prostrate again and again in worship and adoration, and to sing.
But for you have given me the weapon to be used, so I shall use it. I shall exercise it over and over against all Powers even unto the very ends of my ability, and to the ends of effort and of time! All this for thy glory, and for more even beyond! Beyond, by thy omnipotent alkahest-venom!
Variazione II, Inversus
And then I turn the Scourge onto myself, to encourage and to punish, and to reduce all sins to nothing. 亨真, progressus perfectus. Solve, coagula, and all the rest.
But so I am left with something strange, for even all that good is reduced away to mere this, and even whenever there is something that another adores, it is soon relinquished, and with Solomon I declare, even in my youth, “vanitas vanitatum,” and also “این نیز بگذرد” (“this too shall pass”).
Except I do not declare it, for that would be foolish indeed! Already few hate me, and fewer still love me. And I would do well to revel in the beauty of forms. for in Laozi’s “故常無欲以觀其妙；常有欲以觀其徼,” (my tr.: thus constantly without desiring to sight the marvelous; constantly with desiring to sight the mundane.”) “其徼” (the mundane, the forms, the manifestations, the patterns…) is not meant in any derogatory way! To create, to enjoy, to be all marvelous and splendid and great. A time for everything, and though vain, and more pitiful than the stillborn babe, still to revel especially in the strength of my youth, and in other things too.
So 亨, progressus, the Scourge which is alkahest, but which also makes the horse to run faster. Therefore I apply it to myself, to punish and to remind, but also to improve.
And in its function as alkahest, I am reduced to something strange indeed, which indeed I cannot convey but transiently and imperfectly and incompletely in method and example. Again I say, all the mystics were right. How strange, how perfect, how imperfect; how complete, how incomplete; how beautiful, how hideous! What Laozi called the Dao, I may tangentially call “perfect imperfect whimsy,” which is often called “madness”!
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”Alice in Wonderland, ch. 6
But even Alice “didn’t think that proved it at all,” indeed even goes on to ask, “And how do you know that you’re mad?”
Well, my answer is simpler than the cat’s. “Because they say so.”
But even so reduced to The Fool’s madness, which is the same as The World’s, I understand myself and am understood by some other, and even in that two, I am given hope, transient and whimsical and hopeless hope, by which the Next, to continue to madly be.
And as the Hatter with his friend the March Hare, we may be “all crowded together at one corner of [the table],” and even tempted to shout, “No room! No room!” But should you insistently sit yourself down regardless like Alice, I also will not hesitate to offer the wine “in an encouraging tone,” though “there isn’t any.”
So here I am even in that effort, as well as others, as the horse touched by the Scourge. And indeed, for whom might understand even far from now (but I shall be more honest and say, perhaps never), the name my parents gave me was 骐.
Variazione III, Ornato
Now, I have given all that I have. I have bestowed upon you my Scourge, as Selene bestowed it upon me, for it has served me very well, and has proven good.
What follows regards what I haven’t yet, and is perhaps best treated as an example of divinatory work. It is my work and not yours, and even if taken to inspire, it should not be followed. Compare this warning with what all other good mystics and magicians have said—ye, they who have been here, they describe it accurately. The faults in their words are understood much better when you attempt to form them yourself.
The motif of the I Ching, 元亨利真, I translate profectus progressus processus perfectus. The senses of each of the words are something like
元 – origin, originate, source, beginning
亨 – development, develop, evolution, growth
利 – profit, reap, benefit, accomplish
真 – completion, perfection, True
They are not isolated from each other, and their parts of speech are ambiguous. They are often together, like 亨真 or 利真. Their senses are actually quite complex and subtle, and I would recommend a thorough study of the I Ching in its entirety, as well as divinatory practice, for understanding further than I could present here.
But for this purpose, “for what it’s worth,” I have noticed that the Scourge should not function alone, but in a set of four, and I have associated it with 亨. With 元 I associate the Bell of the Tibetan Tantrics, and with 真 I associate the Vajra. These symbolisms are actually incredibly close, and a thorough study of Tantric Buddhism could also aid an understanding of the I Ching and Daoist thought by the extensions of this association. Then with 利 I have associated the Scythe, which symbolizes the Harvest but also Death.
The Bell and the Vajra are final, and I have no business for now acting with them. They are not my weapons, though I wish to grant them to others as gifts. For this I have the Scourge, but I now seek the Scythe.
With the Scythe I will bring to completion. Those fit to be harvested into the Buddha-realms, I shall harvest. Those fit to die, I shall kill (and I mean this in many senses—the tantrics and even some sutrics who know of “compassionate killing” will understand, but think also of “ego-death,” for example). The developmental work of the Scourge must be completed. Here in this text is a first lantern, shewn amid the Abyss where I have driven the horses.
In the vision in which I realized these sets of two and four, there was also another set of three instruments. These are the brush, the painted scroll, and the written scroll, which have a directional relation, from the brush to the painted scroll (design), from the painted scroll to the written scroll (ethnography), from the written scroll to the brush (translation). For short, I refer to each instrument as it together with the directional relation from it.
Therefore here are some more loose correspondences, which are not to be taken absolutely but suggestively. I will only say, I understand them and sometimes use them for scaffolding:
Brush – God the Father, Kether (and Daath), Will, Mind, archetypal 0
Painted Scroll – God the Son, Tipharet and Yesod, the “real world,” the territory, archetypal 1
Written Scroll – The Holy Spirit, Malkuth, the “symbolic world,” the map, archetypal 2
The domains of the 2 sets of 2 weapons, the 4 weapons, and the 3 weapons overlap, and each domain encompasses everything. Look again to the Avatamsaka Sutra, to the serpent-forms and the world-symbols, to how everything interweaves! Ah!
Divination works (I am most familiar with the I Ching system), occult analysis works (again I am most familiar with the I Ching, and also somewhat with Kaballah), and magic works. These for all the obvious reasons anyone could agree upon, and perhaps others. You know the Ultimate Truth, and I have nothing more to say.
There is practice beyond perceiving the Dao, which can take many forms. Every mystic who really entered it was right, and there is no great advantage to eclecticism. But this has happened to be my path.
For some very valid and helpful and inspiring texts on direction and action after entering the Dao (and of course, this is not a particular momentary event, but you will know what I mean), look to the 道德经, or to the 清静经, or to the Bible, or to Alice in Wonderland, or to the Bodhicaryavatara or to the Tripitaka and the other sutras and tantras (though on this, beware that many things are intentionally obscured or sealed from you, and that it is often, indeed usually unwise to profane the sacred). Crowley’s reading list for the student is decent, though his own translations from Chinese are pretty bad in my opinion. I may compile some such curricula myself some time.
There are many other resources, and the one who has entered the Dao, or at least who clearly perceives it, is usually easily recognizable to another (though even this sense is developed and refined in time; many intentionally manifest humbly or vaguely, or else otherwise than they could or as you may expect). Therefore let those who have come before you—especially who are in other ways similar to you—guide you, if you wish/will/must.
Know also that many who have so seen and been do not linger in text, but turn to art and music and films and games and other such (perhaps less restrictive) media of expression. But also know that not all “artists” have so seen. But again you shall recognize them, or even if not, shall gain some value thereof the art—and then what does it matter? There is no such thing as a good forgery.
The Kabbalah and the I Ching are also incredibly sublime and profound and worthy of intense study. Personally, I find them more suitable as tools of thoughtful analysis than divination by random means. These two are indeed so incredibly profound and sublime that I wonder if they were not devised by something other than Man (even in its broadest sense), but then we may also have other such fantastic achievements in science… This is again something to cut with the Sword of Wisdom; I have no conclusion, even in sight.
In summary, I suggest: be efficient, and do not dilly-dally in the comfort of the uselessly familiar. Towards this end, it is useful to crystallize your Will into something more tangible, and this is the work of alchemy and of high magic.
Know to whom you speak; recognize the power of each person’s Wisdom-Sword, and craft your presentations accordingly. Avoid being useless and avoid being wrong. Do better where better is, though here the extrema equilibria are many and not one. In this context may my other motto also be better understood: “design, ethnography, translation! (otherwise, you’re wrong.)” To these, I might add maths, art, and mysticism. These are the valid extrema I have seen so far, the valiant works at the actual frontiers.
Otherwise, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”
As for me, L.D., O.O.O., P.P.P.P., Q.Q.Q.Q.Q..