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solomon levi
09-29-2010, 09:47 PM
Alchemy begins with death/nigredo, does it not? Besides the matter in the flask, does not the alchemist have to die?

I would be interested in anyone's thoughts on the death of the alchemist.
What does it mean to you for the "initial subject" to die and return to chaos before being reborn?
How do you intend to do that?

asket
09-30-2010, 02:45 AM
hey there !

i think what we call death is an oversimplification of a situation which is part of another process. this process will develop and create beings of all different kinds and when it changes stuff death comes into play. since we noticed this we can change ourself according to the template. first life has to leave the matter of attraction. in case of the alchemist all his ideas and explanations for the world and how it works are kept alive by his spirit which has to be drawn from those ideas leading to their death. however the alchemist lives on and can now solve his problems from his new point of view or find more means to do so.
i believe this is a death that everyone has to die again and again. it is the overcoming of ourselves
besides and after that there are some more deaths but this death is crucial to the beginner because it purges the mind of deceitfulness and falseness leaving room for new ideas, although he might slip from one view into another at the beginning, missing the process.

chaos is ,in this case, the state of disorientation which occurs when the alchemist exposes his own world as being fraud without distancing from that world instantly which can happen when a person is not able to leave it(because it is defining itself completely by that world view which can be very painful) or simply enjoying the state temporarily before moving on.

have a nice day everyone !

asket

Aleilius
09-30-2010, 02:47 AM
I think the death is a philosophical death, and involve the crucifixion/calcination of the ego. We see this take place in the kabbalistic system with the battle between choronzon in the greater abyss. Safe passage relies upon one's own karma. The goal is not complete destruction of the ego (as that would result in death/insanity), but it should come very very close.

We empty our chalice so that the universal manna from above may enter, and thus we are reborn as a Master.

Seth-Ra
09-30-2010, 02:48 AM
Death is merely a breaking down. So id imagine that as you break it down in the flask, first your mind gets broken down and recreated with the Truth that is taught by doing the Work, once its done in the flask and you take it into yourself, to transmute yourself - the higher vibrational construct that you've made, by the understanding you've attained (so as to direct the mind/soul's energies during the next process), will all come together within you - the substance will act as a catalyst creaking down your old form and self, which can feel rather fiery and violent, taking you to the bring of death in many respects, as it tweaks and breaks down and recreates your physical make-up which subsequently would allow your mind/spirit to be risen higher in the same process so as to allow you to live through the process and also be made new inside and out.

Im a little spaced right now, so i apologize if my thoughts/meaning isnt as coherent as it possibly normally would be.

Anyway, tis my thoughts on it. ^.^


~Seth-Ra

Donna Matrix
09-30-2010, 04:00 AM
Excellent insights! There are many kinds of deaths, but all of them involve the breakdown of relationships: the relationship of one molecule to another in the flask, or the breakdown of the soul/mind in relationship to the body. Divorce is a kind of death. In the case of our spiritual evolution, death is just as important as birth, creation is nothing without destruction. Many years ago i underwent therapy, and every week i would die to my old self, and somehow be reborn again, but slightly different than I was before. After five years of this, dying every week, I was a completely changed being.

For some of us, conforming is a type of death. A negation of our true shining selves. That is why throughout history this life is the real death. The imprisonment of the soul/mind in the body is the ultimate sentence, and why its called karma. And that's if your "normal". God forbid you have a "disorder" or are , you know, a few standard deviations away from the mean.

Personally I like the edge of the bell curve, but it makes living with me hard sometimes. I can go on and on about this because I have really wrestled with trying to find the goodness in it all, but I have reached relative peace with it all. For those of you who are still grapling, I say, keep up your strength and carry on. Sometimes we fall, but somehow we make it , by the grace of God. I really mean that last part.

theFool
09-30-2010, 07:37 AM
Death is the inescapable (and often violent) loss and elimination of old patterns. Usually, it is accidental, it is not planned consciously, but unconsciously, your actions may call for it.
The death of the alchemist in particular may mean also to know the existence of the "spiritual" realms, to get a glimpse of the hidden machinery that runs our world. After the dip into the chaotic unconscious and the dissolution of habitual patterns and ideas, the alchemist must now return and integrate the experiences, forging a stable link between the worlds.
The later is important for a successful death, lol.

solomon levi
09-30-2010, 05:32 PM
Great replies. Thanks.

"I die daily" - St. Paul


I want to post some Castaneda. I don't know if it's appropriate or not - I leave it to you to decide.
I guess i like that he too saw death as the beginning, not the end; and I find a correspondence between
his insight that things touched by death have power and in alchemy if it hasn't gone through nigredo it is not fit for the work.

In my next post I'll share my personal use of death as it relates to alchemy.

From Castaneda:
"When a man embarks on the paths of sorcery he becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been forever left behind; that knowledge is indeed a frightening affair; that the means of the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and that he must adopt a new way of life if he is going to survive. The first thing he ought to do, at that point, is to want to become a warrior. The frightening nature of knowledge leaves one no alternative but to become a warrior.
By the time knowledge becomes a frightening affair the man also realizes that death is the irreplaceable partner that sits next to him on the mat. Every bit of knowledge that becomes power has death as its central force. Death lends the ultimate touch and whatever is touched by death indeed becomes power.
Thus to be a warrior a man has to be, first of all, and rightfully so, keenly aware of his own death. But to be concerned with death would force any one of us to focus on the self and that would be debilitating. So the next thing one needs to be a warrior is detachment. The idea of imminent death, instead of becoming an obsession, becomes an indifference.
Only the idea of death makes a man sufficiently detached so he can't deny himself anything. A man of that sort, however, does not crave, for he has acquired a silent lust for life and for all things of life. He knows his death is stalking him and won't give him time to cling to anything, so he tries, without craving, all of everything.
A detached man, who knows he has no possibility of fencing off his death, has only one thing to back himself with: the power of his decisions. He has to be, so to speak, the master of his choices. He must fully understand that his choice is his responsibility and once he makes it there is no longer time for regrets or recriminations. His decisions are final, simply because his death does not permit him time to cling to anything.
And thus with an awareness of his death, with his detachment, and with the power of his decisions a warrior sets his life in a strategical manner. The knowledge of his death guides him and makes him detached and silently lusty; the power of his final decisions makes him able to choose without regrets and what he chooses is always strategically the best; and so he performs everything he has to with gusto and lusty efficiency."

"A warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing to lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he’s clear and calm; judging him by his acts or by his words, one would never suspect that he has witnessed everything."

Nibiru
09-30-2010, 05:59 PM
^^ Hello, after reading this thread yesterday I too was reminded of the Toltec teachings of Castaneda. I've been looking for online quotes from Castaneda's books describing the ego deconstruction methods I remember reading in his books but have yet to have any luck in finding the relevant quotes. The quote below is not from Castaneda, but it parallels the teachings I was hoping to find. This fits very well with my ideas of the alchemical death.

"Deconstructing the ego is a big job that requires a long-term commitment. This deconstruction is a radical shift in consciousness from cognitive dominance to a more sensory orientation. This is often a difficult journey because cognitive dominance is the end destination for the child as it matures to adulthood. The simple ways of childhood are abandoned for the cognitive way of the adult. And the cognitive way provides fertile ground for the ego and other mental aberrations.

I recently read an article that describes one main difference of adults and children: for children, thought follows the senses; while for adults, the senses follow thought. This means that adults filter sensory information through cognition, while a child experiences the senses directly. To experience the senses directly has been called “living in the now”, “being” or “pure awareness”. This is the basic expression of the spiritual journey and its destination.

Some are lucky and are able to shatter the ego in one “awakening” event and start the journey away from cognitive dominance while others have to whittle away at it for years. It is questionable whether the incremental approach can achieve the same results as an “awakening”, but I think that at some point the incremental approach will reach a dead-end, and the seeker will have to let go of the process (and everything else) and let nature take its course.

A technique to start the shift of consciousness has been described in an earlier post showing one method to start this process. Once the process is initiated, then a sense of direction can be discerned. At that point, one should make a commitment or intention to stay with it to the end.

Many feel that the essence of their childhood has been lost in the chaos of adulthood. It is possible to reverse the process, but it is more difficult than the process to arrive where you are now at. I’ll have more to say on this later on."

solomon levi
10-02-2010, 06:17 PM
For me, an alchemical system or translation of death is also very much like deconstructing the ego.
The qualities of the four elements are like qualities of personality. If a personality is too imbalanced in these qualities,
if one is too dominant, or some other is absent or diminished, then the subject is not fit for the work.
It takes gold (sol/apollo/ego) to make gold. If the ego is not matured, it cannot begin the work. This is why it is
important to allow children to develop an ego and not try to overprotect them from the world. The ego is not the
enemy (despised by the many, but loved by the wise). It is the initial subject. But it must be cultivated (our subject
is fire, air, water and earth, and it is none of these [quintessence]). Like the three gunas, when they are perfectly
balanced, creation is unmanifest - when the ego has the perfect balance of the four, it is QE - fifth essence, spirit.

To balance the emotions by working on them as they are encountered is the long, difficult, wet path.
To bring balance by the secret/inner fire of kundalini is the short dry path.

These approaches are also represented by antimony (anti monos - not one) and sol/apollo (sol - solitary; a pollon - not many)

Nibiru
10-02-2010, 09:28 PM
Once the stone has been perfected, would the result be to transcend the concept of elements all together? Is this not the the partial goal of the process of enlightenment, to eventually transcend the gunas?

solomon levi
10-02-2010, 10:21 PM
Yes. I would agree with that. :)

Awani
10-02-2010, 10:48 PM
Once the stone has been perfected, would the result be to transcend the concept of elements all together? Is this not the the partial goal of the process of enlightenment, to eventually transcend the gunas?

The full control of the Soma Athanaton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtle_body) (the Subtle Body).


"One passes through the veil of the exterior world (which, as in Yoga, but in another sense, becomes "unreal" by comparison as one passes beyond) one creates a subtle body (instrument is a better term) called the body of Light; this one develops and controls; it gains new powers as one progresses, usually by means of what is called "initiation:" finally, one carries on almost one's whole life in this Body of Light, and achieves in its own way the mastery of the Universe." - A. Crowley

:cool:

Ghislain
10-02-2010, 10:59 PM
When one mentions 'The Ego' is that to imply there is only one ego or are there many? The Egos

Perhaps some should be deconstructed to benefit those that should be nourished. \o/


Some are lucky and are able to shatter the ego in one “awakening”
event and start the journey away from cognitive dominance while others have to whittle away
at it for years. It is questionable whether the incremental approach can achieve the same results
as an “awakening”, but I think that at some point the incremental approach will reach a dead-
end, and the seeker will have to let go of the process (and everything else) and let nature take
its course.

I relate to the latter description...whittling away...is it time to let go?

Alone I feel it should be easy then I step outside and the ego takes over. :( It is like being a spectator
of ones self. Also it seems the more one fails to deconstruct the stronger the ego gets; or is that just me?

Ghislain

Donna Matrix
10-03-2010, 07:45 PM
If I understand correctly this is a gradual process involving initiations, deaths , constructions of higher things and sometimes giant leaps forward. It is all invoked and directed by the individual, evoking responses from higher and higher levels of ourselves, our higher powers. It is the hgreatest adventure one can have.

Aleilius
10-04-2010, 03:40 PM
If I understand correctly this is a gradual process involving initiations, deaths , constructions of higher things and sometimes giant leaps forward. It is all invoked and directed by the individual, evoking responses from higher and higher levels of ourselves, our higher powers. It is the hgreatest adventure one can have.

Hi, yes, it is a gradual process, and should not be rushed. It is also an emotionally painful process.

solomon levi
10-04-2010, 07:42 PM
Yes. The whittling away process is quite slow, and maybe not even possible as Nibiru's post infered.
It has been likened to cutting off the heads of a thousand headed dragon.
In the direct path, you go right for the heart instead of messing with all those heads.

One must eventually realize that there is no linear approach to the true, non-linear Self which is Permanent/Permanence.
In fact, there is no approach to the Self. The Self cannot be objectified. We are never not it.
Most people don't find hearing that helpful at all. :D

Nibiru
10-05-2010, 07:30 AM
I relate to the latter description...whittling away...is it time to let go?

Alone I feel it should be easy then I step outside and the ego takes over. :( It is like being a spectator
of ones self. Also it seems the more one fails to deconstruct the stronger the ego gets; or is that just me?

Ghislain

I feel that the ego is similar to the ouroboros, in that it's able to feed off of itself....
http://www.boston.com/travel/explorene/specials/summer/gallery/revere2009?pg=2

SNODGRJL
10-05-2010, 06:54 PM
The death of an alchemist is a paradox. L. Ron Hubbard said, "That which is not changing is dying." But is not death a kind of change? As with most profundities in alchemy, we're dealing with a paradox.

The old must be torn down, the new rebuilt. Again, a paradox in that what was old becomes new and what was new becomes old, the king eating his son the prince.

Hence, death, be it of the alchemist--as in ego--or of matter in a flask, is paradoxical.

Chaos strikes me as the resting point, the point at which the Holy Spirit breathed on the waters. One must return to chaos to reorganize matter, to reoganize self. Out of chaos comes order. It's an Augustine dichotomy.

Ghislain
10-05-2010, 08:40 PM
Nibiru

Those sand carvings are amazing, are they not?

Ghislain

Nibiru
10-05-2010, 10:39 PM
^^ Yes they are, I'm glad you enjoyed the pic! I'm sure doing that type of art is an excellent lesson on impermanence....

Aleilius
10-07-2010, 02:10 PM
^^ Yes they are, I'm glad you enjoyed the pic! I'm sure doing that type of art is an excellent lesson on impermanence....
I have found that meditation on the issue of impermanence to be very rewarding. All matter seems to be bound to the fate of Saturn. In my opinion, Saturn is our single prime enemy. The goal of all great Masters is to end the brutal reign of Saturn. In a sense, they are Jupiter/Zeus avatars. The King of Kings. The King that overcomes death. The King that conquers & transcends time.

solomon levi
10-07-2010, 05:42 PM
Regarding Saturn as prime enemy:
Keep your friends close; your enemies even closer.

“Death is our eternal companion. It is always to our left, an arm’s length behind us. Death is the only wise adviser that a warrior has. Whenever he feels that everything is going wrong and he’s about to be annihilated, he can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him that he is wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. His death will tell him, ‘I haven’t touched you yet.’” ~ Carlos Castaneda

I think this synchs well with impermanence. The "westernized" world has learned to avoid looking at and speaking about
immanent death, and from the sorcerers' perspective, this gives people a false feeling of immortality which allows them
all sorts of indulgences: being petty, self-importance, procrastination, etc, etc.


Thanks for reminding Aleilius - Zeus/Ammon/Jupiter is the one who escaped being swallowed by Saturn. ;)

Aleilius
10-07-2010, 05:50 PM
Regarding Saturn as prime enemy:
Keep your friends close; your enemies even closer.


Yes, quite true! The true growth happens after we understand just how impermanent we really are, and how much hold Saturn really has on us. Most individuals really do not think about their own death. They put it to the back of their minds in hopes of forgetting about it. This is not a solution at all. The sand in the hourglass still continues to drain. We must face it in order of having any hopes of conquering it.

solomon levi
10-07-2010, 09:14 PM
I think we must must also acknowledge, in alchemical death, something of the relinquishing of the will.
In the Dark Night (of the Soul), persons generally see that they themselves are powerless to alter the course of their lives
and they turn to a "higher power". This realization, this 'giving up' is equal to motionlessness, which allows putrefaction,
which cannot occur as long as the ego/will is active (the dance of the four elements).
This also alludes to the passive/feminine dissolving waters.

Ghislain
10-08-2010, 03:35 AM
^^ Yes they are, I'm glad you enjoyed the pic! I'm sure doing that type of art is an excellent lesson on impermanence....
Here (http://www.lighthaven.org/CofLMovieSlideshow.htm ) is another lesson on impermanence.

Ghislain

Nibiru
10-08-2010, 05:51 AM
^^ Hi Ghislain were you referring to the Fatboy Slim video linked at the bottom of your post which I agree is a very cool video, or is there something else I was missing? Perhaps what I missed was the lesson?

Ghislain
10-08-2010, 10:20 PM
Sorry Nibiru, I guess links are not so clear now....they used to be underlined.


Here (http://www.lighthaven.org/CofLMovieSlideshow.htm ) is another lesson on impermanence.


Ghislain

Nibiru
10-09-2010, 01:07 AM
^^ Thank you, I truly admire the patience of those who are able to create such beautiful sand mandalas, and to destroy them immediately after completion- Amazing!

solomon levi
10-25-2010, 11:50 PM
From Castaneda, "Active Side of Infinity":
"You have never been alone in your life. This is the time to do it. I don't want your body to die physically. I want your person to die.
The two are very different affairs. In essence, your person has very little to do with your body. Your person is your mind, and believe you me, your mind is not yours.
I'll tell you about that subject someday, but not while you're cushioned by your friends.
The criteria that indicates that a sorcerer is dead is when it makes no difference to him whether he has company or whether he is alone.
The day you don't covet the company of your friends, whom you use as shields, that's the day that your person has died."

Antimonos = not alone.
This is why antimony is the first medicine, the lowest sphere (Malkuth) on the Tree of Life.
Antimonos = not alone = social consciousness.
This is why you can make an antimony medicine even in a room full of people, as PON/Jean Dubuis acknowledged,
but not medicines higher up the Tree.
In Malkuth, it is easy for us to dream together, because of the density of fixation-volatility-frequency.
But as you ascend the Tree, you must work alone.

Yesod/Isvd = silver, luna = reflection, contemplation... a turning within.
The energy is removed from the external senses and time/chronos/saturn.
The senses correspond to elements - earth: touch, water: taste, air: smell, fire: sight, ether/akasha: hearing (hearing = aural/aurum - "silence is golden")
So this lunar reflection begins the process of stillness and extracting one's essence (the unicorn is captivated by its reflection) to produce the quintessence...

aka: Mercury = Hod, the 8th sphere = Hermes, which in one facet means "Hermit" - to be alone.
Sol (sun, gold) also signifies "sol-itary", to be alone.

I was visiting death last night and aloneness was kind of the theme, but these interesting insights came out of it. :)

When I was a child, my brother and I were exploring the woods around our house and we found a dog, a german shepherd,
that must have been abandoned. I don't know for how long, but she seemed very feral like she was part wolf.
We actually found her in the hollow of a tree, and she had puppies and wouldn't let us get near her.
My brother and I got our dad and he lured her out with some meat and we brought her and the puppies home.
She remained our companion for the rest of her life.
The point I want to say though is that there were two times when she would go off to be alone:
when she was giving birth (which happened again at a later time - she found a fox hole this time),
and when she went to die.
The caterpillar must also be alone (cocoon, Chrysalis) to die/give birth to the butterfly.

Nibiru
10-26-2010, 06:07 PM
^^ Nice!
I've also had a few pets that around their time of death ran off to be alone. It makes me think they are in touch with something that the majority of humans are not. As people usually want to be around their loved ones at times of crisis to provide comfort. This makes me wonder if having loved ones around at the time of death is spiritually counter productive, possibly making it more difficult to let go of attachments to the material world and further perpetuating the cycle of death and rebirth?

Salazius
10-26-2010, 06:09 PM
This makes me wonder if having loved ones around at the time of death is spiritually counter productive, possibly making it more difficult to let go of attachments to the material world and further perpetuating the cycle of death and rebirth?

It make no big difference at all in my experience.

solomon levi
10-27-2010, 02:04 AM
^^ Nice!
I've also had a few pets that around their time of death ran off to be alone. It makes me think they are in touch with something that the majority of humans are not. As people usually want to be around their loved ones at times of crisis to provide comfort. This makes me wonder if having loved ones around at the time of death is spiritually counter productive, possibly making it more difficult to let go of attachments to the material world and further perpetuating the cycle of death and rebirth?

Attachments would be a concern IMO, but not one that is resolved by being alone
at the last minute. Personally, I think there is quite a bit of training needed to die free,
and some experience/familiarisation with the next world(s) - OBE/Dreaming - if we do not
want to be at the mercy of being "processed" in a mechanical, unconscious way ("go to the light",
don't do that! Go beyond it. Of course, it means nothing for me to tell you that if you have
no experience/practice/understanding.)

But, in addition to, (or in spite of) training, I can't say enough about the power of unbending intent.
Some Buddhist traditions focussed a lot on this deathbed preparation.

I agree with the Castaneda quote - it isn't that you should be alone, but that it makes no difference
whether alone or in company. That is death/detachment.

I think in a clean death a large portion of a person's awareness is already in the next world,
and they know exactly where they are going. I would say they have a 'romance' with death,
or infinity, or the dark sea of awareness. Well, that's what I cultivate anyway.

MarkostheGnostic
12-09-2010, 12:01 AM
'That's It For The Other One' - Grateful Dead

The other day they waited, the sky was dark and faded,
Solemnly they stated, "He has to die, you know he has to die."
All the children learnin', from books that they were burnin',
Every leaf was turnin'; to watch him die, you know he had to die.

The summer sun looked down on him, his mother could but frown on him,
And all the others sound on him, but it doesn't seem to matter.

And when the day had ended, with rainbow colors blended,
His mind remained unbended, he had to die, you know he had to die.

Spanish lady comes to me, she lays on me this rose.
It rainbow spirals round and round it trembles and explodes.
It left a smoking crater of my mind I like to blow away.
But the heat came 'round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day.

Comin', comin', comin' around, comin', around,
comin', around, in a circle
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' around, in a circle,
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' in a circle.

Skippin' through the lily fields I came across an empty space,
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in it's place.
The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began,
There was cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land.

Comin', comin', comin' around, comin', around,
comin', around, in a circle
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' around, in a circle,
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' in a circle.

And when the day had ended, with rainbow colors blended,
Their minds remained unbended,
He had to die, Oh, you know he had to die.

This is a psychedelic rendering of death - ego death - which is one way of interpreting the beginning of the alchemical transformation, or Nigredo. The whitening, or Albedo, is a purification, sometimes experienced as white light, or even in the act of psychophysical catharsis (vOMiting). When the Energetic Union of lowest Earthly (Red) meets with the highest Heavenly (White) 'drops' at the Brain Center ("There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night"), descends to the Heart Center, the Rubedo, the Reddening, the blood, the grail ("If your cup is full") the Gold stage can commence. Robert Hunter, Vajrayana Buddhism and my interpretation here. :)

'Ripple' - Grateful Dead
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they're better left unsung.
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone,
If you should stand then whos to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.

La dee da da da, la da da da da, da da da, da da, da da da da da
La da da da, la da da, da da, la da da da, la da, da da.

solomon levi
01-21-2012, 10:26 PM
From Plato, Phaedo

I initially searched this from a single phrase, "The true philosopher makes dying his way of life."
But given the larger context, I have to give it some more thought:


“That is true as true can be, Socrates,” said Simmias. [66b] “Then,” said he, “all this must cause good lovers of wisdom to think and say one to the other something like this: 'There seems to be a short cut which leads us and our argument to the conclusion in our search that so long as we have the body, and the soul is contaminated by such an evil, we shall never attain completely what we desire, that is, the truth. For the body keeps us constantly busy by reason of its need of sustenance; [66c] and moreover, if diseases come upon it they hinder our pursuit of the truth. And the body fills us with passions and desires and fears, and all sorts of fancies and foolishness, so that, as they say, it really and truly makes it impossible for us to think at all. The body and its desires are the only cause of wars and factions and battles; for all wars arise for the sake of gaining money, and we are compelled to gain money [66d] for the sake of the body. We are slaves to its service. And so, because of all these things, we have no leisure for philosophy. But the worst of all is that if we do get a bit of leisure and turn to philosophy, the body is constantly breaking in upon our studies and disturbing us with noise and confusion, so that it prevents our beholding the truth, and in fact we perceive that, if we are ever to know anything absolutely, we must be free from the body and must behold [66e] the actual realities with the eye of the soul alone. And then, as our argument shows, when we are dead we are likely to possess the wisdom which we desire and claim to be enamored of, but not while we live. For, if pure knowledge is impossible while the body is with us, one of two thing must follow, either it cannot be acquired at all or only when we are dead; for then the soul [67a] will be by itself apart from the body, but not before. And while we live, we shall, I think, be nearest to knowledge when we avoid, so far as possible, intercourse and communion with the body, except what is absolutely necessary, and are not filled with its nature, but keep ourselves pure from it until God himself sets us free. And in this way, freeing ourselves from the foolishness of the body and being pure, we shall, I think, be with the pure and shall know of ourselves all that is pure,-- [67b] and that is, perhaps, the truth. For it cannot be that the impure attain the pure.' Such words as these, I think, Simmias, all who are rightly lovers of knowledge must say to each other and such must be their thoughts. Do you not agree?”

“Most assuredly, Socrates.”

“Then,” said Socrates, “if this is true, my friend, I have great hopes that when I reach the place to which I am going, I shall there, if anywhere, attain fully to that which has been my chief object in my past life, so that the journey which is now [67c] imposed upon me is begun with good hope; and the like hope exists for every man who thinks that his mind has been purified and made ready.”

“Certainly,” said Simmias.

“And does not the purification consist in this which has been mentioned long ago in our discourse, in separating, so far as possible, the soul from the body and teaching the soul the habit of collecting and bringing itself together from all parts of the body, and living, so far as it can, both now [67d] and hereafter, alone by itself, freed from the body as from fetters?”

“Certainly,” said he.

“Well, then, this is what we call death, is it not, a release and separation from the body?”

“Exactly so,” said he.

“But, as we hold, the true philosophers and they alone are always most eager to release the soul, and just this--the release and separation of the soul from the body--is their study, is it not?”

“Obviously.”

“Then, as I said in the beginning, it would be absurd if a man who had been all his life fitting himself to live as nearly [67e] in a state of death as he could, should then be disturbed when death came to him. Would it not be absurd?”

“Of course.”

“In fact, then, Simmias,” said he, “the true philosophers practice dying, and death is less terrible to them than to any other men. Consider it in this way. They are in every way hostile to the body and they desire to have the soul apart by itself alone. Would it not be very foolish if they should be frightened and troubled when this very thing happens, and if they should not be glad to go to the place where there is hope of attaining [68a] what they longed for all through life--and they longed for wisdom--and of escaping from the companionship of that which they hated? When human loves or wives or sons have died, many men have willingly gone to the other world led by the hope of seeing there those whom they longed for, and of being with them; and shall he who is really in love with wisdom and has a firm belief that he can find it nowhere else [68b] than in the other world grieve when he dies and not be glad to go there? We cannot think that, my friend, if he is really a philosopher; for he will confidently believe that he will find pure wisdom nowhere else than in the other world. And if this is so, would it not be very foolish for such a man to fear death?”

“Very foolish, certainly,” said he.

“Then is it not,” said Socrates, “a sufficient indication, when you see a man troubled because he is going to die, that he was not a lover of wisdom but a lover of the body? [68c] And this same man is also a lover of money and of honor, one or both.”

“Certainly,” said he, “it is as you say.”

“Then, Simmias,” he continued, “is not that which is called courage especially characteristic of philosophers?”

“By all means,” said he.

“And self-restraint--that which is commonly called self-restraint, which consists in not being excited by the passions and in being superior to them and acting in a seemly way--is not that characteristic of those alone who despise the body [68d] and pass their lives in philosophy?”

“Necessarily,” said he.

“For,” said Socrates, “if you care to consider the courage and the self-restraint of other men, you will see that they are absurd.”

“How so, Socrates?”

“You know, do you not, that all other men count death among the great evils?”

“They certainly do.”

Andro
01-21-2012, 11:18 PM
Courage and self-restraint are merely effects, and may well have diverse causes in diverse individuals.

A Philosopher is unlikely to have a need for actively/intentionally employing courage or self-restraint as he reaches critical wisdom mass (critical for the body), especially close to Journey's End.

But we can sure enjoy a dose of Zen-like 'educational' mind games from Socrates :)

solomon levi
01-22-2012, 11:52 PM
I think what didn't sit right with me about Plato's statement here is that
death is not a solution. As i discussed in Ayahuasca, the mind will persist
after death if it is not taken care of in life. IMO, utilising entheogens or
spiritual contemplation in order to experience many deaths and rebirths -
circulations - is a step in the right direction. One death is generally not enough
to do the trick, even if its a "real" physical death.

rogerc
01-23-2012, 01:18 AM
I think what didn't sit right with me about Plato's statement here is that
death is not a solution. As i discussed in Ayahuasca, the mind will persist
after death if it is not taken care of in life. IMO, utilising entheogens or
spiritual contemplation in order to experience many deaths and rebirths -
circulations - is a step in the right direction. One death is generally not enough
to do the trick, even if its a "real" physical death.

I like to kill myself at least twice a year. Every time I resurrect myself I come out wearing whiter robes than before. Before long.....I think a permanent physical death will be unnecessary. The method I practice for some time now is a total darkroom retreat for three days.... wide awake the whole time in a place where I can be unbothered for the duration.....for me it just became instinctually a habit. It is a method not unlike from what Mantak Chia teaches:
All spiritual traditions have used Darkness Techniques in the pursuit of enlightenment. In Europe, the dark room often appeared in underground form as a network of tunnels, in Egypt as the Pyramids, in Rome as the catacombs, and by the Essenes, near the Dead Sea in Israel, as caves. In the Taoist tradition caves have been used throughout the ages for higher level practices. In the Tao, the cave, the Immortal Mountain, the Wu San, represents the Perfect Inner Alchemy Chamber. Meditating and fasting in the cave is the final journey of spiritual work. The caves are the Earth Mother and its energy lines. Like hollow bones, caves contain the earliest information of life stored inside the Earth. Caves contain the vital essence of the Earth Power. The Tao says: ‘When you go into the dark and this becomes total, the darkness soon turns into light.’ Darkness Technology gives our mind and soul the freedom to wander in the vast realms of psychic and spiritual experience. When you enter this primordial state or force you are reunited with the true self and divinity within. You literally ‘conduct’ the universal energy. You may see into the past and future, understand the true meaning of existence,and begin to understand the order of things. You return to the womb,the cocoon of our material structure and Nature’s original Darkness. Complete darkness profoundly changes the sensory sensibilitiesof the body/brain. We are deprived of all visual reference. Sounds begin to fall away as we lose contact with the external world andturn the senses inward. The effect of darkness is to shut down ma-jor cortical centers in the brain, depressing mental and cognitive functions in the higher brain centers. Emotional and feeling states are enhanced, especially the sense of smell and the finer senses of psychic perception. Dreams become more lucid, and the dream state manifests in our conscious awareness. Eventually, we awaken within ourselves the awareness of the Source, the spirit, the soul. We de-scend into the void, into the darkness of deep, inner space. 2
3. Darkness activates the deepest centers within the brain, the glands of the Crystal Palace, establishing a connection with the OriginalSource, the Wu Chi (Fig. 1). The pineal gland connects us to the Universal Energy. From the hypothalamus gland, we project our soul or spirit upwards, and receive the descending Universal En-ergy. The pituitary gland receives the Cosmic Force, used to launchthe spirit bodies into the earthly or human plane for traveling. Thalamus Hypothalamus Pineal Gland Pituitary Gland Fig. 1.Glands of the Crystal Palace are buried deep within the brain.They include the pineal, hypothalamus, thalamus, and pituitary glands. The darkness actualizes successively higher states of divine con-sciousness, correlating with the synthesis and accumulation of psy-chedelic chemicals in the brain. Melatonin, a regulatory hormone,quiets the body and mind in preparation for the finer and subtlerrealities of higher consciousness (Days 1 to 3). Pinoline, affecting the neuro-transmitters of the brain, permits visions and dream-statesto emerge in our conscious awareness (Days 3 to 5). Eventually,the brain synthesizes the “spirit molecules” 5-methoxy-dimethyl-tryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), facilitat-ing the transcendental experiences of universal love and compas-sion (Days 6 to 12) (Fig. 2). 3
4. Fig. 2. Tryptamine synthesis, simplified: The amino acid tryptophan is the precursor for seratonin, melatonin, pinoline, 5-MeO-DMT, and DMT molecules

BelowThere is one point in the sky around which all other constellationsrevolve, the North Star point. The North Star is fixed, stationary,motionless. Taoists regard it as the Center, the source of the Uni-verse, the Nothingness, or Wu Chi. The North Star is the Gatewayto Heaven. In the Tao, the body is a microcosm of the Universe. “Asabove, so below.” Whatever happens “up there” happens “downhere.” Hence, the physical body is marked with gridlines of energyand meridians of light around a Center. The Center is called the“Tan Tien”, or “field of energy” (Fig. 3).Fig. 3. Universal connections: We are connected to Mother Earth below, and to the Heavens above. Big Dipper and the North Star are the gateways to immortal life. 6
7. The idea of a Central Axis – the Pole Star in the firmament and aCauldron in the body – is a central tenet in Taoist philosophy andalchemical practice. To get to the Center of the body, open the TanTien; to get to the Center of the Heavens, enter through the NorthStar. Both are doorways to the heart of the true Tao, the Wu Chi,from which both Heaven and Earth are born. The Inner Alchemypractice of the Universal Tao fuses the body’s energies to give birthto a spiritual embryo capable of maturing into a deathless existenceand of flight inward, beyond time and space, to the Source. The Darkness meditation releases us from the bonds of the Earth.No longer controlled by the rotating power of the Earth, the Sun andthe Moon, the organs vibrate in unison with the spiritual stars, theGates of Heaven. The North Star, unmoving and unwavering inspace, is the center, the Wu Chi, emanating violet rays throughoutthe galaxy, affecting every living cell of nature on our planet. TheBig Dipper gathers all the violet light from the universe, and ema-nates the light as infra-red radiant energy. The emanation of infra-red light of the Big Dipper, combined with the violet rays of the NorthStar, has a positive, nurturing effect upon the bodies and minds ofthose who know how to access it. Taoists believe that the VioletStars, the Big Dipper, and other constellations form the “Gates ofHeaven.” All living things must pass through these gates to return totheir source of origin, the Wu Chi, which is the state of oneness withthe Tao. The Darkness environment activates the glands of the CrystalPalace, actualizing their higher powers and providing a “way back”to the Original Source (Fig. 1). When the Crystal Palace is open, itbecomes illuminated like millions of shining crystals. It can give andreceive light and awaken our inner knowledge and deepest poten-tials. It receives light and knowledge from the universe and reflects itto the various organs and glands to enhance them. The pineal gland helps us to overcome death by taking in exter-nal forces and combining them with sexual energy and the OriginalForce to form an “Immortal Body.” With this body we can leave thephysical body before the final transition (death) occurs

solomon levi
01-26-2012, 03:29 AM
I like to kill myself at least twice a year. Every time I resurrect myself I come out wearing whiter robes than before. Before long.....I think a permanent physical death will be unnecessary. The method I practice for some time now is a total darkroom retreat for three days.... wide awake the whole time in a place where I can be unbothered for the duration.....for me it just became instinctually a habit. It is a method not unlike from what Mantak Chia teaches:

Yeah/Yah/Dah - I've been feeling the pull towards a 40 day retreat in the wilderness.
I actually have a hole dug beneath the roots of a tree so i can just be in the earth.
I really need to not have to think about time for a while. I can't wait to go. Maybe
it'll happen around the equinox and I'll take my alchemy stuff with me.

We had our first snow storm last week and the power was out for a few days due
to so many power lines being fallen by broken branches or whole tree trunks.
Even that lack of electricity was so quieting to my mind and thought.

The central axis! pretty cool. :)

rogerc
01-27-2012, 01:51 AM
Yeah/Yah/Dah - I've been feeling the pull towards a 40 day retreat in the wilderness.
I actually have a hole dug beneath the roots of a tree so i can just be in the earth.
I really need to not have to think about time for a while. I can't wait to go. Maybe
it'll happen around the equinox and I'll take my alchemy stuff with me.

We had our first snow storm last week and the power was out for a few days due
to so many power lines being fallen by broken branches or whole tree trunks.
Even that lack of electricity was so quieting to my mind and thought.

The central axis! pretty cool. :)

Remember the philosophical salt of the nativity who is born in a grotto/cave........and you have calcium carbonate in your brain....the corprea arencia..... in your crystal cave. Thus the spiritual nitre is imbibed into it by the same method, we need only but begin the regime of the moon in total darkness.

DanceofRebirth
01-28-2012, 04:04 AM
death of the alchemist

Alchemy begins with death/nigredo, does it not? Besides the matter in the flask, does not the alchemist have to die?

I would be interested in anyone's thoughts on the death of the alchemist.
What does it mean to you for the "initial subject" to die and return to chaos before being reborn?
How do you intend to do that?

The prospect of multiple deaths, and thus multiple birthings, is not so uncommon, but for Alchemists, it seems like it would be a way of life. One of my professors in college (one of two teaching us Chinese Philosophy) once asked us this:



Why is it that people are afraid of death? Do we not lie in our beds and die each night to be born anew each day? You are not the same person you were before, are you? Can you claim to be the same person every hour, every second? Are we not constantly changing our thoughts, our atoms growing or purging themselves on the constant struggle to be alive? Every seven years you are remade from head to toe with every molecule in your being. So then, why are we humans afraid of the prospect of death when every morning you are reborn?

As a student, this was empowering, from an alchemist's perspective, is this anything but overwhelmingly true?

We then launched into a discourse of letting go of attachments, of Buddhism and Daoism and the idea of our expectations and what that does to our reality and our sense of Self. How the best way to let go of everything is to stop having expectations, because they are nothing more than the ego, the self and our desires for ourselves, pushing itself upon the realities and the world around us in a way that colors our entire perception of reality. In the same fashion that I hear what you say, but I hear only that which I assume you're saying, the process of dying is letting go of those expectations, of forcing ourselves to accept what we see as real, what we hear as truth, without forcing it to be what we want it to be, what we expect it to be, and thus avoiding the suffering and pain that follows our expectations not being met. This is easy to discuss, but when has anyone every *truly* set aside themselves and accepted exactly what was given and exactly how it is given. The process of separating the self from the senses is HARD because even living with daily presence of mind, we are forced to decide, forced to accept and acknowledge that which we want for ourselves without wanting it too much, without clinging to it and babying ourselves with it to make it all okay. The more we experience, the more we feel damaged, the harder and harder this can be. Letting go, experiencing death in any format, is the sense of importance and release from the 'ME' that we have as living human beings because humans are inherently selfish (to eat is selfish, but 'acceptable') through living. But our expectations from society, from ourselves, are all different versions of the same sense of attachment and suffering. What we do about it, how we let ourselves 'die' and how we are reborn is determined by us and only us. It is not a choice to die, but a choice of how we die and how we live.

This discussion is only heightened by considering the ideas within Quantum Physics, Liquidity and Gnosis, etc. As we anticipate matter to be, so it will and can be without other forces acting upon it, but how much of that expectation and anticipation is harming us more than doing us any good? I could go on, but that could get lengthy.




Mantak Chia teaches:
Wu Qi
Wu San

I'd be interested to see what characters he sites for these items, as some of them don't quite match up to the way they are used in Chinese Medicine, making me wonder if a) it's a different meaning that I don't know yet (fully possible) or b) the meaning is changed for this particular teacher and his teachings. The Wu Qi should be considered the energy of one's origin, what we are born with, but not as a spiritual/soul essence, as it's simply the energy of the body during the first year of creation based on Chinese thought. This is related to the body, but not related to the spirit or the soul within Chinese Medicine. Perhaps I'm missing information or perhaps this use of the language is different in mainland because of the cultural revolution. Wu San I've still not found, but have some books to look through when I get home to see if I can back this one up with more information from the perspective of mainlanders as it's been introduced to me.

solomon levi
06-25-2012, 10:43 PM
"There is nothing more lonely than eternity. And nothing is more cozy for us than to be a human being. This indeed is another contradiction--how can man keep the bonds of his humanness and still venture gladly and purposefully into the absolute loneliness of eternity? Whenever you resolve this riddle, you'll be ready for the definitive journey." - Castaneda "The Fire from Within"

The definitive journey was one of the names CC used for death/afterlife.
It's an interesting thing, to resolve this before we die.
It seems that the most people do to prepare for death, if anything at all, is to have a clean conscience.
But this conscience is earth oriented, self/person oriented.
It is not prepared/oriented for infinity.


"Here, Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness." The Heart Sutra
http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/emptiness.html