Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Of Bogeymen and Babes in the Wood

When I was an adolescent, I liked horror movies. The more disgusting, the better. I liked slasher movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th movies that blended the sick with occasional flashes of surreal humor. I was mildly fascinated by real-life stories of mass murderers like John Wayne Gacy or lesser-known local weirdos like Gary Heidnik. I listened to the kind of satanic metal that sounded vaguely like it was already being played backwards and pretty much openly mentioned Satan. (The PMRC was the one thing that really messed me up with regards to supporting Al Gore...) I thought about executing grisly revenge on the daily as a nerdy-ass bullied teen.

In other words, I was a completely normal, wholesome American teenager. That's why the story about two Wisconsin girls stabbing their friend because they wanted to become "proxies" of a fictional bogeyman didn't actually surprise me. Exactly. But some of the implications are actually horrifying. Let me get one thing out of the way--I am not scared of the bogeyman, but adolescents are pretty scary.

I remember being an adolescent, but you don't actually get why adolescence is weird until you are old enough to be the parent of one, and wonder how the hell you actually survived. In adolescence, you are becoming physically adult, and are given the privilege to do some adult things (date, drive, be on your own). But you are still unaware of consequences, and still hold certain cradle misunderstandings about how the world works. And your emotions--let's talk about teen feelings? They are vehement. When an adolescent says "I hate you!", even if it's over a curfew misunderstanding, it is a white hot hate like a thousand suns. If youngsters fall in love, it's like no one ever did this before, and it was fated to be, and the God of Love carved their names in stone tablets for all eternity. You know. Until whatever. And let's just mention fandom. When you see the screaming fans of Justin for crying out loud Bieber, you almost understand how Maenads were alleged to tear apart cattle (or men) with their bare hands.

Which isn't to put down young people--oh no. They need that energy to become the adult people they are meant to be. It's a phase where reckless things are tried because experiences are needed to learn about life and mistakes can be made--and well? This incredibly poor judgment can lead to incredibly dumb things if left unchecked. Even murder. Sometimes blamed on a fictional entity. But this is not a cause--just like heavy metal or slasher films or Natural Born Killers or Stephen King's Richard Bachman novella Rage were not causes of post hoc awfulness.

People are just fucked up if they can't tell fiction from reality--if that's the case, seriously, no music, video games, movies, or tv are ever okay because who knows? That's intolerable. But some people do lodge themselves in fantasyland. Elliot Rodgers made a fantasy about women. These girls had a fantasy about a powerful "other" that they could be proxies of (and get protection from.)

Slenderman isn't a new thing. As a meme, he reminds me a lot of Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street.  Freddy Krueger exists in dreams, but has real-life effects. In the seventh picture in the Nightmare series,  A New Nightmare, the premise was that Freddy Krueger had become real, drawing power from having been seen by so many people in the preceding films.  Slenderman is supposed to operate on the same principle--the so-called "Tulpa effect."  (Or has become an internet "servitor", if you are feeling western modern magick-y.) If people have a shared experience of what Slenderman is supposed to be, look like, and does, is he really all that fictional?

Well, I don't know about all that. But there is a powerful brain/body connection where acting "as if" does make things happen, that uncanny area of the mind where fake it to make it and the self-fulfilling prophecy come from. And that is how, by angsty kids wanting to be Slenderman's proxies, Slenderman somehow gets his deadly business done. Without ever even having to be real in the first place.

Not that I believe in Slender. Just that I recognize the impulse for people to act on things they believe, even if untrue, and to be reinforced in that belief if it is repeated often, and to act on examples just in the way copycat killers do. Whatever it is that makes a meme go viral, could make this kind of killing go viral.

It doesn't take all that much for ideas to become things. That's why I find this particular thing to be mighty spooky.

8 comments:

Formerly Amherst said...

Vixen, despite its length, this 3-part comment is going to be almost stenographic in its brevity. The subject can become quite complex, but I am going to try and make it simple. I will be happy to try and answer any questions should there be any.

One of the principles in the magic arts is that if a form is built well enough and meticulously enough in conformity to the subject, then the force that conforms to that subject will fill it.

In the magical arts forms and symbols are used constantly. You read of some of these uses in Yeats's biography and essays. There are symbols for travelling into the inner worlds to specific regions of inner plane geography. And there are images created to allow inner world forces to have expression in the physical world.

One of the devices used for the creation and application of a form designed to allow an inner force expression in the physical world is called a Telesmic Image. As William Gray wrote:

"... It would be simple to say that a Telesmic Image is an imaginary creation having no existence apart from the consciousness of its creator -- a kind of Heavenly hallucination, in fact -- but this would be very far indeed from the actual truth.

A so-called Telesmic Image (or T-I for short) is a perfectly genuine Inner construction of Force and Form, designed for a particular purpose and having as much, if not more, reality in its own dimension than we have in Outer terms. It is a composite creation, brought into being as a correlation of consciousness inspired by spirit, animated by soul, moulded by mind, and based upon a body. A T-I is, in fact, made up very much as we are ourselves, except that it objectifies on levels of existence that to us are subjective. Its main function is that of an operative focus between our Inner and Outer states of Being."

We all do this to some extent or another all the time. But magicians train the mind in a very rigorous way so the difference between the average mind creating images and the magician's is usually the difference between a 45 RPM record and stereo.

Just as an example, one must learn to memorize an image, perhaps a complex one, and then on a gentle in breath imagine that the image is travelling up from the page and moving into the back of the student's mind. The student can hold this image and all of its nuance, color, and proportion for any length of time, staring at it, so to speak. Then, on a gentle out breath, one allows the image to float outside of the mind and move into a crystal ball where one can see it as if looking with the physical eyes. (It's really the ajna chakra, of course.) if the student has closed the image in a measure of ectoplasm, other people looking into the crystal ball can see the image as well.

Formerly Amherst said...

My previous comment gives you some idea of the level of expertise with which a Telesmic Image is created. If the proper rites and sacrifices are done, (sacrifices meaning incense and/or substances that are known to be pleasing to, say, the god Apollo), then there is every possibility that the force of this image that has been meticulously created down to the last detail will fill this form.

At this juncture this "creator of the created" is in a relationship to the creators of the form as religious practitioner are in relation to their concept of God. In other words, we now actually have a cult that has been constructed through the skill of magical practice.

This new "god" has energy or prana or the Jungian concept of the libido enough to reward its worshippers with various kinds of miraculous events. An occasional healing. A raise in pay, assistance with a situation of some sort. Sacrifices must be made to keep the energy of the new "god" growing. There used to be a match company called Vesta. Every time someone, somewhere struck a match it was a sacrifice to this goddess.

In a way the possibilities inherent in the communion of saints and angels in the Catholic Church is similar.

So at the beginning I said when the correct form is created and the right protocol followed up with, the force that corresponds to that form can act to an extent on the physical world.

Most of the time the form acts in the physical world by creating synchronicity, producing some minor miracles for the practitioners, and influencing their thoughts. Or you could say guiding their thoughts along the lines of the principles that are in conformity to the god, or goddess, or angel or other form. However, harkening back to my illustration of the image in the crystal ball seen by others, should some of the practitioners have mediumship ability, the god or goddess can be clothed in ectoplasm (a part of what the Theosohpical Society calls the etheric double or what Qaballists call the Nephesh) and then the form can actually be seen in a sort of ghostly way and might have enough energy to create poltergeist effects like knocking a vase off the mantle or something.

You may have seen some weird pictures in books on spiritualism where a billowy, cloudy-looking material is emanating from the body of a medium. This is the same ectoplasm that I refer to.

Now Western magic is primarily astral-mental in its conception and application. However, if you move into the African system of magic that is a form of Afro-Catholicism that moved with slaves into the Caribbean, you get Santeria or Voodoo, the name by which it is mostly known. You have Santeria in Cuba, Umbanda in Brazil (where some of its holidays are nationally celebrated), and Voodoo in Haiti, the name by which it is most recognized.

Their magical system is psycho-physical, which is why you have all the drums and dancing and drinking of alcohol. The practitioners are sometimes called "horsemen" because when the gods and goddesses of the Voudon Lwa take possession of one of the participants, they are called divine horsemen, i.e., the god is "riding" the parishioner as if a person were riding a horse.

While the parishioner is possessed by the god or goddess, Baron Samedi for example, the other members of the religion can appeal to the god or goddess for intervention in their problems or desires. While under the influence of the possession the human host can eat broken glass, be burned with fire without any sign of injury, and perform other physical feats that would not be possible ordinarily.

Formerly Amherst said...

Now we have several possibilities of the force coming through and using the form. We have images that have been vivified by sacrifice influencing thoughts, performing synchronicity, bestowing favors. We have the "god" being clothed in ectoplasm and achieving some level of visibility with some poltergeist powers (this is actually the secret of evocation to visible appearance). And now in the Voudon Lwa we have actual possession of the parishioner and physical feats and conversation between the parishioners and the god seen by the entire assembly.

We have now explained some of the technology of the imagination and subtler forces that cause an inner plane form to move into the proper outer-plane image.

Slenderman has all of the qualifications needed to create a Telesmic Image: a description of his form has been provided with some evocative features that make visualization a possibility. His character and psychology have been written about in a number of stories so it would be possible for an actor using the Stanislavski method to study him and arrive at his intentions and methodology. He has had some people (like these two girls) who have absolute faith in his reality, and then we have the girls actually making a blood sacrifice of a human being to him.

In the Voudon Lwa sacrifices will rarely be more than a couple of pigeons; in some enormously important ritual, maybe a few goats. These girls made a human sacrifice. This would have the effect of enormously vivifying Slenderman. Perhaps Slenderman was influencing their thoughts, perhaps even leading them in the direction of human sacrifice.

The girls as well as some of the others were exactly in relationship to Slenderman as a devotee is to his or her god. However, this is not a Telesmic Image of a god or goddess. This is a form that is filled by a Qlippothic demon. The Qlippoth is the system of understanding demonic activity of chaos that is understood from the point of view of the Qaballistic Tree of Life.

These girls with the super-charged imagination of childhood and unwavering faith in Slenderman helped a demonic force move out of the shadows in the inner worlds to manifest his evil objectives in the physical world.

Normally, this would take highly skilled teams of persistent people. But just as you have proteges who can sit down at the piano at 14 and play professionally, you have occasional people unknowingly born with raw talent.

It's not likely that Slenderman will be able to capture a permanent foothold. Everyone has been alerted. Creepy Pasta has apologized. Would-be murderers have been incarcerated. So this will probably not be like Son of Sam where he took orders from the neighbor's dog. Probably a combination of insanity and demonic influence.

Still, we have to be on the lookout. You know, there are nutcases out there trying to use their skills to resurrect Cthulhu, so vigilance is always required.

Vixen Strangely said...

This is a great, detailed backgrounder for this phenomenon--thanks. Based on your description of a Telesmic Image, how it is created, and how it can be animated, it seems like a meme like Slenderman would be uniquely ripe for mischief. You describe Slenderman in this way:

Slenderman has all of the qualifications needed to create a Telesmic Image: a description of his form has been provided with some evocative features that make visualization a possibility. His character and psychology have been written about in a number of stories so it would be possible for an actor using the Stanislavski method to study him and arrive at his intentions and methodology. He has had some people (like these two girls) who have absolute faith in his reality, and then we have the girls actually making a blood sacrifice of a human being to him.

He's actually very basic to imagine because he is a slender man, tall, with a featureless face--a stick figure. While it might take some study to create and maintain an image of, say, the god Thoth, right down to details like what he would wear--Slenderman doesn't have any peculiar, hard to think about features. Almost anyone can do stick figures. (He's also depicted with ectoplasmic tentacles and the internal logic of the mythos being created allows for the potential reality of Slender via the Tulpa Effect--not enough for rational people to believe--but for the purposes of enjoying fiction, suspend belief?) People also engage in performing fashioning of images (photoshopping pictures) and writing fiction that build onto the mythos. So, maybe without realizing it, the community is co-creating the persona by means of Internet-style rituals (like my little meme pic of Slenderman as Bond).

The most viral internet memes encourage participation in on-line activity centered around some image. While creating a complicated form might require skilled practitioners working with intent, I wonder if there isn't a similar potential in a large group, not especially skilled, but working with a potent enough archetype. A popular internet meme can spread across thousands of users--that might be an interesting egregor for attracting Belial.

I've read about chaos magicians utilizing Lovecraftian themes and demons from the Goetia in ritual--it does make me wonder if something like this is an accident that suggests a way to "accidentally on purpose" invoke something.

Formely Amherst said...

Vixen, I don't know zip about the internet. However, your hypothesis about a mass egregor of visualizers with the emotional component having an effect is worth considering.

You will remember the enormous craze that surrounded the Anne Rice vampire stories. People wanted to be vampires. Clubs sprang up in numbers of cities where people donned fangs and vampire regalia and pretended to be vampires. Some people even willfully developed blood fetishes and literally drank other people's blood in an insane desire to be a vampire.

This groups did not have a specific image with an emotional content. They weren't worshiping a figure; they were each individually trying to become vampires. As a consequence, there was no object to become a Telesmic Image.

But if it had all been a cult surrounding Dracula, God only knows what would have happened.

Incidentally, we do not regard practitioners of chaos magic to be magicians. We would consider them to be practitioners of sorcery.

This is not to disparage them. It's simply the fact that Western magic, the art of the magi, has its roots in Plato and follows the underground path through Masonic and Rosicrucian orders, transmission of the underground wisdom through Tarot decks, and many other secret transmissions that also embrace the same Platonic archetypes that Augustine did.

Sorcerers are simply very pragmatic in their attempts to cause changes, and they intentionally do not embrace a philosophy regarding such attempts as impositions.

I will not go into it here the progress in magic through Marsilio Ficino and natural magic taking a step beyond into celestial magic and the secret underground Western tradition of ratification at the celestial level of magical operations.

People in magic know everything that chaos sorcerers know, and we do not disapprove of them. We simply understand the differences.

Vixen Strangely said...

I think I understand the difference, although I'm just an outsider with some basic knowledge--magic is disciplined. Learning about the Kabbalah and the various ceremonies weeds out the lazy and the wanna-be's. It qualifies a commitment to doing the Great Work. Sorcery is doing jobs. The work of self-knowledge is put aside over superficial attainments.

My religious schooling was principally Catholic--"faith without works is dead". Works, or jobs, without trying to also fathom the means of them, seems also like a dead-end. "The method is science, the aim is religion," as Crowley put it. Otherwise magic descends to wankers trying to hit the lotto. It's a question of what is being tried.

A handful of heavy metal/punk/goths of my generation end up reading into magic eventually as a cultural alternative to "straight" religion. Although some of us had Israel Regardie as a bedstand companion, probably more of my generation read Wilson, and got their education from DuQuette, Spare, Hines, Flowers, and others who seem to concentrate on "sweet wines and wines that foam". (Yet others entered in through the sidepath of Gardnerian Wicca--and realized that they had a work to do only after a hell of a lot of reading.)

That's why I don't doubt some programmer-minded folks might try an experiment using the internet in an attempt to possibly create an artificial demonic intelligence. The chaos magic-side encourages experimentation. Because technology is a tool, the internet is just another kind of circle.

The reason I think mass participation might factor into a chaos invocation is that it follows computer science. A memetic contagion would act something like a distributed computational thaumaturgy--a SETIan@home, if you will. It would run on the background nous of every eyeball it caught utilizing indifferent vacuity to function even in absence of intent.

In other words, the ritual participant wouldn't even have to know what they were doing to make the evocation happen. They only needed to repeat or retweet the telesmatic image to magnify it.

Formerly Amherst said...

Vixen, I think your understanding of chaos sorcery is very perceptive. And of course I've been aware of your level of scholarship and practice as a generalization for some time, which is one of the reasons we're having this conversation. Your HGA is trying to get through to you, and you're a much more spiritual person than you give yourself credit for.

Although the points that you make differentiating the difference between magic and sorcery are astute, they do miss the central element.

The ratification for a magical operation ultimately winds up on the level of Briah. Chaos sorcery does most of its work on the level of Yetzirah.

That means that while most of sorcery is done at a lower astral level, magical operations have to be approved of and endorsed, so to speak, at a much more spiritual level.

Inasmuch as sorcery is done on the level of "blueprints," there is a high likelihood of the operation being reversed like a Mercury retrograde. For the operation to be established as part of the cosmological structure of the universe, the seed must be planted at a much deeper and spiritual level.

While most people with no particular claim to spirituality or moral development can conceivably train and pull off an operation at the level of Yetzirah, magic aimed at Briah requires real development of the operator him or her -self.

And this brings us to one of the tricky little precepts for people interested in magic.

Formerly Amherstistaffew D said...

To practice celestial magic means that quite a lot of distance has been achieved in the great work. The ego has been diminished; the Self has been discovered. Adeptship is a factor.

Briatic consciousness is a higher level of consciousness close to Atziluth which means the "nearness." It is the archangelic level. It's important never to lose sight of the fact that these levels are inherently in us, and there is never a time when they do not exist as our spiritual resources. The problem is trying to discover and unfold them so that they become part of our consciousness rather than being entirely unconscious.

So one of the tricks is that you do not develop an adept's level of consciousness and approach archangels because you want a new car, or you want to screw with an old boyfriend's head or you want to sleep with that hot chick who works behind the counter at Starbucks.

If you stand in level of consciousness at the level of Briah you must stand on your integrity. You have to have moved beyond putting other people down to build yourself up. Who you are and what you are is glaring. Your Shadow betrays you. The taro card of Judgment can sometimes come into play.

As a consequence, if you develop the Briatic level of consciousness in order to do hi magic that installs a permanent peace in the cosmological structure, you are already turning into a mystic and leaving the magical arts in a secondary position. You have to "be able to worship in an empty temple.” In other words, you have to do magic without necessarily surrounding yourself and the usual accoutrements.. just you, your consciousness, and a noble cause that is not deceptive, and a reasonably clean slate.

Now here is some somewhat good news. This spiritual development does not have to be done through magic. A person may have reached this level through prayer, meditation, Zazen, contemplation, religion, or many other venues that could lead to this level of consciousness.

Needless to say, our sorcerer in Yetzirah is still trying to figure out how to make a talisman that will cause the girl who works in Barnes & Noble to divest herself of her undergarments. This would not have the approval of archangels in Briah.

I will also have to say that your interesting hypothesis has some possibilities except that I would be less concerned about chaos sorcery than I would about some derivative of a Kenneth Grant type approach to the magical arts. Some left-handed tantra. You know, Grant is actually the one who was the generator of all the connections between H.P. Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley, the Qlippoth, and the magical arts.

It was this group's contention that actually the Necronomicon is derivative of old Sumerian magic and therefore participated in the Sumerian pantheon.

Chaos sorcery is here today, gone tomorrow, but the magic derivative of Kenneth Grant might have the potential for some real damage. Grant is no longer with us, but practitioners have started their own groups with his ideas as their focus.

Thankfully, beyond the lower astral there are levels that cannot be contaminated by evil, ego drives, ignorance posturing as knowledge, or other miscalculations. Grant's magic is not necessarily evil, but it is much closer to the possibilities of a slip than other brands of the magical arts. And regrettably, there are those who do slip:

“The brethren of the shadows who flee where no man pursueth, who are casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”