Initiation & Mood Disorders

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Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Maze » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:11 pm

I am new to the board, and Thelema. So this question may seem a bit odd, However..

I have been reading several books on qabalah, as well as other esoteric studies which of course, though the philosphies may differ from one school of thought to another, there has been a common "warning" that many of the authors prescribe to.

I at a very early age was diagnosed with a mood disorder, bipolar. I have been on medication for years, and have been stable for years. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as episodes (the doctor thought i might have been misdiagnosed at one point, due to the consistency of my stabililaztion) But I still do take it and I am fine.

Anyways, everyone says that magick, or deep meditation, yoga, etc will make matters worse. Is this assuming some suicidal depressed person will dabble and make matters worse, or are they speaking of chemical changes, what are the thoughts of those here?

Thanks
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Re: General Question..

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:04 pm

There are a range of effects; and one shouldn't rule out the chance that healing takes place in the course of the Work (or that the spiral of self-discovery gives understanding that helps unlock certain things).

I think the most important point, though, is this: The Light (to use the term for the generic, undifferentiated spiritual energy), as it grows stronger in you (or impacts the psyche), has one predictable effect: It amplifies ALL parts of your psyche. Influx of spiritual Light doesn't necessarily make you "better" in some particular sense, it just amplifies what is there inside of you vastly.

This includes the fact that pathologies are amplified - whatever the cause. Exactly where this takes you is hard to tell, but you should at least be aware that this broad amplification of everything about you can be expected. For this reason, there are commonly strong recommendations to have basic physical and (especially) psychological health before starting the Work seriously.

I mention this not to narrow your options, but to explaain a principle, so that you can make your own decisions about it.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Avshalom Binyamin » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:25 pm

I've had some depressive episodes and manic behavior in the past. Magick definitely amplified it. More recently, as I've learned to stabilize myself and work through my own personal 'pathological' issues, I'm finding the energy spike from magical practice to be a lot 'smoother' and more balanced.

It's kind of like you're a spaceship, and magick is rocket fuel. When you're misshapen or imbalanced, takeoff is a disaster. But the more refined and balanced your ship is...

(My general lesson learned has been to go slow, really work on the basics, and focus on being healthy/grounded/stable)
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Re: General Question..

Postby Mike » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:06 pm

93.

Here's my 2 cents:

I also have mood issues, namely anxiety and depressive issues, with a history of self-harm, suicidal ideation, intermittent substance abuse, long-term chronic dissociation, etc. I am also profoundly sensitive and easily spiral into nasty emotional states.

Having undergone initiation and other spiritual experiences, I can say this: everything Jim says about the Light amplifying all psychological patterns is true; if there are things that you still struggle with (and we all have them), those things can become quite a big deal when making contact with the Light.

In my own case, I have found that moving forward with my Work (i.e. not just dabbling, but committing to something) has given me direction and life-meaning that I totally lacked beforehand, which have more or less become my solid ground. Above that solid ground, however, is quite a hurricane of personal sh!t, and I often get swept up into it. (Then again, my experience of myself has been more or less "a hurricane of personal sh!t" for the majority of my life, so this isn't a surprise for me.) This concept of "more balanced, but also more f*cked up" has sort of been the dance I've been dancing for awhile now.

I can't stand here and tell you that I'm cured of all of these things by doing the Work. But I can tell you that I have continually found new ways to frame these issues of mine, even if it took unpleasant experiences (and flaring-up of long-buried issues) to get me here.

If you're stable now, my advice would be to gently explore whatever interests you, and to make sure you keep a detailed record of what you're doing and what kinds of results you're having, or even just how your life seems to be going since you began doing X, Y, or Z.

93, 93/93.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Archaeus » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:32 pm

Beginning the Work (not just dabbling in random stuff) without a few 'idiosyncrasies' in the psyche would be boring. And is you didn't have at least some kind of imbalance you would likely feel the need to begin spiritual practice.

I'd say providing you go into the work with a good attitude, and a dose of courage to face the possibility of stirring some some stuff up, then you're all set, jump in.

For myself, doing this kind of work in a serious and organized manner has stirred all sorts of things up, and it has not been easy, but has also been my life's single most rewarding undertaking, giving me a sense of purpose and resolve that has allowed me to weather the various ordeals.

The devil makes work for idle thumbs however, and if you go into occultism as a casual dabbler, then you'll either just get bored or you'll get the problems without the benefits.

I dabbled for years as a teen, and I did get burned, but now I find I can do the same sort of stuff as I did then with impunity, and this is simply because my attitude is different now, so I think that goes a long way.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Protagonist » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:29 pm

I am new to Thelema as well. I also have bipolar, type I. There are people saying that I might also have a personality disorder because I have extremely low self-esteem. I have been trying to practice for several months steadily, but have been interested for longer than that.

My big thing is that I keep thinking I'm just plain not good enough for Thelema. Not strong enough, not stable enough, just not good enough. And of course I could probably find someone who would tell me that I was good enough, but then, are they really being Thelemic? It always seemed to me that there was no room for weakness.

Remember this?

Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was. Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his povert - Liber Al Vel Legis, 2:58


That seems to be saying that if you're not strong, well, you're just not strong, and there's no way to change it. It also implies, like Nietzsche does, that certain people are kings and certain people are slaves, naturally. Actually, it has quite a bit to do with Nietzsche, who I think was inspired, as well. However, it also says that a king can be disguised as a begger, implying that some people who seem to be slaves are not. On the gripping hand, the king has chosen to appear as a slave; to appear weak - he is really strong. If he was not strong, he wouldn't be capable of making that choice - he has the power of self-valuation, whereas the slave does not. The slave can only point at someone and say "You are evil," but cannot point at himself and say "I am good." This can't change. Whether Thelema is for you or not, you have a True Will, and for some people, that is to be a slave. Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Room for such people in Thelema? Probably not.

The first chapter makes me think I can be a Thelemite, but the second chapter makes me think otherwise. The second chapter is also my favorite chapter, and the verse I quoted my second-favorite verse.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Maze » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:02 pm

I appreciate all of the replies. Thankyou. I don't know much at this point. I get a lot of the intellectual concepts as I have said, I have "read" quite a bit. But of course this work is not about reading, and I know that much. I guess i have to start somewhere.

So I am at the point of either making the decision to take it seriously and putting the books down, or not at all, hence my questions purpose, which was sort of a hang up in my mind. I feel I need structure, and need a teacher, any advice as to where to search? I live in Tampa, FL area. There are some of these meetup.com groups, but that is all i have found through internet searches.

Protagonist, that may be a bit of a paradox.. You may want to think of what you have been through, and how you are still standing, some might have opted out. I am looking at this as something that will make me stronger, and also if i can make it through some of what I have endured, I might just have enough discipline and will to take this journey further. Hindsight is 20/20 and it is peculiar how i even became interested in occult studies, a few years back i would have scoffed at the idea. But now i feel like i am supposed to move forward.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Protagonist » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:31 pm

Is no one going to eviscerate me for commenting on the Book of the Law? I'm disappointed. I was rather looking forward to that.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Uni_Verse » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:02 am

Protagonist wrote:Is no one going to eviscerate me for commenting on the Book of the Law? I'm disappointed. I was rather looking forward to that.


If I commented every time someone took a crap, I would have quite the potty mouth :D
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Re: General Question..

Postby Takamba » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:38 am

Protagonist wrote:Is no one going to eviscerate me for commenting on the Book of the Law? I'm disappointed. I was rather looking forward to that.


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Oh yeah, there's another law; don't go looking for trouble.

What? That's not the law? You mean to tell me there is only one Law?
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Re: General Question..

Postby gmugmble » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:23 am

Disclaimer This post is just a speculation. I am far from qualified to give medical, psychiatric, psychological, or magical advice.

I can't help noticing how often people here mention being bipolar or dealing with depression. I wonder if an effective magical therapy might not be the exercise Crowley calls Vibration of Divine Names (Liber O, III. 3.) Here, you fill yourself with energy then expend it all, but instead of collapsing into lassitude or depression, you dissolve into the Void. In this way, you might train the soul to vibrate, not between elation and depression, but between divine ecstasy and the ecstasy of silence.

Just a thought.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Macsen Melinydd » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:30 am

gmugmble wrote:Disclaimer This post is just a speculation. I am far from qualified to give medical, psychiatric, psychological, or magical advice.

I can't help noticing how often people here mention being bipolar or dealing with depression. I wonder if an effective magical therapy might not be the exercise Crowley calls Vibration of Divine Names (Liber O, III. 3.) Here, you fill yourself with energy then expend it all, but instead of collapsing into lassitude or depression, you dissolve into the Void. In this way, you might train the soul to vibrate, not between elation and depression, but between divine ecstasy and the ecstasy of silence.

Just a thought.

Ha! Perhaps.. :D
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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:05 am

Exactly true.

As stated elsewhere: When the lightning strikes, it powers ALL patterns in the psyche.

That's why Temple of Thelema works on the patterns in the psyche while building the lightning rod.
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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:10 pm

kasper81 wrote:
Jim Eshelman wrote:That's why Temple of Thelema works on the patterns in the psyche while building the lightning rod.

how and when does it work on patterns in the psyche?

Well, that's a long story (and not a public one). In a sense, it's most of the work of the First Order, beginning right from the start in 0° and kicking into high gear in 2°.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:32 pm

kasper81 wrote:Jim, why would there be an , "amplification"?

That's the nature of the light. - But, to switch the metaphor (and be slightly incorrect, but not much)... Think of "light" simply as undifferentiated power. All of the patterns in your behavior (innate or acquired - hardwired, or rewired) are kicked into gear when they are POWERED. The more power flowing through them, the more intensely, vividly, dramatically they manifest.

Also , we all have negative and positive traits so if the negative and positive are amplified then any negative amplification shouldn't really be a problem as it is kept in check by the amplified positivity

A problem is only a problem if it's a problem. Also, anytime a problem is a problem, it's a problem!

Meaning: We call these behaviors "problems" because they interfere with something. They sabotage our effective functioning, or they mess up relationships etc. (In the case under discussion, very serious undesirable consequences result.) If there are no undesirable consequences, though... then it's not a problem.

As for your last sentence, it seems to me that you are saying that we shouldn't worry too much about the one, small flaw that a person is a compulsive serial killer, given that he also is a terribly nice bloke, gives money to local charities, and has a loving family and amazingly bright children.
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Re: General Question..

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:53 pm

kasper81 wrote:
Jim Eshelman wrote:
kasper81 wrote:Jim, why would there be an , "amplification"?

That's the nature of the light. - But, to switch the metaphor (and be slightly incorrect, but not much)... Think of "light" simply as undifferentiated power. All of the patterns in your behavior (innate or acquired - hardwired, or rewired) are kicked into gear when they are POWERED. The more power flowing through them, the more intensely, vividly, dramatically they manifest.

Only if we are not oberving them

But if they still exist and you block or resist them, then you're binding up a fundamental part of your psyche.

The much better approach is to resolve them.
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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Jim Eshelman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:54 am

kasper81 wrote:That's what I meant Jim, ultimately,in the moment observation is a resolving.

But that's not what I meant. I meant go get therapy (or something equivalent) and actually resolve the matter.

I also feel, as AC said, pranayama purges all emotional anxiety dosorders,

But it doesn't. It does give temporary calming and (over time) an ability to learn to step back from reactivity. But neither of those resolves the underlying issue - it just reduces the occasions that the issue rises into prominence.
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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Alrah » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:05 am

People who go to get therapy and have mood or personality disorders are usually offered CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and the meditative techniques that are taught as part of CBT are derived from Yoga. The other part of CBT is learning ways we can identify when our thinking is distorting our perception of reality - either amplifying it or reducing it (by denying it). Dr Shoemaker did a great 'living Thelema' segment on how Magicians can benefit from CBT as part of their daily practise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDMxkGy ... 6A111E402C
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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Alrah » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:15 am

kasper81 wrote:
Alrah wrote:People who go to get therapy and have mood or personality disorders are usually offered CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and the meditative techniques that are taught as part of CBT are derived from Yoga. The other part of CBT is learning ways we can identify when our thinking is distorting our perception of reality - either amplifying it or reducing it (by denying it). Dr Shoemaker did a great 'living Thelema' segment on how Magicians can benefit from CBT as part of their daily practise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDMxkGy ... 6A111E402C


I would say that yoga is not a substitute for counselling. Counselling is a trained professional, confronting our behaviour. No one here, on this message board, knows whether any other poster does irrational things in their daily activity. Not unless they are actual aquaintences, friends, outside of this board, and even then their opinion regarding the others' development is irrelevant, unless they are a trained, professional counsellor. That goes for any Thelemic message board too.

However, I think it's fair to say that posts (especially reactive, instant, "on the bounce" posts) involving rudeness and insults would be indicative of an unresolved psychological problem, simply because they have that defense-mechanism quality to them


CBT is not a substitute for counselling either. It's more a set of techniques that allow you to identify when your thinking might be a little distorted and then gives you the tools to address the problem and hopefully gain a more balanced perspective. Anyone (with an average IQ) can use these tools, and they don't involve any counselling at all. Even psychologically healthy and well adjusted people can benefit from them, since everyone loses perspective at times. It's just another tool; like counselling is, and people can access both and do yoga as well if they wish.

This message board exists primarily for the use of the students of the Temple of Thelema, and they are all undertaking the great work and that implicitly involves working with the psyche. Sometimes people choose to aire personal matters and gain insight from the shared experiences of others. Sometimes people forget to leave their ego at the door, but eventually everyone learns something. What goes on here is not counselling, but an exchange of dialogue, opinions, knowledge, understanding and occasionally a little bit of wisdom.

In any group of people you will find people that are rude and insulting, defensive and close minded, arrogant and egotistical, woolly minded or grandiose. This may or may not feature as a psychological problem in their lives, but one thing is certain - it's only your problem if you make it your problem.


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Re: Initiation & Mood Disorders

Postby Alrah » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:59 am

kasper81 wrote:Thanks for that Alrah, very well put. Very good Dr Shoemaker links also, by the way


You're welcome mate, and I loved the decision of David to feature these CBT techniques as part and parcel of the 'Living Thelema' show. :-)
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