Death Of The Daydreamer

“Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He’s an average piece of meat,” writes Carlos Castaneda in The Active Side Of Infinity. “There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.”

There’s no disputing that today — the age of the internet and social media — is entirely different to even two decades ago. Almost everything is instantly accessible — from music to sex. And an endless choice of products are available at the click of a button. But, something more insipid has occurred, slowly, and almost undetectable. We no longer dream as did those who came even half a century ago.

Let’s look briefly at a few fundamental differences between the twenty-first century Westerner and those of previous, and other, cultures:

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Chaos Magic And Its Aeons

I’ve spoken before about The notion of aeons, written about in Peter J. Carroll’s Liber Null, though this is one of those chapters, and concepts, that has been largely forgotten in the popularization of Chaos Magic. 

According to Carroll, humanity has passed through four great Ages or “aeons.” And the fifth, he says, “may develop into an Aquarian Age or a totalitarian tyranny” (p. 102.). We cannot know yet. 

The first aeon, says Carroll, “was an age of Shamanism and Magic” in which man needed psychic forces in order for the “puny naked” human being to survive “the dangers of a hostile environment.” 

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Why Are There Three Degrees of Initiation?

Now, I know that there are other systems of initiation that have nine degrees, thirty-three degrees, or some other number. But, here, I’m going to focus on the most common, the most traditional, and, I would argue, the archetypal system: that of three degrees.

For those who don’t know, “degrees,” in this context, are rituals of initiation — into, and through a particular group or society that will convey certain teachings about how to live life spiritually and how to develop one’s Self.

When we speak about “three degrees of initiation” you probably immediately think of Craft Freemasonry with its degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. However, there are other esoteric, spiritual organizations and movements that also have three degrees. These include Wicca; the modern Druid Order of Bardes, Ovates, and Druids; the Aesthetic Rose+Croix Order of the Temple and the Grail (which goes back to the French mystic and aesthete Josephin Peladan, (1858-1918)); some Christian esoteric Martinist Orders; and the Order of Knight Masons; among others. 

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