The Six Ways of KnowledgeEssay 2
The average man and woman believes that they know how to see, hear, and touch things. They don't understand the need not only to train the senses, but to affect that point we call the magical link that is the intersection of one's senses, psyche, and actions. Changing the ways of knowledge—that is to say, changing Perception—is the Great Work. It takes years to do, and early success in magical initiation may lull us into forgetting the need to Work in this area.
Like modern Neurolinguistics Programming, the Egyptians were familiar with three modes of Knowledge: Touch, Hearing and Sight. They identified these as other– and self–centric forms, the self–centric form being connected with the right half of the body, the other–centric with the left. These modes of perception are vital for the modern Magician to learn and practice as they are key to nourishing and expanding the magical part of one's life. These modes of interacting with the world and the Self are a means to unify the Self, and prepare it for the journey to the Stars.
As the Will of the Magician increases, the other–centric forms came be made to manifest much more easily. I will deal with six modes of perception in the order we usually discover them.
Touch (Self–centric). The verb "to grasp" is amn which sounds like amn the word for "the hidden." This punning association led to the story of Amun creating the world by masturbation. This act is a sacred one for any Black Magician, obviously. In The Book of Knowing the Spiral Force of Re and Felling Apep, the unnamed god, who came into being as Xepera, masturbates and then takes his seed into his mouth and says his name— which at that moment is Heka (= Magic). The act of stroking one's self is not merely to be understood as sexual gratification (although learning to materialize one's wants through this method of sex magic is an obvious first step to understanding this process), it means to learn how to manipulate yourself so that you don't lose interest in a project. Active grasping is the method of keeping the right amount of excitement in your life at all times. Making sure that your life feels right. For those so inclined this verb may be explored in various forms of dominant sexuality.
Touch (Other–centric). The verb "to receive" is shesp. In addition to meanings related to touch, it can mean to conceive, or shesp aha, “to set out on a journey”. This is a method whereby the Hidden parts of the Self can communicate with the obvious parts of the Self. Methods of using shesp include viewing every gift you receive as a message from your Self to your self. If your mother buys you a hammer for your birthday—it's yourSelf telling you need to fix something. If you win a prize during an airplane flight, perhaps you should really pay attention to this journey.
Another method of using shesp is to pick a time or activity and be open to all manifestations that come your way. An example would picking a day nine days after your birthday and following up on all the mail and phone calls you get that day, watching for Secret things (Shta–tu) to manifest in your life. This would mean doing things you normally would not do—say going to listen to a real estate pitch and being as Awake as possible during the activity.
The art of receiving gifts, holding them, weighing them in your hands and causing the object to speak is a key to godhood. For those so inclined this verb may be explored in various forms of submissive sexual activity.
Hearing (Other–centric). Both the Ears and the Eyes are described as "Ankhti, The Pair of Doors". Other–centric hearing at first comes only by accident. It means truly listening without prejudice to what is said to you. It requires a great strength of ego to do this. Usually we let our feelings for the speaker (either positive or negative) color what is said. Our first true Initiation came from Hearing. One night we heard something that led to our Knowing the world is much larger and looser than most people believe it to be. It may have been a throwaway line in a movie, a heart–to–heart with another magician—or anything else. In reality, it was our psyche picking up a Sound like the Sound our psyche makes.
Other–centric hearing requires calmness and strength of purpose. A good exercise to get it is by listening to someone whom you really disagree with, to see if you can parrot their arguments to another. Now this does not mean opening your mind to stupid arguments, it means collecting the argument into a sealed container of your mind for careful observation. Another useful exercise is to spend some time as a Tarot reader or other magical adviser. Here you will learn how your Will to Listen can affect others.
A third and most important exercise is to write down the words of your Initiator in your Victory Book.
Hearing (Self–centric). This discipline is vital to the magician not only for precise LBM and MBM, but for Self–knowledge. We very, very often don't hear what we say. I am sure all of you have a told a friend, "Just listen to yourself!" Just as our friends often say revealing things about themselves (either because of the effect of our Will upon them, or by their own Will to self communication), we often tell ourselves great secrets which we promptly forget.
Here are three exercises to gain the skill of self–centric hearing:
The next time you give advice to someone, excuse yourself and write down the advice somewhere. Underneath the advice write the question, "Is this advice really for me?" Put the writing away for a few days and then read it over. You'll be struck at your wisdom of words, but not of deeds. Learning to learn from yourself is an important initiatory skill as your self– transformation reaches greater levels.
Second, try making a tape recording of yourself during a personal ritual. Don't let this tape fall into the hands of others, but some days after you have spoken your words into the great Dark, play them back. Ask yourself: "Do these words reflect an LHP bias? What do my words show me that I Need to work on?"
A third exercise is to tell yourself "lies". When you hear yourself saying something negative and awful about your self, such as "I never get anything done, I'm worthless", make a note to hear yourself hearing the positive form: "I do finish things. I am of great worth!" Say it to others, and say it to the mirror. It doesn't matter in the least if you believe these words, simply Hearing them is of great value. Once one has both types of Hearing one may very well have the title of the High Priestess at Tanis, Mestcehrti, "She of Two Ears". The Two Ears are one of the fourteen Kaw of Osiris—if you Hear in life you will Hear in life–in–death.
Sight (self–centric). The verb iri, "to see", is connected with the right eye, the Sun, and Har–Wer, also means "to command". Add it to an infinitive of a verb and you have an imperative. IR shti shta–tu! “Seek the mysteries!” This form of seeing is the seeing of an overseer, visually checking that your Will is working in the world. It has a constancy of purpose. If you've ever had a job supervising others, you know this word. It is going from one person to the next, being sure that they are all doing their tasks. It is also looking at a task and dividing it into sections so that it's doable. It is action–oriented consciousness. The Work of the Order of Horus is found within this Word. This is the solar aspect of the Work of the Magus Anton La Vey, and at the simplest approach may be seen as "Looking out for Number 1." Learning good scientific management techniques, the lessons of the Satanic Bible, or the lateral thinking techniques of Edward De Bono are good exercises for iri.
Sight (other–centric). The verb maa, "to see", is connected with the left eye, the Moon, and luck, also means "to see the future." This practice is a two–fold practice. It requires watching what is really going on the world, to spot trends—rather than what we wish was going on the world. It secondly requires a beautifying of things one looks upon. The first aspect is hard, it requires us to overcome the chaos–snake Apep in his form of Denial. Seeing when a relationship has really gone sour, or that you're about to lose your job because the company is going belly–up—these are forms of maa. The second practice concerns manipulating your environment so that needless ugliness need not be a part of it. This does not mean "seeing the world through rose–colored glasses." It just means that you don't give attention to things that merely distress you. If you get depressed every day when you watch the six o'clock news, don't watch it. You'll be surprised that you can still function without knowing how many car wrecks there were last night.
Another aspect of maa is decorating your office or home with things
that please you. The avoidance of needless ugliness is a way of conserving
yourself to withstand the unpleasant things foretelling of the future may
bring to you. The Moon looks upon what is changeable—that is to say, the
world. The Sun looks upon what is fixed—that is to say, your desire.
Now these intentions of perception can be reduced to simple maxims,
but do not be misled into thinking that will give you simple information, or
that such information will be effortless to get:
1. Keep the right amount of excitement in your life.
2. Look for the Secret message in things placed in your hands.
3. Listen to what others are really saying, not just "who" is saying it, or what you expect them to say.
4. Listen to yourSelf—your future self often speaks with your mouth.
5. Look to see if your Will is tangibly manifesting in the world.
6. Look to see what bad things or opportunities are about to come into being around you. Learn not to be distracted with problems that are not yours to deal with.
Each of these modes of perception must be practiced. They will lead you to Understanding your World and your Self. They may be easy to understand, but they don't come easily. The exercises are merely suggestions; learning to use the interface between your actions, your psyche, and your senses is something that can only be explored on a personal level. The responsibility for making these explorations lies with the Magician.
The other sensory modes, taste and smell, have a great deal less written about them. One may "taste" Magic—particularly hostile magic as it enters the body. Magic comes in through and exits the Mouth. One can acquire the wisdom of a magician by having him spit in your mouth. The Work of a Raymofte (Man of the Word) is largely spitting out what he has learned—such spit is said to be "purifying" (see for example the Pyramid Texts concerning the "Mouth of Set"). Life enters the body either through the right ear or the nostrils. Life has a scent and one can be aware of it, smelling sweet incense or lotus flowers. Explorations with these modes are an ongoing interest of the Order of Setne Khamuast.