I have been successful in continuing a faltering momentum with my ‘birthday’ book (I’ve a calendar full of excuses for book buying), Time Loops by Eric Wargo. Not only is it an excellent tome in its own rite, but I feel the information within is a really good match for the Lovecraftian Magical Aesthetic.
Lovecraft was obsessed with the past and going back and changing or living in his own past and pasts beyond that. Wargo’s book is about the future and how our futures are very much the same as our pasts, in as much as our mind interprets either state through precognition, memory, and dream. As we all know, not only was Lovecraft obsessed with magical time travel, this is only second to his obsession and employment of the magic of the dreamstate.
Early on in Time Loops, Wargo pulls out a term gifted to us by Isaac Asimov, endochrinicity. If synchronicity is the occurrence of events that appear to be related without any causal connection - relying on the word element ‘syn-‘ (meaning ‘together with’ or ‘jointly’) to achieve this sense - than endochronicity means the occurrence of events that are causally related but fall within the natural parameters of spacetime. Endo, from the Greek ‘endon,’ meaning ‘in, within,’ Cronos is the personification of time, based on the spirit-form of Saturn-Kronos - the exiled leader of the Titans, father of Zeus. -ic denotes an instance of something and -ity denotes a noun defined by a quality. Endochronicity is an object or substance that is defined by its condition of being ‘within time’. What Wargo is on about is that when we think of precognition and other causal events within the parameters of synchronicity, we are placing ourselves within a world filled with causal paradox. By shifting our wizard eyes to view ourselves in a world filled with endochroniciy and endochronitic events, we are moving closer to seeing things how they really are. This has a massive impact on how we effect retrocausal and anterocausal enchantments.
Let’s back up a bit and let Wargo define the term ‘retrocausal’ for us:
“what looks to our human eyes random or uncertain (because we cannot predict it other than statistically) may actually reflect the effects of unseen influences of the future, acting ‘backward’ on the present… What seemed for all the world like randomness — blind chance — may really be the previously unseen influence of particles’ future histories on their present behavior. Retrocausation, in other words.”
I have struggled with my sigilmancy in that I have only been able to effect change in my probability ‘field’ as it were, one year in the future. I have written before about how I feel that sigils are tied directly to whatever mechanisms in our mind spontaneously bring out learned information from the past. When I was in college and was cramming for tests in Ojibwe and Spanish and Statistics, I was able to push enough information into my short term memory to pass the tests but I found time and again, at the same time the following year, out of nowhere, I was fluent for a day in Ojibwe and could construction complicated sentences, or I was able to apply a statistical formula to a new problem from memory. The intensity of ‘cramming’ and test anxiety, it seemed, works better for embedding information in the subconscious memory than it does the short term. When I started creating sigils on the regular, I was initially very disappointed. I only kept up the practice because I am stubborn as hell. Just like with my academics, around a year later, probability would shift and I would experience a low probability effect that I then remembered was something I had sigiled for (or was related to it in that sideways sigil-logic fashion). Retrocausation is a way around this barrier and a potential method to obtain instant results out of sigil magic.
Wargo helps us pull this conversation back from the magico-academic event horizon and into orbit around Planet Lovecraft when he states that:
“Premonitory dreams, weird ‘memories’ of things that haven’t happened yet, and other odd experiences in which we seem to overtake ourselves in time may reflect that we genuinely think across the fourth dimension… Dreams seemingly corresponding to some future event or upheaval in the dreamer’s life are probably the most common paranormal experiences (reported by 17-38 percent of people in surveys).”
Lovecraft lived in dreams, his grimoire-as-fiction is rooted in dreams. Was he just a ‘natural’ at dreaming or did he cultivate the skill? It seems that someone of his high intelligence, driven to create original work, would have methods, rituals and yes, magical operations that would be designed to cultivate a rich dream life. I contend that as Lovecraftian Magic-Users, we should do the same. If precognitive dreams are one of the most common paranormal experiences, then it stands to reason that increasing any sigil-phreaking of the probability frequency related to these events would have a synergistic effect on personal enchantment on-the-whole. Wargo continues, stating that:
“many researchers now would agree that dream content relates to an individual’s life experiences, possibly consisting of mnemonic associations to events in waking life. Dreams are not random images… but are meaningfully linked to the dreamer’s biography and priorities.”
If this holds true, and the fact that a huge percentage of Lovecraft’s fiction was based directly on his dreams, then can it not be inferred that his fiction is a deep and relevant portrait of himself as a man? Can it not be inferred that his fiction is not a more honest representation of his inner life than letters sent to correspondents, some of whom he never physically met? Following this line of esoteric literary critique could have some profound implications. Time Loops continues following this piece of red yarn across our topographical map when it is stated that:
“the idea that dreams focus intimately, or one might even say ‘myopically,’ on our own future experiences and the thoughts and feelings they provoke — not on events per se — is one thing that helps move the topic of precognition out of the… realm of the occult… and into the realm of physical plausibility. It very much suggests an embodied, brain-based origin for these phenomena; they seem to be linked to memory and to meaning-making processes that have been studied in psychology and related fields for well over a century… Precognitive dreams… show that at night, as well as other times when the brain is in a relaxed state, our consciousness can wriggle free of the present moment and scan ahead (as well as behind) on our personal world-line, like a flashlight at night illuminating a spot on the path ahead. This ability to be both rooted mentally in our body, with its rich sensory ‘now,’ and the possibility of coming unstuck in time [suggests] that human consciousness [is] dual… tautologies are not the same thing as paradoxes. If the universe allows information to travel backward in time from an individual’s future in such a way that it actually leads the individual to fulfill a foreseen outcome (rather than thwart it), then such loops would have to be the rule when it comes to precognition, and not the exception.”
In summary, precognitive dreams are likely reported as triggered by reading about events in the future. So, if an individual doesn’t read about or otherwise avoids media, does that change their precognitive payload? OR in our day and age when it is NOTHING BUT EXTREME BAD NEWS then we no longer react with the emotions to news that trigger precognitive dreams in our past. Maybe that’s the point, precognition is too real and corporate interests are masking it or scrambling it on a global basis by manipulating the media. So fasting from media should actually improve precognitive dreams because the emotional impact of events will be that much greater. Having a precognitive dream increases the probability that the event will occur. So, in that vein, can manipulating dreams program our mind to bring about prosperity? wealth? healing? Wargo goes on to pull these threads together on top of the faded security footage image of remote viewing:
“the most storied and successful living remote viewer, Joseph McMoneagle, concluded that his successes were not a function of mentally traveling across space but of receiving information from his future self… When asked over a decade later how he thought remote viewing works, McMoneagle put it plainly:
‘Simply put, I think that I am sending myself information from the future. In other words, at some point in the future I will come to know the answer to whatever question has been put to me in the past. Therefore, whenever the information is passed to me in its accurate form, that is when I send it back to myself in the past.’”
Was McMoneagle’s recognition of the quantum nature of self/brain/mind the defining factor in his success? Once we recognize the process, does this increase our probability of having precognitive experiences? The question remains, can we increase and tune into particular frequencies of precognition through the establishment of rituals? Say, a daily diary? Daily sigil launching? A ritual of alway looking at the winning lottery numbers and committing them to memory? What information from the future will best benefit us now? Does being in a certain state of mind / body assist the transmission? How can we optimize the mechanisms that facilitate prememory through magical praxis? Time Loops offers us an answer in the form of ‘associations’:
“Associations are like the wires or channels of memory. The strength of particular associations is determined in part by how strongly events in our lives reinforce them… they change over time and seem to correlate with the strengths of synaptic connections between neurons. The brain has a special appetite for making connections that are not logical, and this paradoxically makes memory strong and makes learned information (semantic memory) and autobiographical events (episodic memories) easily accessed by multiple pathways…”
The assertion that non-logical (anti-logical? illogical?) connections make learned information and associated events more easily accessed in the future is interesting. How do sigils feature in to this? A sigil is an abstraction of a logical sequence (the sigil statement) of symbols. Is that abstraction sufficient to be considered a form of anti-logic? Is the event in question the ritual that accompanies charging the sigil, or is the ritual part of the path of illogic (the use of barborous names, for instance)? Is the event in question a psycho-emotional stimulus like an orgasm or getting angry or being deeply depressed? Is the event mundane or should it stand out? What if one accompanies a sigil charging with a series of random objects, like a ceramic elephant? If we were in my office and I brought a ceramic elephant and placed it on the board room table and made no other mention of it, even if asked, would the things said in the meeting be better remembered by the participants? Would sigil rituals in random places be more effective than those done at home in a ‘sacred space?’ Associations (pay attention here, because this has some deep implications when viewing Lovecraft’s oeuvre), Wargo maintains, are the syntax of the language of dreams:
“Dreaming is coming to be understood as a process possibly intrinsic to the formation of new mnemonic associations, the brain’s metabolism of the recent past by integrating new experiences into long-term memory in an associative manner… dreams may do the same thing with our future experiences… Another principle about memory is that it is facilitated by strong emotion. Boring routine experiences don’t get strongly encoded and may be — usually are — forgotten, but surprising and unsettling experiences are better remembered, and highly pleasurable behaviors are strongly reinforced.”
Given the above, does it not track that using sigils to diffuse anger or extreme sadness would help to encode the sigil stronger in one’s memory? I have had disagreements with close friends on this practice, where the ‘type’ of emotion is argued as having to be appropriate to the sigil. I maintain that the primary vehicle of sigilmancy this encoding and thus, it doesn’t matter if your grab a handful of sigils and focus on them to calm down after being rear-ended or an argument with your supervisor or spouse. These are opportunities to use the chaos and unpredictability of life to embed that part of the sigil that belongs in your subconscious in a place where it can be referenced easily and ‘do its work.’ This is not to discount the communication with spirit-forms during sigilmancy, which can only help. Chaos magic is, however, a system that builds on data to improve results and the data, it seems, shows that the subconscious memory and excess emotion are inextricably tied together and the magic shows that sigils work very closely with our subconscious memory.
Our Lovecraft tale for this week, Polaris, is also focused on time travel with the assistance of a familiar asterism, one found in Dream in the Witch House as well as other tales. It is the namesake of our story. We begin with a list of stars and asterism that were no doubt important to Lovecraft and should be further investigated when building our own system of Lovecraftian Magic:
“Into the north window of my chamber glows the pole star with uncanny light. All through the the long… hours of blackness it shines… in the autumn of the year, when… the red-leaved trees of the swamp mutter things to one another in the small hours… under the horned waning moon… Down from the heights reels… Cassiopeia… while Charles’ Wain lumbers up from behind the… swamp trees that sway in the night-wind. Just before dawn Arcturus winks… from above the cemetery on the low hillock, and Coma Berenices shimmers… in the… east; but still the Pole Star leers down from the same place in the black vault… It was under a horned waning moon that I saw the city… on a strange plateau in a hollow… Of ghastly marble were its walls and its towers, its columns, domes, and pavements… and overhead, scarce ten degrees from the zenith, glowed that watching Pole Star…”
Polaris, when we trace the origin of the asterism that it helps to build, Ursa Minor, connects us with Ida or Idaea, the nymph whom looked after and hid the infant Zeus when his father, Kronos, sought him out to devour him (ponder what this symbolism implies given our discussion regarding the difference between syncronicity and endocronicity). Idaea was the mother of the Kuretes, the dancing soldiers that guarded Zeus in his cave-nursery on Crete. She is the mother of Cres who fathered the autochthon Talos. The Kuretes, however, are of more immediate interest as they were said to worship Cybele, the neolithic mother goddess who has evolved through time into Saint Barbara and finally as the archetypal tarot trump, The Tower.
Hesiod tells of the Kuretes, stating that they hid Zeus in a cave on a mountain covered with thick forests, in order to shield him for being devoured by Kronos. Examining their tale we find many imbrications on our Lovecraftian aesthetic, in particular with the stories we’ve examined in the past few weeks, such as ‘The Silver Key,’ ‘Through the Gate of the Silver Key,’ and ‘The Beast in the Cave.’ These children of Idaea were the guardians of the Creten Snake-Den, which shielded the immortal child-god Zeus, shielding him from the influence (and wrath) of Father Time. The Kuretes are spirit forms that we can call on when charging retrocausative sigils in our practice.
As much as the thickest forests and the open water and deserts of snow and sand are part of the wastes that are the Lovecraftian Magical Aesthetic, so is the city, the man made deserts of pavement and rock that eclipses diversity and make a home for that creature that strives to lay waste to the diversity of Gaia, the human. Our author continues, deepening the importance of the built environment to Lovecraftian Magic:
“I came to wonder what might be my place in that city… At first content to view the scene as an… uncorporeal presence, I now desired to define my relation to it, and to speak my mind amongst… the public squares. I said to myself, ’This is no dream, for by what means can I prove the greater reality of threat other life in the house of stone and brick… where the Pole Star peers into my… window each night?’”
Here, Lovecraft is showing us an old trick used to bring about lucid dreamstates, tellings himself that his dream is no dream, and if it is, is his mundane life also a dream? Confusing the consciousness to relinquish the iron narrative that so often holds dreamers and to open up into a world that bends at its command. Our narrator takes us through this intermediary state of time travel, where he is in essence, remote viewing a point in the past that he could have had no other contact with or information about — he takes us through this stage unto the next level, where he embodies his dream self and begins to interact with the spirit-forms he has been watching:
“One night as I listened to the discourse in the… square… I felt a change… I had at last a bodily form… It was my friend Alos who spoke, and his speech was one that pleased my soul… On this occasion he spoke of the perils to be faced, and exhorted the men of Olathoe, bravest of the Lomarians, to sustain the traditions of their ancestors, who when forced to move southward from Zobna before the advance of the great ice-sheet (even as our descendants must some day flee from the land of Lomar…”
This phrase is, through Clark Ashton Smith, connected to the myth of Hyperborea, however, Lovecraft is the first to mention Lomar in this tale published in 1920. It is written that Clark Ashton Smith and Lovecraft began their correspondence in earnest two years later, which likely was the progenitor of Lomar and the Lomarian’s conflation with the more ancient Hyperborea Greek myth of pale giants that lived beyond the Arctic Circle. These giants worshiped Apollo, due to the position of their land where, during the winter, the god never left their sky. The Irish also have myths that connect with these Prometheans, as is related from the Book of Invasions. Their decedents were known as the Tuatha De Danann and brought with them to Ireland science and diabolism, an interesting mix as it creates a picture of an empirical, technologically advanced race of unknown terrestrial origins that worshipped the devil. Also mentioned in the Book of Invasions is how the Tuatha De Danann arrived on the Emerald Isle, not via the sea, but through the air, cloaked in dark clouds. All of which match Lovecraft’s fiction-as-spells collective aesthetic. Shortly after the above quote it is mentioned that Lomar was home to the complete set of Pnakotic manuscripts, fragments of which connect to Randolph Carter and his journey in ‘Through the Gate of the Silver Key.’ Hyperborean Theory also kicks off Lovecraft’s entire oeuvre and inextricably connects him with the Theosophist movement, so much so that Lovecraftian Magic can be thought of as definitive sub-discipline to Theosophy. Blavatsky, Guénon and Evola all believed deeply in the existence of Hyperborea and the type of reverse-Darwinism that we see in tales like ‘The Beast in the Cave,’ a belief that humankind began as the extra-terrestrial race and as we progress through time-depth we continually devolve into more and more apelike conditions, being pulled from the North Pole (the height of spiritual and physical perfection) to the energy of the South Pole (the height of materialism). In nearly every piece of spellfiction that Lovecraft produced, he pulls on this thread. This marks his body of work as an epic journey through time whose moral is that the fall of the human race will be this pull towards that abandoned city nestled inside the Mountains of Madness, the epicenter of imperial materialism. Returning to our Proto-Whovian, we find he is has now been given a task:
“my eyes were the keenest in the city, despite the long hours I gave each day to the study of the Pnakotic manuscripts… so my friend, desiring not to doom me to inaction, rewarded me with that duty which was second to nothing in importance. To the watch-tower of Thapnen he sent me, there to serve as the eyes of our army… I was to give the signal of fire which would warn the waiting soldiers and save the town from… disaster.”
A task where we find that Cybele / Saint Barbara as the Tower crowned with fire and aligned with conflict makes another archetypal appearance, housing and employing our narrator:
“As I stood in the tower’s topmost chamber, I beheld the horned waning moon… And through an opening in the roof glittered the pale Pole Star… Methought its spirit whispered evil counsel, soothing me to traitorous somnolence with a damnable rhythmical promise…
Slumber, watcher, till the spheres
Six and twenty thousand years
Have revolv’d, and I return
To the spot where now I burn.
Other stars anon shall rise
To the axis of the skies;
Stars that soothe and stars that bless
With a sweet forgetfulness:
Only when my round is o’er
Shall the past disturb thy door…
Vainly did I struggle with my drowsiness, seeking to connect these strange words with some lore of the skies… My head, heavy… dropped to my breast, and when next I looked up it was in a dream, with the Pole Star grinning at me through a window from over the horrible swaying trees of a dream-swamp. And I am still dreaming.”
The tale ends with the narrator caught between the dream and the real and unable to decide which is on either side of that dichotomy. It is a parable for the materialist separation from the Dreaming that birthed all human innovation until the Promethean fire of technology and science eclipsed that wisdom and organized reality into neat little packets to be passed and forth and discussed in isolation from one another. Polaris is a guide, pointing us to the Kuretes, pointing us back to the primeval worship of Cybele and of holding our ultimate, latent power inside our Snake-Den, near our red center, hidden from the devouring manifestation of time in an effort to transcend and succeed it.
Our tarot archetype for Polaris is the Queen of Batons.
Our standard Etteilla card does not offer much in the way of an expanded etymological interpretation, as the keywords point back to the image on the card. In this way it was typically used to signify someone close to the querant or some person that will enter her life. The Sola-Busca instantiation of this archetype, however, provides richer ground. The figure on the card is Pallas, the daughter of Triton and the step-sister of Athena. During a mock-battle, Athena, whom loved her step-sister, accidentally killed her. As part of her tribute to her fallen sister, Athena took her name. This manifestation of the goddess, Pallas Athena, represents a fierce, armed young woman. Pallas Athena is also connected with the Palladion, a statue of Athena with talismanic properties of protection. Palladia were smaller instantiations of this original enspirited statue. As is revealed by our previous etymological exploration of the term ‘sigil,’ a small magical statue was one of the original objects described by the word. The Athenian Palladium, as represented by the Queen of Batons in the Sola-Busca, has a host of extremely interesting data points attached to it. The following, from wikipedia, topping my list:
“The goddess Athena was worshipped on the Acropolis of Athens under many names and cults, the most illustrious of which was of the Athena Poliás, "protectress of the city". The cult image of the Poliás was a wooden effigy, often referred to as the "xóanon diipetés" (the "carving that fell from heaven"), made of olive wood and housed in the east-facing wing of the Erechtheum temple in the classical era. Considered not a man-made artefact but of divine provenance, it was the holiest image of the goddess and was accorded the highest respect. It was placed under a bronze likeness of a palm tree and a gold lamp burned in front of it. The centerpiece of the grand feast of the Panathenaea was the replacement of this statue's woolen veil with a newly woven one. It was also carried to the sea by the priestesses and ceremonially washed once a year, in the feast called the Plynteria ("washings"). Its presence was last mentioned by the Church Father Tertullian (Apologeticus 16.6), who, in the late 2nd century AD, described it derisively as being nothing but "a rough stake, a shapeless piece of wood" (Latin original: " Pallas Attica quae sine effigie rudi palo et informi ligno prostat?"). Earlier descriptions of the statue have not survived.”
Polaris, the Queen of Batons is Stella Maris, the lodestar. She is in her daughter of the sea monster Triton-Cthulhu and as physical evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence as the Palladium, a potent Lovecraftian figure. She is the bringer of Quiddity, the dream sea, the hypokeimenon through which we are all connected and from which all enchantments flow.