Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Floating World and Sacred Space

Interblag! How I've missed you!

During my absence from you, dear readers, it's been a bit of an introspective period. Sorting out my own issues, refining my practice, etc. In my meanderings I came across the concept of "The Floating World". In addition to being a lovely, if very expensive, kink event, it is also a supremely useful concept magically.

Aside from all the fun your standard Japanese red light district can be, the main draw of the concept for me is that it is said that rank and standing were temporarily suspended while one was in the Floating World. You were all just people. What's more, you were allowed to be who you are. It was a space not just of debauchery and commerce, but a place of a strange kind of honesty. Normal rules of propriety were suspended and you were excused of having to live up to the role that society demanded of you.

We encounter it in the west often. In the Witches Sabbat, the Bacchanal, the Lodge, Fight Club, the Dungeon and Las Vegas.

Normally we are bound, circumscribed by the views and pressures of family, society, and employment. Each adding different kinds of conditioning to our psyche, each telling us who we should be. You are always being influenced. You are also always influencing others; chipping off bits and pieces of each other like rocks in a tumbler.

Within the Floating World you don't have to be anything, or anyone. You are free from the immediate influence of conditioning, and are given a place of stillness from which to act. The Floating World, The Lodge, the Coven, can all just be another tumbler, unless you use it as a chance for liberation. It's easy to fall into a new persona, a new set of rules.. but that defeats the point.

Finding that place of stillness, of openness, don't latch on to it. Simply relax into it, dwell in it. If you latch on, you start building another mask. In simple being you take them off and dwell in the eye of the hurricane, and all the masks finally have an opportunity to fall to the floor. And how heavy they are! How liberating to finally not have to be anyone, anything dictated from the outside. How liberating to finally find your Sovereignty!

From there you can toss them, pick them up, or redecorate at your leisure. They might have been built by someone else, but they are useful, and they are yours now.

Now, that is all well and good, but we are here to talk Magic, no? How could this pseudo-psychobabble help someone "on the mat", as they say?

For one, it adds a wordless understanding of the subtle processes of Sorcery. You start to know how things fit, and the invisible world becomes much clearer. We'll say it matures innate ability, and gives insight into technique.

Secondly, when dealing with tricksey spirits, it grants you an uncommon self awareness, and an uncommon ability to see through bullshit. You've seen through your own bullshit, after all. If you can see through the lies and conditioning that both you, and the whole world have been showing you since the you were pre-verbal, then the bullshit of one other being is hardly challenging. You are much harder to trick, bait, lure, confuse, ensnare, stupefy, or tempt, be it by spirit, man, or mass media.

Third and most importantly, it gives you Authority. Authority comes from Gnosis. Knowing your Self causes Gnosis to spontaneously emerge.

From the Floating World, you can bring that Awareness into daily life, and cultivate it there. As Hakim Bey put in Temporary Autonomous Zone, it is a supremely subversive act. Especially in modern western society where you are never really off the clock. You never have time to really drop your masks, and be. The expectation is you will rise to whatever needs you are told, because you are needed and that is your job. Which often gets confused with who you are.

You can never really tame a tiger, you can cage them, pamper them, abuse them, restrict them, but they are always tigers, even if raised in captivity. A tiger handler comes to a mutual agreement with their feline counterparts where the tiger will not eat the "trainer", and instead the tiger performs some tricks, and gets a cheap meal, as they are denied many other options. Every few years in America, some dolt wants to play in a tiger cage and gets eaten. The tiger is not tame. C'est la vie.

Bringing that Awareness into daily life, you realize that you've just been acting, all this time, just like tiger convinced it's a purse dog. And all this time you have had the freedom to do whatever you want in any situation. Sometimes that causes huge life changes, or jail sentences, or death. Sometimes it's just cut wood, carry water, until the next meeting, with no need to change anything.

I remember a time when my dad was dying, he was going over these mountains of hospital bills for tens of thousands of dollars, and one day he just started to laugh quietly to himself. As a decent son, I went over to see if Dad was ok, as he does not normally laugh, alone, at the kitchen table. I asked if everything was alright, and this was his reply in paraphrase:

"You know, it's funny. All these bills, and I could just go down to the office and shoot every last person in there. Do you know what they would do if I did that? Put me in jail for life, and treat me for free. " Then I think I might have made him a grilled cheese.. I can't quite remember.

want to. He chose not to. And strangely enough, that is the root of compassion, the root of Love. Choice. You choose to do the compassionate, kind, Loving, thing. It may flow out of you, it may be your first and most natural choice, but it is still a choice, because you have other options. You simply see no merit in the violent, the cruel, and the wicked.

Time to mount up on your broomstick! Knock the secret knock; twist the secret handshake! Attend the Sabbat, pay your entrance to the Floating World and find yourself!

In waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, you are always present. You are always Aware. You are Sovereign! Wherever you set your feet is your pure land.

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