On Siddhis

Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?” – Emil M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair, 1932.

People seldom approach Magic and the Occult for other reasons than the so called “Magickal Powers” that can purportedly be acquired. Magic and its effects are at least as old as human thought itself; maybe even older. The oldest sources we have about it date back to 40,000 years ago, in the cave paintings from the Aurignacian period. Some thirty-five thousand years later it had developed to a body of knowledge and practices more akin to the Magickal Thought as we know it today. I’m speaking of the Sumerian civilization. However, as Sumer is still a matter of much speculation, I rather focus on one of their closest heirs in both time and space for this post: the Vedic culture. To introduce it briefly, Indus Valley and Vedic civilizations show heavy influence from, and trade contact with, Sumerian, Elamite and even Egyptian cultures. Not only artifacts but also mythologies and spiritual practices of Vedic culture show us that they might have shared more or less the same world view of their older cousins. In fact, the so called Vedic Period is assumed to have started just after the collapse of Harappan civilization and with the migration of Indo-Iranian peoples to North-western India. The connection between Vedic and Elamite cultures (regardless of time and space) can be effected via the Elamo-Dravidian languages of which Harappan language is also part. Indologist Malati J. Shendge have identified Harappan culture with Assyrians, which in turn developed from Akkadians – whose Empire had once ruled Sumerians and Elamites. It is interesting that Mount Meru, a sacred mountain in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmologies, considered to be the center of physical and spiritual universes, is called Sumeru in Sanskrit – the same word by which the Akkadians identified the Sumerian peoples and their homeland. Vedic culture, on its turn, developed philosophical and religious systems like Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Budhism, which have influenced western Occult since 18th and 19th centuries.

Now before you feel sleepy, let’s delve into the Siddhis more objectively. These are magickal powers within Indian spiritual systems, acquired or developed by some people through Sadhana, ego-transcending practices that may range from Mantra Recitation, Hatha Yoga, Milam (Dream Yoga) and Meditation Trance to the realization of Pure Consciousness or Naked Awareness. A magician, someone who develops such powers, is called Siddha or Siddhar (one who is accomplished), and the god Shiva is acknowledged to have been the first Siddha. Hanuman, Ganesh and Krishna are also Siddhas. This leads us to conclude that Sadhana and Siddhis are godly practices, taught to men by the gods, like in the famous instruction of Krishna to Arjuna:

Arjuna: When a person at such an elevated stage, what duties does he or she perform?

Krishna: Meditation.

Arjuna: How is it done?

Krishna: It is an effort to control the flow of thoughts in the mind without coming under their grip. The effort is to direct the flow of thoughts away from selfish desires and towards the spiritual. This practice must be done in thorough seclusion, alone.

Arjuna: Please say more about the proper location for meditation.

Krishna: It should be in a sanctified place. You should make a place to sit that is a little bit raised off the ground, out of kusa grass covered with deerskin, covered by cloth. Sit there with good, steady posture, and practice directing the flow of your thoughts to a single point; curtailing your external sensual activities. This practice will make your soul very clear.

Arjuna: Can you elaborate on the “steady posture”?

Krishna: Hold your torso, neck and head straight, balanced, firm and steady.

Arjuna: What about “curtailing the senses”?

Krishna: Restrain your perception from wandering here and there; focus your eyes on the tip of your nose and don’t look elsewhere.

Arjuna: How can the mind’s flow be controlled?

Krishna: Follow the brahmacari path – pursue no lusts. Then you will be peaceful. You must practice giving up all fears. Then your mind will come under your control.

Arjuna: When I have my mind under my own control, what should I do with it?

Krishna: Seat me within your pure mind! Make me your ultimate goal.

Arjuna: What is the result of this practice?

Krishna: Dedicating your heart and soul constantly and regularly to this practice, you will attain the supreme santi (peace): nirvana (liberation) and come to my position.

In most of eastern systems, though, Siddhis are not aimed by the adept, but are rather side effects of enlightenment, by transcending Ahamkara: the illusion of Ego. It is not surprising that in Chaos Magic and Zos Kia magickal results are acquired by tricking the “conscious mind” or “psychic censor”. Behold that Krishna’s orientation – pursue no lusts – resumes what has been explained by both Crowley and Carroll regarding the short circuiting effects of “Lust of Result”. In Liber Null, we are taught that “the will can only become magickally effective when the mind is focused and not interfering with the will”. Ego is a social construct, a product of the Mind, which in turn is itself an illusion. Therefore, magickal effects can only be attained by No-mind (Gnosis) and (un)fortunately this state cannot be prolonged for too long. This is when consensus reality is exerting little or no influence at all in us.

I personally like Carrolls’ mathemagickal approach (despite I am aware that some chaotes would prefer put it aside) and have found his formulas extremely handy for understanding how the hell Will shapes reality. In Liber Kaos, we have the following equation:

M = GL (1-A)(1-R)

Where “the magic factor M is made up of four factors which represent the essential components of any magickal act, namely Q, gnosis, L, magickal link, A, conscious awareness, and R, subconscious resistance. These last two factors, A and R, act negatively to reduce the effectiveness of magic”. The closest the resulting M is of 1 the better.

Ok, so we have already seen, and it is amply discussed on the web, that conscious mind or psychic censor (A) spoils magickal effects, but not everybody realizes that a big portion of A is composed by our adherence to Consensus reality. Try as hard as you can, it is possible to delete or acquire habits, change worldviews radically, embrace contradictory philosophies and become a very different person from what you have been, but when it comes to the basis of mental processes and structures it is nightmarishly difficult to detach from. That’s why, in my experience, A determines R: it is Consensus Reality mode on, influencing how we perceive reality and interact with our desires, that increases our subconscious resistance to magickal powers. It can be fairly easier to get an improbable job or amount of money than to expel fireballs by the hand. The same does not apply when one is dreaming. But why? Maybe because the damn consensus reality, with its morals, judgments and other social constructs are diminished in the dream state. And this is why Milam, Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreaming are important to the Great Work. It helps one reducing the thickness of the wall of consensus reality and broadening one’s perception of the illusory nature of reality. If you don’t believe consensus reality is that strong, try to read something about “Tinkerbell Effect” – you’ll be amazed.

I believe the Siddhis a magician may manifest or achieve totally depend on the consensus reality in which (s)he is inserted and upon which his/her mind construct is structured. Children are less affected by consensus reality (and frequently manifest magickal effects; often unwarily and uncontrolled), but on the other hand, they lack “Narration” abilities (that, to an extent, paradoxically depend on consensus reality) and have desires that hardly exceed the 3rd circuit of Leary’s eight-circuit model of consciousness (an interpretation would say that children are successful magicians, though, for they always get what they want).

Let’s conclude with some traditional Siddhis:

• reducing one’s body even to the size of an atom;
• expanding one’s body to an infinitely large size;
• becoming infinitely heavy;
• becoming almost weightless;
• having unrestricted access to all places;
• realizing whatever one desires;
• possessing absolute lordship;
• the power to subjugate all;
• knowing the past, present and future;
• tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities;
• knowing the minds of others and so on;
• checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on;
• remaining unconquered by others;
• being undisturbed by hunger, thirst, and other bodily appetites;
• hearing things far away;
• seeing things far away;
• moving the body wherever thought goes;
• assuming any form desired;
• entering the bodies of others;
• dying when one desires;
• witnessing and participating in the pastimes of the gods;
• perfect accomplishment of one’s determination;
• orders or commands being unimpeded;
• the attainment of knowledge about the twenty-four tatwas gained by examining the determinable and the indeterminable conscious and the non-conscious constituents of creation;
• knowledge gained by associating with an enlightened person;
• knowledge gained through study of the vedas and other standard ancillary texts;
• knowledge gained from a kind-hearted person, while engaged in the spread of knowledge;
• knowledge gained regardless of one’s own needs while attending to the requirements of those engaged in the search of the highest truth;
• freedom from pain, disappointment, etc. that may arise due to lack of spiritual, metaphysical, mystic knowledge and experience;
• freedom from pain etc. arising from possessing and being attached to various materialistic gains;
• freedom from pain etc. caused by fate or due to reliance on fate.

According to one of the 196 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, “Siddhis result from practices performed in previous births, or by herbs, mantra repetition, asceticism, or by Samadhi” – that is very similar to our understanding of Gnosis within Chaos Magick.

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