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More perspectives on the Energy Debate


Fraters Argent and theScribbler have some interesting new points and opinions to make about this debate, as does VH Fra SR. I'm pretty much in total agreement with Fra Argent. (You should be reading his blog, if you aren't yet, and Fra Jow's as well). Also, in partisan fashion I just posted links to the dudes I primarily agree with. Here's another set of perspectives. Also, check out Fra RO for interesting input as well. I think Patrick Dunn's insistence that there is no such thing as magical "energy" is incorrect--not because his ideas aren't sound, or because his model doesn't work. His ideas are sound, and they do make sense if one is working from a definition of the term "energy" that is the same as that of modern science, and completely bereft of context. Which would be my opinion. What we are really debating is whether subtle energies are an actuality. The inner fires, the Holy Ghost, the spiritual Virtue. Ha...or perhaps that's what I'm really debating, and who the hell knows what the other fellows are talking about?  I can't think of a way to remove subtle energies from the equation without magic--of every sort--falling apart. What are the Spirits that we work with composed of? Mind? Azoth? The stuff of God? Well then, what is that? The Alchemical literature and tradition (and my own experience) are clear about the answer to this.....Light. Not physical Light, but subtle Light, which can manifest as physical light and matter on the physical plane; we are able to perceive this non-physical light because we are not purely physical beings, we are integrated, multi-layered entities composed of Light/LVX manifesting on all the different levels of our being in the manner appropriate for the plane/realm it moves in.  And what is subtle light if not a subtle energy? Perhaps this is a debate of definitions, perhaps it's circular.

Perhaps I'm arguing this the wrong way. It seems to be a matter of perspective and understanding. I have to ask myself, what is existence composed of, fundamentally? This is at the root of the whole "energy" thing anyway, in my opinion. It it at root abstraction and Idea, made manifest through our perspective as humans? Or is it a purely physical, mechanistic thing, in which all that exists can be weighed and measured? I say, of course not. My experiences make that very clear; I've experienced the non-measurable planes of existence using the Mind and Spirit, non-measurable parts of myself that operate at the same level of existence as this subtle light. I understand all things are made of and spring from the substance of the Source, and that the material world is built upon, of, and is inter-penetrated by this same subtle Light. This isn't some shit I made up, this is what I've come to Know and grasp through Experience.  This is the Qabalistic/Alchemical understanding of the world. It is, of course, not the only one. Fra Ro, who is a Hermetic Neo-Platonist (warning, this is a gross simplification, forgive and correct me if I'm wrong, Fra!) understands these things  we experience differently, to be manifested Idea, for example. Does this work to describe existence? Well, yes it must, dude is a very skillful and experienced Magician and is accomplishing the Work in his way. Where does that leave us? With different perspectives that work.

I think that we are using a whole bunch of complicated and varied structures to re-describe what our forefathers described as the Sacred Fire, the Inner Fire, the Holy Ghost and the Hidden Virtue. However, saying that there is no such thing as subtle energy, in the face of such broad experience as the entire Western and Eastern Alchemical corpus and the modern Eulisian/Rosicrucian understanding seems plainly incorrect to me. I some of this work. Set the Inner Fire alight, and then describe it to me. It isn't an abstraction, it is visceral and can be directly perceived. It seems almost bizarre to me that there is so much argument about this, because it is so easy to experience. That being said, I'm not entirely sure if anyone is actually saying that....well, except for Patrick Dunn, haha.  Anyway, that's enough for today. This conversation is like Scylla and Charybdis, and the shores are rocky. I'm super-stoked about how high the level of discourse has been, though. Well done gents (no Sorors have chimed in yet....I think)!

In LVX (that's a subtle energy, fyi),



  1. Care VH Fr AIT,

    thanks for this update. I am just a humble magician who knows, feels and works with LVX/energy every day. Can't deny this experience. In any case, as I am very busy, an argument from authority. This is from J. Marvin Spiegelman, a Jungian psychotherapist, in his introduction to 'An Interview With Israel Regardie':

    "One day, I said that I wondered about the energy concepts of Reich; were they as actual and external as he said they were, or was this subjective impression?

    Regardie's answer was to turn my palm upward and hold his hand some nine inches away with fingers pointing towards it. He then transmitted energy in a direct and powerful way that could not be denied! My palm vibrated with this transmitted energy."

    'Nuff said :)

  2. 1. Was the subtle light not a form of consciousness, albeit cosmic and/or universal?
    2. Did it not entwine with your own subtle body in someway, knowledge of which was reinforced by alterations in your own consciousness and understanding of the universe?
    3. Could "force" not be an alternate analogous description for such a thing?

    In this case, it probably comes down to bias, bro. You like the term "energy." You grokk it. You have known it, and it is a viable part of your personal microcosmic reality. The question is whether or not the other phrases and analogous terms work similarly for others, and whether the concept needs to be "as energy" in order to be properly grokked and properly approached.

    To this end I say simply: the experience of the individual is what shapes their path, but more importantly, the concepts they use to express the path.

    S'all I got.

  3. @ Fra Jack

    also, Right on! =)

    (please slap "in my opinion" at the end of all these, ha.)

    1. It is what consciousness--and everything else--is composed of at the most basic level. Consciousness emanates from it, and it is permeated with Consciousness, but defining them as entirely the same is problematic because of the varying understandings and descriptions of consciousness....many of which do not align with understandings about the nature of the subtle light. It is often bound up in definition as awareness and personal experience.

    2. It certainly did entwine and influence my subtle body, (which is also composed of subtle light). It was able to operate in sympathy with my subtle body, because they are fundamentally composed of the same thing, the One thing. But being composed of the same thing doesn't make them entirely the same thing. We are both composed of matter, but I'm no Fra Jack. Your beard is far more awesome than my scrubby 3 o'clock shadow.

    3. Most definitely. I've used the term "subtle force" myself. It communicates a similar idea when used in this context. If we were talking physics, that would be off. Just like "energy".

    All that is of course from the Qabalistic/Alchemical perspective. I don't doubt that other perspectives have validity, but I think you're probably right when it comes to bias. There must be some there, or I would hold all of these views as equally valid....and I don't. Mostly because of my personal experiences and understanding. I don't think the word "energy" needs to be the way it is expressed in order to understand (terms like Inner Fire and etc. work for me as well), but think that using "consciousness" and the like is far less effective in creating understanding because the concepts behind them are limiting when describing working with the subtle light. The word doesn't convey movement or hold enough form to communicate what the inner senses experience when working with the subtle energies. That particular word relates to awareness and experience, and is useful in moving the subtle energies.. but is loaded with particular meaning in Alchemy that would make equating it directly with the subtle energy (as opposed to being Of subtle energy but not it's entirety) problematic. Describing the subtle force as Light is especially effective, because it is perceived that way (to those who have developed them) by the Inner senses. Describing it as energy works as well, because it can be felt and experienced in a way that is analogous to the way we've experienced the movement of physical energies like the thermal energy we recognize as "heat". I've never felt "consciousness", nor tasted or smelled it, but I can perceive these qualities in subtle "energy". Consciousness doesn't carry quality (such as color, feal, taste...our tools of perception)in a way that is graspable. It's either a point (or a Sea) of awareness.

    Work that is actually analogous (such as Eastern Alchemy) uses similar terms, I think. I've heard folks outside of the Alchemical circle say things like "raise power", which is a lot closer to "energy" then it is "consciousness". I've never seen anyone describe internal Theurgic/Energetic work using "consciousness" or other abstractions. Even Virtue is closer to "energy", as it is something that can be Felt. Just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it hasn't happened, though....

    Anyway, just my opinion, and elaborating on the point you already made, haha. Clearly this thing is colored by experience; I just don't see that these differing approaches are equal in practice, especially when it comes to communicating experiences.

    I think you're completely correct in pointing out how experience shapes the concepts they use to express the path. Well said!

  4. I don't think the word "energy" needs to be the way it is expressed in order to understand ... but think that using "consciousness" and the like is far less effective in creating understanding because the concepts behind them are limiting when describing working with the subtle light. The word doesn't convey movement or hold enough form to communicate what the inner senses experience when working with the subtle energies.

    Woah, bro. Woah, woah. It doesn't convey "movement"? Let's take a moment to discuss what language we use to explain consciousness and thought. For example: "I was lost in thought."

    This conveys the idea that thought is like a landscape, through which the individual consciousness moves. Likewise, a phrase my wife used earlier today was: "I keep fading out, sorry." This phraseology implies that thought is a "place you can go to." Or how about, "I couldn't keep my mind from racing," the phrase almost every insomniac has muttered at least once.

    I would suggest that you're looking at consciousness as a static concept, not as a dynamic and involved concept. This is just something that sprang to mind as I read your response, anyhow.

    I would also like to note that Spare focused on consciousness over energy, and so I'm on the other end of the scale. I just try to keep my bias from showing whenever possible.

  5. @ Fra Jack,

    Now you're in tricksy territory....thought and consciousness are not the same thing. Thought being an emanation of Mind, and consciousness being the point of awareness/experience of a soul. Consciousness doesn't "move"-it is either static, as the point of awareness of the individual sole, or expansive as the awareness of Soul itself. I guess that change of state could be seen as movement....but it's not the consciousness that is flitting about when we are lost in thought or fading out. That is the mind and the thought process. The consciousness, even when you are distracted from a conversation, is fixed as the soul's awareness of you as "you".

    Well, that's one definition anyway. I suppose we may have re-entered slippery territory.

    You do very well at not showing your bias completely, most def....I gotta say, I don't know how that is useful besides not offending people, bro. Defending your understanding of something is the best way I know of examining your understandings, and you don't get to do that when you're lukewarm. You get to think deeply when people challenge you, or look stupid. I find this to be good motivation....still a little arrogant, I guess. I'm working on this, though.

    You've made me examine my understanding of all that, btw, so thank you. I owe you a beer.

  6. Pfft. What you don't realize is that you might be facing a five page blog entry as a response in a few days, rather than a response right here and now.

    I think it's time for some occultists to be introduced to Bergson (who was the brother of Moina Mathers), Deleuze, and a few other philosophers. 'Cuz. Um. Well.

  7. Pshaw. The first three entries in that link give different definitions for what consciousness is, and say as much to prove my point as yours. Don't waste my time with links to other people's thoughts, I want yours straight up. No more teasing...we all need something new to talk about anyway. Let loose the Hounds of Discourse....=)

  8. I'm not sure whether to love you all for carrying on a lively and interesting debate right as I reenter the blogosphere, or hate you all for giving me too much to read! Great post, brother.

  9. @ Fra Pallas Renatus,

    Great to have you back in the loop, brother!


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