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10 June 2006 @ 09:39 pm
Regarding the Lack of Occultism in Wilber's Integral Model, and the Role of an Integral Magick  
Someone emailed me a few weeks back with some questions regarding Wilber's model, it's conflict with occult worldviews, and the reconciliation of the two. The response was well worth sharing, as this is something I've been working towards writing anyway as I stuggle with the early chapters of my book. I imagine that I'll use some of this as rough material for more polished and better-supported thought in the book. For now, this is a good summary of my views.




Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 21:18:32 -0700
From: "Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen" <kaidevis@gmail.com>
To: (cut)
Subject: Re: Integral Magick

On 6/1/06, (cut) wrote:
> I used to study and pratice with the HOGD until I discovered Ken Wilber.
> Then I intepreted magick through his lens as some kind of retroromantic
> regression to a pre-rational worldview. I see that you are informed by
> Wilber's work yet maintain the magickal worldview. I'm trying to reconcile
> the two and see you are working on a project called integral magick. Can you
> direct me to your written works on how you manage this? Thanks.


I am in the process of writing a book about it right now; I don't have any polished material regarding this available online yet. However, it's not very difficult for me to explain. Wilber claims to be putting forth a model of everything -- his integral model -- which explains anything and everything about human experience. However, what he has done is create a thorough model that shows us more about his understanding of psychology and eastern spirituality (personal interests/foci/biases) than it does about a truly "integral" world view.

As you note, he often (usually) treats magic or the belief in magic as "some kind of retroromantic regression to a pre-rational worldview." Specifically he is following in the footsteps of Freud and many other western psychologists in dismissing occultism merely as "infantile wish fulfilment." The argument is that it is an early stage of development (Wilber's Phantasmic-Emotional, or SDi "Purple" meme) and that a healthy individual should "grow out of it" because magic is not real.

There is good argument for the points he holds; a belief in magic is present at a certain point in childhood development, and in certain undeveloped ("primitive") cultures. It generally is a sort of infantile wish-fulfilment, or a yielding to forces of the world that simply are not yet fully understood by these people.

However, Wilber has ignored -- whether consciously or not -- the great mass of western spiritual traditions that deal with magick. It would be very difficult to take even the most cursory examination of the western magickal traditions without tripping all over some very high-level spiritual experiences analagous to those developed within eastern traditions. Scholars have been drawing parallels and distinctions between the occidental and oriental approaches ever since people began a worldwide trade of ideas.

For example, there is a working in magick known as "The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" which is a rather western mystical way of saying "How to contact your Higher Self and maintain a connection by which it informs and guides your life." Arguably the same goal as many eastern traditions, and often with similar results. The western Hermetic tradition is a body of wisdom philosophy stretching back almost two thousand years. And anyone who has studied or watched performed any amount of ritual magick by skilled practitioners would be able to tell you that the western ceremonial tradition has much to offer in obtaining nonordinary methods of consciousness, many of them higher consciousness of similar types pursued in the east (though magick has its own unique states worth study, as well.)

Wilber has, essentially, discarded all of the Western mystical and magickal tradition outside of a very small slice -- Christian mysticism (because he can't ignore it) and Qabala (because everyone knows about it; though he sticks to the rabbinical views). Everything else he ignores and does not address, filing it away under "Belief in magick: infantile". His study of western esotericism does not seem to contain *any* information about magick as it has existed within the past century -- by that standard (tossing out the last century's advances in theory and practice), *any* field of human endeavour could be easily devalued and ignored.

If I were to write my own book and only cover psychology as it existed up until the first years of the twentieth century, I would have missed all the excitement and definitely all of the relevant information. The same is true when psychologists such as Wilber write about magick and only bring their research about magick current to the nineteenth century. Magick has grown just as much.

At the same time Wilber supports his position that magick does not represent an "authentic" human experience and that magick is not real, he supports a belief in the siddhis or "powers" of yoga. A thorough study of the two shows a great many similarities between the powers gained by a siddha and the skills gained by a truly masterful magician. Many magicians in the western tradition actually begin their practice by following the practice regimens within yoga for developing siddhis. That one fact alone should merit attention; Wilber seems ignorant of it entirely.

Wilber also tends to drop shamanism out of the picture, too; it gets lumped in with magick all the same, even though it represents perhaps the longest continuing thread of authentic human spiritual experience the globe over. How he can say he's including everything and in the same breath dismiss shamanism is beyond me. Wilber has even said himself that one does not need to live in a highly developed culture to achieve highly developed spiritual states, which is exactly what shamanism shows us. Yet it gets discarded all the same. Perhaps we can understand this on the grounds of lumping it in with drugs, important to many (but most certainly not all!) shamanic rites; he tends to not address how drugs fit into his model at all, either, saying only on Kosmic Consciousness that he has friends who've gotten mileage out of entheogens (not the word he uses) but that he himself is almost entirely ignorant of them. (It also seems odd to me to create a model of human experience that does not include chemognostic states all the way from caffeinated tea to LSD; Wilber doesn't touch the topic.)

His model, though highly focused upon eastern visions of higher spirituality, even excludes some from the east as well. His treatment of Taoism, whenever it appears, is generaly brief and also ignores those aspects of it that don't fit in well with the integral model. For example, Taoism as well has a milleniums-long tradition of magick as well, that is considered an effecacious and necessary part of the stream of their tradition.

But before I continue to bash Wilber's model so much, I should play devil's advocate. It is actually rather easy to see how Wilber ended up in the position he has taken. Any psychologist worth his salt would see the masses who pursue magick and dismiss it as wish-fulfillment; that does not, however, address all those people who pursue magick quietly as an internal path to realization without need of external advertising.

Most of the easily available material on "magick" in the western tradition is, frankly, not flattering. It truly is infantile wish fulfillment; people who want to burn a candle and chant their way to wealth and fortune, when what they really need is a lesson in the twin dark arts of accounting and investing. People who want to believe they have the power to change their lives without actually going out and putting the hard work in. People who want an easy fix. People who want to "wave a magick wand" and have it all be better.

People who want to dress in black and festoon themselves with silver jewelry and generally "go against the establishment" make a highly visible presence. Everyone knows the type. And while that horde probably represents a significant fraction of self-identified magicians, it does *not* show the people who have taken the lessons of magick to heart and blend in with their surroundings. The people who flow with life. The people who are personally developed enough to have no need to impress others with arcane knowledge of things most people don't even know exist. Most of the truly skilled magicians I know are either very quiet about their practice, or entirely silent.

Once you have reached a certain point in the practice of magick you realize that it is far more easier to just keep to yourself and those who understand so that you don't end up: a) facing the (very valid) worry that people will devalue you for your belief in magick ("because it's not real"), and b) trying to explain it for the umpteenth time to someone with a shallow understanding of magick.

It is extremely important to note that in the west this current is called "occultism." To be occulted means to be hidden. It refers, generally, to the wisdom within the tradition. A cursory glance will not often turn up much. Deeper searches are likely to take you down false paths full of blinds. It is only when one chooses to walk the path with heart that the path begins to reveal itself, and others -- the truly skilled others you'd want to talk to -- that you find people to share the path and share their wisdom. The true wisdom one is truly after, the paths to get there, and the people who share those paths -- all are occulted from view.

So the basic summary of my viewpoint would be:

- Wilber has a very neat model, but like any model it is flawed. Like most comprehensive models, it tells us at least as much about the biases of its creator as it does about the world.

- Wilber tends to favor eastern views of high-level spiritual development, systematically ignores the western parallels. Shamanism, neopaganism, magick, and similar traditions are all dismissed without a thorough (or even cursory) examination.

- Wilber has systematically ignored the western wisdom traditions parallel with the eastern in favor of playing up the Freudian angle on magick as childish belief in things that aren't real. He accepts magick within one hemisphere (siddhis of yoga) while denying it in the
other (western hermetic/ceremonial current).

Much of the time Wilber simply ignores these things. He addresses them rarely, and when he does, they are labeled "early stages" of development and one is told to just forget them and move past them and get on with the business of enlightenment. Where Wilber often goes to
great lengths to examine a topic -- any and all topics -- in order to either fold them into his model or categorically show their irrelevance, he does neither with magick. His support is so weak here that he cannot rule them out of his model other than on the voice of authority and the support of the materialistic side of our culture that dismisses magick outright.

Wilber's model has a great many wonderful aspects to it. It truly is, I believe, a model worth studying. However, I do not find his model to be an accurate representation of the world. He cannot use his model to explain to me what it is that I am experiencing as a practitioner of magick. If I were to believe his model, all I've done is spent the last 12 years learning feel, see, and know things that aren't really there -- things my fellow magicians also feel, and see, and know. The support for Wilber's argument? Because Wilber says so, and lots of psychologist think magick isn't real. (But a lot of them do. It's unproven ground.)

I understand how many people are drawn to his model as complete and comprehensive; it shows them more of the world than they have experienced themselves. Among the crowds that I run in -- full of witches and magicians and shamans -- the general reaction to his model ranges from mild interest ("looks like he might be onto something") to out right disgust ("he hasn't even done his research before saying our beliefs are peurile!"). These people generally see aspects of human experience -- magickal states with which they are familiar -- completely lacking from his maps. And when you go looking for why it's not there, he says, "Because magick isn't real... Oh, but the siddhis are."

Among the people I know who lead more normal lives, their exposure to Wilber generally borders on religious rapture. I've watched at least a dozen people up close go Wilber-wild and fall head first into his integral cult without every questioning whether or not there's something the model might *not* explain. These people take Wilber's views on magick for their own without ever truly questioning the premises those beliefs lay upon. But that's life; that's how humans work.

Myself, I tend to jump paradigms. I have yet to find any attempt at an integral model that explains the world to me that I have witnessed myself. Wilber has done a better job than most, and thus I study him. I use his models where they make sense, and often use his terms to explain personal, cultural, and spiritual development to others. But where his models don't make sense I abandon them, and they make little sense in regards to magick. And that is why, I think, practitioners of magick have generally been nonplussed by his creation.

My personal answer has been to attempt a bigger model. However, I do not have a great interest at this point in my life of tackling all the broad material that one needs to tackle in order to deal with Wilber's topic. I have narrowed myself instead to creating an equivelant integral model of magick for worldwide practitioners regardless of traditions. Using the same premises, I have constructed a model that can explain every aspect of magickal consciousness from its most base (Freudian wish fulfillment) to its highest (pursuit of enlightenment and spiritual wisdom). The details of that model fill a great many of my notebooks (I can relate oh-so-well to Wilber's anecdotal stories of "all those damn yellow legal pads" that he works with) and will likely keep me busy through the end of 2007 sorting and writing it all down.

My hope is that the model I have created will allow a more open dialogue between people of different magickal beliefs by showing how it all fits within a common model, and how that integral magickal model fits in with a larger view of reality (like, oh, say, the integral model). No one model alone is ever sufficient, but perhaps someone will come afterwards who can fuse the two and rectify the flaws in both Wilber's system (known and obvious) and my own system (unknown and untested). More likely it would be another model -- showing another author's biases -- that offers another, incrementally better view of The Whole Enchilada (Life, the Universe, and Everything).

I read back through this and note that I have rambled a great deal. I hope I have answered some of your questions, those those are for the most part mutely stated in your letter: "I see that you are informed by Wilber's work yet maintain the magickal worldview. I'm trying to reconcile the two and see you are working on a project called integral magick. Can you direct me to your written works on how you manage this?"

I manage this mostly by not letting Wilber's fascinating model get in the way of my own personal experience of reality (that it is magickal, that magick exists, that magick can be worked, that magick is a valid spiritual path, that magick can offer enlightenment as good as anything else.)

I have not entirely reconciled the two -- hence the integral magickal model I have been creating -- but I spend time examining things carefully and sorting it out a bit more each day (and each chapter draft). Truth be told, I don't think the models can be reconciled while Wilber is alive, because so long as he is the final authority on his model it does not seem that magickal beliefs, practices, or experiences will be worked into it. So I've sucked it up and I'm trying to do my best on my own with what information I have. I compare notes with other magicians and refine. I contemplate.

I hope I've answered your questions. Please feel free to write me back with any questions I might have raised, or other questions you might have in this regard. If you are looking for futher resources online you may be interested to read some of the online work of M. Alan at

http://www.kheper.net/topics/Wilber

Alan is an occultist with a strong background and understanding in modern occult philosophy who has also been highly drawn to the works of Ken Wilber. He has several analyses of various points of Wilber's model and philosophy along with several of his own critiques about things like Wilber's failure to incorporate occultism into his model. Specifically, you might be interested in

http://www.kheper.net/topics/Wilber/no_occultism.html

which is one of the papers I am citing in my own book on the topic of Wilber's lack of space for occultism within his Integral model. Alan's insights into Wilber's model carry the clarity one would ask of an academic, with the magickal worldview one would find in an adept of the occult traditions. Alan also examines some other flaws in Wilber's model which need similar shoring up before it can come even close to truly being a "theory of everything."

Thank you for this opportunity to babble. I hope you find the information you're looking for. Best of luck to you.


In Life, Love, and Laughter
~Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen
 
 
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Brianbrian33 on June 11th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
*nods* Excellent. Thank you for posting this :-)
Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen: Fenwick at GGP Dawn Redwoods (closeup)kaidevis on June 12th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for being the only one to comment so far... Though I wish someone would take one of these posts and ask the sort of questions that begins dialogue, for dialogue (such as this email) is where I sort my ideas best.

*shrugs*

It is what it is.

(So, any questions or comments?)
(Anonymous) on June 12th, 2006 09:47 am (UTC)
Just a very quick comment in agreement (which I recognise is crap for beginning dialogue), but it is true that the "wish-fulfillment" that he says many people seek in magick is a true phenomenon, but he does write-off all magickal systems based on those people. It's a great shame that he can't recognise the value and the subtle states in consciousness that can be brought about through magickal practice. I've always thought that it may just be that he's trying to be taken seriously as an academic, and speaking abut magick might take that away from him. I'll read through again on my day off and see if I can work up a proper reply :-)
Brianbrian33 on June 12th, 2006 12:07 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that was me...at work and forgot to login.
Fenwick Kaidevis Rysenkaidevis on June 12th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
>>> I've always thought that it may just be that he's trying to be taken seriously as an academic, and speaking abut magick might take that away from him. <<<

A great many people have suggested this. Many of the practices he deliberately steers a wide berth from are the very topics that academia tends to regard with the most disdain: magick, shamanism, entheogens, etc. timbomb wrote in response to this post a comment about Wilber's academic approach and the choice of traditions he draws most examples from:

"Most of Ken's examples come from Zen, Vajrayana, Vedanta and occasionally Christianity and Judaism. Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta in particular seem to have the lion's share of the airtime in Integral Theory. One explanation is that these are the spiritual paths Ken has travelled and so, when looking for examples, it's pretty natural to choose them from the paths you’ve travelled.

Also (and I can’t pretend to be well-read in any of this, we're talking about thousands of years of literature) Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta seem to be very academic schools: practitioners talk, argue and write a lot about their experiences. A lot of other schools seem to generate a lot less text and focus simply on direct experience with a teacher."


Food for thought.
(Deleted comment)
Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen: Fenwick Big Smilekaidevis on June 12th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Both good :)
Thank you! I like your additional perspectives; the note about Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta both being "academic" spiritual practices actually helped click a few free-floating thoughts into place for me about his attempts to create a model that appeals to academics. It's the perfect matchup.
Emil: Valknotdawningday on June 12th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC)
While it's tough to say this with any sort of certainty, given that you haven't published yet, but it strikes me is that you're hoping to reveal at least some of the occulted wisdom of the magickal traditions. Given that much of this has been occulted for so long, do you think there's danger in such revelations? If you do see danger in it, what are the benefits that you feel outweigh the dangers?

And the conspiracy theorist in me has to ask this question: Is it possible that Mr. Wilber is a high-level initiate of a magickal order that has a lot invested in keeping magick (and its self- and society-transformative powers) on the dl and off the radar of most folks with the smarts and the will to do something with it?

Otherwise, I liked this a lot. Hope to see more of these "position papers" as you work on the book.
Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen: Notebookskaidevis on June 12th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
>>> t strikes me is that you're hoping to reveal at least some of the occulted wisdom of the magickal traditions <<<

A bit, yes. I will not be revealing anything in the sense of "This is the ritual, signs, and symbols for the Nth degree in Magickal Order X" because, frankly, while that is an occulted aspect of magick it is an occulted aspect of occulted principles. Why structure a ritual that way? What are the magickal premises behind it? Where are the similarities to other systems, and the differences, and how could one work with both?

I'm interested in stripping away some of the occultism regarding what people are really doing with magick. What the universal rules seem to be, how its various psychocosms are constructed, etc. My primary goal with this book is to provide a foundation for a common dialogue and a common set of high-level correspondences universal to every magickal tradition. A lofty goal, but so far it's shaping up to be an achievable one.

A dedicated outsider to magick would be able to pick up the book and understand what it's saying. I would like it to be accesible to the layman and academic as secondary audiences. But just as a treasure map (even with detailed directions) is not the treasure, so to would any individual hoping to put it into practice still need to delve in and experience the occulted truths for themselves.

>>> do you think there's danger in such revelations <<<

None whatsoever. Others who have revealed things in the past (Crowley comes to mind) have shown that even when its put in plain sight, most people just still won't "get" it. If anything, it muddies the waters more.

If I end up muddying the waters as well, then so be it. But I'm hoping that I'll leave behind clear water, letting others to fend for themselves sorting out the distortions of ripples and reflection from the surface.

>>> And the conspiracy theorist in me has to ask <<<

I haven't laughed so hard all week. That thought will keep me endlessly amused.

>>> Hope to see more of these "position papers" as you work on the book. <<<

There are many more to come. My models are fairly (~95%) complete at this point and it's time for more of them to start manifesting as words. (That's an unbelievably good feeling.)
Emildawningday on June 12th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
>>> I'm interested in stripping away some of the occultism regarding what people are really doing with magick.
It sounds like you're looking to write the "Read this book first" of magick. I mean this along the lines of someone who doesn't know a damn thing being encouraged to pick up your book first, then using what's learned there to evaluate the other paths and find what works best for them. And, then, for those who are already somewhere along the path, this book would give them a better sense of the territory, and the path they're on in relation to others, with the idea that we'll see a lot of new paths from mixing and matching. Would that be an accurate description for what you're sort of hoping this book will be?

>>> That thought will keep me endlessly amused.
'Cause really, if he's so damned smart, he'd know that the only way to throw people off the scent would be to make the explanation he wants people to believe more simple than the sinister truth. That way, Occam's Razor will slice away what's really going on here. So while everyone's saying he's following in Freudian footsteps, he's laughing all the way to his temple... ;-)

>>> There are many more to come.
Glad to hear it!
Fenwick Kaidevis Rysenkaidevis on June 12th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
>>> It sounds like you're looking to write the "Read this book first" of magick. I mean this along the lines of someone who doesn't know a damn thing being encouraged to pick up your book first, then using what's learned there to evaluate the other paths and find what works best for them. And, then, for those who are already somewhere along the path, this book would give them a better sense of the territory, and the path they're on in relation to others, with the idea that we'll see a lot of new paths from mixing and matching. Would that be an accurate description for what you're sort of hoping this book will be? <<<

That's a very accurate summary. Thank you! But I also hope to provide with it a clear picture of what the core practices of magick are and how to do them, as well -- invocation, divination, enchantment, bioenergetic work, etc. They will be fairly stripped of any symbology used by the myriad systems out there, and should then be easily portable to the different traditions.

Show the territory. Explain the maps. Offer some useful vocabulary and ideas. Show how to apply it with minimal fuss. That would have to be the short-short summary.

>>> That way, Occam's Razor will slice away what's really going on here. <<<

If that's what's really up, it's working well. I can't even place it within the realm of possibility.
-9minus9 on June 22nd, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
Firstly, hi. I got here via Tim's blog. Always nice to see some good magical blogs out there. Sadly mine isn't at the moment -- I'm more likely to comment in depth than post. My comments below are to be taken as "in my opinion", and come from 23+ years of meditation, 14+ years of Western magical practice, an integration of Bardon, Crowley, Golden Dawn, Zen/Tibetan/Vipassana Buddhism, Jane Roberts/Seth, William G. Gray, and more.


But before I continue to bash Wilber's model so much, I should play devil's advocate. It is actually rather easy to see how Wilber ended up in the position he has taken. Any psychologist worth his salt would see the masses who pursue magick and dismiss it as wish-fulfillment; that does not, however, address all those people who pursue magick quietly as an internal path to realization without need of external advertising.

I think there is much more to it than that. The AQAL model doesn't particularly allow for an external impact from a higher self view of reality. In my experience, that is where much of the reality affecting effects of magical practise are enacted. Top left internal is where much of the ritual work is done. There is some work in the immediate environment that is possible through the subtle body that Wilber does acknowledge, and that is mirrored in some Eastern paths, but unlike Buddhism, for example, that points at an emptiness behind the subtle and gross incarnate bodies, Western esotericism points at a current at play there. The current (HGA, higher self, whatever), and other currents such as deities/etc, may act, but emptiness has a bit of a hard time acting :-) It's more complex than that of course, but there is a fundamental difference at play regarding the relationship of creation to consciousness.


For example, there is a working in magick known as "The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" which is a rather western mystical way of saying "How to contact your Higher Self and maintain a connection by which it informs and guides your life." Arguably the same goal as many eastern traditions, and often with similar results.

Arguably indeed ... I think the techniques can lead to the same direction, because they help in differentiating between the information from our constant current creation and the information from our mental complexities, however it is a trap to remain in the state of bliss that connection to our source of creation brings us.

The western Hermetic tradition is a body of wisdom philosophy stretching back almost two thousand years.

But with nowhere near the rigor over time that Tibetan Buddhist texts, for example, hold.

And anyone who has studied or watched performed any amount of ritual magick by skilled practitioners would be able to tell you that the western ceremonial tradition has much to offer in obtaining nonordinary methods of consciousness, many of them higher consciousness of similar types pursued in the east (though magick has its own unique states worth study, as well.)

One could also make quite a straight forward comparison between much of the magical workings and psychological inner work, considering the idea of demons in magical writing as being metaphorical for the inner demons that act through roles such as the inner critic or parent, the wounded child, etc.

The crux of all of this, in my opinion, is to deconstruct magical work into

- practices for psychological understanding of the many aspects of our mental self

- development of the subtle energy body and it's effect on our immediate environment

- experiential awareness of the drive that informs what inspires us (our Will) as separate from monkey mind

- communication with the current behind our personal manifestation to affect reality, beyond the scope of our subtle body

and then to reconstruct the various models that do support this, together with the integral world view.

We are given perception of the manifest world; the ability to create a mental model of that world through reason, play, thought, etc; and a level of dominion over the manifest world via the world we hold in our free will.

It's the last bit that the integral world view can't seem to quite account for. Yet...

LVX

R
-9minus9 on June 22nd, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
and I'll just add one little note, which is that my biggest problem with AQAL is in how the different quadrants connect. What is the impact on bottom left from stuff happening in top left, for example. Where does that fit?

Enough for now.

LVX

R
seeker1976seeker1976 on December 1st, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)
Well, just a line to say this entire LJ is incredibly fascinating. I should've guessed that more people would be forming a syncretic philosophy. Thank you for sharing all this with us.

Um, I was raised by a Wiccan priestess and a father who'd studied, to some amateur degree, Siddhi Yoga, Buddhism, Muktananda and others, and largely kept out of it all until a few months ago. I've enough knowledge to make a competent Tarot reader, decent Astrologer and impressive fraud, but of course that's not enough.

Would you have any comments on Keith Sherwood's work? In particular, his book "Chakra Healing and Karmic Awareness" indicated some parallels to radio communications and analog/FM synthesis- something, as an electronic musician, I have an interest in.
(Anonymous) on November 3rd, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
I have a website which deals with this
I am an student of Daoist magic who maintain an active interest in Renaissance magic and alchemy. I strongly resent the attempts of modern psychologists to colonise the study of magic, by representing it as psychology or archetypes or infantile regressions. My website deals with this subject in depth, although it is very much under construction.

wildchrysanthemum dot angelfire dot com

The article "Preface and disclaimer" explains why modern psychology is entirely inappropriate for explaining magic, and the article "Questions and answers on alchemy" discusses the correct attitude in learning alchemy (as well as magic).
ramananda on April 11th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Integral Occultism, Integral LHP and so one
Very good text!

I´ve being studing a lot of spiritual paths since a child and I began studing magic 13 years ago, when I was 14 years old. My parents always were very ecletic, so it is very natural to me to work with different spiritual views.

At my teens I became interested at Left Hand Path and I created a elist community to discuss this. I think this was my try to create a Integral view on LHP. There were a lot of people from different views: modern satanists, ONA types, luciferian, thelemits, atheists and chaos magicians. I was the least, but studied all this others views.

Since then my purport is to have a holistic/integral view of the spiritual world view. Now my main pratice is raganuga-bhakti-sadhana, Santo Daime workings and shamanic rituals.

To me Ken Wilber is not so holistic at his eastern approch cause he only researched at Advaita Vedanta. What about Vishadvaita, Suddhadvaita, dvaita-advaita and acintya-abheda-abheda worldview? To me is the least is the more integral worldview cause Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a great nyaya student (logician) who make a synthesis from all other past belief systems. It´s my will now to join his paradigm with the Integral approach developed by Wilber and others.
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
My two cents
This discussion is very important. Thanks for being a pioneer.

I'm currently reading Wilber's book Integral Spirituality and I find it to be quite compatible with Shamanism and with Western Occult traditions be they Thelema, Hermetic, Gnostic, Pagan, whatever.

Wilber himself is a Buddhist, so this is what he focuses on, this is what he knows.

I am turned off by the rock-star hype and the click-ishness of his Integral movement. He tends to only interview very Orthodox Christian "mystics" or stick to Eastern philosphy. This is his preference. I don't however think that his model necessarily leaves out the Occult or Magick. He doesn't go into it, but who cares, in my oppinion it fits right in there just fine.

Wilber describes the difference between States of Consciousness and Stages of Develpmental growth. States training (Buddhism, Shamanism, Magick, Liturgy, ectastic dance etc.) would be the Horizontal development line on the Wilber-Combs lattice. While the verticle line would be the changing world views and cognative structures one would experience over time. (The transformation from being perhaps a rule-centric conformist to having a more holistic flowing world view). Wilber's model allows for two different types of Magic. Superstitious, Ego-Centric wish fullfilment being the remains of a pre-rational world view on one hand. And legitimate spiritual States training on the other. The later he would equate with the Zen program. Gross, Subtle, and Causal States attained in Meditation are also attained in Shamanism, and in Occult liturgy. For the record, many of the people Ken interview on his website IntegralNaked.org are Pro-psychedelics and speak openely about them including artists, musicians, and rabbais. I don't think his model is as anti-shamanic as one might think.

You are right to be critical of his or any teachings. To quote one of his mantras, the map is not the territory. I think that his Integral Model is very compatible with Magick though, even though he does not give it much lip service.
(Anonymous) on May 16th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
Re: My two cents
And also this recording of Wilber is on topic: http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/3304561/

(Anonymous) on May 4th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Integral Occultism???
I am a lay-student of Ken Wilbers theoretical model and find its utility in understanding the western "occult" tradition to actually be quite profound.

When Wilber uses the word 'magic' he is almost never using the term to mean what an authentic occultist means with the word 'magick'.

Wilber always seems to use 'magic' to refer to a primary, narcisistic level of psychological development and corresponding worldview in which the ego is unable to fully cognitavely take the role of 'other' and subsequently relates to its environment, and everybody/thing in its environment, as an extension of itself. Wilber did not invent this particular usage, he takes it directly from the psychological systems he integrates into his larger theoretical approach, an approach which is not limited simply to human psychological development, but also includes (the mapping of) authentic spiritual experiences, non-ordinary states, and stages of mystical realization.

So where he uses the word 'magic' (and talks about the 'infantile naricisism' etc of the magic worldview) he is NOT talking about 'MAGICK', the illuminating path, the gnostic teaching, the hermetic mystical tradition and all of its (potentialy) powerfull transformative rituals, methods of revelation, that practice and lifestyle oriented around waking up to the inherent divinity in ourselves and exploring the subtle dimensions of reality. Nor is he EVEN TRYING (when saying 'magic') to approach that particular (vast) subject matter. Wherever he says 'magic', it is always in the very specific context of talking about stages of psychological development (which he considers to be just one of several dimension of human experience), using the specific models and LANGUAGE of that particular paradigm (developmental psychology; spiral dynamics).
He is absolutely NOT trying to discredit occultism, or any sincere attempts at spiritual realization using the practical method which has come to be known as 'Magick'.

This simple semantic issue, sadly, tends to confuse and/or alienate many "Magickal practicioners" from his work.

There is plenty of room for Paganism, Shamanism, Occultism, etc, (insert spiritual orientation here) within integral theory. Just because Wilber hasnt written volumes on these various approaches does not mean he rejects them as invalid. And, Ive no doubt Mr Wilber would agree, there is plenty of room in the world for "integrally informed" practicioners working in ALL of these traditions.
Mystic and visionary artist Alex Grey is a sound example of what we might call an "Integral Shaman". Free audio discussion between him and Ken can be found at integralnaked.org









(Anonymous) on May 4th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
Re: Integral Occultism???
As I understand it the "magickal worldview" fits nicely into Wilbers scheme in a few key ways. At the very least:


-As a discrete STATE:
The "Magickal Worldview" commonly shows up as a type of temporary peak STATE OF AWARENESS, in what Wilber refers to as the "psychic/subtle realm". Such state experiences might happen naturally, spontaneously, or they can be deliberately induced by a wide variety of methods, some of them very easy, some requiring years of preperation. For example (an example of the 'easy' method), if I were to take a tab of LSD, I would, for about eight hours or so, be intensly imersed in a state of subtle luminosity and psychic intensity. I would experience a temporary glimpse into the phenomonological realm of the true Yogi, of the master Shaman, of the ALCHEMIST. But I would not stay there. I would come back down again, back to my ordinary baseline waking state here in the "gross realm". For I am no Yogi/MAGUS, and have not walked the path which leads to stable adaptation to that "subtle-psychic" terrain.

-As a Line of development:
The different varieties of ritual Magick really do qualify as a type of "states training" in Wilber's philosophy. According to integral theory, if such "state training" is practiced diligently, over some years, the practitioner will gradually, stage by stage, learn to adapt to the particular "state-realm" that the practice is oriented towards, until finally being permanantly situated there.
So, the "magical worldview" is also a stage by stage developmental unfolding process, a multi-leveled line/stream (Wilber calls this the "deep psychic line"). The neopyhyte starts at square 1; the true "Master" of any discipline is somebody who has navigated their way up to the higher potentialities of their particular endevour.