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The sole and primal Arcanum, sought through the multiplicity of arts, sciences, philosophies, religions, and crafts, is itself the singularity from which they are unfolded: ontologically prior, its shadow is teleologically distant and cast separately by each.  From within all these numberless singularities are reflected diverse and manifold arcana, bringing out of the One, the Many.

These arcana express the Original Mystery in symbolic form, and are variously known as the languages, alphabets, and correspondences of the mysteries, whether figured as mythic religion, religious myth, or magical art and craft.

The primary categories of understanding distinguished – and filtered from each other – by the arcana are the esoteric and exoteric.  Not just the literal interpretation, but even the symbolic and allegorical meanings of an arcane concept, are exoteric, thus suitable to the understanding of those outside the sanctum of initiation, who lack the gnosis – direct, unmediated experience – of the reality they indicate.

The esoteric, by contrast, references the meaning and arcane interpretation pertaining to the initiate: literally, one who has at least begun the Great Work of internal and external transmutation which ultimately confers sovereignty within the microcosm and macrocosm. Not only the direct gnosis, but also the doctrines, lore, and “anagogical” interpretations of arcana, can be understood as esoteric in nature.

None of this is to say that all initiation requires transmission along acknowledged or structured human lines, but it is to say that without either direct apprehension of reality, or access by some means (whether personal, spiritual, traditional, or institutional may vary) to the esoteric meaning of a system of arcana, its use and significance must necessarily be veiled from the profane by exoteric interpretation.

Indeed, the strictly “human” aspects of channels and currents of initiation, being the personalities of the initiators and all their works, are at best transparent and at worst an obscuration – the profane “humanism” which exalts the exterior individuality of the practitioner is itself an exoteric blind.  Yet as each initiate, however unrefined, embodies in him or herself the totality of the current of tradition in microcosm, so each arcane concept, however particular, conceals within itself the Sole Arcanum which is the key to the absolute, ultimate sovereignty of consciousness and nature.

The methods of pursuing the Great Work might be conveniently characterized as partaking of both the extremes of art and craft, the former in its unmediated state suggesting the totality of pure aesthesis, and the latter suggesting practical, technical knowledge.  While both can be taught, the former is best elicited through the inspiration of the muse and perhaps by mimesis, whilst the latter might well lend itself to the guild structure still familiar in certain trades.  Both of these modes likewise have their corresponding esoteric and exoteric applications.  Applied esotericism is generally now called magic.  Although purely Gnostic mysticism might also produce miraculous results equally well described by that term, the work of an “arcane” order pertains particularly to the acquisition of, and exercise of, magical power by means of apprehending esoteric correspondence and the consequent personal (and socio-cultural) transformation.

The question of magic’s relation and relevance to science and religion has become a frequent vexation in the academic context, but experiential access to esoteric knowledge renders it less opaque. (Readers interested in further research along these lines will find that these themes have been extensively treated in the excellent esoteric work SSOTBME by Ramsey Dukes.)  As the scientific method depends upon the proposition of a hypothesis which can be proven or disproven repeatedly and reliably, it removes artistic, aesthetic, and subjective elements.  One familiar product of exoteric science is technology, the function of which also eliminates the subjective element.  This is not to say that there can be no esoteric science. Rather, such refers to the objective elements pertaining to the “Great Work,” arcane correspondences, and so forth.  Familiar examples might include astrology, alchemy, esoteric medical lore such as ayurveda and the science of chi, and other disciplines presenting a total theory of applied correspondence verified by practice.  Such sciences must remain specializations within the context of esotericism; taken as independent paradigms or “world-views” they rapidly degenerate into the form of “total exotericism” generally known as “superstition,” its etymology referring, originally, to super-ordinate religious observance but applying equally well to an accumulation of potentially technically effective, but scientifically spurious, ideas.

This observation suggests consideration of the next category, religion, definitions of which have a history of being even more vexed than “magic,” which at least forms a relatively consistent and accurate image in the popular mind of being concerned with effective power, which it is.  From an esoteric perspective, religion might be best understood as the “binding beliefs,” and associated praxis, which constitute a given collective vision of objective reality (in contrast to the scientific understanding of objectivity which depends on data collected by a collection of individual observers or experimenters). The seemingly personalist or even individualist nature of do-it-yourself religions such as characterize the New Age movement should not be allowed to obscure the reality that even in “religions of one” some interaction with a reality separate from the practitioner is proposed, whether this refers to spirits, deities, or even consciousness itself.  This very interactive nature proposes a shared reality, even if shared only by the practitioner and that which is beyond him or her.  ‘Personal’ or ‘individual’ so-called religions lacking this trait are mysticisms, superstitions, or philosophies.  Any religion might have both esoteric and exoteric elements.  Cosmologies, mythologies, and rites held secret, such as in the ancient mystery cults, suggest esotericism in religion, but so do doctrines of direct access to “theosophy,” divine wisdom, or “theosis,” the process of divinization.  Exoteric religion, familiar to most, refers to the body of beliefs and customs accessible without particular initiations.  Further, the office of the “priest” or ritual operator is not necessarily an esoteric one, in that in many cases it suggests socially, culturally, or theologically recognized or invested function without implying a transmutation in the being of the “priest.”  Thus, when such is implied, this is an excellent indication of esoteric claims being made by a priesthood.

Mysticism, as earlier suggested, does not necessarily suggest esotericism, in that its aim is direct, pure gnosis. A given mystical doctrine may, however, still surround itself with esoteric symbols. Some such doctrines are particularly given to anagogic interpretations. Can there be an exoteric mysticism? Ecstatic mass movements and cults would seem to have this quality. More speculatively, it may be that those who are particularly convinced of the materialistic hypothesis in a manner that seems intuitive are in fact ‘mystics’ of matter.

What, then, of philosophy? Practitioners of this ‘love of wisdom’ often assert it to be the only discipline which allows the total organization of knowledge as well as the understanding of what to do with it. An esoteric philosophy is one proposing the Gnostic apprehension of wisdom through rational progression to ultimately trans-rational, noetic insight. Exoteric philosophy and its various branches are therefore the primary modes of knowledge and the pursuit of wisdom by the profane, and represents the process most complimentary to the pursuit of esoteric gnosis by initiates, for whom a rational society construed according to rational axioms is preferable to any corruptible esoteric despotism, since it ensures an unfettered search for gnosis and wisdom unencumbered by political, theological, and economic rivalries.

No consideration of the terms and concepts pertaining to esoteric and arcane topics would be complete without also considering that more recent concept of the ‘occult,’ which frequently prefixes ‘occult arts,’ ‘occult sciences,’ ‘occult philosophies,’ and even, often in the propaganda of exoteric fundamentalists, ‘occult religions.’ Considering that the eclipse of the sun is referred to as an ‘occultation,’ the concept may have particular relevance to this site as well.

Concisely, the occult refers to that which is hidden or obscure. The particular connotation in esotericism is reference to hidden forces of powers in nature. Thus, occult interpretations of reality are much more amenable to materialistic or partially materialistic conceptions of reality (whether religious, scientific, or philosophical in nature) than many more spiritually inclined esoteric doctrines might be. Thus the popularity of occultism in particular, in the modern esoteric milieu.

The pages of this site are variously illuminated by all of these perspectives, from a variety of angles, which combine to open a gateway to the gnosis of the Black Sun, that ultimate singularity of absolute consciousness which shines, in the Many — One.

“Night is also a sun, and the absence of myth is also a myth: the coldest, the purest, the only true myth.”  — Georges Bataille

If the means and categories of knowledge are all oriented to apprehend the singular Primal Arcanum by pursuing shadows which they themselves cast, myth is the “shadow-body” of that Arcanum itself.  Its shining darkness pervades the emanations of the One — it is the Form of the All; its archetypes provide form to the Manifest as functions of the Unmanifest, permutations and patterns in the endlessly shifting, radiant veil of Maya.  Only as these motions are myths known and conceived.  The Manifest, then, united as the All, acts as the prime “meta-function” of the Unmanifest, organizing and ordering all of its expressed void-fluctuations into apparent coherence.  As an archetype of Unity, the Manifest is only apprehended as such when realized as “the absence of myth” – the Veil of Maya stilled, transparent: the Form of the One.

The ratios of these functions, known rationally, define the mythologies of a culture and an age; cosmologies are the maps of imagery adorning and decorating them, the scenery for the stage on which the myth is enacted and the archetypes – the mythic beings – are the players.

The myths cultures conceive for themselves are like plays within the play; the play itself is a play within the greater shadow-play which conceals the Black Light of the Unmanifest but reveals its darkly shining forms.  A culture or civilization which purports to have no myths deceives itself, but when consciously understood and realized as the stilling of Maya, this Lie casts forth the Form of the All, and is told and heard as the dark logos of the otherwise silent, primordial aeon before, behind, and beyond history.

Yet that aeon is itself a myth; the form of the “primordial Time” of which all other ages are manifest functions.  Personified as the Being of mythic Time, realized as the Deity who rules over Time, it presides along the dimensional limits of wyrd.

The aeonic magician is one who seeks freedom from identification with the archetypes so that they can be consciously interacted with.  When the magician finally achieves total liberty, gnosis of the aeon itself allows relational apprehension of the zeitgeist: the magician comes to know the personal wyrd and the wyrd of the entire aeon, and gains the ability to understand and utter its logoi.  Yet in fulfilling – or surpassing – these personal and trans-personal destinies, the magician forms new myths, and may even generate new archetypes as a consequence.

Ultimately achieving the ability to consciously contrive and manipulate mythologies and cosmologies to the extent of influencing the beliefs of the masses, and thereby the spiritual economy of the age, the aeonic magician seeks out those intersections and interstices of power known as “nexions” of acausal synchronicity.  Discerning those locations, scenarios, and persons which either are, or can become, such crossroads of power, the magician perpetuates the mythos the aeon.  To become such a nexion oneself – to mythologize the self as its own unique archetype – summarizes the Great Work of automythology in which the unmanifest subjective reality of the magician inverts itself, unfolding a veil of maya over the objective reality of the void.  The gods, deities, daemone, devils, and spirits of the magician become the functions of the personal consciousness; the archetypes, the legion of magical selves; the shadow-form of the magician the Total Body of Sorcerous Arcana; and the absolute singularity of the magician’s consciousness — the One.

Monomyth, Multimyth, Omnimyth, and Metamyth

Mythologist Joseph Campbell  proposed the monomyth as the underlying archetypal pattern for the Hero’s Journey upon which all heroic myths are based. From an aeonic magical perspective, this can be understood as characterizing exoteric myth, with its orientation toward cultural continuity and unification, and also as summarizing the singular continuity of the “form of the aeon” which pervades a given age while persisting from age to age.

Esoterically, however, it is more empowering to conceive of the multimyth, being the particular arrangement of archetypal patterns particular to a given aeonic scenario. Not only each arcane system, but also various esoteric religions and mysticisms, will foster their own particularizations of myth. This allows the possibility for the magician to craft and embody a personalized myth – the conjunction of the Great Work with the Black Art of Automythologization.

Fully realized as the Great Play, the sole “infinite game” whose only rule is the ceaseless propagation of endless manifestations, combinations, remanifestations, and recombinations of mythological archetypes and cosmological patterns, the process is apprehended as the Omnimyth, that myth of which every myth partakes: the myth of the iteration and formation of the myth itself. This myth has no end and no exclusive attributes or characteristics, being inclusive of every myth that could be, including the myth of mythlessness. Yet, in pervading and underlying each and every myth, the omnimyth is fully self-referential. Without it, the magician could never come into being as a uniquely personal mythic archetype – but nor can this happen if the magician remains an instance of one of its archetypes. To be known as singular and unique among myths as the only myth which is every myth, it is the myth against all myths – the myth of defiance of the monomyth and opposition to every instance of the multimyth. Nevertheless, it is also not the anti-myth which reverses or refutes the monomyth, nor the counter-myth, the shadowy reflex of one of the esoteric multimyths.

The omnimyth can also be understood as the prime metamyth, all others being the consequence of the magical apprehension of simultaneous multimyths as sharing various archetypal patterns and relationships which can themselves be organized into novel mythic arrangements.

The full manifestation of an Aeon of the Black Sun is a glimpse of the omnimyth revealed.

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