On the Soul and the Elements, or, Farewell to the Tripartite Anthropology, Part I

“Tripartite Anthropology” is a standard, although pompous, name for the concept held by the pre-Socratic philosophers 2500 years ago (and no doubt by people  long before then) that humans consist of body, soul, and spirit. Using those terms now is as inadequate for our times as using Empedocles’ four-element model would be for doing chemistry. We do have a physical body, obviously. The problem is with the other two terms. People now use the terms “soul” and “spirit” more or less interchangeab … [Read more...]

How I Learned to Be Psychic

 In order to explain my theories about the nature of consciousness, I need to first relate how I became convinced that our minds have talents that cannot be explained in the Newtonian universe that most of us live in in our daily lives. I have no natural talent for being psychically sensitive. Instead, like most chronic depressives, I early on learned to ignore all my feelings in order to get on with each day’s business, and those feelings included any intuitive impulses.In 1959, I and my fi … [Read more...]

Thoughts About the Universality of Saints

One of my fondest memories from the decade (1978 to 1987) when I was trying to be a good practicing Catholic again, for the sake of my sobriety, was the Sunday morning at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Oakland (later destroyed by the earthquake that collapsed a freeway in Oakland) when I received the Eucharist from the hands of Charles, a lay minister who was also one of my good friends in A.A. Charles was a Polish Catholic and had survived being in Auschwitz. He had kept the tattooed number … [Read more...]

Aporrheton 5: The Laws of Magic (Revised), Part II

[This continues yesterday's blog, updating my thoughts on magic and psychic talents--since I am unfortunately thought to have some expertise about such matters. Sheesh!]3. You cannot use the arts of the Craft to win fame, fortune, power, or any other sort of material or social advantage.This is how all the psychic arts work, not just those of the Craft.  Why they work thus is another question—that they do work thus is well-known.  Perhaps the simplest explana­tion is that if your major mo … [Read more...]

I Had a Jewish Grandfather Named Kelly

Even in my forties, I still learned things by talking with my mother. On her sixty-fourth birthday, I asked her, "About your father.  What did he feel, believe, do?”"He came to Mass, stood in back, helped to collect the money, and especially he liked Mary.”"But did he think he was Jewish?”"Why, yes, of course. All the Scheers had converted in Germany, but only because they had to. Over here they could choose what to be.”"Then they were .. . . Marranos?”"Who?”"That's Spanis … [Read more...]

A Few Books About Infinity and Consciousness

Back in the early 1980s, when Alta, my second wife, was working on her LCSW, her mentor John recommended that she keep files chronologically. That is, rather than filing information topically, one can keep everything associated with a particular year— correspondence, souvenirs, miscellaneous writings, etc.—in a file for that year. That seemed a useful concept to me; I adopted it also. Lately, in lower-energy moments, I have been bringing one armload of folders at a time from my file cabinet out i … [Read more...]

On Jesus as a Gnostic

 Why write about him at all? Because, like it or not, he is the protagonist in the story of Western civilization. You know about him; you have a theory about him, even if it’s that you should ignore him. But, as with most topics, it’s better to be well-informed than to be ignorant.Before 1945, the few people interested in the Gnostics generally thought they were heretical interlopers whose teachings had nothing to do with the genuine Christian message. The Nag Hammadi documents, which iclude … [Read more...]

On the Necessity of Awakening

The Castle Frankenstein poem I posted as a blog records an experience that set me on a Gnostic path. It think it must be significant that I recovered my memory of it during a strange, dark prelude—maybe calling it “existential despair”is not too inaccurate—to my 1963 Awakening experience, of which I have not yet posted a full description, although my long History poem was one attempt to describe it.My experience in 1954 had been an Awakening also. Afterward I knew many things; in that sense I … [Read more...]

Knowledge Rather Than Faith

What serves as my religion was formed in an instant when I was 14. Ever since, I have searched for adequate vehicles to express it in practical ways. What I know from that experience is how the Divine felt to me. That knowledge is a foundation, primordial relative to all specific religions. It enables me to be aware of the presence of the divine in almost any context, Christian or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist or Pagan, as long as I remember to pay attention, which I sometimes don’t, at least not at … [Read more...]

Divinity, Infinity, and Infinitesimals

No one can be absolutely objective about religion, because every person must have a set of values that enable one to make life decisions. Those values always serve as the equivalent of a religion, no matter what they are called. A person who was truly neutral and value-free would experience life as being meaningless and would be in a state called anomie, which is a late and usually lethal stage of clinical depression. The best one can do is to be consciously aware of and candid about all one’s v … [Read more...]


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