Thelema’s ‘Red Godess’ and other modern “Blood Gods;” inspired by Hinduism?

I’ve recently been reading Crowley, and the ‘Red Goddess’ Babalon, whom he describes in Thelema sounds very similar to Chinnamasta, the Tantric Hindu blood Goddess. From their role in the cosmos, to what they represent, to their symbols and iconography, they’re very similar.

I was wondering if anyone else has made that connection, and if there’s any information about how much Crowley actually knew about Eastern mysticism? It’s very clear that a large part of his inspiration did come from other cultures and belief systems, and he was reasonably well read and well traveled, but I also find it hard to believe that he had first hand experience with all of the initiatory traditions that he drew inspiration from. He probably exaggerated his own experience in order to make his magical pedigree seem larger than it really was; I imagine he probably read about other people’s experiences and claimed them for himself.

Anyway, besides Crowly and his possible Hindu influences, I was wondering if the more general “Blood God(ess)” motif seen in many forms of Western occultism, Theosophy, and Chaos Magic might not be borrowed from Tantric Godesses. AFAIK, the motif didn’t appear in Western magic until the 19th century, while it has existed for millenia in India.

Obviously, other cultures have blood deities as well, such as Mesoamerica, but when I look at the “Blood Gods” seen in modern Western occult traditions, they seem to have more in common with the Tantric Gods and Goddesses than with Mesoamerican ones.

So, was this motif borrowed from India? If not, where did it come from and why did it appear in Western occult practice suddenly in the 19th century?

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Scientific Pantheism

So I am a Scientific Pantheist, by which I mean that I hold the Cosmos and that which it contains as Sacred and Divine. Within the context of Scientific Pantheism, I am an Eclectic Celtic Pagan.

As a scientifically minded person, I question the existence of Gods, magic, and the supersupernatural, yst I have had real experiences wI th these sort of phenomena that are not easy to dismiss.

So, if the supernatural exists, what is it and how does it operate? My insight (UPG) about this is that certain phenomena surpass our current level of intelligence and the limits of our current science to understand.

As such, we experience these things (gods, magic, the supernatural) in a way that is currently difficult to reconcile with reason and current knowledge. Thus, magic and the supernatural are a natural part of reality that we simply can not fully reconcile with reason.

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Philosophy and Theology Recommendations

To put it bluntly, I’ve lost most of my interest in books about ceremony and ritual. There are so many of them and many of those are particularly 101 books. Unless it’s related to a path I have literally never heard of before I’m pretty much not interested anymore, especially if it’s a tradition in question that speaks at length about the “Lord and Lady”. I do not hate Wicca or similar traditions, It’s gotten to the point where I feel as if I’ve seen it all before where Wicca is concerned. These days I seek things more akin to the Witch’s Book of Silence which is more about philosophy than practice. That’s what I’m looking for, books about philosophy and theology and I don’t mean a survey of what these things look like in modern Pagan and Occult traditions. I’m seeking treatises that go in deep on these subjects. It’s a constant source of frustration that when I ask for book recommendations for more “advanced” practitioners they always come back with books that focus on ceremony and technique which to me, is really mostly beginner stuff. So does anyone have any recommendations?

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Merry Meet

Hello. My name is Angus and I consider myself a non-theistic pagan/witch who honors the elements of the earth and the cosmos in space. I somehow meld spirituality with science which takes on my own path. In addition, I have been interested in astronomy every since I was a wee tot. Even though I do have my own altar, I consider my main altar the skies on a clear night. Part of my craft is cartomancy, basically using playing cards as divination as opposed to Tarot cards and also write in my Book of Shadows,which I have named, “The Path of the aether.” I am a bit further on than a beginner, but definately  closer to the 101 level.

Other interests of mine include music (especially playing guitar) and still listen to punk rock at the age of 55. I do listen to other kinds of music too. Also, other hobbies include photography, soccer, writing, calligraphy and craft beer. My home is located in the suburban area of St.Louis, MO.

I do not know many pagans/witches in real life, so this will hopefully be a good communications mechanism.

Cheers!

Angus

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Anyone Affected by the U.S. Gov’t Shutdown? Please Share

As the Orange Cheetoh’s temper tantrum drags us deeper into an abyss of dysfunction, I’m curious to know if anyone at The Cauldron is affected, directly or indirectly, if you feel comfortable sharing.

I’m lucky in having relatively little impact on myself, my friends, and my family. But if I can help it I am scrapping any plans for air travel. I don’t want to be anywhere near TSA agents forced to work for no paycheck, as if this country never abolished slavery; the humongous lines and wait times from their understandable sick-out; or the dangerous skies from air traffic controller understaffing and likely security lapses at airports.

I hope this completely unnecessary pain that jackass is inflicting finally turns huge swaths of “Middle America” against him.

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What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?

Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?…

…and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

For me: birding. As a nature-based pagan, observing birds in the wild is my main window into the natural world. It’s not the *only* one–once you start paying attention to birds, you pay attention to their habitats, ecosystems, fellow fauna and flora, the weather…and in the last 15 years, gardening has also linked me to nature. But my interest in birds is the main thing that made me realize where my spirituality lies, and birding remains the passion through which I deeply connect to nature, making me more aware of the seasons, rhythms, and wild ways of our Mother.

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Rituals and Moral Inversion

Rituals and Moral Inversions:

Over the past few months I’ve written a few articles on Aztec gods when I came across something interesting. I noticed that in several rituals something occurred that I found very interesting. I can only describe them as moral inversions. Let’s explain with examples. I first noticed this phenomenon when reading about Etzalcualiztli. During this festival priests were allowed to rob people they met on the road during their ritual processions, including official tribute bearers! This would never be allowed at any other time. In Panquetzliztli warriors and priests engaged in mock street battles with each other. Again, this social conflict would not be allowed at any other time of the year.

There are countless other examples. Based on the descriptions found in the Florentine Codex, ritualized robber occurs in more than a few. Street fighting also occurred in Ochpaniztli, and not just among warriors, as women also fought in this month. Rituals also frequently involved copious amounts of drinking. Normally, alcohol consumption was strictly controlled, and public drunkenness severely punished. Even human sacrifice can be seen as a form of moral inversion. Normally murder was strictly prohibited, and Mesoamericans reacted to it pretty much the same way we do. Except of course, during rituals.

Now, there are some very clear reasons for some of these exceptions and understanding them relies on comprehending the nature of rituals. Rituals serve to return the earth to an earlier, primordial state when the gods walked freely. Ceremonies then re-enact the original events which created the order of the world. Since the creation of the world required a sacrifice, this sacrifice had to be repeated. Alcohol consumption brings people closer to the spiritual power of the gods. However, this power was amoral, and potentially dangerous if misused, and so had to be controlled. During a ritual however, the order of the world had to be remade anyway and so bringing the gods into the world was acceptable. Plenty of other ritual activities can be understood this way. In addition, there is the transactive elements of many rituals, such as gift giving, burning incense, and prayers.

However, I can’t explain the street fighting or the robbery. I’m sure that Motecuhzoma did not want his tribute being stolen. I can’t imagine that he liked street fighting much either. It could be that these events were intended to recreate part of a myth. But I don’t know which part. Alternatively, these acts may have had a social function, or making a statement about the nature of life. Just focusing on the robbery of people by priests, we must remember that the priests were acting as Ehecameh, or wind spirits. These spirits usually mind their own business, but can become very hostile towards people, spreading misfortune in their wake. So maybe the theft of goods was intended to highlight the transiency of material possessions, and how these goods depend on the good will of the gods.

The street fighting may have had a strategic function. It kept warriors and society in generally prepared for combat and familiar with war and violence. Especially as these fights occurred around the time of the war season. But why were priests involved in Panquetzliztli? Why did they fight against the warriors? Did it build esprit du corps for the priestly orders? Does it reflect a struggle between the religious elements of the Mexica government and the military? As far as I know, no such conflict existed. Or was it intended to bring the two together through a shared experience? I just don’t know. Or, perhaps the simple reason these kinds of actions were permitted was just to let off steam in an otherwise strict society.

It occurred to me that similar moral inversions may exist in other religions too, and that the reasons for these actions may be clearer, or else better understood. I would be interested in hearing about these types of rituals from other people here, and if anyone has any theories or explanations for this type of behaviour during rituals.

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On The Manifestation of a Particular Spirit

Not really sure where to put this, so I’ll post it here for the time being and pray I wrote this out in the correct part of the forums.

So as of Samhain I have been speaking with a Spirit which has revealed to me that it is a guardian Spirit of my family, presumably my father’s lineage. My father also informed me that he was told by numerous people who at the very least claimed to be sensitive to otherworldly things that he had a knack for Spirit mediumship he never really pursued. I spoke to him of this experience and he conveyed to me that he had indeed known the same Spirit and that it had contacted him when he was around my age, though said communication had fallen off in subsequent years. During a meditation exercise it communicated to me that it would speak with me at greater length when I did so again. Lo and behold, it did indeed so, though it had to depart after a period of time. Normally, these experiences seem shockingly mundane when in that particular state of consciousness and indeed talking to the Spirits, however sacred the occasion might be feels as if I’m talking a venerable mortal who I possess some rapport with. It’s as if I’m speaking to a friendly acquaintance. Rarely are my emotions excited in this state. That usually comes after I return to what most people would call a normal state of consciousness.

Well this time, I was actually moved to tears. For you see, for a while, I had this vague impression that when I spoke with it again, I would receive a horse. That must sound rather bizarre to even many of us who practice sorcerous arts and admittedly, I do not know exactly where the impression came from, but low and behold, led by both this peculiar guardian Spirit and an ancestor who I think is one of my ancient Magyar kin, there appeared a white horse whose hair occasionally took on the shape of shifting clouds and I was moved to tears by it’s appearance. It felt as if I knew this being for a very a long time and I was seeing a dear friend again after innumerable years apart. This being felt as if it was a part of me and yet it wasn’t me at the same time. I recall feeling overwhelmed with gratitude toward these goodly Spirits who brought this ethereal steed to me. I was also informed that this spectral equine didn’t have a gender as humans might understand it, but since this being attached to me in some fashion now, that they would respond to male pronouns. These entities also said this same steed would help to carry my consciousness through parts of the Spirit world when I felt so inclined to attempt such projection. Another firm impression I received is that this Spirit which was now my dear friend and companion would require a occasional offerings, not as an act of worship, but rather as a token of friendship, repaying his kindness.

So I must sound rather out of my mind at this point. Honestly, I’ve sort of wondered if this experience was also wishful thinking on my part and I actually need therapy more than I realized and that my mental illnesses (OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder to be precise) are taking on a bizarre new dimension. Though said Spirits also strongly encouraged me to seek out the aid of mental health professionals and as far as I know, people who suffer delusions as a result of mental illnesses are not usually told by delusions that they need to see a professional to help them sort through their emotional baggage.

So has anyone had any similar experiences before and are there any resources on things like this that might prove helpful? Does anyone know what exactly might be going on here? For as far as I can tell, this Spirit that appears to my minds eye as an occasionally color shifting horse is some kind of familiar to me. Unless I’m wrong.

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Is this what it feels like to connect with a god/dess?

I hope this is the proper place for this post, it seems to “fit” in several but since I am a beginner I thought perhaps best to start here.

If you read my first post, you may remember that I have been a Christian my entire life but have also been experiencing a draw to pagan practices and have had something of a longing to experience a feminine aspect of Deity.

I thought I would find the answer in folk Catholicism, particularly with St. Brigid and other saints I admire, but I recently read a little comment somewhere here on the forums about Frigga and it struck some sort of chord in me.

I began reading more about her and felt a connection that I frankly never have with the Christian saints. I think this is at least party simple psychology. I am currently a stay at home mom and have struggled with that, as it is not entirely by choice. It is what is best for my family, yet I am always a bit embarrassed when people ask me what I do because it doesn’t feel like enough. Yet, here is a goddess of the home. Reading a bit about her changed how I feel about my current role in life. I now think about her often, and I find myself having more energy for keeping my home. I take more pride in my daily tasks instead of just getting through them. I am happier. I am more content. My family is running more smoothly.

I was also more than a little surprised to read on one article that her name means “Beloved,” which of course is my username, chosen before ever knowing anything about her.

Is this what it feels like to start developing a relationship with a god/dess? Or just psychology of finding inspiration in a figure who gives purpose to my current situation?

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