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                                 Where do we go from here? 
                                     By Pete Carroll 

          Occult revivals occur when the social, economic or intellectual 
          status quo is disturbed by the unexpected. Affluence combined 
          with the collapse of the Roman state religion caused one revival. 
          The rediscovery of classical knowledge in the Renaissance brought 
          about another. Dissatisfaction with catholic hellfire 
          christianity spawned spiritualism, theosophy, the Golden Dawn and 
          Crowley. In our own time anti-semitism, affluence, drugs and 
          oriental ideas spawned another outburst. 
          Occult revivals are stimulated by economics and by the availability, 
          rather than the creation of ideas. Roman culture was subject to a 
          huge influx of ideas, cults and philosophies from conquered peoples. 
          Written material surviving from this synthesis appeared again 
          as hermetics in the Renaissance. The revivals of the late 
          nineteenth century and the nineteen-sixties owe much to the 
          availability of scientific ideas and oriental philosophies. It is 
          probably more useful then, to look for impending changes in the 
          general situation rather than within the occult itself if we want 
          to second guess the next revival. The period between one revival 
          and the next is shortening rapidly and we are probably due for 
          another around the turn of the century, give or take a decade. 
          I`d like to try and identify some of the factors which may help 
          shape it. 
          Firstly the millennium. Christianity is unfortunately not yet 
          completely extinguished and humanity will have to cope with a 
          rising tide of apocalypse mania as the calendrical millennium draws 
          closer. Right wing christian fundamentalists in America may even be 
          in a political position to inaugurate a real Armageddon by then. 
          I hope that whatever courage and imagination there is in the occult 
          is put to good use in undermining this sort od idiocy. Those 
          occultists who do jump on the millennial bandwagon have only 
          disaster or ridicule to look forward to. 
          Economics has a powerful effect on the occult climate. A fairly 
          rapid increase in affluence will often provoke a revival as leisure 
          time becomes available and some minds turn to higher things. 
          Conversely, a decline in living conditions will sometimes make 
          people seek what they have lost, or a substitute, by occult means. 
          Boom propelled revivals are usually much more fun than slump 
          propelled upsurges. In this country, any increment in occultism 
          arising from socio-economic desperation, is likely to be some 
          species of neo-nazi mystic nationalism. As with millennium madness, 
          the greater honour will, in the long run, go to those occultists who 
          oppose such nonsense. However, the metaphysical fallout from the 
          sixties may yet carry us through to the next boom revival and these 
          problems may not yet arise. 

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


          It seems unlikely that anthropology or archaeology will be able to 
          make fresh ideas available for cannibalization by the occult in the 
          next revival. Computerized libraries, satellite photography and 
          global communication systems leave few stones unturned. There seems 
          little chance lost ancient manuscripts, magical tribes or forgotten 
          occult civilizations coming to light nowadays. So it is to science 
          itself that I think we should turn for fresh ammunition. 
          There are already discernable strains of space mysticism in some 
          quarters of the occult. Questions about the reality or otherwise of 
          supposed visits by aliens should not distract us from recognizing 
          that UFO-mania itself is a mystico-religious phenomena. The 
          UFO-ologist wants to personally receive wisdom for the whole of 
          humanity from some superhuman being. Seeking angels in space suits 
          is to repeat humanity`s perennial mistake, pretending to look 
          outside for what is really inside ourselves. 
          Quantum physics has been quietly undermining the whole basis of 
          mechanistic cause and effect type science for nearly sixty years. It 
          has been said that if you are not shocked by the implications of 
          quantum physics then you have not understood it. This may be 
          perfectly true for the scientist but for the magician, quantum 
          physics provides elegant confirmation of many of his theories. A 
          quantitative approach to quantum physics is beyond all but the best 
          mathematician. Many of the principles are enshrined in equations for 
          which we have few verbal or visual analogies. Because of this very 
          few laymen or philosophers have been able to appreciate what has 
          been going on. 
          Briefly in qualitative terms, we now have hard experimental evidence 
          which strongly implies that physical process are, at root, acausal; 
          they just happen out of themselves and that consciousness, or at 
          least the decisions of the observer, can modify or control what 
          happens. Secondly it would seem that pure information can travel 
          anywhere instantaneously and perhaps persists indefinitely, 
          providing there is some sort of affinity, or magical link as we 
          would call it, between that which emits and that which receives. 
          Very few liberties need to be taken with quantum physics to fit in 
          virtually the whole of parapsychology. It remains to be seen if 
          quantum physics can be presented in sufficiently accessible form to 
          provoke another occult revival. 

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


          A quantum based revival would effectively demolish the spirit 
          hypothesis. A "spirit" would have to be recognized as nothing more 
          than the information that a phenomenon emitted about itself when it 
          existed physically. Anything else would have to be put down to the 
          creativity of the observer`s subconsciousness. Thus the "tree-ness" 
          of a tree or the quality of a thought is just an extension of the 
          object itself on the plane of non-local information. If you talk to 
          Egyptian gods your subconsciousness is, at best, simply animating 
          the general personality characteristics of the gods projected by 
          their worshippers millennia ago. Spirits cannot be gaseous 
          vertebrates with powers of independent discursive thought. On the 
          practical level quantum physics implies that the medium of magic is 
          not some sort of nebulous psychic energy or force, it is simply a 
          transfer of information. Magical healing or attack is accomplished 
          by long range telepathic suggestion not by astral bandages or 
          thunderbolts. The quantum paradigm forces a re-examination of 
          reincarnation. There is no reason why anybody should not be able to 
          tap the memories of any historical person. Conversely we can all 
          look forward to fragments of our ideas and personalities manifesting 
          in other people in the future. 

          Telekinesis and related phenomena can be accommodated within the 
          quantum paradigm if we allow intent to expand upon the small degree 
          of fundamental uncertainty, or more properly indeterminacy, in the 
          position and momentum of any object. Prophecy is always the most 
          doubtful of the magical arts although short term prediction or 
          precognition can often be impressive. The quantum model allows for 
          this providing the operator later observes the precognised event. 
          Such apparent nonsense as astrology and homeopathy begin to make 
          more sense in a quantum paradigm which suggests that expectation can 
          have real effects via what one might call a magical level. This is 
          quite over and above the purely psychological effects of expectation 
          that materialists usually invoke to explain away these things. 
          I`ve heard the quantum occult paradigm described as Big Bang 
          Mysticism and Electro Gnosis. I rather like this, for it implies 
          that the universe is being viewed as a self-created magical organism 
          and that magic itself is a technology we can potentially master 
          because it is a part of the nature of ordinary reality. Of course, 
          what is missing in this scheme are the pseudo certainties of belief 
          in gods and higher powers or even a benign cosmic mind. It throws us 
          back on our own powers and ingenuities, but isn`t this what the best 
          occultism has always been about anyway ? 

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


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