Law of Attraction, Part 8. Ancient Brahminism

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At some point during the beginning of the first millennium BCE, the descendants of the Aryans and the non-Vedic tribes abandoned their pastoral life in favor of developing and acquiring wealth and property. But with this new affluence, a new set of questions arose concerning the unfamiliar ways of living. How could the more asocial and selfish elements in a being be controlled? What happened after death? How was the world created? With these existential questions, the old social conventions began to be challenged. Vedic culture had grown and become more complex and advanced, rendering the ancient nature worship practices unsatisfying and hollow, and they were beginning to tire of the bloody sacrifices – and the Brahmin priests, as well. The Brahmin priests realized that something had to be done to keep the society, and their privileged place within it, stable.

 

A clue of what Vedic culture might have experienced within their existential terror can be found in the remarks of Sigmund Freud, who explained that man’s relationship with religion is based on a curious thing, the often – stimulating  fulfillment of desire. One could say the same about the Law of Attraction – which is said to magnetically manifest the fulfillment of one’s desire. What the Vedic people did not have was an object of their desires, something they could mentally focus upon –  that lived within them as the troubling questions that needed answered about the nature of reality, the purpose of life and who they really are.

 

We can only imagine what existential crisis the Vedic people went through. What they needed was a way to express the unspoken desires inside them that insisted there was more to life than just living and dying. What was missing was something to charge up and stimulate their feelings and imagination in order for people to generate energy for the “nourishment of the Gods.”

 

The Brahmins

 

The Brahmin priests gradually saw that they had a big problem on their hands, and we repeat: Vedic culture had progressed, becoming more complex and sophisticated, rendering the primitive nature worship unsatisfying and hollow.

 

The priest resorted to their mastery of vocabulary, symbolism and persuasion. The people had a duty to sacrifice, the priests explained, – for sacrifice nourishes and pleases the gods, and thus the gods will be thankful and return the favor. There was a morality component attached to this ritual: one would be a thief if one did not reciprocate this Divine Arrangement; the Law of Reciprocity. The priests instituted more than a few innovated wrinkles to persuade the people – as they insisted that there existed a cosmic order to things, and it was the Brahmins duty to give the people a code of conduct to stabilize the community.

 

Dharma was the idea that each person has a duty, moral code, and set of behaviors which are specific to one’s varna, or social class,

Karma, where one’s station in life is determined by actions of previous lives, and

Moksha, defined as the salvation from the rounds of rebirth.

 

We will talk about these things later, as these innovated systems of religious determinism gradually seeped into the religious practices over many centuries, but for now, we continue with how the Brahmins gave the people what they wanted: objects for their desires. The Brahmins found the answer by shifting the people’s  consciousness away from focusing on nature-worship to spiritual contemplation of a subjective metaphysical reality. They meditated, pondered and speculated about the workings of the universe. The result was the emergence of a new God: Prajapati, the Supreme Deity and the lord of creatures, who in one version of the story, sat alone in all of existence until he split himself into male and female, repeating the process until the world was filed with people and animals.

 

“O Prajapati, none other than thou encompasses all these creatures; for whatever object of desire we sacrifice to thee, let that be ours; may we be lords of riches.” (Rig Veda 10.121.10)

 

The priests also gave the people the Devas, who represented the forces of nature, virtues, and demons – who were responsible for all kinds of mischief. The priests claimed the ability to communicate with the supernatural world through the use of a hallucinogenic drink made from herbs called, soma. Soma was believed to be the drink of the Gods, and apparently, the use of soma allowed the Gods to communicate to the priests that they must prepare sacrifices for them. With the use of ancient Vedic prayers, mantras, sacrificial rites and the intoxicating soma, a magical technology was developed to manipulate the Gods and reality in favor of the supplicant.

 

Over time, Prajapati’s influence waned, and he became submerged within another innovation by the Priests: the discovery of the Brahman, the “power” held within the rituals, sacrifices and incantations. Within the development of the concept of the Brahman, the internal spiritual development of a being became more important, as Brahman was the single unifying principle that this existence emanated from. Brahman was Absolute joy and knowledge. The old Vedic gods like Agni and Indra were still recognized, but only as various manifestations of Brahman.

 

Around 900 BCE, the old Vedic texts were finally written down in Sanskrit along with new compositions and declared Divine. Armed with the authority of their spells, sacrificial rites, a holy, liturgical language and script of the Vedas at their beck and call, the Brahmins were regarded as powerful beings who could command the gods to bring about whatever they pleased. It wasn’t the Gods who brought rain and sunshine; it was the Priest who commanded the Gods to bring rain and sunshine. And since the priests claimed that they were the exclusive controllers of this “Brahman,” the Brahmins maintained their superior social status as an elite of sacred priests and powerful manipulators of the Gods and existence. Within this, the Brahmins had found a solution that gave the Vedic people a way to fulfill their desires and feel protected.

 

The Brahmins sought to legitimize the social order of varna and class that had existed since ancient Vedic times. Being the representatives of the Ultimate Reality placed the Brahmins, of course, at the top of the social order, and they cleverly manipulated the varna system by placing themselves and their lineage as the elite. The priests appealed to the ancient Vedic cosmology of “the Cosmic Man,” the Purusha[1]” who was sacrificed and dismembered, re-assembled and resurrected – with the Brahmins coming from his mouth, the Ksatriya, the warriors, coming from his shoulder, the Vaisya, the landowners from his belly and the landless peasants, the Sudras, the feet. Those who rejected or ignored these rulings were placed as the Untouchables, the outcasts.

 

It must be noted here that the priests of emergent Brahminism carried a particular contempt towards women. The Brahmanic religious literature declared that women were to be dependent, chaste, loyal and secluded within their homes while declaring their husbands to be the wives’ divine saviors. Women were there to support men in all phases of their ritualized life. Widows or abused wives could never marry again. They were to wear veils covering their faces. Women were so despised by the Brahmins that the priests declared that the male children of the top three varnas must go through a birth ritual where they were to be ‘twice born.‘ Women were excluded from the rebirth ritual because they were considered to be too impure to be redeemed. The “dowry burning” phenomenon has long plagued Indian society well into the present day, harks back to ancient times, where family of a greedy groom seeks to extort the family of the bride, and having failed in the attempt, escalates the conflict to bring about the murder or suicide of the bride.[2] The Brahmins did see some value in women as the necessary contrivance for producing children, without which the funeral rites could not be performed at all.

 

The Brahmins’ used their sacred knowledge of the Vedas as an unassailable power by wrapping themselves within an aura of holy authority. It was unallowable to even touch a Bramin priest. Only a Brahmin may read the holy scriptures or educate the other social classes. The the priestly elite, the Brahmin priesthood enjoyed a social privilege that gave them advantages over the warrior, farmer, the darker-skinned servant varnas and untouchables, all who were subordinated beneath them held power over. Even kings dared not to openly oppose the Brahmins, for in the Vedic tradition, it was the priests who legitimized kingly power.

 

Of course, the other varnas supported the Brahmin Priesthood as well, building temples, showering them with financial gifts and land in exchange for the priest’s blessings. The Brahmins became in fact, the landed elite, protected by royal power, while living off of the labor and money of the lower varnas. The Brahmins in effect, were a dominating social power presiding over a feudal agrarian political economy. The Law of Attraction is seen here operating at the level of energetic polarity: the priests standing as representatives of God, attracted wealth and abundance – at the expense of the lower varnas. And it was this corruption and oppression under the supervision of the Brahmin priests that paved the way for the emergence of Buddhism.

 

Next: The Shramanas and the Revolt against Brahmin Authority.

 

Notes

[1] The Purusha is a religious concept with a varied and distinct defining points. Not only did it stand as the name of the cosmic man sacrificed by the Gods to bring about all the forms of life in the Universe, in different eras and systems, it also refers to human consciousness, the Self or the unifying principle of existence. Compare to the creation myth of the ancient Sumerians, who held that their gods also sacrificed a god, whose body and blood were mixed with clay to produce the human race.

[2] “Bride burning” is still a common practice in Southeast Asia. As late as 2010, it was estimated that  8391 dowry death cases were reported across India, according to statistics recently released by the National Crime Records Bureau. “On one hand people regard women as devi (goddess), on the other hand they burn them alive. This is against the norms of civilised society. It’s barbaric,” former Justice Markandey Katju remarked in response to an appeal filed by a husband handed a life sentence by a Sessions court for burning his wife. Story, Indian Dowry Deaths on the Rise.

 

Sources

 

Freud, Religion, and Anxiety by Christopher Chapman
Brahman and Chhetri of Nepal.” Encyclopedia of World Cultures. James Fischer. “The Gale Group, Inc. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (December 29, 2009). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3458000468.html

Encyclopaedia of Dalits in India: Movements by Sanjay Paswan
Caste is the Cruellest Exclusion, by Gail Omvedt, InfoChange News & Features, October 2008

The Mysore Tribes and Castes by L. Krishna Anantha Krishna Iyer (Diwan Bahadur), 1988

Handbook of Hindu Mythology by George Mason Williams, 2003

Law of Attraction, Part 7: Eastern Origins

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In the previous blogs about the history of the Law of Attraction, we briefly looked at the Law of Attraction’s ancient connection with the major religions in the world. In this series we will expand and deepen our investigation into the secret history of the Law of Attraction as it applies to the great religious systems in the world. It isn’t common knowledge, but many of the most important aspects of the Law of Attraction derive from Hinduism, thus a brief survey of Hinduism seems to be in order. In this blog series we will shift venues and look at the Law of Attraction’s role within the development of the oldest living religion in the world today: Hinduism.

 

Hindu Origins: Vedic Civilization And Religion

 

Undertaking the daunting task of breaking down a religion as enormous as Hinduism gives one pause, because Hinduism goes so far beyond your typical Westerner’s basic understanding of religion. It is difficult to grasp all at once. A shallow treatment of this system will not yield anything more than shallow realizations, and delving in too deeply creates the danger of getting lost within an ocean of details and losing the narratives. We will deal with this by handling the material historically and thematically, and those who wish to study further will have the appropriate vocabulary to begin.

 

Hinduism is the world’s oldest existing organized religion, with an estimated billion followers, making it the world’s third largest religion, and within it containing a rich variety of religious beliefs, rites, customs, and practices. Hinduism is unique among the major religions because it claims no historical founder like Buddha, Mohammed, Moses or Jesus were for their respective religions. Hinduism is a belief system based entirely on the tales of mythic Gods, heroes, demons, magic, morality, karma and sacrifice.

 

The word ‘Hindu‘ is English, and named after the advanced urban centers located along the Indus River Valley. Harappa and Mohenjodero (located in modern-day Pakistan) were two ancient cities built around 3500 BCE that evolved and flourished as dynamic urban centers from around 2600 to 1700 BCE.

 

Hundreds of sites have been excavated in Punjab and Rajasthan along the dried-up Sarasvati River, mentioned in the Rig Veda, which places its beginning of the Indus River Valley Culture between the Sarasvarti and the Drishadvati rivers. From here, we will use Dr. David Frawley’s suggestion on referring to this as the “Indus-Sarasvati civilization” which appears to be the birthplace of Indian culture.

 

The Indus-Sarasvati civilization is an enigma. These urban centers were the largest and the most sophisticated in the world at that time (approximately 26 centuries before the Common Era), including Egypt and Sumer, and yet, at some unknown time, they were mysteriously abandoned. The Harappan cities were community-minded, featuring planned streets, public baths, sewage draining and granaries. They used bronze and stone tools. And it seems these people believed in an afterlife. Graves have been discovered and fire altars have been excavated. This culture worshipped the forces of nature, animals, the phallus and an all-powerful Goddess. Seals have been discovered featuring designs of figures seated in the yoga position. Human sacrifice was ritualized; the flesh and blood placed in the fields to refresh them. Numerous seals have also been found indicating that commercial activities took place. Scholars do not know why the Harappan cities were abandoned. Perhaps climate change or some sort of economic or agricultural calamity made living in the cities impossible.

 

The Aryan Controversy

 

It has long been assumed that Hinduism descended from the legendary Aryans, the alleged creators of the Vedic civilization and religion. The Vedic civilization is named after the Vedas; the 4 sacred books of hymns, mantras and spiritual teachings of Hinduism that was handed down by the Aryans – or, the “Aryas” according to the Rig Veda. The Vedas, which were orally transmitted for centuries by the priests and later written down in early Sanskrit, contain hymns, philosophy, and instructions on ritual for the priests.

 

And here hangs the tale of the controversy in discussing the murky history of India – the subject of much academic speculation and political disputation. The biggest bone of contention within this scholarly debate centers on the so-called “Aryan Invasion Theory” that postulates a large group of roving ‘Aryans‘ descending from the east, invading the Indian continent, displacing and conquering the indigenous Dravidians and other tribes on their way towards establishing the Vedic Civilization.

 

Critics have attacked the Aryan Invasion Theory on grounds that the Vedic records themselves do not contain any reference of an “Aryan Invasion.” They say that the Aryan Invasion Theory was only put forward by Eurocentric scholars, built upon literary, linguistic and religious assumptions that were used by the West in service of British Colonialism in India. Critics also point out that is no evidence that the Aryans lived at any time outside of India.

 

According to “Frawley’s Paradox,” on one hand, the Indus-Sarasvati culture left behind the greatest, sophisticated urban civilization in the world at that time, and strangely yet, left no written records. And on the other hand, we have the theoretical Aryans, thought to be illiterate, militant, domineering chariot-jockeys and destroyers of cities, leaving no archeological trace except one of the world’s greatest literature in the Vedas.

 

Frawley’s solution to the paradox suggests that the Vedic and the Indus-Sarasvati cultures are, in all likelihood, one and the same.

 

The Vedic Religion

 

The Vedas are the sacred collection of hymns and mantras of the Hindu religion, and are considered to have been revealed by the gods themselves and given to human beings. The dating of the Vedas is hard to determine, as they were assembled over a long period of time, orally transmitted for centuries before being written in Sanskrit some 3,500 years ago, making the Vedas the oldest religious text still used in the world today. The Vedic religious forms have had an enormous influence over Hinduism.

 

 

The original Vedic gods seemed to be all males; Indra, the Warrior-King of Heaven, drew the most attention in the Vedas. Varuna, the sky god held the universe together as the cosmic law of existence, punishing those who transgressed the moral order he laid down and rewarding those who kept his law. Agni was the fire god and acceptor of sacrifices. Vishnu was the sun god who strode the universe in three steps.

 
The Vedic culture’s religious needs were serviced by a hereditary priesthood called the Brahmin. For centuries the Vedic Brahmin priests committed the Vedas to memory and chanted mantras and officiated over the sacrifices and fire rituals. The Brahmins’ sacrificial rites were very important to the Vedic culture. The rising smoke from the flames was carried up to Heaven by the fire god Agni, who transmuted the flames into nourishment for the gods.

 

Next: More on the Vedic Religion

 

Sources:

 

The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, by Elena Efimovna Kuzʹmina, J. P. Mallory, Brill, 2008

Handbook for the Study of Eastern Literatures, Ancient India, by Dr. Robert Churchill, Creighton University

An Introduction to Hinduism by Gavin D. Flood, Cambridge University Press, 1996

Looking for the Aryans by Ram Sharan Sharma, Orient Blackswan, 1995

A Social history of India by S. N. Sadasivan, 2000

The Myth of Aryan Invasion of India, by Dr. David Frawley, American Institute of Vedic Studies

 

 

 

 

Law of Attraction, Part 6: The New Age

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When the New Age Movement came into prominence during the late 1970s, nobody knew that by the end of the 20th Century, the New Age Movement would become the third largest religion in America. The New Age’s allure and appeal stem from the perceived breakdowns of the economic, political, cultural and religious systems in the world, underscoring the great disappointment in the promise of the various systems that were born in the Age of Enlightenment. Pollution, wars, economic downturns, military repression, the failure of Democracy, has forced people to re-evaluate their lives by taking a look at alternative spiritualities.

 

Even in its earliest stages of development, New Age Movement has been linked to the New Thought Movement of the 19th century as well as the mind cure and Human Potential Movements which saw increasing popularity in American culture with the advent of various self – improvement courses related to prosperity building (such as the Dale Carnegie courses) or releasing one’s inner power and ability (such as L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics and Scientology crusades or Werner Erhard’s EST).

 

Central to the New Age belief system is the notion that human beings no longer have to search “out there” for the divine, because human beings are divine already. Praying to God is no longer necessary since humans are all “gods” that share the same divine essence. Reincarnation, creating one’s own reality, meditation and attaining higher consciousness are the main preoccupations of those participating in the New Age Movement.

 
The New Age message descends from a variety of sources: Neopaganism, Spiritism, Theosophy, New Thought, Ascended Masters Teachings and so forth – therefore it cannot be defined into a single doctrine. There exists no single defined set of New Age belief, Articles of Faith or a centralized administration. Truth and authority are located within the charismatic leadership of authors, channelers, healers and motivational speakers.

 

As far as channelers are concerned, New Agers attach great emotional and spiritual significance to the messages these entities speak and write through human beings, evidenced through the popularity of books by Jane Roberts, J.Z. Knight, Neale Donald Walsch and Jerry and Ester Hicks. Which brings us back to the Law of Attraction. A chief feature of the New Age version of the Law of Attraction is the same as ritual magic of old; empowerment. The leaders of the New Age have marketed this desire for empowerment by treating the Law of Attraction as a marketable commodity. There is much to choose from in the wide variety of books, courses and seminars that present the law of attraction as an empowering tool for self-realization.

 

Channeled Sources of the Law of Attraction

 

During in the 1960’s, Jane Roberts allegedly channeled a being named, ‘Seth,’ who claimed that reality and the mind did not exist independently of each other, thus consciousness has a real effect on one’s own reality. Seth presented the famous New Age maxim of, “You Create Your Own Reality” through your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

 

A Course in Miracles, is a classic New Age tome allegedly channeled from ‘Jesus Christ,’ teaches that spirit, mind, and body are interrelated, and “proper” mental attitudes will help one become more effective with their life. This type of “reality manipulation” has been spoken about before in the 19th and 20th centuries in the writings of Quimby, Atkinson, Hill and Bailey. Thus the trajectory of the human search for empowerment has come a long way from the old days where ritual magic and incantations were used to manipulate natural and supernatural forces – which finds its fullest expression as the New Age principle of reality manipulation within the Law of Attraction. As divine humans, we are to use our divine mind, which is the only creative force in existence.

 

The Secret 

 

In 2006, Rhonda Byrne created a colossal marketing tsunami with her hit DVD, The Secret. Appearing on Oprah drove in book sales as well, as you could not visit your local neighborhood bookstore without seeing a gaudy display of The Secret near the cash registers. Promoting The Secret in a documentary style that mixed conspiracy theory, self-improvement and motivational speaking, made The Secret irresistible to many people.

 

The ‘Secret’ that changed Rhonda Byrne’s life was, of course, the Law of Attraction. She came across Wallace Wattle’s book, The Science of Getting Rich during a difficult time in her life and to her credit, turned her inspiration into a worldwide marketing sensation after an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Byrne’s “secret” was that she just recycled earlier New Thought and Theosophical teachings, placing it in a shiny wrapper and made a fortune. In the DVD version of The Secret, Byrne presents a roll call of “philosophers,” entrepreneurs, “visionaries” and self-help gurus who tell the viewer that The Secret can be revealed to anybody. Bob Proctor, one of the “philosophers” on the DVD, appears and announces that you can ‘get anything you want’ health or wealth – with The Secret.

 
So, what is The Secret? It’s the Law of Attraction, of course – “the Greatest Law in the Universe.” “It always works,” claims one of the Law of Attraction gurus featured in Byrne’s production. They adamantly assert that thoughts emit a magnetic field that draws events to you. Add intense emotional charge, and what you attract happens faster, and it doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative events. Feeling Good, is your duty. Feeling bad, well, that’s verboten.

 

 

Abraham and Esther Hicks

 

 
One of the featured narrators on The Secret DVD is Esther Hicks, who channels the non-physical entity “Abraham,” who Hicks describes as an “infinite intelligence.” Hicks appeared in the original release of The Secret, but later had a falling out with Rhonda Byrne, and she was edited out of a new version the next year. Hicks was the only self-help presenter on The Secret who was paid for her appearance, receiving $500,000, according a New York Times interview.

 

 

According to the Abraham-Hicks official website, husband and wife team Jerry and Esther Hicks describe themselves as “living a fairy-tale life.” Jerry suffered from poor health as a child and lived in extreme poverty. His life turned around after reading Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich.

 
The former acrobat and stunt man became a very successful Amway distributor when he met Esther during one of his Amway presentations and later married. Esther spent a period of meditation for nine months, after which ‘Abraham’ appeared in Esther’s consciousness and began communicating with them. Abraham has been described as a “nebulous mist,” “a group consciousness from the non-physical dimension,” “the great masters of the universe,” and so on. The Abraham-Hicks site claims that the modern teaching of the Law of Attraction “all started here!” But various points of the Teachings of Abraham can be traced back to other sources besides those found in New Thought and Theosophy and in New Age. It’s clear that the main features of the Law of Attraction hasn’t changed much since the earlier proponents Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey said much of the same things.

 
But as the most well-known advocates of the Law of Attraction, The Hicks have taken their Abundance message to the world while traveling in true rock star fashion in their one and a half million-dollar tour bus. Even the death of Esther Hicks’ husband, Jerry (in November, 2011) has failed to erode or tarnish the Abraham – Hicks’ popularity.

 

 

The Dark Side of The Secret

 

However, there have been a few beings who may have followed the Law of Attraction too closely, and have taken great risks in doing so. Consider the case of one of the Self-Help Gurus that appeared in The Secret, James Arthur Ray, a frequent guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Ray held a Spiritual Warrior seminar in Sedona, Arizona, charging nearly 10 thousand dollars a head to attend a “Break Your Boundaries” workshop. At the end of a physically and mentally taxing five-day regimen that included intense fasting and a “game” where Ray reportedly donned white robes and played God, Ray conducted a sweat lodge ceremony where approximately 55 people were crammed into the steaming hot for hours. Law enforcement officials say that when people became ill and began to pass out, Ray coaxed them to stay inside, apparently to move beyond their discomfort and to “break their boundaries.” As a result 3 people died and 18 were hospitalized in the sweat lodge catastrophe. Controversy ensued when it was reported that Ray fled the scene before talking to authorities.

 

Ray was later brought to trial for manslaughter, but was only convicted of felony negligent homicide. Ray served nearly two years before being released in 2013 and is presently conducting seminars on dealing with personal crisis.

 

The Law of Attraction holds out the promise of wealth, health and happiness. The message of “Creating Your Reality” and “Everything Is Yours To Have,” has given people who same sense of empowerment Attraction Magic gave the ancient Mesopotamians thousands of years ago. It’s been a very long road through the centuries and eras that we’ve traveled, but the trajectory of empowerment that is the principle of the Law of Attraction – which appeared in various forms such as the ritual magic prayed and performed to curry favor from the Gods of the ancient Sumerians  – to the postmodern proponents of the Secret, who beseech the Gods who reside within the human mind – has been completed. According to the Law of Attraction, we have finally met the Gods that we used to worship. And they were us!

 

 

Next: The Eastern Roots of the Law of Attraction 

Law of Attraction, Part 5. Cosmic Fire and Universal Substance

alice_baileyAlice Bailey

Alice Bailey told the story like this: When she was fifteen years old, a strange man wearing a turban entered her bedroom. He sat down next to her and told her to prepare herself for an important mission. Years later when she stood before a portrait hanging at the Theosophical Society she recognized the face as the stranger in her room. It was the Mahatma who communicated with Helena Blavatsky for many years: Koot Humi. Bailey had learned of Koot Humi from the writings of Blavatsky in 1915 and joined the Theosophical Society.

 

After some time, a Mahatma of her own visited Bailey, who called himself ‘The Tibetan,’ or Djwhal Khul. Bailey was instructed to write esoteric books telepathically on behalf of the Spiritual Hierarchy in preparing the world for the New Age of Aquarius and the coming of the New Christ. Bailey telepathically transcribed over two dozen books for the Tibetan of exhaustive technical and metaphysical complexity. In her book, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, Bailey writes at length about the Law of Attraction.

 

The Mahatma claims to give Bailey a version of the Law of Attraction through the auspices of certain ‘Karmic Lords’ who direct the destiny of human beings, animals, plants together in previous lives and make sure they come together in correction and assistance resulting in cycles of attractive, karmic ‘pull.’

 

“They preside over the attractive forces and distribute them justly. They enter, pass to the centre of the sphere and there (if I may so express it) locate and set up the “Holy Temple of Divine Justice“, sending out to the four quarters of the circle the four Maharajahs, their representatives…” Alice Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire

 

 

Thus the Law of Attraction is bundled together with reincarnation and Karma. According to Bailey, all lives make a stop before their next life on Earth and receive their assignment and an allocation of Karma. The law of Attraction isn’t simply the mechanics of metaphysical and physical forces, as Blavatsky described it. The Law of Attraction is a cosmic program of guiding purpose of the Divine Plan, overseen and directed by the Spiritual Hierarchy. At the same time, human beings are essentially and inherently divine. The soul is to evolve a consciousness of divinity, redeems matter and liberates the pure flame of spirit from the limitation of form, rather than seeking riches and abundance for itself.

 

In 1934, Bailey published her book, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, re-emphasizing Blavatsky’s message of a united brotherhood of humanity, calling for a ‘new world order to be built’ based on love, sacrifice and service to the benefit of all.

 

Bailey’s writings and activities did not spare her from criticism. Conspiracy theorists made much of Bailey’s Lucis Trust’s affiliation with the United Nations, her affiliation with the occult, “Luciferianism”, her call for a “New World Order”, “anti-Semitism” and her advocation of a One World Religion. However, the modern New Age Movement is entirely in her debt, as Bailey articulated and enlarged the Spiritualism of the 19th Century of Blavatsky, Quimby and Mary Baker Eddy and brought it to a new level of metaphysical sophistication into the 20th Century

 

Guy Ballard

 

Guy Ballard was the founder of the I Am Activity Movement, which he formed through the teachings of various Ascended Masters. Writing under the pseudonym Godfré Ray King, Ballard claimed that he met the Ascended Master Saint Germain, on the slopes of Mt. Shasta in 1930. St. Germain told Ballard he was looking for a suitable person to be a herald for the New Age that humanity would enter. St. Germain gave Ballard an interpretation of the Law of Attraction using the ancient Classical Greek notion of ‘substance’ – the formless matter that finds structure through the divine mind.

 

“Universal Substance is obedient to your conscious will at all times. It is constantly responding to humanity’s thought and feeling whether they realize it or not. There is no instant at which human beings are not giving this Substance one quality or another, and it is only through the knowledge that the individual has conscious control and manipulation of a Limitless Sea of It that he begins to understand the possibilities of his own Creative Powers, and the responsibilities resting upon him in the use of his thought and feeling.” Godfrey Ray King, Unveiled Mysteries, 1934.

 

What is interesting here is how Ballard uses the term,  ‘Substance’  which is derived from the Latin,  substantia: which translates to “something that stands under.” This “Universal Substance” of Ballard’s has been mentioned by many persons throughout history, and has long been a source of debate within metaphysical and philosophical thought, dating back to the pre-Socratic Philosophers, like Anaximander – who postulated the apeiron – a limitless substance that never decays, eternally producing everything we can perceive.

 

 

Plato described substance as the Divine Mind which all things derive their being and essence. Aristotle disagreed with Plato and said that substance was a combination of matter and form. Rene Descartes said that there were two types of substance – physical and mental. Baruch Spinoza claimed that there existed only one substance: that which exists in both God and Nature, while the Scottish philosopher David Hume maintained that all ideas about substance where just projections of the mind, attempting to describe and associate the reality that surrounds it. Obviously, there has been much philosophical debate over the nature and properties of this concept of substance.

 

On the Metaphysical side of substance debate – which will figure in later in the story of the Law of Attraction, the Hindu sacred texts mention Svabhavat – a substance independent of a Creator. The esoteric Tibetan Buddhist tradition claims that Prakriti is the cosmic substance from which visible forms are fashioned. Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey also claimed that etheric substance was the stuff from which consciousness and all things sprung. For Ballard, Light is Substance, Luminosity and Energy. Ballard said that since a Spark of the Divine Flame of the Creator exists within human beings, through positive thinking, affirmations and decrees of having what we desire, we can manifest what we want – which sounds just like magical incantations of the dim past.

 

Ballard called for the “contemplation and adoration of the Light,” and built a following preaching that the goal of life was ascension. Ballard even told his followers that he would never die. Instead, he would be ascending to God in his physical body. However, Ballard died in 1939, and his body failed to ascend. Disappointed but undaunted, Ballard’s followers responded that Ballard had ascended anyway. In a fascinating example of prophetic dissonance, Ballard’s followers turned his seemingly failed prophesy into a cosmic event: Guy Ballard had indeed become an Ascended Master. He had merely left his body behind!

Next: The New Age Movement

 

Law of Attraction, Part 4: Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine

H.P.Blavatsky_1887

 

As a young woman, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky fled a forced marriage and traveled throughout the world, visiting the Americas, Europe, India, Egypt and eventually spending two years in Tibet where she became a Buddhist. After arriving in America, Blavatsky placed herself in the popular Spiritualist movement practicing as a medium and clairvoyant. Blavatsky agreed with the Spiritualist and Christian Science position that the physical was an illusion, and that the mind was the ultimate reality.

 

In 1875, Blavatsky and Henry Steele Olcott helped found the Theosophical Society, which was conceived as the establishment of the Brotherhood of Humanity, investigating the mystical qualities of life and the psychic powers of the individual. The Theosophists claimed was that there existed a secret, esoteric teaching that fully explains existence and that only a few spiritual masters have access to.

 

According to Blavatsky, the Law of Theosophy was not only ‘wisdom of the gods,’ it was ‘wisdom possessed by the gods.’ Nevertheless, how did Blavatsky get access to this ‘god-like wisdom? Blavatsky claimed to be educated in Tibet by beings who called themselves, the “Masters of Wisdom.” Blavatsky said that these masters formed a ‘Spiritual Hierarchy’ of Cosmic beings who were the guardians of the Divine Plan. The Divine Plan was that all of Humanity was to attain Ascended Master status through ascension. According to Blavatsky, these Masters have been responsible for guiding Humanity’s spiritual development by providing truth and wisdom to those virtuous enough to disseminate it correctly. According to the Theosophists, these Masters of Wisdom – or ‘Mahatmas’ – were self-realized humans who perfected themselves through reincarnation and spiritual evolution.
Blavatsky claimed to be a medium, and said that she was in contact with two of these Mahatmas; Morya and Koot Humi, who allegedly appeared in ‘astral form’ to only certain members of the Theosophical Society. These Masters dispensed knowledge and information about the workings of the universe to the Theosophists. Part of that knowledge must have been the laws of attraction and repulsion, which we will come to later.

 

In 1881, Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society were embroiled in the Mahatma Letters Affair. A series of signed Notes began to seemingly appear out of thin air or appearing in odd places claiming to be written by the Mahatmas, Koot Humi and Master Morya. When the Society of Psychical Research sent Richard Hodgson to the Theosophical Headquarters in Madras to investigate, he reported back to find devices that had been used in fraudulent acts, as confessed by Blavatsky associate, Madame Coulomb, who said Blavatsky wrote the letters herself. It appears that the evidence about the reality of these Mahatmas, and Blavatsky’s claims about them, remain flimsy. Blavatsky said she was in contact with these adepts, which presented some problems because Blavatsky was not a born psychic, although she did undergo much training and study during her travels.

 

Unfazed by the Mahatma Letters Affair and accusations of plagiarism, Blavatsky went on to write her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, published in two massive volumes framed around an ancient and mysterious poem called the Stanzas of Dzyan, which Blavatsky claimed she read while traveling in the Himalayas. The Theosophists say that the Stanzas were part of hidden esoteric knowledge placed under the Himalayan Mountains by an underground civilization of beings possessing superhuman powers. Blavatsky presents the stanzas as an ancient cosmogony, history and transformation of the universe. Cosmic Hierarchies, perpetual change and universal knowledge make up some of the vast material Blavatsky presents in The Secret Doctrine.

 

Attraction and Repulsion are two forces ever in operation in the cosmos. Physical attraction is a manifestation of a cosmic principle which has manifestations on all planes, spiritual, mental, and psychic, so that its influence is seen in our thoughts and feelings. Attraction and Repulsion are principles of duality, representing galactic ages of evolution and diffusion.
It is undeniable that Blavatsky and the Theosophists had a massive impact on the Western Mystical Tradition, while also bringing for the first time to the public, various teachings from the ‘Spiritual Hierarchy’ which continue to this day, and influenced such figures as Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, H.P. Lovecraft, Adolph Hitler and Alice Bailey.

 

Although accused of plagiarism and being nothing more than a charlatan, Blavatsky masterfully assembled ideas from dozens of metaphysical, historical, philosophical, occult and scientific sources into what is nothing less than an impressive display of hermeneutics.

 

More than anything, Madame Blavatsky sought to bring Divine Wisdom about the universe to the world within the message that existence is One in its wholeness and that of universal brotherhood.

 

The Mind Cure Movement

 

”Any individual can tap into an eternal reservoir of power that will enable them to overcome any problem that may arise. All weaknesses can be overcome, bodily healing, financial independence, spiritual awakening, and prosperity beyond your wildest dreams. This is the superstructure of happiness.” – William James

 

By the end of the 18th century, the Mind-Cure Movement gained a secular ally in no one less than William James, the father of American Psychology. James defended the Mind-Cure on pragmatic terms: he had seen it worked for some people; therefore there must be something to it. While James did accept some of the main principles of the mind-cure, he also expresses some bemusement when he noted that the mind-cure movement had no provision with dealing with the question of evil.

 

In one lecture, James name checks Christian Science’s Mary Baker Eddy, saying, “for her, evil is simply a lie, and any one who mentions it is a liar. The optimistic ideal of duty forbids us to pay it the compliment even of explicit attention. Of course, as our next lectures will show us, this is a bad speculative omission, but it is intimately linked with the practical merits of the system we are examining. Why regret a philosophy of evil, a mind-curer would ask us, if I can put you in possession of a life of good?”

 

Why focus on the negative aspects of the world when you can have abundance, is still being asked by proponents of the Law of Attraction today. James went on to say that the greatest discovery of the 19th century would not be in the realm of physical science, but in the power of the subconscious touched by faith.

 

William Walker Atkinson

 

W.W. Atkinson was a successful lawyer from Baltimore before becoming involved in the New Thought movement. He became the editor of New Thought Magazine and later published many articles on various topics on the occult, theosophy, psychology, salesmanship, crystal gazing, Yoga and metaphysical healing under his own name and under a list of pseudonyms. Atkinson was a prolific author, but his most popular book was printed in 1906 and is still in print today; Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. Echoing Blavatsky, he says:

 

“We speak learnedly of the Law of Gravitation, but ignore that equally wonderful manifestation, THE LAW OF ATTRACTION IN THE THOUGHT WORLD. We are familiar with that wonderful manifestation of Law which draws and holds together the atoms of which matter is composed – we recognize the power of the law that attracts bodies to the earth, that holds the circling worlds in their places, but we close our eyes to the mighty law that draws to us the things we desire or fear, that makes or mars our lives.”

 

The Law of Attraction is thus explained as a magnetic force where ‘like attracts like’ as a universal law. The idea with the Law of Attraction is to consciously draw to yourself prosperity and wealth, since that is what God apparently wants you to do. Prosperity and good health is considered an indication of one’s self-realization and spiritual growth. Manifesting a positive outcome for yourself through using your mind and feelings is the secret to make all your dreams come true.

 

Wallace Wattles

 

Wallace Wattles wrote the now-famous book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” first published in 1910, and has remained in print to this day. Positive thinking techniques, will power, creative visualization and the mental science approach to health was applied by Wattles to give readers the key to attracting wealth. Wattles wrote that Man’s mental development is contingent on having the means necessary to insure living an enjoyable and successful life. That means access to money. Thus, man has a right to be wealthy, according to Wattles. Anything less is a ‘sin.’

 

 

Wattles wrote that the first principle in producing tangible riches is recognizing the power of Thought, and that a ‘substance‘ – ‘the stuff where all things are made,’ is given form and structure by our thoughts. This idea recalls similar notions of the cosmology of the Classical Greek Philosophers like Anaxagoras 2600 years ago, who saw the Universe as a Mind creating through substance.

 

Napoleon Hill: The Consciousness of Prosperity

 

Andrew Carnegie had long amassed his great wealth and was one of the richest men in the world when he met little-known journalist Napoleon Hill in 1908. Hill’s assignment was to write a series of articles on the most successful businessmen of the time. According to Hill, Carnegie said what he used a simple formula that was available to all, and commissioned Hill to interview 500 successful people in the world to acquire practical evidence of what Hill later called, ‘the Secret’ of wealth-creation.

 

Like Carnegie, Hill was born into poverty and struggled to survive in the world. 20 years later, Hill would publish the results of his research, which he called the Philosophy of Achievement in his book, The Law of Success. 11 years later, a smaller version of the Law of Success was published as “Think and Grow Rich.” The central premise of “Think And Grow Rich” is: “Everything your mind can conceive, you can achieve.” While Hill does not explicitly use terms like ‘Law of Attraction’ or ‘thought vibration’, he does supply the points that comprise the essence of the Law of Attraction narrative: that thoughts determine your reality, the use of creative visualization, maintaining a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with positive people. Hill’s book made him wealthy, selling millions upon millions of copies, while setting the standard in the field of self-improvement through prosperity consciousness.

 

Next: Cosmic Fire and Universal Substance 

 

 

 

Law of Attraction, Part 3. Alchemy and the Divine Man

alchemy

With the fall of the Roman Empire and the onset of the Dark Ages, and despite Church and State’s severe prosecution against magicians and wizards, magic and interest in the occult continued to be practiced by those who longed to empower themselves through will and desire to gain unsurpassable wisdom. These conjurers and alchemists hoped that their works would allow them a new perspective of the deepest depths of the divine reality and provide a means of traversing the spiritual realms of angels and demons. However, they had to practice their art in a way that the Church wouldn’t object to, so they came up with Natural Magic (or white magic that was ‘good’ and existent in all things natural), as opposed to Black Magic, which was the Devil’s work, and as such they would never do.

 

Magical texts called Grimoires were used to conjure demons to do a wizard’s bidding. We have already seen in the earlier chapters how ritual magic was used to gain power over spiritual forces, thus the Grimoires were continuing the ancient tradition of empowerment through incantation. The Grimoires flourished between the 13th and 17th centuries, and were famous for containing spells that were devoted to achieving magical powers, health or the love of women. The Medieval Grimoires were crude and confusing books compared to the Classical Grimoires of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. But luckily there existed more advanced Grimoires, thanks to the Arabian, Moorish and Hebrew mystery traditions. These Grimoires gave instructions on how to make magic circles, talismans, conjuring spirits and so on.

 

The Qabbalah

 

The Qabbalah is the esoteric teaching of Jewish mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and then published in books. The Qabbalah is said to have first been given to the Angels by God before the Creation of the world. It was then given to Adam after the expulsion from Eden, then to Abraham, and finally to Moses who received the Qabbalah on Mount Sinai. In the 14th century, Moses de Leon presented the Zohar, Book of Radiance, which became very popular in Qabbalistic circles. The word Qabbalah means “to give or receive.”

 

It reached the height of its influence in the later Middle Ages and remains significant in Hasidism. The purpose of studying the Qabbalah is spiritual development, orienting the human being towards God. Again, the use of magical rituals, incantation, amulets and talismans are used to influence events or acquiring power through appealing for God’s intervention. The Qabbalah speak a lot about manipulating energy, angels, demons, soul levels and multiple universes.

 

A quote from the Qabalah that Law of Attraction teachers find useful is: “Three are the dwellings of the sons and daughters of Man. Thought, feeling and body. When the three become one, you will say to this mountain “move” and the mountain will move.”

 

The seeking of spiritual development, attaining higher consciousness and connecting to other realities, are some of the fields of study for the Qabalists, which tie in nicely with the general bent of modern New Age metaphysics.

 

John Dee

 

One of the principal Qabalists of the Medieval era was John Dee, a 16th century English mathematician, philosopher and alchemist who practiced what Dee called, Angel Magic.

 

Dee was obsessed with acquiring knowledge of the Divine, and began attempts to contact spirits. Dee’s activities were mysterious, and no doubt led to a brief spell in prison accused of sorcery against Queen Mary. Dee was eventually acquitted and was rumored to work as a spy for Queen Elizabeth. Dee began to experience visions and dreams, and wrote in his diary that he finally managed to contact angels in 1581.

 

With the help of a crystal and the seer Edward Kelley, who was rumored to have dug up a corpse to practice necromancy as well as being a charlatan, Dee was able to write down in his diary what Kelley said the angels were telling him. Dee and Kelley were given information by the angels about conjurations, words of power, the Names of God and language of the angels, which the angels called ‘Enochian.’ The angels promised Dee that they would grant him the Ultimate knowledge of the Divine, and soon Dee and Kelley traveled Europe conducting experimental angel magic amidst rumors that the pair were excellent alchemists who possessed the ability to transmute base metal into gold.

 

The angels gave to Dee the revelation of a complex system of Enochian Magic, a version later used by Aleister Crowley and modern occultists to this day. But the promise of the angels to grant Dee divine knowledge of the Divine Plan remained unfulfilled. Dee’s alchemical and angelic adventures eventually rendered him penniless, and he died in poverty, a disappointed man

 

The Divine Man

 

In the earlier report we observed the cosmological beliefs seen through the eyes of the Classical Greek philosophers who believed that the prime mover of the universe was a Divine Mind that had a Divine Plan for existence, that human beings were powerless to stop.

 

We also saw how the notion of a Divine Plan developed, which is an important plank in the platform of the Law of Attraction.

 

The modern form of spiritualism first appears the writings of an 18th century scientist and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg, who claimed to possess the ability to communicate with spirits.

 

Swedenborg claimed to be able to converse with angels and spirits while in a conscious state, and taught that the spirit (not the body) was what made human beings human. Like Augustine and Aquinas before him, Swedenborg also claimed that the destiny of the universe is part of God’s ‘Divine Plan.’ To Swedenborg, God is a Divine Man – an entity of infinite love and wisdom. Swedenborg also taught the doctrine of Divine Humanity. Humanity, according to Swedenborg, is the recipient of Divine Love and Wisdom, due to the fact that Man is the ‘image and likeness of God.’ What is interesting here is that Swedenborg has brought the generally accepted notion of an unknowable, unchanging and wholly transcendent God into the essence of Humanity. The Logos is no longer an outside mediator between God and Humanity – Human, God and Logos are one and the same.

 

During the mid 1880s, political, economic and spiritual crises swept across Europe and America, causing some people to question their belief systems and turn to alternative spiritualities for relief. Swedenborg’s writings and his claims that one could make contact with beings from the spirit world, helped pave the way for Spiritualism, and the French reincarnation-based variant, Spiritism. With the help of a clairvoyant acting as the mediating agent, a person – typically for a fee – could speak with beings from the Great Beyond.

 

Spiritualism taught that nothing outside the mind or spirit was real – and that the physical and the spiritual exist independently of each other.

 

Allan Kardec collected written spirit communiques from various clairvoyants and published them in a series of very popular Spiritist books. Soon speaking to the Spirit World became all the rage in America and Europe throughout the 19th century. Séances, table rapping, levitation of furniture and automatic writing, were a just few peculiar events associated with the growing public fascination with the occult.

 

The New Thought Movement 

 

The Law of Attraction as it is commonly understood by the New Age Movement, originated within the New Thought Movement which sprung up in New England during the late 1800s.

 

The leader of the New Thought Movement was the former mesmerist, master clockmaker and mental healer, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.

 

Quimby had very little education but made up for it with a keen eye to detail and a thirst for knowledge. He was fascinated by mechanics, science and animal magnetism, which was a term for a mysterious energetic force that was thought to influence beings. He taught that sickness arose from false beliefs and fears, and that there was sufficient power in the mind to heal oneself. Faith in God, who is the only reality in existence, is what heals a being and keeps them healthy. In a letter dated March 1860, Quimby uses the phrase “Law of Attraction” in describing the properties of matter and mind, which may be the earliest appearance of this phrase.

 

It was only a small jump to extend that optimistic outlook of health towards wealth. The New Thought Movement held that All is God, and further, since God is Divine Mind and Intelligence, we are all a part of God’s Mind. Evil exists due to Ignorance of God’s Love and Light. Poverty exists for the same reason. Poverty and illness are always due to erroneous thinking, fears and lack of faith in God.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

 

Mary Baker Eddy was a frail and ailing woman who was cured by Quimby’s methods and immediately became a follower and proponent of the mental cure. Eddy became a medium who could speak with her deceased brother, Albert, and began to give lectures on the subject of Mind Cure before going on to form the Christian Science Church in 1866. After sustaining injuries from a fall, Eddy claimed that God appeared to her in bed and dictated to her the principles of Christian Science and miraculously healed her that same evening.

 

The Christian Science theology holds a system of belief that God is All, God is Good, Good is Mind, God is everything and the physical is not real. Of course, mental healing has a long history and is related in the stories of Jesus in the Gospels, where Jesus is recorded healing in 40 separate accounts. One of these appears in the Gospel of Matthew: – And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Mat 8:2-3)

 

Question: was Jesus the cause for the leper’s cure, or did the leper cure himself through his faith in Jesus?

 

Next: Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine

Law of Attraction Part 2. Early Accounts and the Divine Mind

Buddha

 

The functional form of prayer has as many divergent points as there are religions, and these points range anywhere from requesting some Divine blessing or boon, to gaining some intimate knowledge and understanding of the Nature and existence of God. Thus, Religion and Prayer are inseparable.

Let us take a brief look at the major religions of the world and of their functional forms of prayer to see if there are any hints or signs of the Law of Attraction within them.

 

Hinduism

The Rig Veda is the principal book of hymns of Hinduism and thought to have been written some 3000 years ago, making the Veda the oldest religious text that is still used in the world today. The very first hymn of the Rig Veda is addressed to Agni, the Hindu Deity of Fire and acceptor of sacrifices. This Vedic hymn has its own the Law of Attraction saying: “Through Agni man obtaineth wealth, yes, plenty waxing day by day…”

It is interesting to note that Ancient Hindu prayers and mantras also functioned as magical incantations extolling the virtues of the Gods, who are considered to possess irresistible magical powers that can be used to solicit Divine favors for the welfare of the person or the community.

 

Buddhism

In an uncanny foreshadowing of the Law of Attraction, the ancient Buddhists also insisted that if you believe in something with enough intensity, you will become what you believe.

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.”
– Buddha, The Dhammapada

These lines from the Dhammapada are a favorite confirmation point of the proponents of the Law of Attraction. However, one of the main tenets of Buddhism is to transcend the state of suffering – and to do that, it helps to transcend the mind by removing attachment to material things. Thus for the Buddhist, prayer is used to remove the negativity within the mind and purify it through meditation which eventually leads to ‘Awakening.’ Meditation is not used to acquire material possession or abundance.

 

Judaism

The Jewish Rabbinical Tradition claims that God “longs for the prayer of the righteous.” Judaism recognizes three different sorts of prayer – thanksgiving, praise and requests. There is a belief in Judaism that God will take action in response to prayer, and the rabbinical tradition tells us that the more we ask God to help us, the more God will love us MORE.

 

Christianity 

Christians who buy into the Law of Attraction are fond to use this quote found in the Gospel of Mark, regarding prayer:

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The 1st Epistle of John says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1John 5:14). 

Thus for a prayer to be answered, it is God’s Will that must always be taken into account. But what is allowable for a Christian to pray for?

The answers are often contradictory. The Early Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine claimed that one could pray for anything as long as it was ‘legal.’ Thomas Aquinas said that praying was a waste of time since God had already decided whose prayers He will answer and no amount of prayer could ever change God’s Mind.

 

Islam

The Qur’an places many conditions and rules regarding prayer. A Muslim must perform the Salat- the 5 obligatory prayers that must be done at specific times during the day while facing the holy city of Mecca. The Muslim engages in an elaborate regimen of ablution, bowing, kneeling, prostrating and so on. The Muslim considers prayer as the most important factor in life after possessing a true and correct belief of God and His Prophet. The function of Prayer in Islam is to strengthen the character and deepen the connection of the faithful and is an expression of religious reverence. Basically, Muslims have no reason to pray outside of the notion that God told them to do it and that it would be good for them.

As we have seen, Prayer is one of the earliest and most popular form of the Law of Attraction. Whether the prayer is a petition for good fortune, or to curse one’s enemies, or even as a way to justify human sacrifice to lift a drought, all Prayer is the epitome of human self-interest which is a key point of the Law of Attraction. And for the Believers, the Will of the Heavenly Father always knows what is best for humanity.

 

The Divine Mind

A central tenet in the Law of Attraction is the emphasis placed on the magnetic and creative energy of the mind. As we have already shown, belief and practice of the Law of Attraction has always existed in one form or another, beginning in the dim past as ritual magic as a way to gain personal power from Gods or Demons. We also saw how ritual magic and incantation evolved into prayer – the respectful request for divine favor. The Gods were seen as cosmic forces with good and evil inclinations – beings, if you will, whose agendas a human could only guess at or fear.

The Ancient Greek Philosophers had a slightly different picture of cosmic forces. Obviously, they had their typical anthropomorphic Gods and Goddesses, Heroes, Golden Fleece, Mystery Cults and all of that. But the Greeks also had their own twist on the age-old pursuit of determining what made up the cosmos and how it worked. They imagined a universe as an ordered, rational process of a substance that was the source of all things. Various opinions were considered about the nature of this substance among the Greek philosophers, ranging from fire, air, water and earth. But it was the pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras who came up with a cosmology in which he described the first principle as a divine Mind or Intelligence. Anaxagoras said that the physical was infinitely divisible and motionless unless moved by this Mind, which he called, ‘Nous.’

The Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Zeno both described the first cause as Logos, Greek for “Word’ or ‘Reason,’ which was an infinite, divine fire which operated in the same systematic fashion as Anaxagoras’ Nous. This Logos was a Divine Intelligence that was infused within all of existence.

Zeno and the Stoics also believed in predestination – where Humanity’s Fate was tied to a Divine Plan that Human Beings were unable to escape. Everything that happens to you is part of this Divine Plan, the Stoics said, so you might as suck it up and learn to foster indifference to events in the world, because you are not free to change anything. There are no accidents. There is no free will. Everything exists to further the Divine Plan.

In the first century CE, during the time of the historical Jesus, there was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria who went by the name of Philo. Philo joined Jewish and Platonic ideas into a cosmology in which he claimed that God was totally transcendent, unmoved and unconcerned about the affairs of this world. Outside of this God is eternal matter – evil and formless. Since God can have no connection to the corrupted state of the physical, the Logos, as the Reason and Spoken Word of God, functions as the mediator between God and Humanity. But by the end of the 2nd century CE, a radical new definition of Logos is presented. What was once conceived by Classical Greek philosophers as the rational Creative Principle and Divine Mediator between Heaven and Earth, is now reinterpreted by Christian theologians into the figure of the Son of God, descended to Earth in the flesh, in the bodily form of Jesus Christ.

Another important Egyptian philosopher of that era was Plotinus, who also placed a wholly transcendent, wholly unknowable and wholly indescribable God as the source of all things. This God cannot change, and thus it does not create – for that would imply change. From the source, or the One, as Plotinus called it, emanated the Divine Mind. The Divine Mind – Nous, again functions as mediator between Source and Creation, and holds all of existence, which are the Thoughts of God.

From the Divine Mind emanates the Soul. The Soul can be seen in all life forms – plant, animal and human, ordered in a hierarchy of progressively complex combinations of souls that are the outflows of the Cosmic Soul. For someone who claims that the source of creation is utterly unknowable, Philo and Plotinus sure seem to know a lot about this God.

By the time of the medieval period, Christian Theology had been heavily influenced by the teachings of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, who each had their own interpretation of God’s Divine Plan. Augustine claimed that God knew before time who would receive His ‘Graces.’ According to Augustine, if you do not receive these graces, it’s only because God already knows that you won’t take them. Centuries later, the great Scholastic, Thomas Aquinas, taught that when we use our mind and heart according to the Divine Plan, we are united in love and knowledge and live the very life of God. And yet, this Divine Plan is unknown, which sounds a lot like Philo and Plotinus and a bit like the modern explanation Law of Attraction – where the emphasis of being “in synch” with the Divine Plan is the key in having your abundance manifest in your life.

 

Next: Alchemy & Medieval Magic

The Law of Attraction: A History of Belief, Part 1.

 

LOA 1

 

There has been much talk about the Law of Attraction during the past few years ever since the now-famous marketing tsunami called The Secret – embedded itself into the pop culture consciousness of people everywhere. But what exactly IS the Law of Attraction, and why are people so enamored by its message? Simply, the Law of Attraction is a belief that says that prosperity and health can be yours if you follow a few simple rules. People pay a lot of money to attend seminars, enroll in online courses, and buy all kinds of books and movies learning how to use the Law of Attraction to attract wealth and abundance.

The main principle about how the Law of Attraction operates is simply this: what a person thinks about manifests in their daily life, whether the person is aware of this or not. Thus, the proponents of the Law of Attraction claim that the keys of abundance and prosperity are fostering a positive attitude, intense emotional desire, creative visualization and most important, avoiding negative people. Extracting yourself from negative people is strongly encouraged because they will only infect your positive attitude by bringing you down, or worse, make fun of you so much – that you will want to give up.

The operating idea of the Law of Attraction is that like attracts like. The proponents of the Law of Attraction tell us to only focus on the positive because what your mind is focused on, you create in your reality. Attracting positive experiences by only focusing on the Good is what you want. Attracting negative things to your life because of a bad attitude is what you DON’T want. By dwelling on the negative, you’ll just create more negativity, thus creating more misery in your life for yourself and everyone else. Within this document we will present the fascinating history of the Law of Attraction – how it changed and developed throughout the centuries, how this knowledge moved with the times to fit the perceptions of those who practiced it; and we will be looking at the main players who supplied the knowledge necessary to formulate and articulate the Law of Attraction.

Magical (Magnetic?) Attraction

The knowledge and practice of the Law of Attraction has existed in many forms throughout history, probably even before recorded history. It might surprise you to look at this way – but the oldest and still most widely used expressions of the Law of Attraction have been… Magic and Prayer. Prayer has been practiced in all civilizations all over the world. The earliest form of Prayer seems to descend from prehistoric times in the form of rituals, hymns, heroic stories and magical incantations. The main focus of the magical incantation is empowerment.

Archeological artifacts that have come down to us from ancient times indicate that a Human being needed a lot of help in dealing with hostile forces that existed in the world. The use of words in certain combinations was thought to influence natural forces, ghosts and demons. In the ancient Mesopotamian cultures of Sumer, Babylonia , Akkad and Assyria, magical rites were a part of everyday life, as one had to be on the constant watch for Demons, evil spirits, bad omens, bad magic, illness and even demonic possession.

Demons, for example, were believed to live in the mountains, deserts, lakes, the wilderness, etc. and were liable to attack at any time. Forgetting to pray to a certain god at a certain time could make for a very bad day. Thus magical rites and incantation were a summons of supernatural or demonic assistance to help in healing, divination, exorcisms and protection. Along with magical incantations and ritual acts, one could make use of various accessories to assist the pious supplicant or the friendly neighborhood shaman. Curse tablets, ritual meals, magical bowls, binding spells, protection from binding spells, chants, phylacteries and even sacrifice – plant, animal or human, were used to stave off misfortunes caused by demons – or to ask for Divine Intervention.

The Sumerians also employed symbolic acts such as pouring water over a pile of dates, for instance, to bring rain. In ancient Mesopotamia, the Hittite army was famed for being one of the best of that era, holding their own against the military might of the Egyptians, Assyrians and the Babylonians. How did they manage to keep their armies and their civilization together? Through the use of Magical rites and incantations which were a structural part of the Hittite’s army. The Hittites developed incantations, rituals and rites for something they called, “Attraction Magic’ – where the idea was to draw and harness the Divine Power of the Gods to the people. So The Hittite army thought it best to conduct endless sacrifices and rituals every step of the way during their travels.

Inscribed in cuneiform tablets that have come down to us, are curses towards a Hittite warrior, should he break the oath he made to the gods – for instance, that he shall become a woman, that his belly will swell up with water and the deities of the oath consume his children. Now that’s an offer a Hittite warrior couldn’t afford to refuse.

We’ve talked about incantation – but what is the difference between incantation and prayer? An incantation assumes to influence and control supernal or demonic powers while prayer respectfully requests the Gods or Saints for something we desire to come our way. God may say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and that’s the end of it, but there is no harm for trying. Some scholars and most of the clergy see the shift of primitive cultic magic’s evolution into religion as – the “evolution of correct worship and respect of the spiritual.”

We do not know how this transition from incantation to prayer came about, but incantation and the magic arts still exist today alongside established organized religious movements thru ritualistic practices such as Voodoo, Neopaganism, modern witchcraft, Shamanism, Satanism, Obeah and Santeria, to name a few. Despite the rise of technology, globalization and science, the focus of ritual magic remains the same as in the days of the ancient Hittite – to become a more powerful being through the attraction of the divine. The Law of Attraction works in a similar fashion, using ‘affirmations’ and visualizations to align to the vibrational forces within your mind that creates your reality.

Next – Part 2: Early Accounts of the Law of Attraction

 

 

Demons of Folk Friday Tune of the Week: Social Panic #4

 

Social Panic #4

 

All over the world, the forces of casino capitalism are invoking austerity measures that produce a kind of social and civil death as they dismantle the historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, defining profit-making as the essence of democracy, expanding the role of corporate money in politics, waging an assault on unions, augmenting the military-security state, overseeing widening social inequality, promoting the erosion of civil liberties, and undercutting public faith in the defining institutions of democracy. The script is not new, but the intensity of the assault on democratic values, civic engagement and public service has taken a dangerous turn and provides the ideological, political and cultural foundation for a society that seems unaware it is in the midst of an authoritarian stranglehold on all of its most cherished institutions, ranging from schools and health care to the very foundation of democracy. Austerity has become the weapon of choice, an economic poison designed to punish the middle and working classes while making clear that casino capitalism will administer the most severe penalties to those who challenge its authority. The police have become the new private armies of the rich, designed to keep the public in check hoping to make them fearful of being exposed to police brutality, state violence or the expanding mechanisms of the multiple surveillance apparatuses that now collect every piece of information that circulates electronically. Conformity has become the order of the day and fear the new norm, reinforced by a disimagination machine and the punishing state now mutually informing each other.

-Henry A. Giroux, Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Challenging Casino Capitalism’s Punishing Factories.