“[The seer Teiresias (Tiresias) performs necromancy :] Then he summons the spirits of the dead, and thee who rulest the spirits [Haides], and him [Kerberos (Cerberus)] who blocks the entrance to the Lethaean stream.” Seneca, [Oedipus 559 ff]
Although I teach physical re-patterning work, whence I have a precious moment of time to look into other people doing wonderful things around the world I do not really find myself looking at the somewhat related fields of movement, S&C, martial arts, yoga, etc., any more. I am instead drawn to looking at the people bringing old traditions back to life: blacksmithing, bladesmithing, wood crafted buildings, leather work – people breathing life into ‘old forms’. I find this inspiring. I also find myself sadly lacking in these particular practical, crafty skills.What has been happening behind the scenes for a number of years now is a contemplation on the ‘architecture’ of Physical Alchemy as it grows; for it is more a ‘craft’ than a business or method (at least as commonly interpreted). Indeed, this is the very topic of the next Physical Alchemy article that Craig and I are co-writing currently.
Dave likes Diagrams.
Any cromulently crafted diagram should be a tool.
A device to simplify an ecology of process. Something to condense large amounts of information into key principles. Or, in the case of yantra [ यन्त्र ] to ‘represent the universe in miniature’ or function as ‘a graphic representation of the psychocosmic energies associated with a given deity’*.
The release of the Cerberus diagram last month was the culmination of certain, specific strands of my research over the last 5 years (and longer in terms of general research). The first of the reenchantment diagrams – it represents symbolically a ‘craft piece’ for me. It is a useful tool. But it is only one tool and not the process. The tool was (and is) very helpful in my training of 3 particular individuals but in a particular other individual, not used in the slightest. Selection of the tools auspicious to the project at hand is essential. The whole creative process of the forming of a diagram for me is a work upon myself, an opportunity to watch my own patterns, study the process of art creation and then finally studying whatever it is that I am trying to represent within the diagram.
For the ‘pathfinders’ out there it will be obvious that on one level the diagram is an expansion and bringing into the 21st century of the man1,2,3 patterns of Gurdjieff. This, often unnoticed, slice of the tome ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ when combined with: ‘The Reenchantment of the World’ and ‘Coming to Our Senses’ by Morris Berman; ‘The Continuum Concept’ by Jean Leidloff (not shown in photo below as currently lent out); ‘Compass of Zen’ by Zen Master Seung Sahn; Ida Rolfs work; ‘The Tao of Jeet Kune Do’ and most importantly my own observations and studies with my Teachers, along with insights into humanity that I have witnessed since I was a young child led me to the creation of this particular diagram. So this particular craft-piece is special to me.
One key moment in this long arc sticks out in my memory the most. I was living in Canberra and it was 2011. I had purchased the Arkana penguin edition of ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ at a second hand bookstore for $8.50 a few years earlier because I knew these names from overhearing older, wiser men discussing ‘Gurdjieff and Ouspensky’ and I wanted to add this to the mind-wankers cerebral bug collection that was my bookshelf at this stage of my life. For whatever reason on this particular day I was walking passed the bookcase and my body stopped. My head turned. I was looking straight at the text in question. The hand reach’eth out. Hmmm. “Well; I do need to pinch a loaf.” The book had been selected for toilet tome stardom. As I sat there reading until the major blood vessels of the back of my legs being compressed made my legs go numb, I couldn’t help but wonder why the fuck I had not read this book sooner(?!).
Fast forward through the chaotic genesis of the reenchantment process and the years in between.
I quite often get people telling me that they have linked some aspect of my work to (mostly) something Carl Jung has written about. This greatly amuses me as I have deliberately taken steps to avoid being influenced by Jung, Reich and Freud. I have (indeed) taken influence from Gurdjieff and the other authors above – but I am not a ‘Gurdjieffian’ or a ‘Rolfian’ or anything else. One can entertain ideas, if one is so inclined.
Cerberus [Κέρβερος], the mythological guardian of the the Underworld, often portrayed as a multi-headed dog. Sometimes with a snakes tail and mane. Who has as chiefest task: stopping the dead from escaping the Underworld. Cerberus in the diagram represents the disenchantment. His three heads are the triadic specificity of cultural conditioning. The ‘scars of our education’ that bind us to a particular strain of disenchantment, warping the functioning a particular centre in the process; and, in Gurdjieff’s terms – binding the creative energies of the human being into expressing a vehemence for activities associated with said centre. These specific disenchantment patterns prevent humans from being fully alive, trapping them in the purgatory that is disenchantment. **
The body and limbs of Cerberus could be seen as the general features of the disenchantment as discussed in the books of Berman and Liedloff (and many other authors, these are just my favorites). Future editions may include the general aspects as words upon the body ala various ‘alchemical word-man’ diagrams of old. For now the creative process on this diagram and aspect of my methods is complete. A great many other artistic projects in partial completion need my attention.
**Note** I have received a message from an alchemical brother that people have no idea that the circles around each of the heads of Cerberus are ‘word-halos’ – YOU CAN ENLARGE THE DIAGRAM ON THE WEBSITE AND EASILY SEE THE TEXT!
* Feuerstein, ‘Tantra: the path of ecstacy’, 1998, Shamabala, Boston.
** Ouspenksy, P.D., ‘In Search of the Miraculous: fragments of an unknown teaching’, 1987, Arkana (penguin books).