Religion and the Subtle Body IV.2-3




On Becoming an Owl

Susan Greenwood


p. 212 a dream [instance of "wake-induced lucid dreaming"] dreamt by the authoress (S.G.)

"I remembered a dream ... in which I was climbing down a deep tunnel in the middle of the earth ... . I decided to go down this hole. It was tight and dark, a labyrinth of connecting warren-like tunnels that became tighter and darker and darker. ...

{"When Castaneda became experienced in the art of dreaming he was able to explore other worlds (which don Juan insisted were every bit as real as this one). At one stage, while exploring these other worlds, Castaneda encountered alien entities, described as “inorganic beings” by don Juan. These creatures existed in shadowy tunnels and tried to trap Castaneda in their world." ("CCLS")}

Nevertheless, I knew that I had to go on, and as I crawled ... I lost my skin; it was stripped off me, like a snake's {when moulting}.

I felt myself come to an opening in the tunnel, a round space. ...

{This experience would appear to resemble the eka-grata (single point) whereat the closed-eyen meditation is transformed into unusual dreaming : in mine own experience (as of almost half-a-century ago, in Ch, IL), the single point (seen with eyen closed) was of bright light (not unlike planet Venus as seen in the evening-sky); thereupon (as if I had somehow passed through that single point) the unusual dreaming commenced.}

I felt freer and found myself swimming in water in the round opening, but I felt the need to go on. ... As I swam I felt the rest {residue} of me disintegrate and slip away, until I reached another space -- an opening.

I stopped and looked down on myself. I was a pile of bones.

{In recorded dreams experienced by Siberian shamans, they often experience their own body reduced to bones, which bones may be scattered.}

My bones were being picked over by a large black crow. ... As I approached it looking for its meaning, to my surprise it turned into a large white owl, a large white snow owl, and ... We hopped around th bones, flying for a few wing beats until we took off into the sky ... (see Greenwood 2005)."

"CCLS" = "Carlos Castaneda : A Life In Sorcery".

Greenwood 2005 = Susan Greenwood : The Nature of Magic. Oxford : Berg.

{Another instance ("AD"YJ, p. 51a) of a dream with traveling in tunnel and flying animal :

"In a man's dream, a fish jumps out of a pond and ... it flies to a tree branch, where it turns into a point of light resembling a firefly. The man follows this strange firefly through a dark tunnel until he is spewed out into a gigantic, cavernous sponge. The firefly pushes him into an opening in the sponge, which resembles a huge beehive filled with innumerable tunnels that seem alive ... . The man knows he's dreaming ... . Then a voice speaks to him. "... You are inside an inorganic being.""

"AD"YJ = Richard Leviton : "The Art of Dreaming". YOGA JOURNAL FOR HEALTH AND CONSCIOUS LIVING, issue 115 (Mar-Apr 1994), pp. 51-7, 131-2.

p. 215 [not advocated by the authoress, but cited by her as an example of a materialist's misunderstanding of the spiritual process involved] some falsehoods willfully disseminated by crass materialism :- assumption -- or a lived experience? A desire -- but whose?

"Based on an assumption that certain things had hidden or occult powers to affect other things, natural magic

{Magic is never based on any sort of "assumption"; it is, instead, firmly founded on commonplace every-day experience; namely, on the experience of dreamings.}

was dependent on a profound knowledge of how to use these powers

{All such profound knowledge is imparted to mortals by deities in the various divine dream-worlds.

to achieve a desired outcome."

{Indeed, "desired" -- but by whom? In fact, in every case, the desire is a dream-deity's, and the mortal magician (sorcerer, shaman) is a mere minion dutifully fulfilling the desire of a deity's.}

{It is well-known, stated by every shaman in all anthropological litterature, that the mortal shaman is always forced (even against that shaman's own will -- with unending sickness and death in the case if any mortal shaman's refusal), to work magic praecisely as (and only as) commanded by that deity.}

p. 216 can we know or think anything at all without experience through the senses?

"seventeenth-century philosopher Rene' Descartes (1596-1650) ... had an ecstatic visionary experiences during which the nature of the universe was revealed to him.

Rather ironically, ...

{We might say, "rather absurdly", or even "rather self-contradictorally"}

he argued that truth was derived by rational reflection {but, reflection OF WHAT? and ABOUT WHAT? Everything we know and think cometh from (starteth from) our own past experiences.} rather than from experience and observation of the senses. A mathematician, ... Descartes ... ."

{If it were not for our experiences, including our sensory experiences, our minds would be TOTALLY BLANK! It would be quite impossible to think of anything at all, including anything mathematically at all, if if were not for our having learned of such things through our sensory experience. This fact is self-evident, and for Descartes to have written otherwise is definite proof that he was, at all times, an utter LIAR or utterly INSANE, or both.}

p. 217 are emotions bodily? are emotions "unconscious"? are souls incapable of perceptions?

"for Descartes ...,

the body ... had ... no consciousness and it was under the control of its emotions ... .

{FALSE! The phrase "its [i.e., the body's] emotions" is nonsensical : all emotions are strong feelings (forms of pain and of pleasure), and feelings certainly cannot exist in the absence of consciousness; to assert that a person is feeling intense pleasures and intense pains while totally "unconscious" is quite absurd! HOW COULD DESCARTES WRITE SUCH ABSURDITIES? WAS HE TOTALLY INSANE?}

A soul without a body would have consciousness, but ... lacking sensory perceptions of the world (Morris 1991:6-14)."

{UTTERLY FALSE! In such dreams as one hath no body, one can receive sensory impressions (see and hear all that may be in the vicinity) just as well and as accurately as in dreams wherein one hath a body. Persons who are astrally projected out of their material bodies can see and hear at least as well as when in their material bodies. Spirits who apparitionally appear to awake living persons show by what they say and what they do that they are observing the material world at least as accurately as any awake living person ever can. EVERYTHING DECARTES EVER WROTE IS UTTERLY CONTRADICTED BY ALL EXPERIENCE, HUMAN AND OTHERWISE. HE WAS EITHER A TOTAL LIAR OR TOTALLY INSANE, OR BOTH. (Probably both!)}

Morris 1991 = B. Morris : Western Conceptions of the Individual. Oxford (England) : Berg.

p. 218 all consciousness is sourced in divine spirit-worlds

"If 'mind' is defined as the personal aspects of individual process {one's own mental process}, and 'consciousness' as an intrinsic quality of the wider universe of which individual mind is but {merely} one part, then mind and consciousness are linked {in this definition}.If consciousness is {"be" [subjunctive verb in protasis]} wider than the individual mind, then

that mind might be shared with other beings.

{Besides sharing with other mortals (a process of telepathy, perhaps difficult to achieve), there may be a sharing (more readily and easily; even automatically) with immortal spiritual entities.}

If we understand these other beings as spirits that have a different order of existence to {i.e., in relationship to}

the material dimension

{i.e., the material plane-of-existence; "dimension" is to be used only in regard to co-ordinates of direction and/or of distance}

or invisible,

{"invisible" only in the particular state-of-awareness peculiar to one's-being-in-the-waking-world; but visible in one's other states-of-awareness}

but none the less real,

{perceptibly existent (in perhaps some stable mode) in (one's and/or other persons') other particular state (or states)-of-awareness}

dimensions of material reality,

{for compraehensibilty's (and logical consistency's) sake, read : "planes-of-existence of subtle (though immaterial) alternative reality"}

then it is possible to take the view that these beings also have mind."

{"Many lucid dreamers have witnessed the natives ... act like intelligent, autonomous individuals. They possessed their own perspective, desires, and motivations and had cogntive abilities." (FGuLD, p. 162)}

FGuLD = Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, & Thomas Peisel : A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming : Mastering the Art of Oneironautics. Workman Publ, NY, 2013.

pp. 218-9 mere "belief" is irrelevant to the functioning of magic

p. 218

"While participating in a magical aspect of consciousness the question

p. 219

of belief is irrelevant : 'belief' is not a necessary condition to communicate with an inspirited world."

p. 219 participatory awareness of being inhabited by spirits

"imagination is an important tool for expanding awareness : in terms of magical knowledge it is a 'doorway' into an expanded participatory awareness. ... The spirits are real when they inhabit a person's experience ... -- as in the process of shape-shifting,

the process of shape-shifting,

{This is a MISNOMER (for, a body cannot shift its shape) : that which can be more actual is, a mortal soul's shifting of its site-of-habitation from a material human body to an immaterial (dream- or trance-)body of some inhuman animal-spirit.}

when boundaries become less discrete

{NAY! Just as when a person may cross a national boundary into a different nation, the international boundary hath not itself "become less discrete", so likewise when a soul shifteth from inhabiting one body to inhabiting a different body, this is no case of the any distinction between bodies ever becoming "less discrete".}

allowing the transmission of insight and knowledge."

{WRONG! Actually, "transmission of insight and knowledge" is not dependent on anything's becoming "less discrete"; indeed, greater knowledge will typically make a capacity for sharper discretion, nor is clear insight in any way vague or lacking in discretion.}

p. 221 what is signified by "rational"?

"Thus rationalistic interpretation, in which spirits do not exist ... ."

{MISNOMER and FALSEHOOD! There is nothing whatsoever "rational" about materialism's fanatic denial of the existence of spirit, of consciousness, of meaning, and of purpose. Indeed, materialists who prattle such an absurd creed as "no-purpose, no-meaning", etc. etc. always act as if they themselves have some purpose of their own, based on something meaningful to themselves : so that their own actions very grossly belie their professed creed. They are all most absolute hypocrites (paid-off to howl out their arrant mendacities)!}




Subtle-Body Models

Ruth Barcan


p. 224 subtle energies in one's body

"Energy is the dominant term ... 'equivalent' to the chi of acupuncture or the prana of yoga (Mayor 2009:15; see also Kaptchuk 2001).

{Because the litteral meaning of \pran.a\ is 'breath' (whence the pran.a-yama 'breathing-restraint' exercises in yoga), and because the word for 'to breathe' is in Latin \SPIRare\, therefore a better translation for \pran.a\ and for \c^>i\ would be 'SPIRit'.}

Mayor 2009 = D. Mayor : "Reinterpreting Qi in the 21st Century". EUROPEAN J OF ORIENTAL MEDICINE 6.2:12-20.

Kaptchuk 2001 = J. Kaptchuk : "History of Vitalism". In :- M. S. Micozzi (ed.) : Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2nd edn. Philadelphia : Churchill Livingston.

p. 225 knowledge of the subtle body in 18th-and-19th-century-Chr.Aira Europe

"Western occult and esoteric traditions that are ... progenitors of today's conception of the subtle body are ...

the nineteenth-century metaphysical religions like Swedenborgianism,

{Wrong date : for, Emmanuel Swedenborg lived in the 18th (not the 19th!) century.}

spiritualism or Transcendentalism ... (Melton 1988:36-9; Albanese 2007)."

Melton 1988 = J. G. Melton : "A History of the New Age Movement". In :- R. Basil : Not Necessarily the New Age : Critical Essays. Buffalo : Prometheus.

Albanese 2007 = C. L. Albanese : A Republic of Mind and Spirit : a Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion. New Haven : Yale Univ Pr.

p. 227 hyper-reality?

"Judith Fadlon ... considers both the subtle body of alternative medicine and the increasingly 'transparent' body of biomedicine to be part of a 'dematerialization' of the body that points to 'a new phase in the relation ...' (2004:73) --

the advent of post-modern hyper-reality."

{More actually, hyper-reality shall not have been achieved until the misleading notion of a material body in a material universe shall have been altogether abrogated, and instead the focus will be fixed on the reality of subtle bodies transcendentally projected into subtle universes.}

Fadlon 2004 = Judith Fadlon : "Meridians, Chakras and Psycho-neuro-immunology : the Dematerializing Body and the Domestication of Alternative Medicine". BODY & SOCIETY 10.4:69-86.

pp. 228-9 paradoxicality and malleability of the notion of a "self"

p. 228

"The idea of the authentic self sits paradoxally alongside that of the multiplicity and malleability of the self, and the two ideas are often found together, even within one set of discourses ... . ...

p. 229

Modern subjects are, in sum, used to thinking of ourselves as individuals with a deep, complex interiority that is intimate yet invisible to us, familiar yet beyond reach, and we are also increasingly used to thinking of that complex self as both multiple and malleable."

{This contemporary situation is somewhat similar to the traditional Taoist trance-based experience of one's bodily organs each being occupied by a vast array of varying deities who may, at will, re-arrange the consciousness and destiny of their mortal prote'ge'.}

pp. 228-9 instance of simultaneous reliance on both Asiatic mysticism and European occultism

p. 228

"Louise L. Hay, a leading proponent of metaphysical theories of ilness, subscribes to an energetic conception of the body and the universe ... . ...

p. 229

Louise Hay's philosophy was formed within ... the Church of Religious Science, founded by Ernest Holmes, who had read ... texts from Eastern mysticism ... and Western hermeticism ([Albanese] 2007:426-7)."

pp. 229-30 multifaceted extension of self through space at the primordial level of bodily knowledge

p. 229

"Now we are invited to imagine ourselves as having not only a complex hidden interior or a set of different selves but also a complex invisible extension 'outwards' into the space around us. ... In a study ..., Mark Paterson discusses the development of ... 'haptic interaction' ... of so-called 'telepresence' or 'copresence' ... (2006:691-3). ... Clearly, the growth of a model of multifaceted, extensive embodiment is itself an embodied phenomenon, involving new expectations and experiences of space, time and sensory perception. Such experiences often operate at the level of

an unconscious bodily schemata.

{better described as a superconscious co-ordinate system directed by one's own oversoul}

This 'primordial layer' of being, as the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty termed the repertoire of preconscious bodily knowledge (1962:219),

sets the stage for a potential acceptance of new conscious

{There is a distinct possibility that extensive personal exposure to "virtual realities" mediated by electronic devices could result in an amenability to transcendental philosophies concerning the nature of mind, in much the manner that exposure to natural grand vistas (such as, views of landscape from aboard an ae:roplane in flight, or of the night-sky through a telescope, of through one's ordinary eyesight of meteors and of the Aurora Borealis or of a volcanic crater or of the Grand Canyon) can lead to mental openness to the reality of occult metaphysics. This could be especially feasible if begun early enough in life, when one's impressions as to the nature of the universe are as yet in the process of formation.}

p. 230

beliefs about the body, allowing them, for some people at least, to resonate as already familiar, plausible, or attractive.

For the subtle body comes into being as a set of propositions about the body."

{INACCURATELY STATED! The subtle bodies are already primordially in existence even in the absence of any experience of them; while knowledge of them is largely based on direct experience of them, and only to a lesser extent on one's acceptance of some correlated "set of propositions".}

Paterson 2006 = Mark Paterson : "Feel the Presence". ENVIRONMENT & PLANNING D : SOCIETY & SPACE 24:691-708.

Merleau-Ponty 1962 = Maurice Merleau-Ponty (transl by C. Smith) : The Phenomenology of Perception. London : Routledge.

p. 230 notions about the nature of subatomic particles (electrons and protons)

"Deepak Chopra ... states ... : 'Our physical universe is not really composed of any 'mattter' at all {WRONG! It is composed of electrons and protons, both of which are forms of matter.}; its basic essence is a kind of force {WRONG! Force-fields are always produced by matter, and only by matter.} or essence which we call energy' (Gawain 1978:5 ...). {WRONG! Energy in and of itself is mere luminance and cannot compose anything else what-so-ever.}

{UTTERLY FALSE! Subatomic particles having intrinsic mass lack inhaerent vibration, any vibration being caused instead by photons, which themselves are bundles of energy, but which do not and cannot compose any sort of matter having measurable rest-mass. Matter having rest-mass cannot be converted into massless photons, nor can massless photons be converted into massive matter.}

Gawain 1975 = S. Gawain : Creative Visualization. NY : Bantam Bks.

pp. 231-2 consciousness as the source-and-origins of brain-activity {This is true; though all materialists falsely claim the reverse, namely, that brain-activity is the cause of consciousness. Physicists all side with, and confirm, occultists (as opposed to the delusion of materialism promoted by the irrational bigots who call themselves "materialists"), in affirming that consciousness is the fundamental basis of all physics.}

p. 231

"For Dawson Church, this ... is ... a 'new biology of intention' :

[quoted :] Scientists are discovering the precise pathways by which changes in human consciousness produce changes in human bodies. As we think our thoughts and feel our feelings, our bodies respond with a complex array of shifts. Each thought or feeling unleashes a particular cascade of biochemicals in our organs. Each experience triggers genetic changes in our cells. (2007:25)

p. 232

Cyndi Dale explicitly links this to subtle anatomy. She claims that ... subtle energy fields, channels and bodies provide information for the epigenomes' (2009:44)."

Church 2007 = Dawson Church : The Genie in Your Genes : Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention. Santa Rosa (CA) : Elite Bks.

Dale 2009 = Cyndi Dale : The Subtle : an Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy. Boulder (CO) : Sounds True.

p. 232 Mona Shulz & Barbara Brennan; G. R. S. Mead

"Mona Lisa Shulz ... is a medical doctor ... who practices as a medical intuitive and has become a well-known figure in the US and beyond.

Barbara Brennan is a mechanical engineer who ... now, like Shulz, works as an energy healer and medical intuitive."

"It is hardly surprising, then, to read the Theosophist G. R. S. Mead{'s} claiming as early as 1919 the ... modern scientific research ... would gradually reveal the subtle-body ... to be 'a fertile working hypothesis to co-ordinate a considerable number of the mental, vital and physical phenomena of human personality which otherwise remain on our hands as a confused and inexpicable conglomerate' ([1919]:1-2)

Mead 1919 : George Robert Stow Mead : The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in the Western Tradition. J.M. Watkins: London. [reprinted Stuart & Watkins: London, 1967.]

pp. 233-4 reconciliations of philosophies

p. 233

"Mead understood subtle embodiment as a kind of ... reconciliation of ... realism and idealism, matter and spirit ([1919]:2). ...

p. 234

Connecting technology and nature also aligns with another potential bridge --

that between science and magic."

{Magic itself in a science -- a praeternatural type of science.}

p. 235 immateriality of sensations, including of sensations of pleasure

"Westerners ... are ... more likely to encounter subtle anatomy through a set of pleasurable body practices, such as massage ... . ...

The contention of many cultural theorists that the body is dematerializing needs to be rethought ... ." {It s not so much that the body itself is "dematerializing", as much as that the emphasis is shifting to immaterial sensations (such as emotions, sentiments, feelings).}

{Sensations themselves are all immaterial, even if inhaerently immaterial sensations are experienced through means of material bodies. [It is not the insensible substance of the material body that is doing any sensing, but rather the soul, the mind, and the spirit that are doing any sort of experincing of enjoyment (which is likewise itself immaterial).]}


ROUTLEDGE STUDIES IN ASIAN RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY, 8 = Geoffrey Samuel & Jay Johnston (edd.) : Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West : Between Mind and Body. Routledge (an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group), Abingdon (Oxon), 2013.