Illuminating with Computers

In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended.
—John C. Lilly, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer:
Theory and Experiments

There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.
—Bruce Lee, The Art of Expressing the Human Body

The only clear view is from atop the mountain of your dead selves.
—Peter J. Carroll, Liber Null & Psychonaut:
An Introduction to Chaos Magic

Whereas enchantment and divination as previously shown are directed at something in the sorcerer’s world, illuminatory magic aims to alter the sorcerer herself: to shine a light in the darkness of her own ignorance or inability. On the “low” end, illumination occurs as sorcery to alter some practical aspect of oneself; as “high” magic, it approaches the enlightenment of mysticism, or perhaps just liberation of oneself from the crap she has accumulated.1 Either may borrow from techniques of enchantment, divination, evocation, or invocation; e.g., a magician could cast a spell on herself, read Tarot cards for herself, conjure a spirit from which to acquire a new skill, or invoke an entity possessing some quality she would incorporate into herself.

The Hermit
“Know thyself (γνῶθι σεαυτόν).” [3PC]

Basic exercises of metamorphosis may be assisted by computational media contributing positive or negative feedback. E.g., one of the suggested modifications to the Meditaid project (which is itself an example of illuminatory magic) is to rebuke you if the project detects you moving during the session.

Another area of illuminatory magic that may be assisted by computers is pathworking, a technique involving guided meditation, active imagination, or the like to explore the Tarot trumps, Tree of Life, or a similarly rich system of esoteric symbols.2 While it is common to do pathwork while sitting or lying still with your eyes closed, you can also do it while physically moving and interacting with the space or objects or people co-occupying the space. As to the role of the computer, recall the computer as a coordinator of interactions. You might record a guided meditation and have the computer play it while displaying images or playing other sounds appropriate to the meditation at various points along the path. Or, you could program the script to pause at certain places and wait for you to give a sign to proceed, or have the computer continue automatically in response to sensing that you are in a certain state detected by a biofeedback or neurofeedback circuit. You could incorporate within the meditation interactions with physical media such as were shown in the invocation project, Elementarea.

To recapitulate, any means of using computers to induce magical states of consciousness or coordinate interactions while experiencing such states can be illuminatory if applied to altering oneself. Illuminatory magics not involving computers may become sources of inspiration for magics (illuminatory or otherwise) that do involve them. Exercises and techniques of personal transformation can be found in any number of occult books, and many self-help books include transformative techniques known also to occultists. Following are a few books having techniques that can be readily adapted to technomantic ritual design, or that may assist the technomancer in reaching into her deep mind to find things to bring into her cyber-rituals.

  • The Book of Exhilaration and Mastery by Philip H. Farber — Phil also teaches these techniques in Brain Magick
  • The Magician’s Reflection by Bill Whitcomb — a sequel to Whitcomb’s The Magician’s Companion, a book of magical correspondences, Reflections helps the magician to develop her own correspondences
  • Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert A. Johnson — Johnson is a Jungian analytical psychologist, and his techniques for reifying dreams via ritual may be adapted to computational media (as I did with WindOfChange)
  • Towards an Archaeology of the Soul: A ParaTheatrical Workbook by Antero Alli
  • Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story by David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner

  1. I am reminded of Jerzy Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre: “The education of an actor in our theatre is not a matter of teaching him something; we attempt to eliminate his organism’s resistance to this psychic process. The result is freedom from the time-lapse between inner impulse and outer reaction in such a way that the impulse is already an outer reaction. Impulse and action are concurrent: the body vanishes, burns, and the spectator sees only a series of visible impulses. Ours then is a via negativa—not a collection of skills but an eradication of blocks.” N.b., however, that what appears to be liberation could in verity be replacing one kind of crap with another.
  2. Phil Hine wrote about pathworking in Condensed Chaos, pp. 66–67. There are many books written about it, including several by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, and several books of arcane instruction include pathworkings within them.