NEW BLOG SERIES:
PSYCHOISM, OCCULTISM, AND THE ASTRAL WORLDS
After perusing the various blogs and comments published upon the AMORC blog page, I decided to begin a new series of articles discussing the fundamental structure and agents operating within the Imago World or Astral Plane. Naturally, such a study delves into the inhabitants of the world of Magick and the Occult, e.g., djinn, elementals, mythical beasts, angels, demons, and kesdjan or astral bodies. I believe that many members will be drawn to such a study by personal interest, as it is not an intended course of study in our Order. The material presented will be didactic and not ritualistic and so quite harmless to the psyche.
I do hope that rational exploration will separate fact from errant fantasy so to provide an accurate picture of the fundamental nature and purpose of the Astral World. The Astral World is an actuality, though virtual, and is the place where our ego states and ergoegotic centers live. Our existence within the physical world is solely where our corpuses reside so to provide sensory information and images for us to exist in the psychic world. If such was untrue, we would possess, but a single plane of existence. One thing Deity is not, is inefficient.
Though, based upon years of personal experience in education, the more unusual the students’ fantasy, the more difficult for the educators to dispel, particularly, metaphysical ones.
In any case . . . I shall give it a try. Much later, I shall present some thoughts as to how to model Omneity scientifically and transrationally. As usual, I shall keep unnecessary information to a minimum and present at a mature level.
SUBJECT I. Incubi and Succubi: A Psychoistic Analysis Of Conscious Sleep Paralysis
Part I: Modern Psychological Explanations
The experience of awaking from a sound or fitful sleep into daily awareness happens at least once a day to each of us. After a few seconds for reorientation, we find ourselves in our awakened state and either turn over or get out of bed. In truth, it takes a few minutes for the brain to be fully alert, as shown by the little errors which occur in our awakening routines, such as forgetting whether you brushed your teeth or not . . . No big deal, right? No, sometimes it is!
Occasionally, a percentage of the population (population-specific prevalence varies from 10 to 30%) will find themselves awaking from a dream into what is perceived as a conscious state and finding his or her body paralyzed. The first thought is, “I know I am awake, but I am unable to move no matter how I try. My body is paralyzed. I can feel my body and I know where all my parts reside, but am prevented from voluntary movement. I can breathe and my heart beats. I feel like my body is jumping upon my bed or I am floating above it.”
For the psychically inclined, it sometime feels as if the astral body is attempting to separate, or has separated, from the physical.
Soon, strong feelings of dread, foreboding, and overwhelming fear quickly arise, which if not addressed, may include feelings that one is dying. Such fear is self-sustaining, as long as attention is focused upon the body, rather than upon the surroundings.
As soon as one calms himself or herself sufficiently, so to study what is transpiring, the physiology of ‘conscious sleep paralysis’ proves quite interesting. For instance, even in a darkened room on a moonless night without streetlights, you will be able to observe the objects within the room quite clearly. The illumination of the room is quite unusual for though no lamps are lite, light pervades the space everywhere, being dim and colorless (occasionally reddish or yellowish in hue). While, you can see, such seeing differs from normal waking sight and is much more dreamlike.
Often, persons experiencing conscious sleep paralysis feel the ‘presence of as an evil, malevolent force or personality’ close by. The appearance of such malevolence differing between persons depending upon religious upbringing, cultural mythology, and exogenous and endogenous fear motifs.
Commonly, people will relate that an entity was present with them, but rather dimly seen. For instance, it is almost transparent, but felt solid. The entity may assume the form of an animal, a person, a mythological creature (such as a satyr), a pagan god, demon, or other nonhuman creature. The experience of the presence of mythic and demonic creatures is a well-established cultural phenomena, the cast of appearing to people in the night are ‘legion.’
The ability to see during an episode of conscious sleep paralysis is quite unlike normal seeing. For instance, descriptions of the light within the room, the objects therein, the abnormal appearance of unusual entities suggest that the individual, though his or her eyes may be open, in actuality, is not seeing via the normal visual pathways, but is creating dream images from his or her sensory cortex which are mistaken for external data, convincing the person that he or she is awake. Such a conjecture is consistent with my personal studies of conscious sleep paralysis over many years.
Moreover, the wide variation in the descriptions of the appearance of entities perceived amongst populations are most consistent with creatures reconstructed from information gathered during childhood and stored within semantic memory during which the individual experienced actual or perceived threats to ego or body linked to feelings of strong foreboding, fear, or anxiety.
Sometimes, unremembered episodes of childhood sexual abuse or drug rapes will reappear during dreaming with the perpetrator disguised as a different persona. How common is unknown, but is a possibility which needs to be explored in treatment.
In psychoistic terminology, such experiential states are called ‘state-dependent, multimodal semantic memory reconstructions,’ or ‘SMSMR.’
Fear or sexual dream images can occur as one begins to enter into sleep. In this borderline state of semi-awareness, people commonly experience auditory and visual hallucinations, mostly forgotten upon fully waking or soon afterwards. Many persons do recall hearing music or seeing things in near-sleep states at some point in their lives.
Typical examples, include, feelings of being crushed or suffocated, electric “tingles” or “vibrations”, speech and other noises, the presence of a visible or invisible entity, and intense emotions of fear, euphoria, or orgasmic feelings. Such experiences seem absolutely real and vivid. Humanlike and animal creatures, often shadowy or blurry, are often present in hypnagogic hallucinations, more so than other hallucinogenic states. This may be a relic of an ancient instinct to detect predatory animals.
The combination of sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucination could easily cause someone to believe that a “demon was holding them down”. Nocturnal arousal etc. could be explained away by creatures causing otherwise guilt-producing behavior. Add to this the common phenomena of nocturnal arousal and nocturnal emission, and all the elements required to believe in an incubus are present.
Personally, when I was young, I sometimes experienced the feeling of waking up in a normal dream which I perceived as a threat. The dream continued as expected, but I was both in and out of the dreamscape, providing an inner locus of control. My experiences of conscious sleep paralysis exhibited the same feeling of being awake, as I believed I was not dreaming at first. After, a few experiences, I determined that I was still dreaming during conscious sleep paralysis.
Much later, I came to the conclusion that that my personal awareness was unitary, though possessed multiple modes of seeing (in the psychic sense), and field of experience did differ between awaking and dreaming. I have never been bothered since.