Cultivating the Double-Sight
Fiction by Agdistis Noctem Aeternus
An inner Self, a flame of divine-demoniac consciousness, resides within every being. It is wise beyond measure: it knows us better than we do. It is powerful: it can guide us to transform the world.
Some esoteric traditions call this innermost essence the Holy Guardian Angel, the godself, the daemon, the genius, the inner light, or the ori. Whatever its name, it is an individual, unique part of our own soul, which grants us originality, authenticity, direction, wisdom, and Will.
This Essence spurs us onward toward deepening self-development. It is sometimes beautiful, and sometimes awful, but it is always truthful. It is all our strengths, and all our flaws. If we embrace it, we rise. If we deny it and scorn its beauty and power, then we fall.
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This Essence’s power stretches far beyond the daylight of our conscious awareness, yet it is fundamentally a part of us. However, it does not always feel like part of us, especially when we are beginning our spiritual work in this incarnation. The Essence’s majesty and power are difficult to fully grasp, especially when we approach it from a rationalist perspective.
We may begin the work of knowing this Essence by approaching it as a separate being – a spirit with whom we feel a soul-deep kinship. Indeed, this case of mistaken identity is one of the origins of monotheism: our innermost soul is the center of our own world, in which we live and move and have our being. It is that which creates, sustains, and arguably destroys us in the end. And it is “jealous”: we must put no one and nothing else before our heart, lest we betray ourselves.
Imagining this spiritual Essence as a separate being is a decent way of approaching our own majesty, at first. (Any contact with our innermost soul is better than none.) But we will never fully embrace our own beauty and power, unless we understand that that which we adore is that which we are: tat tvam asi.
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It is difficult enough to comprehend our soul’s full beauty. But it can be crushingly difficult to perceive the God Within, when we are fully immersed in ordinary consciousness.
Unless we steel ourselves with deliberate spiritual focus, the rhythms of day-to-day life tend to dull our spiritual senses and disconnect us from our deepest self. Despite what some say, this is not a new development in humanity's history. A quick look through the great mystic texts of the world sees “householder concerns” – like holding down a job, paying the rent, sustaining a relationship, raising a family, and even cooking and cleaning – consistently described as tasks that can separate us from our spiritual life.
When we encounter our Angel’s majesty, some of us lose our taste for ordinary things, and we run into the arms of the Beatific Vision. The result is a profound psychospiritual imbalance: this bird needs both wings to fly. We become unmoored from consensus reality, with dangerous results for ourselves and the people around us.
Thankfully, ordinary life does not have to separate ourselves from our Nature. In fact, it can even strengthen us in our understanding of and connection with our innermost power, moving us into a profoundly balanced and spiritually integrated state.
Many traditions describe how to cultivate such a state, where our practical beings and spiritual imaginations are synchronized with each other. An example of these techniques is what the sages of Tibet refer to as Tantra.
In the West, we tend to imagine Tantra as sacred sex – and it's true that there are sacred sexual practices described in traditional tantras. However, Tantra, at its core, is the re-imagining of mundane things as spiritual things.
Although we don’t think of it as Tantra, many of us already use these techniques of self-reimagination and intense spiritual embodiment. We congregate in spaces, times, and ways where our ordinary lives – and those of others – become extraordinary, vivid, and real. These may be ritual chambers, nightclubs, dance floors, stages, orgies, dungeons, and bedrooms.
Hopefully, we avoid descending into solipsism when we enter this flow-state, even when we do not consciously know the details of these spiritual technologies. Instead, we instinctively understand everyone and everything around us as brimming with supernatural power and cosmic significance. Often, the people around us return the favor, and perceive us as extraordinary in turn.
Care, wisdom, and the context of a greater community can help us hold our ordinary selves in tension with the sublime. This state of tension can be dangerous, but can also serve as fuel for deep personal transformation and evolution. When we are in this non-dual state, we exist in a state of paradox and contradiction, and all things become possible for us.
Excerpted and adapted from chapter 1 of The Deathforms (Sub Rosa Books, 2021), by Agdistis Noctem Aeternus. All rights reserved. For queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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