Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm a Cowboy!!! Modern Self Labelling

I've decided that I'm a cowboy. I don't have any cows, and in fact, never have had anything to do with cows. I don't have a horse, never had. I don't have a cowboy hat, I don't have spurs, never have. I've never done any ropin' or ridin' or cowpunching! But, I like the cowboy spirit, so I'm a SPIRITUAL cowboy! And nobody can tell me any different!

It seems ridiculous when I put it that way, but somehow acceptable when one claims to be a spiritual alchemist, though one never has entered a lab, or a traditional astrologer one when has simply mixed in a few traditional techniques along with their psychological natal analysis and progressed sesquiquadrate of Black Lilith.

Our contemporary consumerist/capitalist society is extremely adept at stripping off the surfaces of things for marketing, we get oddities like Samsara perfume, totally bizarre marketing since samsara is the endless cycle of suffering through birth and rebirth, but whatever, it SOUNDS exotic and oriental. Any cultural, religious or spiritual item can be stripped out of context and sold.

And why not, atheistic materialism and its attendant sub-philosophy of deconstructivism teaches us that everything is inherently meaningless, that we as individuals, in our true god-like power, create a semblance of meaning. We can always keep our options open, create an endless bricolage of diverse cultural items.

This is so ingrained in our outlook that we hardly notice it. My web site is called "Christopher Warnock Renaissance Astrology" When I got a merchant account I was forced to go out and register Renaissance Astrology as a trade name. This is like having to register "Chinese Grocery" as a trade name. I didn't chose the name because I liked the sound of it or thought it had an interesting cultural frisson, but because I do actually practice the authentic astrology of the Renaissance.

As my magical teacher Robert Zoller once said, there are a lot of astrologers flying false flags. 18th century pirates used to do this to trick merchant ships. The real problem is that when labels cease to accurately describe their referent then chaos and confusion ensues. I like combining different cultural elements myself, I am simultaneously a rather hippie looking lawyer, astrologer, budding Zen priest. But I'm not a cowboy! If you are not using traditional philosophy and 99% traditional methods and that 1% of modern technique in a traditional manner, you are not a traditional astrologer. This is not really just a value judgment, it is an attempt to avoid chaos.


Jason Miller, said...

Here here.

There are plenty of generic self labels that can be adopted by people doing their own thing: meditator, mage, witch, and yes sorcerer.

I get into this when I talk to people about Dzogchen and Tantra. They can read things in a book. They can practice those things. They may even get some great benefit out of those practices, but without the person to person initiation in Tantra, or pointing out instruction in Dzogchen - it is simply not that thing.

The unfortunate thing about alchemy is that translators of Taoist and Tantric texts were, and still are, quite keen on using the term Alchemy to describe energetic and spiritual processes. Some of these people are PHD's and it is more or less the accepted term. I think that a lot of people in the west started using the term regarding sex magic, and then it just bloomed into a generic term in the west that could be abused.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure many real cowboys, or direct descendants of them would be really thrilled. Good job. -- :