Chapter Fifteen

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Magic, Crystals, Talismans, and Swords

The focus of intention is the basis of all magic. There is "one thing that allows you to learn the 10,000 things" continually referred to but seldom explained in Eastern esoteric literature; that is meditation. The type of meditation required to truly focus intent, however, is a step beyond focusing on a mantra or going into relaxation response. It is going into your self to awaken your true Self, which connects to the Universal. Internal practice is necessary to affecting the external reality.

The Chinese practitioners of chi kung, the swamis of India, the Zen roshi, and the ninja are prominent examples of those who pursue enlightenment or awakening. Awakening is simply waking up your id, shadow, or true self. Enlightenment is the biological process of rejuvenating your hormone system. The side effects of obtaining enlightenment are called in Sanskrit "siddhi." In the context of Buddhist yoga or Vajrayana (perfect mastery over the body and forces of nature) there are eight ordinary siddhis: 1. the sword that renders unconquerable; 2. the elixir for the eyes that makes gods visible; 3. fleetness in running; 4. invisibility; 5. the life essence that preserves youth; 6. the ability to fly, levitate, and/or project onto the astral plane; 7. the ability to make certain medicines; 8. power over the world of spirits and demons.

The order appears to be hierarchical. Some of these can also be described as mind-reading, clairvoyance, empathy, materialization, levitation, making things invisible, and entering other bodies. I have yet to witness what I consider true materialization or levitation; astral projection is trippy enough for me.

Many wise men and women say that no one can attain enlightenment without the assistance of a perfect master. It strikes me as difficult but not impossible to a good researcher willing to take some chances. This isn't the tenth century. This is America. The libraries are open, if not filled. My own experience has led me to believe the preserved descriptions concerning these powers are somewhat rhetorically exaggerated, and human beings should not be overly concerned with fantasies like perfection. Murphy seems to share my opinion.

All these powers seem supernatural if you haven't learned how to do them or opened yourself up to the experience. All science appears as magic to the ignorant. All the great sages agree that they are also just distractions to obtaining enlightenment or absolute truth, as attachment to a particular siddhi is an obstacle in the way of spiritual development. What that means is, if you waste all your time trying to learn how to read other people's minds or master the secret sword techniques instead of working on your own damn self, you have missed the point of the exercise-rather like a psychologist who breaks off his or her own analysis. However, it is easy to speculate uses of such powers for a sage or gatherer of intelligence.

Another problem concerning the pursuit of enlightenment is the identification of a legitimate teacher, as well as separation from the teacher once the goal has been attained or particular lesson learned. Perhaps in these days it is more accurate to say avoiding attachment to the teacher as you attempt to solve your own inner puzzle. Most traditional teachers expect devotion. It's where the word "devotee" comes from, meaning disciple or deshi. It's not an American concept nor is devotion necessary to the biological process of enlightenment, but it can make life easier for the teacher and the student if the relationship is understood from the start.

Enlightenment is differentiated from the eight ordinary sid-dhi as the sole extraordinary or supreme siddhi. It's number nine. And its expression is as diverse as the many-petaled lotus used to represent its accomplishment in India. The enlightened individual is supposed to be able to demonstrate mastery of the common eight from his or her locus of control, rendering a new and positive form to the dark and ancient magic. The meditative techniques I've described are virtually the same in Taoism, Kriya yoga, Kokoro, Kabbalah, Esoteric Christianity, and Sufism. Manifestation may differ according to the practice, but the true practice has to do with going within and working on yourself and your breath following the light — not drawing pentagrams on the floor that represent internal states and standing in them while bellowing in languages you don't understand.

Kuji (mudra) and Juji (spirituality) and similar practices are well documented in esoteric literature. A helpful book, Where the Spirits Ride The Wind: Trance Journeys and other Ecstatic Experiences by Felicitas D. Goodman (Indiana University, 1990),lays out some 30 postures that are especially trance-inducing. Some are very similar to the moving kamae of ninjutsu; others are much more American Indian. Kuji can be used to shift the flow of chi energy from the normal patterns through the meridians, and one who is pursuing enlightenment should explore those avenues. They definitely affect the brain, particularly the cerebellum. Hayes's workshops on the kuji are very well received. Once internal energy is transformed, it can be externalized and that is real magic. However, things aren't always what they seem, and the ancient gods felt and feel it a duty to twist the wish of a power seeker. What you see may just be what you get. Transformation is a two-lane highway.

Crystals have a long history of medical and esoteric use. It has been my experience that plain old quartz crystal in its various colors along with aquamarines, tourmalines, and moonstones may be the only stones worth wearing on the body. The harder the stone the less charge it can carry and the lesser its ability to affect a gland. Quartz can hold a charge if you run your chi into it. It also has a subtle electrical field around it, so that if you wear one over your thyroid it stimulates the gland. The kings and queens of yore wore crystals not gems in their crowns to stimulate the occult powers. Thrones usually had a giant stone hidden in the seat to stimulate the genitals. (The throne of England had a huge red carbuncle that is now kept in the Tower of London.) Gems came along when money started to get confused with power.

Lovers in the Renaissance gave each other crystal rings to wear on the water meridian (kidney, ancient seat of the emotions) or third finger of the left hand after they had charged them with their feelings for the other person. A nice way to reinforce affection. The ring wearer would tend to think of the giver more often. You can see how easily sentiment can be perverted by price.

Wearing a crystal helps to harmonize your energy fields, but the clarity, size, or color are of little consequence. Where you hang it is more important, as you want proximity to the governing meridians or organs you wish to stimulate. A cheapie held on by a piece of leather can do the job as well as the "occultly perfect stone" in a jeweler's setting. What is important is whether you feel energy in the stone. Many people will disagree with my experience, but we follow our own placebos.

Once the target gland is functioning properly, you will probably find wearing the crystal no longer has any effect. Reactivated hormonal or endocrine glands seem to want to keep working f given a little gentle encouragement from breath and crystal. The body enjoys being healthy. Subtle energy techniques like this can take a little more time but also seem to outlast a kick start. Clear the crystal when you no longer need it and give it to a friend.

Once you have developed chi you can easily pass some of your charge into wood. The favorite hanbo (walking stick) becomes charged with the intention of the handler. I've noticed considerable difference in the feel of bokken (hardwood practice swords) and hanbo of students and teachers when I chanced to pick them up. It's a fun exercise in sensitivity. Can you tell whose stick is whose? (It is also considered extremely rude to handle or step over another's weapons or practice weapons without permission. You should adopt a look of innocent wonder as you drain or sabotage a piece with your foot.)

This same principle of chi transference applies to the making cf works of art and religious objects. The artist channels his or her feelings into the work. If the artist's intent is strong you can actually feel the energy he or she put into manufacturing the work (ritual magic is part of the sword-making art in Japan). This principle even applies to letters and handwritten documents. Supposedly information is passed by the touch of the scroll when it is made by a powerful mage who pours his intent into the medium as well as the message. Hatsumi-soke hand-creates all promotion diplomas for Bujinkan. I like to pass my hand over mine from time to time just to get a feel of the man.

When I was in England visiting Suzanne Carlson we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to check out the Japanese swords encased there. Two of the swords could push our hands back from the glass when we followed the energy flow. We both thought that was pretty special, so we looked to see who made them and when. Both of the pushy swords were older than the others and made by priests. They were all magnificent examples of the sword-maker's art. Doing detail work can fix the mind but it is the emotion that creates the art. This may account for the tales of lucky, life-giving swords and unlucky swords whose owners seemed to come to a nasty end. The sword test in ninjutsu when performed with a live sword is supposed to be done always with a virgin sword so that complete neutrality of outcome is observed. I once heard Hatsumi say, "Buddha men would only use their swords for right things!"

There is a broken sword displayed in shihan Tetsuji Ishizuka's dojo in Kashiwa. Hatsumi broke it with his bare hands. They took it to be assayed and the analysis said the steel around the break had strangely crystallized. We all know about the hardness and strangeness of some Japanese swords. I have an old sword made by Yoshi-da Tamekichi of Seki. It's a night sword, which means the blade is mottled and smoky in appearance so that it's hard to see. Same principle as bluing a knife or gun. I bought it from an antique dealer for $75 as it was pretty beat up and the bloodstains in the officer handle wrappings weren't particularly attractive. Its owner probably didn't make it home. Every time I tried to sharpen it or clean it up, I'd get cut—once to the bone on my left thumb knuckle. I read a biography of Tesshu (one of the last great samurai swordsmen to achieve enlightenment) and decided to try running energy into the blade as well as meditating with it in my lap. One night as I was meditating the sword became very cold and a woman's voice spoke to me saying, "You keep that ninja to (short straight-bladed sword favored by boat warriors) beside your bed instead of me. How can you be such a fool? Don't you know I deserve better treatment than this?!''

I got up, moved the to out of the bedroom, and put her beside my bed. She has been light and easy to handle ever since. I haven't been cut since. I had her scabbard and handle decorated by my mystical jeweler friend for a whopping fee. I had her nose redone even though it dropped her value as a bushido collector's item by ten thousand dollars. The sword sometimes seems to move about me on her own when I do sword drills as a form of compassionate compensation. I don't have the faintest idea how a swordmaker trapped a female spirit in a sword three hundred years ago. Given some of the cutting drills used by the samurai to test swords, such as hacking up prisoners, I don't think I want to know. I'm just happy to own such an interesting artifact. I call her Lydia, after Kenneth Robert's wonderful book Lydia Bailey. My cynical Crowley-following friend says she's probably some old whore who tried to short-sheet a samurai.

The swords and hanbo are but two examples. Chi can be passed on to other objects if you want to work real hard, I suppose. Healers will often charge water for their clients to drink. The clients sometime report it makes them feel as if they had drunk a little wine. Who knows what charging up your Macintosh might accomplish if you're a writer. But it's probably more beneficial to work on your typing skills than the creation of esoteric bugs. The telephone is more reliable than the telepath. It is probably not wise to encourage the ghosts in machines.

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