I worked with Och every Sunday from March 28 to April 18. The incense was frankincense with a bit of copol and honey amber, juniper, spikenard, patchouli, and vetiver. It burned very well and I used most of the remainder of the incense on the Eve of May Day for what became an energetically potent Gnostic Beltaine ceremony and fire ritual with my group, New Aeon Lodge.
When I sat, I first immediately got and impression of Apollo as a young, androgynous man but there wasn’t much communication. I was “hearing” him refer to Athena as the offshoot of Zeus but there wasn’t much elaboration on it except that Athena (Greek Minerva) was also related to Sol energy.
The meditative feeling of expressing light began to emerge. It was especially “felt” in my hands and chest. I contemplated the godform of Sophia. Then the words came to mind: sacrifice, hubris, atonement, and words related to struggle toward self-integration. I reflected on images of dying and resurrecting deities and their pathos, of mythic figures like Prometheus, Icarus—and the Valentinian Gnostic Sophia who falls and then spends her energy in atonement and integration. I also thought: consciousness, timeliness. It seemed that Och/Sol was associated with something painful and transformational. There was an aloneness in it. I began to think of the sun as something bare or turned inside out. Its flame was uncontained like a fruit that had been peeled and was now exposed. I also reflecting on Time and ephemerality and that what needs to be known or accomplished is precious and elusive because time is limited .
Before closing the meditation, the inner vision of Apollo appeared again. I asked for teaching. I again “felt like” Sophia and reflected on the idea that I had to go it alone in life and draw on strength and sublimated energy.
From this experience, I was led to look up information of Apollo and Minerva. Apollo: a god of light, healing, music, prophecy. The etymology of the name may refer to redemption and purification.
Engraved on his temple at Delphi : "Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess."
He is associated with wolves (because of their howling songs), the golden mean, and order. Although he was seen as a Christ-like God of Light and reason, his mythology is rather lusty and violent, with people being killed for passion and revenge. His Celtic cognate is Belenos, the deity that may have been celebrated at Beltaine. His consort Belisama was sometimes associated with Minerva.
As for Minerva/Athena, having been born from Zeus’ head, she is thought of as the mind of God. Her mother, according to myth, was Metis (“cunning intelligence”), Zeus’ first wife, who he swallowed (like Saturn swallowed his children) to keep her from giving birth to a child who would overthrow him. Some researchers say that the mythology is metaphor for Athenian absorption of surrounding cultures and their goddesses.
The second Sunday of this Working fell on Easter, April 4, 2010. The meditation was initially quiet and imageless. If I gazed at the sigil, I would get the impression of bright sunlight in my mind’s eye. If I meditated with eyes open gazing lightly outward, I would envision a slit of pure white light. If I closed my eyes, I had no impressions. In time, I had the impression of clear light reflected in clear water and reflected on the idea of the slit of light being like a rend in the veil of the illusion of provisional existence. Clear light. Empty of other. Oddly, this sun energy had more of a Binah quality to it than a Tiphareth quality, which to me was a Hagith characteristic. I reflected on the idea of baptism, clear light water symbolically washing away the illusion of self. The light of the logos both makes and breaks the illusion. It is the light of this life of experience and it is the light behind the illusion—the black sun. The light beyond the darkness. The occult light. I thought about why I didn’t feel presence and the words came. “There is no entity; there is only Self.” And then I reflected on the Biblical passage “You are the light of the world.”
On the third Sunday of this Working, I found myself reflecting on the Buddhist entity Vajrasattva. The message was to transform anger into magic. I reflected on how this was somewhat done in Tibetan Buddhist work with wrathful deities.
Images of the Ace of Swords and also the Hanged Man of the Tarot came to mind.
In meditating on Och, I sat with impressions—not about enlightenment or thriving—but about burning up, being torn up, repentance, self-effacement, sacrifice. I reflected on the godform of Christos. The sacrificial victim and contemptible harbinger of gnosis.
Now when I look at it, it seems like a broken cross, blasted out from the core. It is like the analogy I wrote of in my last novel about the ourobouros:.
He started drawing circles again until he had constructed an ouroboros—a serpent swallowing its own tail.
“If you really want to find peace and make peace, you have to kill this thing,” he said.
“I’ve given lots of teachings about circles,” he finally said. “It is formed out of a serpent called the ouroboros, which is the karmic wheel. You’re always in the loop of the circle but you have to think about the space inside of it and the space around it. One is contained, the other is infinite. Then you have to pull the tail out of the mouth of the serpent or else hack it in two so that the enclosed space and the all-around space are the same. There is no finitude there, no boundaries and so there are no thoughts, judgments, or expectations. Then things are just as they are.”
Finally, I began to contemplate semen as sacrifice, the male pleasure principle and depletion through ejaculation and that there is something metaphorical about this that perhaps a man might “get” better than I.
On that last Sunday of the Working, the name Apollo was my first impression. I looked at the scrying orb that I had been working with that last week. In it, I saw impressions of the face of Christ from the Shroud of Turin. It became the face of a bearded man, a man with halo and then lion face with wings and a crown. Then it seemed to transform into the face of a wolf—all symbols of the sun, sun-god, or Apollo. I sat holding that same bittersweet feeling about the sun. It is interesting that the Sun represents the ego-personality but the message in my meditation is about ego-dissolution. “I am complete Openness” was the message. I did not sit for that long. The thoughts that came while I was closing weres that I should be happy to be free of doing this ritual daily and that I should go on to focus on presence and the unique feelings of each of the planets I experienced when needed.