Egregores and You – An Update
By Mark Stavish
This article was first published in June 2014 under the title “Jean Dubuis, Egregores, UFOs, and Slenderman.” Its message is just as important now as it was then, if not more so in light of recent revelations of media collusion in various political intrigues. The notion of the egregore has grown increasingly common in Western occultism over the last twenty years or so, but it is still not something widely known or even understood. Because of its critical importance to our daily lives, I am adding the following information on egregores from Joscelyn Godwin’s book The Golden Thread to this article. To my knowledge, no other scholar of esoteric philosophy has written about the importance of the egregore and dedicated a chapter to it in his book, aptly titled “The Power of the Egregore” (47-54).
Godwin starts out by tracing the origin of egregores, at least in the West, to the semi-animistic beliefs of ancient Greece and Rome, and the intimate relationship ancient cult practices had with daily life as well as foreign affairs. Here, we see that every aspect of life has a sacred component to it, and that in the proper execution of one’s duties the visible and invisible worlds are kept in harmony. These relationships and their method of implementation became the specialized study of the priestly class. The rituals and their attendant sacrifices were vital to the health of the family, community, city, even nation or empire. Within this larger collective the individual lived their life and performed their duty and experienced their destiny as the gods dictated. Material well-being held a vital position in a world in which the average lifespan was 35 years of age, and in which medical science could not be counted upon for the preservation of life and limb. When combined with little or no hope for an afterlife, as constituted the general belief in the ancient world (Egypt being the exception), making the most of what life one had was critical.
As Godwin points out, given the interrelationship of the visible and invisible, under conditions in which the grave was seen as the final destination, the ancient gods to whom cults were dedicated and offerings made may have needed human religion more than humans did!
“There is an occult concept of the “egregore,” a term derived from the Greek word for “watcher.” It is used for an immaterial entity that “watches” or presides over some earthly affair or collectivity. The important point is that an egregore is augmented by human belief, ritual, and especially by sacrifice. If it is sufficiently nourished by such energies, the egregore can take on a life of its own and appear to be an independent, personal divinity, with a limited power on behalf of its devotees and an unlimited appetite for further devotion. It is then believed to be an immortal god or goddess, an angel, or a daimon.” (49-50)
Egregores were formed to watch over city states, the Republic, and the Empire itself. As long as offerings and devotion continued, the prosperity and well-being of the city or empire was assured. However, if new cults came into being and the energies of worship were directed elsewhere, the agreement would be broken and the egregore would cease to support the land and its people. Esoterically, this can be seen as the reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire. When its old gods and goddesses were no longer sustained by the people, they in turn could no longer support Rome or its territories. In short, the spiritual death of the Roman Empire can be seen in what Godwin terms “the natural tolerance of polytheism.” But it doesn’t end there. The real death stroke lies in the nature of the new religions. These mystery cults from Greece, Persia, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria offered something Roman religion did not: personal salvation, or rather, survival after physical death.
Based on these metaphysical premises, Godwin suggests (and we agree) that for a city, nation, or empire to exist its devotees must be focused on life in the material world. When their direction is turned “other worldly” or what we might call “transcendental,” the cults of family and state – the cults of blood – become weakened, reduced to a jumping-off point for the goals of the individual instead of attended to as an end in themselves. Thus the demands of time and the intellectual and emotional commitment mystery religions demanded of their members – initiates of the secret way – leave little or no energy for the traditional egregore of family and state.
“I am suggesting that the rise and fall of nations is intimately bound up with their relations with their gods; and that these are real entities, even though they are not the eternal all-powerful beings they are reputed to be. This seems to be a theory worthy of consideration by anyone who can admit that the universe is a very strange place, and that there is plenty of room in it for beings bigger than mankind. If such beings exist, it is only prudent to take an account of them. Every civilization in the past has done so, after its fashion.” (53)
Two questions arise at this point: first, what is the role of the of the individual and his destiny/will? And second, how is the individual to participate in the collective and its management of the visible by way of the invisible?
Which brings us to our old friend, French alchemist and adept Jean Dubuis.
In the 1990s, Jean Dubuis would often lecture about the issue of egregores. For those of you not familiar with the term, John Michael Greer in his work The New Encyclopedia of the Occult defines it as “a common term in modern magical practice for the artificial group soul brought into being by…any group of people united by emotional ties of any sort…the gods and goddesses of traditional Paganism are identified as egregores constructed jointly by divine beings and their human worshipers. This corresponds closely to the older Hermetic discussions of the same subject.” For Dubuis, far too often the egregore – group mind or soul – was a trap rather than a channel towards liberation. Personal agendas hidden inside the desired manifestations utilized the emotional energy of the group to bring to pass what one person could not, all without the knowledge or consent of the group. This was not limited to esoteric or magical circles, but included politics, business, the military, and religious organizations. For this reason, Dubuis advocated a solitary path wherein external influences could be minimized until they could be effectively managed and made more or less inconsequential.
At the time, around 1994, Dubuis often used the example of a group working in Switzerland whose obsession was with Unidentified Flying Objects, saying that this was all an effort to create a thoughtform that would materialize, thereby allowing the group leaders to take on the role of “interplanetary mediators” and gain some significant level of political control that, in his words, “would be worse than Hitler.” Dubuis’s having lived through the Nazi Occupation of France (1940-1945) made this no empty statement or hyperbole. To this end, he would quote his fellow Frenchman, scientist, Rosicrucian, venture capitalist, and author of several best-selling books on UFOs, Jacques Vallée. Vallée is famous for being the inspiration and technical force behind the Steven Spielberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Vallée is renowned for his scientific investigation of UFO phenomena, and having started his research looking for an extra-terrestrial source for UFOs, ended up coming to the conclusion that they were inter-dimensional beings. His research was detailed in his third book, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers. He also advocated that UFO phenomena was multifaceted, including manipulation by government and non-government entities of the sightings, whether real, false, or fabricated to convince people of benevolent “space brothers,” as some cults have called them. This belief – like the belief in a group of “Unknown Superiors” who similarly seem to speak through their “chosen representatives” – foretold of a certain doom that would befall humanity, resulting in mass death, save for the elect. This message did not resonate well with Vallée. Maybe the “space brothers” and their self-appointed “spiritually evolved” and “enlightened” representatives were not so benevolent after all.
Which leads us to a critical point in the literature of the New Age Movement and some of its allied movements of the last fifty years or so: the idea of human spiritual evolution. We have often heard of the impending catastrophes that were to befall humanity, purging it of the unenlightened, and leaving behind a stronger, better, more benevolent humanity. Now, if we look at the history of this idea we see that few if any of the predictions made have come to pass. Some examples of this can be found in the works of Edgar Cayce, Gordon Michael Scallion, and various “Mayan” and “2012” prophecies, but countless others can be found easily with a simple Google search. The idea of humanity being led or ruled, as it were, by an “enlightened elite” is simply a modern variation of the ancient notion of the “divine right of kings,” that is, royalty rules by the will of God. This idea should not be ignored; it forms the bedrock of many modern spiritual (and simultaneously political) philosophies. It is also extremely destructive to the freedoms many of us enjoy, based as it is on a misconstrued interpretation of the word “evolution.” For those who use it in this manner, evolution is viewed as movement towards some predetermined point – an end goal – which the elites are aware of and will guide their “lesser” brethren towards. However, evolution is not the movement towards a goal – at least not anything other than individual survival, as evolution is nothing more than an individual organism’s adaptation to its environment.
Now read that again: “individual survival” and “adaptation to its environment.” This is a far cry from fulfilling some “cosmic secret mission” that only the special and chosen can understand. In short, modern New Age theories are in many instances little more than the basis for quasi-spiritual practices overseen by a false elite combined with totalitarian political structures of rule – be it the ruling of a cult, a country, or a world. This is no different than followers of fundamentalist religions who wish to impose their special theocracy on the rest of us. The problem is that while the idea changes form, its essential aspect – rule by spiritual elites under the guise of “utopian benevolence” – only changes form. We will see that this essence is simply another name for the egregore.
A warning to each of us on the Path: focus on your own work and not universal salvation, as “the path to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Dubuis himself followed this advice, and also stated that he had been contacted by a magical group in the Channel Islands who invited him to work with them in their efforts to destroy or at least weaken the egregore of Islam – five years before the “September 11” terrorist attacks and the launching of the “War on Terror.” He declined the offer, stating that he had other work to focus on.
What does this have to do with Slenderman, the fictional character who is said to abduct children and be a new source of horror in the world? Everything really. Using the magical method of the egregore, “what I cannot do alone, many others can do for me.” Read that again. You see, harnessing the psycho-sexual-emotional energy of millions of pre-adolescent and adolescent youths provides a veritable buffet of psychic energy. To think that you can give them something to focus it on and that it will not come into being in some form is either the statement of a fool or a liar.
Let me quote the words of Dr. Baolin Wu, from his work (with Jessica Eckstein) Lighting the Eye of the Dragon: Inner Secrets of Taoist Feng Shui:
“In 1966, shortly before the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Dr. Wu’s teacher, Master Du, took him aside to tell him that China was soon going to be in the throes of revolution. Dr. Wu asked his teacher how could he know such a thing. His response was, “It’s part of the I Ching. You can predict things.” Master Du asked his student what he had seen that morning on his way to school. The young Dr. Wu said there had been a group of children playing with a top, a common toy on the streets of Beijing, whipping it with a string to keep it spinning. Master Du explained that the way they whipped the top was like the way of whipping people, the capturing of people, this was a sign. It is the will of heaven to warn us ahead of time about everything that will happen, whether we realize it or not. The study of Feng Shui and of the I Ching is an attempt to recognize these messages ahead of time… Respecting children as representatives of our collective unconscious is a valuable lesson to learn. …Whatever a child plays at or with will be what the nation builds up or develops.”
You see, the last line is the real lesson here. In closing, let me again quote Lighting the Eye of the Dragon, with the question that follows the above statement: “How do you put this concept to use?”
So, how do you? Think. Think.
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