The profound generosity of one of our patrons has resulted in our providing you with Part Two of this fascinating article.
Toilet Dreams and the Alchemical Vision, Part Two:
Bathhouses, places of public gathering as well as hygiene until the mid-twentieth century, were a common way for people to socialize in the classical period. Within the Greco-Egyptian Magical Papyri in Translation (Betz, 2nd edition) we see at least two magical acts that take place in what would be a public bathhouse – which were themselves considerable in number and often large structures offering a variety of services. The social structure included the obvious, prostitution and illicit activities, but it also a place for socializing. Some baths, or spas, had classes, libraries, and dining available. They were an interesting contrast to the rural bathhouses in Russia that we will read about below.
In the recently released book, Jinn Sorcery by Rain Al-Alim (Scarlet Imprint 2018) the author references toilets as locations where various classes of ‘jinn’ or spirits were thought to congregate. Part of this belief may be based on the practice of women inducing abortions in a toilet – i.e., an ‘outhouse’ or using the bathhouse to clean afterwards. The psychic energy associated with the act attracting its own legion of spiritual parasites.
In his book, The Bathhouse at Midnight: A Historical Survey of Magic and Divination in Russia (Penn State University Press, 1999), W.F Ryan points out, “in a binary model of sacred locations, places like bathhouses demonstrated the fate of pagan temples in a Christian world where they became the reputed focus of evil forces” (p. 50). He further states:
“Russian wizard, not noted for cleanliness, was nevertheless reputed to go off to the bathhouse when everyone else goes to church. When he did this he was not necessarily going to bathe; … His use of the bathhouse, according to popular belief, was more likely to be magical: the casting of spells, praying to demons or practicing malefic magic…Most villages had a bathhouse, usually some way off from the rest of the houses in the village, where possible near water. It was usually a dilapidated building. It was thought to be a dangerous place with its own resident sprite, the bannik, the most hostile of Russian domestic goblins, and was not a place to visit alone. … variously envisioned as a dwarf or little old man; occasionally the demon was female…with only one eye, and the danger to women in labour if they were left alone in the bathhouse. After midnight the bathhouse was the haunt of evil spirits. … The demonic guardians of bathhouse in Russia have close parallels in the world of early Christianity where several works attest to the belief that bathhouses are haunted by malign demons.” (p. 50-51)
Of course good magic also is listed as having occurred in the bathhouse, but often in relation of ritual purity, removal of curses, sins, illness, and misfortune. So again, we see the place of cleanliness as also the abode or feeding ground of malefic forces that are sustained by what we wish to get rid of. Herein is a critical lesson: just as the bathhouse is connected with individual and collective cleanliness, so is its psychic counterpart – Yesod (on the Tree of Life) the point of individual and collective purification. It is in Yesod where all of the forces of the Tree are synthesized, or collected, organized, and energized for expression in the objective reality of daily life. This is also the point where the Qlippoth, or ‘Shells’ the demons of qabala express themselves. Those who succumb to them or simply never enter into the path of self-examination and awareness and develop a stable sense of ‘self’ become, according to older traditions, what Gurdjieff called, “food for the moon” after death. That is, their psychic energy, or what is left of it, is absorbed by the lunar body. For some this is conceived of as literal, wherein the ‘dark side’ of the moon is where this energy is collected. For others it is a metaphor for a psychic field or state. This may in part explain why Jean Dubuis placed a great deal of emphasis on moving through the lunar realm as quickly as possible and ‘awakening’ in other levels of the Tree, that in his words, “are less polluted.”
In his work The Experience of Eternity, Jean Dubuis states:
“Level 9 [Yesod] is truly cluttered with all manners of thought forms. Primarily loaded with negative materiality, it is permanently emitted by the earth population and has been stored since the beginning of the Descent. Even though it is more subtle than ours in density this first level is still perceived like a world of grayish or even dark appearances, despite a growing number of individuals striving to emit constructive thoughts. This is why initiation of this level requires an important work of purification. … The perception of the world in 8 [Hod] at its worst can seem slightly grayish.” (p. 61)
Yet, he did not abandon Yesod completely, encouraging students to create their own ‘castle’ for spiritual purposes of a personal nature so as not to be influenced by the thoughts and emotions of others in this domain. In relation to this essay, it is ironic that Dubuis would often state, “It is better to build your own outhouse in the astral than participate in building a chateau for someone else.” Herein we see the role of psychic force fields through collective acts and the role Yesod has to play in their formation and continuation.
By now, most of you reading should know that the timing of dreams is important in understanding their meaning. This means, why they are happening at this point in your day to day life, as well as the planetary influences of the day and night when they occur. In addition to this are the phases of the moon. Moon phases are critical in the earliest phases of practices which develop our dreaming capacity and psychic projection. For this reason your personal record of your experiences is vital to your understanding of these experiences.