Monastic Life

Convictions, morals, other societies and religions.
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Smaragd
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Smaragd »

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
Smaragd wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:47 pm
I though of the same problem this morning as I've noticed my presence is easily experienced and interpreted as poisonous or malicious, because of the constant inner struggle interpreted as conflict between individuals.
Whenever different people meet and interact closely, there will be social dramas. Everyone always brings a package with personal problems that tend to come to the surface even more if surrounded by silence. Not even once in my life have I met a group without this kind of problems. The difference lies in how the group members deal with it and if they are able to overcome it or start dwelling on it forever. I see it is an essential part of the great work to slowly overcome these personal hurdles of the ego (in the profane sense). Maybe such a facility would be able to provide an environment or even some sort of guidance that can lesser these social conflicts.
I agree it's important to accept that social dramas will eventually happen no matter how great striving towards ideals. Even if a scene of drama would feel like a big disappointment it's important to go through such things as thourougly as possible. And accepting all this, it might even help paying more attention to signs that can be taken care of in advance and thus prevent bigger dramas.
Beshiira wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:08 pm
In any case, abandoning the world does seem to be at the core of monastic life, in one way or another. Not to ”be home” in the world, not to identify oneself too strongly with ”everyday life”. I also believe that this is possible without seclusion from the mundane life, and it can be even a rockier road than these traditional forms of monasticism mentioned in this thread. Indeed, not least because in that way one really doesn't get any ”recognition” in the society's eyes. (Even the ”Fools for Christ” in the Orthodox Christian tradition got their share of respect – we are just fools. :) ) To truly abandon the world, while at the same time ”living in the world”, while at the same time not becoming cold-hearted or giving in to cynicism and hopelessness – what a challenge!
Sharp notion and quite "Azazelian" idea to be cast away in the desert even when the outer miliey can be a metropolis.
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Insanus
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Insanus »

Fra. Beshiira already said everything I could say about my temptation for monastic life. The idea of dedicating my life completely to spirituality and abandoning the world is very tempting indeed. Yet I feel it would be a big mistake, personally.
The purity of spirit, innocence, religious character, are White temptations, not less dangerous than the more obvious black profanity or red fanaticism. To find God and live accordingly has the sneakiest poisons psychologically, truly intrestingly Luciferian in great disguise.
It's better to be just some guy than to take the risk of becoming a monk.
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Nefastos
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Nefastos »

Insanus wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:38 pm
The purity of spirit, innocence, religious character, are White temptations, not less dangerous than the more obvious black profanity or red fanaticism.

Yes. In such subtle temptations we meet the "White rage" which is its own way of fanaticism of the solid-frozen and snow-covered universe. Compare to the so-called white holes (hypothetical counterparts of the black holes in space): the latter are said to be so extremely intense in their bringing about light that one cannot enter into any kind of actual communication with them. This is very White aspect problem, and part of our urban monasticism also.

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
I’m amazed that there have obviously been serious thoughts and discussions about this before.

How we see monastic life in a country where such a life is practically nonexistent in our cultural milieu must be very different to yours, where it seems to be more manifestly present. Here we are more able to operate solely with the idea of monasticism, without seeing too much of the uglier sides of its reality.

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
… and you already have the perfect monk haircut.

The catholic monastry nearby my birth place offers 4-10 week silent retreats for everyone who aims to withdraw into spirituality for a while. A lot of managers or business people go there to escape the stressful mundane world and prevent burnout but the monastry claims a lot of money for it, like church facilities tend to do.


Sadly yes (about the hair). I would love the Nazarene monastery sod Obnoxion mentioned in this particular regard.

Concerning retreats, I am not very excited. I have heard own Finnish orthodox monastery criticized about its massive tourism, and can also see many problems in that. Also, visiting monastery just in order to relieve stress is extremely different to actually be a monk, be that for life or for a shorter time.

Personally I see a monk as something which is more like a mindset. Rasputin, the most unmonkish person of all, still seems to me as one, simply because of his seemingly extreme one-pointedness of thought. It is about control, control in the way how one's spiritual idea meets his outside life in white-hot amalgam.

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
Whenever different people meet and interact closely, there will be social dramas.

From the basis of what I have read and what seems psychologically & psychically plausible, I even think that we do not need people to that. A hermit will create his social dramas astrally, when there are no such possibilities with actual human beings, a la Tentation de Saint Antoine.

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
My biggest problem with the idea of a monastry it that I fear cult-like or sectarian tendencies that often envolve unconciously from the dynamic of a religious group, especially with the tendency of escapism.

My fears follow similar lines: Where a heavy technical instrument is needed to keep the life in control, otherwise minor fractures in such an instrument may grow to seriously harmful proportions. More than the unwillingness to give up my personal will (part 2 of the problems listed) was a worry how that would be done with less than perfect masters, who most likely not only make the omelette by breaking my eggs, but might also overcook it to cinders. I have no trust to "God" that these things always work out well, for we have all seen a multitude of examples about the opposite outcome.

Monastic tutoring comes very close to therapy, but a kind of therapy that goes everywhere with you 24/7. And the problem with professional psychological help is not that every one of us would not neet it, but how to get a great therapist to really have a knack with one's unique temperamental issues.

Cerastes wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:39 pm
There will be a SoA monastry choir? Hm, I wonder what it sounds like. Will there be drums and guitares involved? :)

At the precise time you were writing this, I was reading the Psalter, thinking how necrosophic it sounded, and how easy would be make a black metal song using the lyrics from, say, Psalm 18.

Mars wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:02 pm
It's funny that you mention that after your monastery phase you turned to Satanism, since for me as well major upheavals in my personal and spiritual life happened quite soon after I abandoned my monastic dreams. Maybe when one is seriously ready to do something so drastic as to enter a monastery built around a religion one doesn't wholly embrace is a sign of something major bubbling up from within the psyche.


Most probably. I think we might even liken it (struggling with monastic thoughts) to the Jesus' temptations in the wilderness, and how he walked out of them after forty days.

By this I do not mean that even if monastic life would be a temptation to avoid that avoiding such a temptation would be the best course of action to everybody. On the contrary, I think that life itself is a "temptation" of sorts, and one needs to remove that splinter with the aid of another splinter, as the tantric saying goes. As long as we are alive, there really is not absolutely right answer to living, but everything is always a great compromise, and what matters most is to follow one's best intention in everything.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Rúnatýr »

I have also seriously considered monasticism and joining the Valamo monastery, but it would have required too many compromises both ideologically and practically that I have abandoned the idea wholeheartedly. Besides, I already am a recluse and a hermit living in the middle of the countryside, so I have my own luciferian monastery right here in which I don't have to make serious compromises and can live according to my own principles.

If I would be rich I'd voluntarily establish an antinomian monastery somewhere in the countryside.
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Cerastes »

Nefastos wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:36 pm
How we see monastic life in a country where such a life is practically nonexistent in our cultural milieu must be very different to yours, where it seems to be more manifestly present. Here we are more able to operate solely with the idea of monasticism, without seeing too much of the uglier sides of its reality.
You are right. I was expecting a completly different reaction from everyone regarding this topic but it seems that you guys are having a more neutral view. My image of the church is so messed up that I instantly start grinding my teeth when thinking about nuns or monastry walls.
Additionally I’m surprised about my own reaction because somehow I’m starting to sympathize a little with the idea of a satanic monastry - not as a life-time solution but maybe for one or two months a year.
Nefastos wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:36 pm
More than the unwillingness to give up my personal will (part 2 of the problems listed) was a worry how that would be done with less than perfect masters, who most likely not only make the omelette by breaking my eggs, but might also overcook it to cinders. I have no trust to "God" that these things always work out well, for we have all seen a multitude of examples about the opposite outcome.

Monastic tutoring comes very close to therapy, but a kind of therapy that goes everywhere with you 24/7. And the problem with professional psychological help is not that every one of us would not neet it, but how to get a great therapist to really have a knack with one's unique temperamental issues.
I would have serious issues to rely on a spiritual tutor and even more if s/he follows a different spiritual path. The idea that a human being is a spokesperson for god and therefore unfailable, has caused a lot of damage throughout history.
Often the people who mostly strive to have authority are the one’s who shouldn't have it. In return, those who mostly strive to receive guidance are actually not ready for it.

In the case of a SoA monastry it might in fact be hard to even find enough people who are into the ideology, able to teach, responsible, mentally stable enough to give psychological support and willing to spend so much time on it. Mental stability is one of the major key factors for it. For example, I noticed that a lot of psychology students study this subject to overcome own issues. There is nothing wrong with that but the unconcious tendency to reflect unsolved issues on other persons can do a lot of harm within a therapy even if the intentions are good.
Have you ever given a 24/7 kind of spiritual guidance to anyone? I imagine this to be very challanging for the teacher and the pupil.
Boreas wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:53 pm
I have also seriously considered monasticism and joining the Valamo monastery, but it would have required too many compromises both ideologically and practically that I have abandoned the idea wholeheartedly. Besides, I already am a recluse and a hermit living in the middle of the countryside, so I have my own luciferian monastery right here in which I don't have to make serious compromises and can live according to my own principles.

If I would be rich I'd voluntarily establish an antinomian monastery somewhere in the countryside.
Sounds good. If you win the lottery some day, please let me know.
Oh, and welcome to the SoA forum.
I'm always happy to see new names around here so please take a seat and enjoy yourself.
“Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”
(Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Rúnatýr »

Cerastes wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 pm
Sounds good. If you win the lottery some day, please let me know.
I'll certainly will! As it happens, my balance is currently minus 65000 euros, so don't expect it to happen anytime soon! :D
Cerastes wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 pm
Oh, and welcome to the SoA forum.
I'm always happy to see new names around here so please take a seat and enjoy yourself.
Thanks!
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Mimesis »

I look back fondly on the many times that I have discussed the idea of a monastery founded by the Star of Azazel, with various members of the fraternity. And I return to the idea now and often, with both a positive and hopeful view of its concept and reality respectively.

In the past I lived as a traveller – on a boat, rather than on land – and my intention in doing so was to bring myself closer to a way of living that was further away from the world; simpler; slower; more spiritually aligned. I chose a very poor point within my life to do it, so circumstances led to this endeavour completely failing. I think it still has the potential to work for what my intentions were, but it was a strong lesson that no matter how ideal or ‘monastic’ your surroundings are, it is meaningless if you are materially and internally living in a way that is selfish and separates you from your actions. In this way I think monastic living has the danger of creating a false sense of idealism. It may never force us to be tested in our faith, beliefs or behaviour, which is in turn quite selfish, and could lead to the worse fate of ignorance.
Cerastes wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 pm

Mental stability is one of the major key factors for it. For example, I noticed that a lot of psychology students study this subject to overcome own issues. There is nothing wrong with that but the unconcious tendency to reflect unsolved issues on other persons can do a lot of harm within a therapy even if the intentions are good.
It is interesting that you mention this, within this context. I was wondering whether the idea of something like a situated ethics could be relevant here, amounting to an internal monastic way of living at least, even if not monastic in essence. I would have related it more to the ‘ways of living’ thread, but perhaps it is interesting here….

I am a postgraduate student in social work – my main research and project area is existential therapy and the ethics of mental health intervention – and have an ongoing tension between what a lot of social work entails and living authentically in line with my religion, worldview and experience (etc). I think that the idea of ethics that are situated within both one’s life and the world at large is why it is.
As you say, there is a real danger of anyone in this line of work impacting peoples lives negatively, by serving themselves and/or imposing their own issues on someone who is already very vulnerable (but equally unique) – or worse, assuming oppression or perpetrating prejudice or unconscious bias upon them.
However, it is equally imperative that anyone involved in any kind of therapy is aware and prepared to face their own issues, and understanding this via some kind of therapy that they are then advocating can be no bad thing.

Ultimately though, it is too often the case that their motivations are to ‘appear’ to themselves and the world to be acting in a way that is ethical and selfless, when in reality there is a significant void between their behaviour as an individual and their responsibility professionally (similar to the danger with a separated monastic way of living).
This gives rise to several problems which aren’t relevant here, but where it is relevant is in the importance that the Star of Azazel (admirably) places on an ethics that underpin our every action within the world. As Simon Critchley says, “How does a self bind itself to whatever it determines as its good?”
This is one reason that I think a monastery based on 'our' principles could succeed.

What I mean to say in further trying to relate this to living monastically, is that as Obnoxion hinted....
obnoxion wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:18 am
but I came to realize that what I seaked from the monasteries of my reveries, I could and shoud rather try to achieve by rearranging my mundane life. I came idealize the legendary mahasiddhas, many of who led worldly lives with families and long hair. It is a difficult ideal, too, but one better suited for me than monastic life.
….arranging ones life in a way that aligns itself around the nucleus of what one believes, and informs our actions, is a kind of internal monastery, I think.

All abstractions said, I would fully support and revere a monastery founded by the Star of Azazel.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Cerastes »

Mimesis wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:02 pm
I am a postgraduate student in social work – my main research and project area is existential therapy and the ethics of mental health intervention – and have an ongoing tension between what a lot of social work entails and living authentically in line with my religion, worldview and experience (etc). I think that the idea of ethics that are situated within both one’s life and the world at large is why it is.
As you say, there is a real danger of anyone in this line of work impacting peoples lives negatively, by serving themselves and/or imposing their own issues on someone who is already very vulnerable (but equally unique) – or worse, assuming oppression or perpetrating prejudice or unconscious bias upon them.
However, it is equally imperative that anyone involved in any kind of therapy is aware and prepared to face their own issues, and understanding this via some kind of therapy that they are then advocating can be no bad thing.
This is a very intersting field of study.
I don't know about social work, but this is a very present problem of today’s clinical psychology.
The wish to even a psychologist is somtimes based on a very motherly form of the strive for dominance. The own mental stability and purpose depends on being surrounded by mentally unstable persons. The problem is that in this case the subconscious actually works against the healing of the patient because there is an interdependence. In fact, I had a lot of problems to combine my world view and the methods in psychiatric facilities and I do think that there are patients who have been harmed a lot by these ways of treatment.

I don’t think I would have been a very good psychologist anyway because my social skills are not that good. That’s why I changed to the Hardware design sector. Unfortunately, it’s not any better in this branch. As there are about 75% men, the male version of striving for dominance and power is very present here. So I’m surrounded by wannabe alpha males who send their trainees to bring them coffee because they are too so damn important. Not much modesty around here.
Mimesis wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:02 pm
This is one reason that I think a monastery based on 'our' principles could succeed.
Possibly so.
Shared ethics like this sure have a positive effect on a project like this.
“Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Nefastos »

Cerastes wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 pm
Have you ever given a 24/7 kind of spiritual guidance to anyone?

No. My way of guiding (in the White aspect or out of it) is to give suggestions for practices and mindsets. Then my proteges either follow these suggestions to some point, in a way they see my ideas valid, or our occult paths go their separate ways in a natural manner, because we see things differently. Micromanaging someone else's occult life is a doomed paradox.

Cerastes wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 pm
For example, I noticed that a lot of psychology students study this subject to overcome own issues. There is nothing wrong with that but the unconcious tendency to reflect unsolved issues on other persons can do a lot of harm within a therapy even if the intentions are good.

Absolutely true. Even if the intention is of utmost importance, what we think to be our intention is not always the whole ot it. People who "just want to help" are often wreaking terrible havoc because of their own traumas they have been unable to deal with, before going to guide others (as psychotherapists, priests, gurus, or something else). "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

The Fifth Point. EVERY MAN IS HIS OWN SAVIOUR.
There is no one besides ourselves who could raise or transcend us. No outward saviour, religious or mundane, can truly develop, strengthen or redeem anyone else. Every positive change must come from man himself, must happen within, and must pass through every aspect of him.

Thus I see that monastic discipline is something that should come from within, and if it does not, it is useless that others try to enforce it upon someone. The fact that we are all blind to some extent is only one of the reasons behind this.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Monastic Life

Post by Cancer »

Last year and the year before I participated in voluntary work at the still-incomplete ”Omavaraopisto”, a ”School for Self-Sufficiency” in northeastern Finland, helping to establish it. (It’s basically going to be a place where one can begin to learn the skills required for surviving outside of civilization, from subsistence farming to fishing to even traditional methods of building.) Both visits involved a week or so of manual labor in very ascetic surroundings in the middle of nowhere, and can thus, I think, be seen as very short monastic retreats. They certainly gave me a fresh perspective on my life and a break from the constant cycle of anxious activity and depression that I’m caught in at home. Both times, the most taxing, least enjoyable thing was actually the party at the end, when the familiar social pressures returned and, with them, every one of my addictions and insecurities. Craving alcohol for having been forced to emerge from the forest, I for once felt like a true Finn...

One of the founders of the place actually compared his planned teaching methods to those used with novices in a monastery — or with recruits in the army! (The latter comparison being less serious, as this person is a pacifist and thinks less than highly of all kinds of machismo.) When the ”curriculum” consists not only of new intellectual knowledge but of a whole new way of life, the teaching also will have to be all-encompassing and is bound to test the students’ endurance. Thankfully, it is stressed in public information relating to the school that students will face considerable psychological challenges.

Now that I think of it, there are even more religious parallels that can be used to describe this place. The first reaction of a friend of mine, to whom I mentioned my plans to participate, was to ask if I was going to join some kind of cult. And many people have reportedly come to the school (or worksite or farm or whatever; I don’t really know what word to use since it’s a work in progress) wanting to be ”redeemed” in some way, e.g. cured of mental illness through connection to nature and/or guidance from the person I mentioned above. I myself would probably not have plunged headlong into the unknown and travelled there alone in the fall of 2018 had I not been in a very bad place mentally then, although all I (consciously) expected was peace and quiet and the company of other utterly alienated people, not for some miracle to put an end to all my problems. The founder to whom I referred is probably the kind of person who, divorced from his conscience and considered only in terms of charisma, could be a cult leader. It has to be emphasized though that, at least in my experience, the place was completely safe — its atmosphere open and understanding, its idealism pure from fanaticism etc.

It’s funny how single-minded concentration on altering the material basis of ones life can lead to total spiritual transformation. Or maybe it’s just dialectically appropriate. I’m probably too much of a mess to go through the actual school once it’s established, and don’t even dream of ever trying to live in the way that’s going to be taught there, but at times I’ve thought that maybe, just maybe, my small monastic retreats will culminate in a more substantial one. It could take the form of living on the road, of doing voluntary work for humanitarian purposes, of devoting more time to activism... basically anything that lets me distance myself from my person a bit. A wholly contemplative life, like the one I’m leading now, is such a hall of mirrors.
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