Art Ritual | Birth & Motherhood | Body Gates | Boundaries | Chance | Chaos & Bubbling | Clean & Unclean | Deitype | Earth | Eating | Ecstasy | Evolution | Fate | Fire | Heroism | Immortality
Imperfection | Inner Beast | Law of Swallowing | Light & Darkness | Lust | Mythical Dimension, Dream & Vision | Personification | Responsibility | Self | Theomask | Totem | Truth | Unity
"Art" is a collective name for a variety of human activities whose purpose is symbolic, and they are not done to fulfill some practical and immediate need. The creation of art, as well as its consumption, constitute one of the main characteristics of the human life, which distinguishes humans from other animals. Man uses art to express complex ideas about existence, sometimes verbally (like literature and theater), and sometimes in non-verbal ways (like visual art, music, dance, etc.).
In our view, engaging in art, of any kind, is the best way to realize the principles of Heterosophy. Artists practice many elements of ratio-paganism on a daily basis, sometimes without being aware of it.
Heterosophy defines human and modern life as a continual process of creativity and development, that involves the challenge of existing conventions and the blurring of boundaries between realms and categories. The practice of art expresses the principles of Heterosophy in the way it realizes these processes, of transgression and of constant questioning.
Art, as a tool that examines reality while constantly evading norms and conventions, serves the Heterosophian path as a medium for conveying ideas, that can not be understood through conventional orders or hierarchies, but through questioning, examination and doubt.
We strongly recommend living life in a creative and artistic way. Many are the ritual practices which can contribute to the artist's path. Significant parts of them were inspired by artists whose work preceded the heterosophical project. Heterosophy tends to name the artistic practice adopted by its community, "Art Ritual".
Birth & motherhood
Birth and motherhood are basic archetypes in the psychoanalytic thinking of Carl Jung and Erich Neumann, as they are two forms of experience that are common to all men and women. All human beings living on earth today have come out of the womb, through the birth canal, and gone through the constitutive event, some would say traumatic, of childbirth. All human beings are also born out of a woman's body, and the vast majority of them went through the first years of their lives as an almost integral part of it.
In the cogitation of Heterosophy, we have adopted many elements from the works of Jung and Neumann, as we find them pretty accurate. Since those two had written their theories during the previous century, we thought that in order to adapt them to our own path, some of the perceptions, which today may be perceived as somewhat conservative, need to be updated.
Jung and Neumann attribute motherhood and maternal affairs to the female archetype, and develop, each on his own, complex theories about the processes of initiation and separation that the child goes through, from being a fetus in the womb (known as the Ouroboric phase), to birth and the first years of life. The development of human consciousness is significantly influenced by the characteristics, qualities, and behavior of the mother. The archetype of the Great Mother splits, according to these thinkers, into two: the Good Mother and the Devouring Mother. These two qualities can (and in fact this is what happens in most cases) dwell side by side within the same subject.
The relationship between the child and his/her mother is also reflected in the relationship between the adult and the world around him/her (the earth, for example, is perceived as an archetypal mother), and is also well reflected in various mythologies.
Examples of the Good Mother archetype: Saint Mary from Christianity, Isis from ancient Egypt, the Hindu Parvati, and so on.
Examples of the Devouring Mother archetype: Mesopotamian Tiamat, Euripides' Medea, and the like.
These archetypes, of birth and of motherhood, are of great significance in the ritual and philosophy of Heterosophy. In keeping with the days we live in, although in the traditional classical sense the Mother is always a female, we treat maternity as a quality, rather than a matter of biological sex. Motherhood is a trait that also exists in human males, and we highly recommend nurturing and developing it.
The myths and legends dealing with motherhood are innumerable, and many, many things can be learned from each and every one of them.
The body orifices (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, nipples, urethra, vagina and anus) are referred to by Heterosophy as the "Body Gates" since they are the openings that lie within the boundaries of the body, through which it "mixes" physically with the outside world. They are the gates between the Subject and the Object, the Self and the Other. Those openings are intended for penetration and emission; Through them, various substances from the external environment enter into the interior of the body, and through them also the body's various secretions are eliminated.
In our view, the Body Gates are the main component in the mutual absorption and assimilation processes that take place between the body and the outside world. The food that is assimilated into the body and becomes part of it through the digestive process, enters it through the mouth, while its remnants come out of the urethral and rectal openings. The same is true for other materials, some of which are physical, and some are symbolic or metaphorical (and yet enter the body by various physical means, such as light, sound, etc.). The body is absorbed into the world and the world is absorbed into the body, and these processes are often accompanied by physical or emotional feelings such as pleasure, enjoyment, pain or anguish, that are mostly dependent on the Body Gates.
The Body Gates are the main habitats of the senses (except for the sense of touch, which also "resides" in the skin), and they function as a significant component in the creation of experience and the reflection of reality upon the subject's consciousness. As mentioned, sensory experiences as well as intellectual ones, information and emotional data, all of these pass through the various gates of the body, sometimes in a way that is not fully conscious, if at all.
Slightly paradoxically, the Body Gates also constitute what separates the human subject (or animal) from his/her environment, since they are the ones that make him conscious and aware of it, as opposed to being a passive participant (the eye, for example, allows the subject to observe reality, and thus also to be seperated from it. The sense of Self comes from the fact that we perceive the world and not just being perceived by it). The Body Gates are those that separate the body from the surrounding reality, but they are also those that allow reality and the body to "return" to each other; to a large extent, despite our separation from the world, we are much more permeable to it than inanimate objects (such as rocks, for example) that constitute an integral part of nature, but apparently do not experience it.
In addition to all this, as organs of sensation, absorption and emission, the Body Gates serve as major instruments of communication, verbal and non-verbal, between creatures, human and non-human.
Many rituals in the heterosophical practice, as well as various exercises, are done through the use and work of the Body Gates.
A boundary is a line, real or imaginary, that distinguishes one thing from another. Humans use boundaries to define objects, and to differentiate them from the surrounding and other objects. Living beings, territories, concepts and ideas, are also distinguished by humans from each other through the setting of boundaries. In this way humans create order within the chaotic reality, in order to orient themselves in it, and to understand their own identities.
In many cases, boundaries are set as a cultural or social condition, dictated by faith, language, political power, or intellectual discourse. As such, boundaries are subject to changes and differences in the transition from one culture to another. Boundaries may pretty often serve institutional mechanisms (political or religious) that stand behind the conventions and norms, and use them in order to establish control and impose it on their subjects. The heterosophical teachings encourage the ongoing examination of cultural boundaries, and hold that blurring boundaries is an essential factor in both personal and communal processes of development, learning, creativity, innovation, and even liberation from the enslaving burden of the sovereign.
In doing so, we certainly recognize the importance of the concept of boundaries, and of the existential necessity which lies within it. We acknowledge the human's need for definition and categorization, and also that the act of blurring the boundaries depends first and foremost on the boundaries themselves, and the assumption of their existence.
As a doctrine that does not claim to be created out-of-nothing, and relies on the blurring and violation of cultural distinctions and differences that have long existed (such as the distinction between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, between the body and its surrounding, etc.), Heterosophy seeks to re-examine the various cultural boundaries and constantly question the intentions and interests behind them.
Within the path of Heterosophy, Chance is considered a deitype, and it relates to other concepts, such as destiny, fate, randomness, luck, fortune, misfortune and so on. Since Chance leads processes to deviate from their expected path, it is considered by us to be one of the most significant and creative forces in reality.
In our acceptance of the theory of Evolution and the idea of Natural Selection, the Institute of Heterosophy holds that Chance is a leading force in the evolution of all living species upon the earth. As such, Chance for us is a source of inspiration and an engine for creativity, innovation and problem-solving.
As with our attitude to other significant deitypes, we do not necessarily sanctify Chance as a positive value, since we also recognize its ability to harm and cause trouble. In the realm of evolution, randomness causes some species to become extinct and others to reproduce and thrive, as it acts in conjunction with other natural forces and environmental conditions. So too in our ritual practice, Chance is perceived as a force whose usefulness depends on proportionality and context.
In the heterosophical view, randomness is never absolute, and each incident is the result of processes that preceded it. When these processes are not completely clear to us humans, the incident is defined as random. We are constantly working on the development of complex methods of recruiting Chance as an auxiliary force.
Randomness as a deitype has a large number of "Masks" in the form of gods and goddesses from all over the world. Among them the Roman goddess Fortuna, the Greek Tyche, the Seven Lucky Gods from Japanese mythology, the Hindu Lakshmi, and the list goes on and on.
Chaos & Bubbling
Chaos is the Greek name for the hylic "Tohu wa-bohu" (the formless matter that preceded creation) from which the first gods were created. Many cosmogonies (creation myths) start from the element of Chaos or something similar, like the idea of primordial water.
In the Mesopotamian myth of creation, known as the Enuma Elish, the god Marduk goes to war with Tiamat, the great mother of gods, who is also the goddess of salt water and primeval chaos. After her offsprings killed her husband, she declared war on them and called for their destruction. Marduk goes out in defense of his brothers and sisters, fights the terrible Tiamat, and kills her.
After her death, Marduk creates the world out of Tiamat's dead body. He cuts her up and divides her in two, creating the earth and the sky from her corpse. He then places her thighs between them so that the sky does not fall down to earth. From her briskets he creates mountains and streams, and from her eyes he springs the two great rivers, the life veins of Mesopotamia, Euphrates and Tigris. Then, the gods create man from the blood of Kingu, the most terrible demon and the faithful helper of Tiamat.
The Mesopotamian myth teaches us that the monstrous source of creation remains present within it, at all times. The world is made up of Chaos itself, after the gods have arranged, divided and organized it. In order to preserve this creation and make sure it does not deteriorate back to Chaos, the Babylonians used to hold annual rituals in Marduk's honor, in which they reenacted his war with Tiamat - a ritual that was necessary to maintain the existing order.
It is not only the world that contains Chaos within it, as the blood of the most horrible descendant of Tiamat, was mixed with bones in order to create man. Chaos is a primordial element, which continues to sustain creation and to flow within it. This is a basic principle in the heterosophical thought. Chaos is the field of power and potential that preceded objects, beings and language, but it definitely did not disappear with the advent of these. In fact, it continues to thrive undereath all existence. Chaos, as we see it, is the reality that resides beneath and within the realm of things — it is the "Tohu wa-bohu" that constitutes the inaccessible and unknown existence that is beyond the reach of human knowledge. The real world, as we in AW perceive it, is utterly chaotic.
Maybe another way to put it, is that Nature itself is indifferent to concepts, ideas, categories and patterns of thinking. The nature of things is to be undefined, in constant motion, and without real boundaries between objects and things. Humans are the ones who apply order and structure to reality, which is naturally chaotic. The concepts of Order and Disorder are human concepts - lingual categories, which we tend to impose on the chaotic nature of our world. As such, they vary from culture to culture; Each culture makes its own definitions, and poses its own structure upon Chaos. Chaos itself, however, always manages to evade any definition.
In the teachings of Heterosophy, we tend to refer this state of Chaos sizzling beneath or within "things" (in the Hebrew language, a "thing", "davar", is what can be talked about; "ledaber"), as "Bubbling". The Bubbling refers to the incessant movement of the chaotic material, which is transgression and formlessness. In the ritualistic and philosophical practices of Heterosophy, we strive to work with the Bubbling and the potentials inherent in it. We believe that creation of new things (creativity and innovation) occurs when Order and Disorder meet - when the Known and the Unknown copulate under the auspices of Chaos.
It often happens that the balance between Order and Disorder is disturbed, and Chaos suddenly penetrates life. It is Nature's violent foray into the course of human life, and it can manifest itself in various ways, which can be often traumatic; From a flood or mudslide to a personal illness or accident. It is a situation where Chaos bubbling beneath the surface finds a crack in the fabric of human order and penetrates through it into one's life. Such events are often reside in a realm that is beyond language and the symbolic order, and therefore difficult to grasp or to talk about. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan referred to them as an emergence of the "Real".
The ritual practices of Heterosophy, are largely intended to teach men and women to deal with such situations, that touch the boundaries of human consciousness and human control over his/her own life.
In many mythologies the dragon or serpent (often it will be the ouroborus, the serpent that eats its own tail) appears as a kind of representation of Chaos, and the motif of fighting it and gaining victory over it, is a motif that recur in many creation stories and myths of heroism. Sometimes we must fight Chaos and create a new order out of it. Sometimes we need to learn how to work with it or live beside it. In Jung's psychoanalytic work, Chaos is also a metaphor for the primary, unconscious state from which the infant emerges when he comes out of the womb, before being separated from his mother's body and entering the social and lingual order into which he was born.
Clean & Unclean
The Unclean was a significant concept in the Order of the Unclean project that preceded the present body of knowledge, and formed the basis for its formation. The human race has a strong tendency to order. Everything should be clean, cataloged, clear and disciplined. We live in geometric boxes, drive in clean and fast cars, eat industrialized food on well-cleaned plates. We wake up with the alarm clock and go to bed when the hour is too late, even if we are not really tired. We sanctify cleanliness and we clean what ever we see as sacred. We detest dirt and disorder, and we strive to educate our children according to the manners we have inherited from our parents or the society into which we were born.
All this is not necessarily or entirely bad. These behaviors are a consequence of our evolution as a biological species, and it is likely that during evolution they even constituted a significant advantage. But the extremes that humans sometimes reach in these contexts, cause the human race to alienate itself from nature, and to experience major conflicts when nature, or the chaotic reality, find their way into people's orderly lives.
We must remember that we did not come here but from Nature, and that despite all our "cultural" qualities, we are still an integral part of it. We have a body (in fact, we are our body), this body is organic, it has impulses and passions, it is beautiful but it's also disgusting. We are animals, and let us never forget this fact, because otherwise, any potential of a life of creativity, wisdom, daring, passion and pleasure will be taken away from us. Too extreme order and too radical discipline, as we see it, is a recipe for a tyrannical society (or personality), in which violence is perpetrated against anyone who deviates slightly from accepted norms. This is a very dangerous place to be in. Heterosophy seeks to re-examine categories and norms such as "civilized" and "wild", "clean" and "dirty", and the like.
We refer as "Unclean" to the concept of intermediate states and liminal situations or objects. Unclean means a violation of order and the blurring of boundaries between categories and values that are structured within the cultural level. A thing is considered as unclean or as filth after being moved from its "right" place, deviated from its boundaries or from the realm within which it was regulated. "Civilized" societies tend to divide and formulate binary distinctions between values such as "pure" and "impure", "good" and "bad", "beautiful" and "ugly" and the like.
Us heterosophians acknowledge the given existence of these dichotomies, and even hold that the survival of a culture requires the existence of boundaries and criteria, which each culture must set for itself. At the same time, it seems that the atmosphere created in the current era is causing a loss of confidence and trust in such standards, which might lead (and sometimes do) to violent promiscuity and cultural chaos. Heterosophy finds it essential to fill the void created by the contemporary confusion, which it seems that neither science nor existing religions can anymore provide the tools to deal with. We propose the Unclean as a concept representing a situation, in which blurring of boundaries and violation of criteria is necessary for the reassessment of existing values, and for the creation of new values and additional categories.
Equally significant, however, is the role of the Unclean in identifying the circumstances and interests that led to the formulation of boundaries, values, and categories in the first place. the Unclean calls on a person to examine the "Filth" - the circumstances that led to its appearance and the creative potential inherent in it - before it is cleansed in order to restore "Order".
The Unclean is not a permanent condition - it moves and it shakes, it clings and it lets go, it examines and asks. It does not see the boundary as a spiritual imperative that comes from some transcendental source, but as an earthly, corporeal and material outline, stemming from human needs and interests. It is for society to constantly re-examine its categories, conventions and norms, without defining them as absolute on the one hand, and without abandoning them completely, on the other.
The Deitype is an archetypal element that underlies the set of metaphorical deities of the rational pagan that walks in the path of Heterosophy. It refers to the abstract psychic object, common to many human beings, on which the "Theomasks" of the various deities are worn. For example: love is a deitype, whose theomasks in the various myths are Aphrodite, Venus, Cupid, Hathor, Astarte, Freyja and the like - depending on the choices of each practitioner. The theomask is actually the personification of the deitype. Each theomask can fit several deitypes (for example, Freyja is a goddess of love, but also of fertility, war, etc.), and each deitype can wear an infinity of masks. When we refer to a particular deity, we are actually referring to an archetype for which this deity is a metaphor, or in short a Deitype. The mythical deity is the signifier of the deitype, which is a mental faculty of the collective unconscious.
Earth is one of the deitypes in the path of Heterosophy. It is a central element in all pagan approaches, and has been a significant component throughout all written human history. The Earth is related to the archetype of the Ancient Mother in the works of Carl Jung and Erich Neumann, and in many mythologies, from all over the world, it is presented as having great significance and power.
For us, the Earth symbolizes this very place on which we live. As a substance, it comes in many forms and compositions, which can be researched, measured and studied. As the upper part of our planet's crust, the earth is steeped in memories of the past; it contains much evidence for the history of biodiversity and the story of the human race, and is itself a geological evidence of the inconceivable time in which the world in which we live exists.
Humans grow upon the earth and the earth grows them. Everything we have, from lettuce to spaceships, we got from Earth and the materials we were able to extract from it. Our body is made up of elements that are also included within it, and we are all its sons and daughters. Once we die, we will become an integral part of it, no matter what burial method or other postmortem treatment is chosen for us.
Heterosophians respect the earth, appreciate its gifts, cultivate it and devote to it a considerable part of their daily and ritual activity. We relate to Earth as one of our metaphorical ancestors, and therefore we sometimes may refer to it as a personified entity.
As a popular and widespread deity, Earth has a large number of "theomasks", among them the Greek Gaia, the Ancient Egyptian Geb, the Inca Pachamama, the Hindu Prithvi, and so on.
Eating, in the view of Heterosophy and according to its Law of Swallowing (see below), is one of the actions associated with the instinct of life, the Libido, and with the principle that says that there is no complete separation between the organic creature and its environment. All living beings are constantly changing and their boundaries are constantly being breached. Some of the substances within the food we eat, become an integral part of us, and this is what allows us to survive.
Humans have developed various rituals around eating, that are associated with pleasure, religious practices, romantic gestures, and the like. Often, eating represents something that is far beyond a survival act: it can indicate a particular economic or social status, it can be part of a sacrificial ceremony, or of an act of symbolic sacrifice (as in the case of eating the communion bread that represents the body of Christ, in the Christian Church). It can also take part in an erotic act, and it can even be used as a method of punishment (withholding food from someone or forcing them to eat despite their will).
The Institute of Heterosophy, encourages its readers to pay attention to the food they eat, to remember that eating is in fact a constant change of the body, and therefore it is advisable not to overdo eating unhealthy foods. At the same time, in the path of Heterosophy there is no food that is forbidden to eat, and each individual is responsible for himself/herself and his/her own body. We recognize that among the human race, eating is also a cultural, symbolic, and enjoyable matter, and we believe that everyone should act according to their desires, personal responsibilities, and the dictates of their own conscience.
The heterosophical practice may contain recommendations for certain rituals related to food and eating. Heterosophy advises a person to get to know the natural environment of his own home, and to have a relationship with it that includes actions of eating and feeding.
The term ecstasy comes from Greek, and means "outside oneself". Ecstasy is a subjective experience, of a feeling that the person is outside himself or his body. In other words, during ecstasy, the boundaries of the self blur to the point of "feeling one with the universe." One's consciousness temporarily loses its critical and judgmental components, and the person "flows" with what is happening to him in an experiential and holistic way.
Contrary to popular belief, we heterosophians do not see the ecstatic experience as a transcendental one, but rather as an experience of Immanence. The "spirit" of the ecstatic man/woman does not get separated from the body and goes out, but converges inward, into the body, and connects with his/her animalistic self - the ecstatic human is, like any other animal, merging with nature and the world in a non-critical and non-judgmental way. As we see it, this is the encounter with the very thing that psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan used to call "the Real", which is completely inaccessible to us in everyday life.
There is a variety of ecstatic experiences, and it moves on the spectrum between a partial ecstasy and a complete one, or (better to call it) almost-complete (since, a complete ecstasy means death). They can be reached through a variety of methods and tools, such as meditation, listening to music, sex, prayer, ritual, the use of alcohol, the use of certain herbs or the use of various drugs.
According to the heterosophical concept, during ecstasy one allows the world to penetrate his body unhindered. Usually, this process has a positive effect on the person's mood, openness and creativity. However, the ecstatic process may affect each person in a different way and is not but a recommendation.
The various ecstatic processes, which we offer, result from artificial "flooding" of some of the body's perforations, in materials that usually pass through them, but this time in excess (music at high decibels, excessive light or complete darkness, strong odors, orgasm, urination, speech or singing And so on).
The Institute of Heterosophy does not recommend the use of narcotics or hallucinogenic substances, although it does not rule out such use - each person and his/her sole responsibility for the things that he/she lets into his/her own body.
We consider Ecstasy as one of the deitypes. The deity most identified with it, is the Greek god Dionysus. Dionysus is a fertility god associated with vine and wine, and as such is a personification of intoxication, ecstasy and metamorphosis (the changing of one's self). Since he represents the archetypal, absolute ecstasy, he must wear a mask in every encounter with his believers, since his gaze might cause the beholder go mad or die. Because of this, Dionysus also became the god of masks and theater. As part of the annual Dionysian practice, tragedies and comedies were presented, to honor the events of his recurring death and resurrection, every winter and spring respectively.
It may be worth noting here, that one of the main symbols of Heterosophy, is related to the essence of Ecstasy. This is the rolled eye, which looks as if half of it is looking outward into the world, and half is looking inward, into the body. This is the eye of ecstasy, of prophecy, which is between the outside and the inside, between the up and down, between seeing and blindness, and between god and beast.
The concept of evolution, as brought up by Charles Darwin and continued to evolve in later years (including using the scientific and technological developments that enabled the decipherment of DNA and the like), is a fundamental idea within the path of Heterosophy.
Charles Darwin was the most significant thinker in terms of the neglect of the Judeo-Christian idea, of the creation of man by an omnipotent and eternal deity. The theory of evolution and natural selection, have provided us with a sustainable and explanatory model of the natural evolution of biodiversity upon Earth, of which man is an integral part. Man is no longer the pinnacle of creation, but is an animal among animals, a thing among things.
The various pagan conceptions all hold that the human is part of nature, part of the vast family of creatures that exist on earth. Man is no better than other animals, he is not morally superior, and is not entitled to privileges by any heavenly power. The science of evolution, as it began in Darwin and continues to this day, confirms these conceptions, and gives them scientific and rational validity.
The theory of evolution and natural selection also laid the foundations for the development of the structuralist models of the human psyche, enabling the biological explanation for the existence of a collective unconscious, conceived by Carl Jung, about a century after the advent of Darwin's "Origin of Species." The Collective Unconscious model is one of the fundamental ideas in the worldview of the Institute of Heterosophy.
As part of its development and adaptation to changing environmental conditions, man lost many traits that characterized his ancestors, such as fur, fangs, nails and other great physical abilities. As a result, the human race has developed unique traits that have allowed it to survive in extreme conditions while adapting to them by artificial means - sophisticated use of tools, clothing, the capability to control fire, and so on. These have brought man to a state of some distance from his animal ancestors, and sometimes even to alienation from nature and from his own natural characteristics.
The search for transcendence, the distancing from nature and the denial of his animal instincts and impulses, have made man a creature who suffers quite a bit, and feels alien in his own environment. We travel the world as astronauts visiting a foreign planet, with a significant longing to feel at home, but without sacrificing the privileges and comforts that come with human existence.
The rational paganism of Heterosophy, offers a balance between the human and the animal experience, and a renewed approach to nature without losing the grip on the humaneness, and without neglecting the pursuit of the transcendent.
With a certain resemblance to deterministic conceptions, Heterosophy holds that the world operates in a web of processes that affect each other, and cause things to happen as they happen. Each event and each case refers to the events and cases that preceded it and enabled its existence. Many of the processes may be perceived as arbitrary, although in our view randomness is never absolute.
Deterministic ideas tend to argue that the sequence of events is causal and that each event causes the formation of a different one. Familiar with the "Observer Effect", we accept the view that the very act of watching an event changes its consequences, and therefore the full consequences of a particular event can never be foreseen. Within the weighting of the possible results of a particular event, the subject, his characteristics and knowledge, his language, and many other factors must also be taken into account. These factors will always give a partial picture that does not allow to accurately anticipate the subsequent events.
Therefore, we hold that fate is unpredictable (except for the fact that we will all eventually die), and that one's control over the events that constitute his/her life is never complete.
At the same time, and despite the apparent contradiction, we think that the belief in one's personal responsibility and in his/her ability to influence his/her own destiny through taking (or avoiding) actions, is essential for existence. Although we do not believe in the principle of Karma (which is not scientifically based as life often proves us), we do strongly believe that good intentions, good deeds and a significant connection to nature, humans and animals, may cause biological and mental processes that might have a significant positive impact on one's life.
Fire is created as a result of rapid oxidation of gases emitted from any material, releasing heat and light within the process. The unique ability to ignite fire and control its flames, is considered one of the greatest achievements of the human race, and is one of the main factors in its cultural development. The ability to control fire allowed humans to protect themselves from predators, and especially to transfer the process of digestion food, out of the body. Once man began to cook his food, much less energy was required for digestion, and this is probably what caused the gut to shorten and the brain to develop.
The way fire affected the development of human consciousness is wonderfully reflected in the Greek myth about Prometheus (creator of man), and his act of stealing fire from Mount Olympus, for the benefit of humans. An act that subsequently caused humans to get punished by Zeus, through Pandora's box (i.e. conscious existence leads to the release of all troubles).
Man's both wondrous and terrible abilities that came with the power to control fire (from cooking to launching missiles), and the formidable power of this natural element itself, have led Fire to become a very significant symbol throughout history, in various ritual practices and beliefs around the world. Fire is considered one of the four elements in the teachings of Greek Empedocles, alongside Earth, Air and Water.
Being a force capable of both giving life and taking them away, Fire is used in the teachings of Heterosophy, as one of the Deitypes, and it takes a significant part in many ritual practices.
"Masks" (Theomasks) that are known from various mythologies from around the world: Hephaestus the Greek god of Fire, which as a result became the patron of blacksmiths; his Roman counterpart Vulcan; the Egyptian Ra and Sekhmet; Logi from Norse mythology; Canaanite Reshef, and so on. It is important to note that in every mythology the gods are different, and may be responsible for other elements as well, in addition to fire. This depends on each culture and its own associations.
Each story has a protagonist, and each protagonist embarks on a journey during which he will pass through several significant stations, that rely on a fairly fixed pattern, and are repeated in different variations, from story to story. The American mythologist Joseph Campbell, compared hundreds of myths and tales from around the world, and documented about 17 stages that characterize what he have called "the Hero's journey". These stages may vary from story to story, they may be characterized by various features, organized in a different order, or not even appear in full. But most stories will include the central milestones of this paradigm, as it is embedded in the minds of us all (what Jung calls the Collective Unconscious).
The main stages in the hero’s journey, according to Joseph Campbell, are Departure, Initiation and Return. Each of them consists of several stations through which the protagonist will pass, the main ones of which are: A call to adventure, which the protagonist will sometimes refuse at first; Crossing the threshold into the unknown, where the protagonist will face different types of challenges (often accompanied by a helper or a mentor); A descent into the Underworld (which Campbell called the "Belly of the Whale"), where the protagonist will face the greatest challenge and when he defeats it, will gain some reward (treasure, insight or some special power) that will change his life; Then, the protagonist will return and cross the threshold again, back to the ordinary and known world.
This pattern is embedded in our consciousness in such a powerful way that even unintentionally and unconsciously, all the myths and stories return to it in different versions. The reason this pattern is so significantly present in our mind, is probably because we all go through such journeys throughout our lives. The Hero's Journey of life is a cyclical journey, which we go through again and again, in different ways, with varying dramatic intensities and with various meanings. From Christ to Harry Potter, from a test in school to a great loss of a loved one - these are all patterns that meet the criteria of the "Hero's Journey". In stories and myths the protagonist usually goes through the journey successfully, while life itself is more complex and prone to failures.
The paradigm of the Hero's Journey is used as a therapeutic tool in various methods. The awareness of the stages that characterize the journey, and the recognition that the descent into the abyss is the lot of all heroes ever - that it is predictable and that it entails a treasure - can be a great help to any person facing a crisis. In our opinion, the symbolization that the stages that constitute the crisis go through (for example, the thought of the peak of the crisis as a dragon that must be fought) can also be very helpful.
The heterosophical worldview is that human beings live reality through stories. We feed on stories, learn through them, and even tell ourselves stories about reality so that we can grasp it in models that our brains are familiar with. Every morning when we wake up we tell ourselves stories. Some are smaller and some are bigger, but they are all part of the great story of our lives - our identity, the way we appear outwardly, our ideologies, our ethics, and so on.
If we acknowledge that our life is basically a story, we will understand that we have a possibility of controling it, at least in part. We are the protagonists of our own stories, and thus sometimes we are forced to stand up to the dragon, defeat it or make friends with it. The approach with which we will reach this challenge depends on us. The question of whether we will achieve the treasure is not always under our control, but how we may deal with failure and what kind of failure will it be, depend quite a bit on the approach we have come up with. Many heterosophical practices, draw inspiration from the archetypal pattern of the Hero's Journey, and from the various myths in which it appears.
The heterosophian theology does not consider actual reincarnation or immortality of the soul as valid ideas, though, obviously, it cannot deny their existence. In terms of the Heterosophian teachings, a person's body ends up dying and being absorbed into the world-of-things, like anything else upon Earth.
The concept of "immortality" is thus used by heterosophians to define the continuity of human heritage, after death, since concepts, ideas and metaphors, have the potential for immortality. Human's ambition, for us, is to make a mark in the world, leaving behind traces of meaning and creation, without intentionally harming anyone during the process. Education, teaching, creativity, investing in those who will be left behind, are the ways to achieve what is, for us, Immortality.
Usually, what is known as "imperfection" can be expressed in a defect, some kind of deficiency, a flaw or a wound - a deviation from the "Proper", "Correct" or "Beautiful". The apparent imperfection affects the functionality of the thing or creature that carries it, and ostensibly, impairs its adaptation to the "normative" environment in which it exists.
Heterosophy holds that Imperfection is a relative trait, a linguistic category associated with a story that human beings tell themselves about themselves, their lives, and the reality in which they live. In many cases, the way in which Imperfection causes a disruption in the existence of the "defective" depends on the context and cultural conditioning.
"Defects" in continuity, or in the "normal" sequence, are largely responsible for the development and creation of innovations. Even in the case where the Imperfection is significant to the point of negligence, then as part of the Bubbling (our name for the chaotic realm of nature), the defective thing will continue and roll into being something else.
For us, Imperfection is a guarantee of uniqueness, originality and creativity. An object that contains it, is often considered for us to be more complete, more perfect, since it also contains the void, the nothingness. Imperfection is the place where Chaos and the bubbling nature of things are expressed; Imperfection is a blurring of boundaries, an integral part of the Bubbling. Nature does not recognize perfection or the absence of it - those are nothing but human categories, that come from the human understanding itself as one, as a whole.
A wound is actually a potential for renewal and for significant manifestations of personal redemption, and therefore we do not automatically see Imperfection as a defect or flaw. It is clear that sometimes it is best for a person to work on fixing certain instances of Imperfection, in him/her or in objects around him/her, but that must come from a functional, instrumental reasons, and not from a judgmental motive.
For us, the social treatment of Imperfection as a negative thing, stems mainly from dogmas and fixations of a herd society that is afraid of change and is threatened by anything it considers different or abnormal. From our point of view, every person has an integral Imperfection (just a small symbolic example: think about how we all bare a belly button, which is actually a scar) and has the potential for other defects, and he/she should not treat them as a disadvantage, but as a unique gift from which one can learn, develop and improve oneself.
Heterosophy sees humans and other creatures living on earth as family members - man is an animal among other animals, and is not the product of a unique creation designed by a transcendent god. Darwin's theory of evolution, together with many scientific developments that have taken place since then, such as the discovery of DNA and the decipherment of the genetic code, show how much this view is anchored in scientific reality.
At the same time, like any other species that lives on this planet, man has also developed unique traits that have brought him to a certain adaptation to the harsh environmental conditions of the surrounding reality. Some of these traits set man apart from other animals, giving him qualities that often keep him away from nature and his other animal siblings. Often, man perceives himself as superior to other animals, in many ways; intelligently, consciously, technologically and even morally. In our view, the unique qualities of the human being do give him/her advantages in some fields, but they may fall short of other animals in others. Man is not objectively superior to other beings, and in any case the Universe does not care whether man exists or not - the chaotic universe is indifferent to hierarchies and self-perceptions.
Man is the only animal that has achieved almost complete control over fire. He is the only animal that has succeeded in developing such sophisticated tools that it allows different individuals to communicate from vast distances with each other, or even travel to other planets. Man is probably the only creature who has developed a complex self-consciousness (a sense of self), and it is very possible that the human language is the most complex in relation to other animals. These qualities, and many more, have caused man to become alienated from nature and from the nature of his own. As a result, humans often perceive themselves as sublime creatures, and wonder the world as guests, or as astronauts visiting a foreign planet, rather then a native citizens of Earth.
In our view, these perceptions are not sustainable, and we see their consequences already in our times. The human technology and the excessive pride that accompanies it, have caused the human race to go through some very bloody historical periods, and Earth to become a place that in a moment will be unbearable to live upon. The more man is alienated from the fact of him being an animal, and the more he tries to become "God", the more he causes harm to himaself and to the environment.
The theory of evolution and the study of the human brain, prove to us that many components of our personality are distinct remnants of our animal ancestors. Psychology and behavioral studies indicate that much of our daily conduct is dictated by uncontrollable biological impulses and urges that we share with many creatures that live on earth, around and with us. It is clear to us today that the denial and repression of these components of our personalities, create problems and mental complexes that are very difficult to deal with.
For the animal elements in the human personality, we came up with the concept ot the "Inner Beast". Sigmund Freud's distinction between Ego and Id is a starting point and an inspiration for this thought, but we find it as not completely satisfying, since Freud's Id is an impulsive entity devoid of intelligence and self-awareness, whereas we see the Inner Beast as having sharp intuitions and vital intelligence of its own. The things we know today about the connections and relations between the different parts of the human brain, tend to prove our point.
We call upon humans to strive for reconnection to their Inner Beasts. We strongly believe that this is the key to a reconciliation with nature, and to a state of existence that is more sustainable in today's world. Our impulses, urges, instincts, intuitions and desires, all of which are an integral part of our human nature, are factors that should not be ignored or repressed. We should learn to work and live in harmony with all of them (without allowing them to cause harm, of course). Many ritual practices from those we offer, are designed to help a person get closer and reconnect with his/her Inner Beast, through various ecstatic, creative, emotional, and even intellectual methods.
Law of swallowing
One of the principles that drives all existence is Libido, the urge to reproduce. This is a concept coined by Sigmund Freud, and developed by many thinkers who came after him. Freud referred to Libido as primarily a sexual urge, while Carl Jung referred to Libido as the general psychic energy that drives human behavior. No matter which theory we choose to follow, from the perspective of life on the planet, it is clear that without sexual urges, a four billion years of process would not have happened. It is probable that organic beings born without the urge to reproduce did not continue their life-dynasty and had cut off the evolutionary branch on which they sat. Each and every one of us is placed, at this very moment, on one end of this gigantic, overwhelmingly ancient Tree of Life, with billions of years and branches behind us, in a spectacular sequence of births and deaths. The central axis of which all have in common is Libido.
In Greek mythology, according to the Theogony of Hesiod, one of the first gods to imerge out of Chaos was Eros. He was born alongside his brothers and sisters, Gaia (earth), Tartarus (the underworld), Nyx (night) and Erebus (darkness). Eros was the powerful primordial force that connects things together, causes them to mix with each other and thus to keep the continuation of creation. Eros is passion in its most archetypal sense, and from it comes the term Erotica.
In the work of Heterosophy, we call the life force (the somewhat equivalent of the Libido, of Eros, of the ancient Egyptian Ka, and of the qi from the Far East) by the term "Law of Swallowing" (or "Swallaw" in short). We use this specific term because we see this "life force" as a principle rather than an actual object (such as soul, spirit, or so). The Law of Swallowing refers to the natural tendency (voluntary and involuntary, conscious and unconscious) of all things to swallow the other things or to be swallowed by them. The erotic desire and sexual urge, as well as the hunger, the violent instincts and the often-uncontrolled desire to unite with nothingness, are all parts of the driving force of the wheel of life. Each component of this force can be treated separately according to context and practice, but in general - these are the components from which the four billion-year-old Tree of Life feeds.
It is, in fact, an impulse of boundary-blurring and transgression, and it includes not only the body but also emotion and intellect. Every action of blurring boundaries - from eating and having sex, to learning and teaching, from ecstasy to death - is related to the Law of Swallowing, which in the case of the individual, is the one responsible for both life and death.
The ritual and daily work of Heterosophy, is inextricably linked to the Law of Swallowing and to the awareness of it. The Swallaw is a necessity for the living person, and is also responsible for creation and creativity. Having said that, in order to live in balance with it, the boundaries of the subject and the body must be maintained, while allowing them to blur and to be penetrated. We want to feel connected to nature, to the world arround us, and also to each other, but without losing our own sense of Self and our ability to distinguish ourselves from others. Total blurring is death, and living in minimal blurring (one that is only necessary for the maintenance of the body) is misery.
Light & Darkness
Light is one of the physical forces that enable life on earth, as well as vision, orientation, and communication. Within the heterosophical theory and practice, light is considered a Deitype, whose "Masks" are recognized in various cultures as the deities of the sun, moon, and stars.
In many religious and philosophical dogmas, light is perceived as a beneficent force and a metaphor for life, good, happiness, and even the divine. Heterosophy avoids the dichotomous judgmental divisions that exist between Light and Darkness, since it also recognizes the power, vitality, and necessity of the latter, for the existence of life.
Light is perceived as a force that separates and distinguishes between things. As such, it is taken in culture as a representation of reason. In fact, the ability to see depends on darkness no less than it depends on light. Just as in the case of complete darkness, also in absolute light nothing can be seen. Vision and the perception of space derived from it, rest on lights and shadows, that is, on both Light and Darkness.
According to our belief, the absolute distinction, made by drawing clear and objective boundaries between things (and categories), is bound in an existential error of trying to evade everything that is unclear, non-absolute and not "pure".
The Institute of Heterosophy holds that man must also believe in the power of the unifying, transgressive, and blurring Darkness, for it is responsible, along with the Light of reason, for all development and innovation on earth. A person who rejects Darkness, because of a blind dichotomous belief in all that is enlightened and absolute, condemns himself/herself to constant dazzle by the social, scientific, religious, political, and economic dogmas and norms within which he exists.
As part of the ritual work suggested by Heterosophy, those who walk its path may celebrate both Light and Darkness, as two significant and fundamental components of human and natural existence. The rejection and repression of the forces that are normally perceived as the forces of Darkness and "Evil", contradict the needs of human existence and may lead to its disappearance. Although the sustainabilty of a society is conditioned by the existence of a legal distinction between good and bad deeds, we call for a constant examination of the borders between good and evil, which are often nothing but the result of cultural norms.
In Greek mythology, Darkness is personified by Erebus, son of Chaos itself, and brother to Nyx (Night), with which he also gave birth to Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), Hemera (Day) and Geras (Old Age), among others.
Lust is a feature of the erotic urge (Libido), of which no man/woman is innocent; In light of the heterosophical principles, Lust is a derivative of the Law of Swallowing. It is directly related to the metaphor of Eros, which is the powerful god/force of the aspiration of things to connect with each other. Therefore, we do not necessarily refer to Lust as a pure sexual quality, but rather as the feeling of wanting to “swallow life”, and as the human urge to wallow (see below).
All of human history is replete with the presence of Lust, and with "cultural" attempts to suppress it. For us, Lust is a necessary attribute for the existence of the human race (as well as for all other species), as it constitutes the processes of both reproduction and indulgence of the living beings in the world. It is an evolutionarily significant human trait associated with species conservation. The only cases in which Lust has been a negative and dangerous factor throughout history, have resulted from ignoring the Other's needs and denying him/her their own right to liberty. As long as the Lust of one person does not harm another, Heterosophy encourages Lust and calls for the realization of the potential inherent within its power, being an engine for creation, meaning, creativity and self-realization (Lust, in our opinion, is a necessary feature of the creative life of any kind - innumerable are the masterpieces created throughout the history of human culture, which were made in the light of Lust and under its direct influence).
Heterosophy tends, in general, to accept the assumption that mental distress, which characterizes all human beings, is most often due to Erotic desires and impulses that do not reach realization (not only in the sexual sense, but in the broad perspective of Eros as a life force). As a result, we encourage a life of passion and sexuality devoid of guilt and remorse, which will be made possible only by an ethic code that is not subject to the self-interest of oppressive economic and social structures.
Lust, then, is an important trait in one's life, and in practice we tend to refer to it as an entity, and to hold "Personification" towards it in many ritual events.
Mythical Dimension, Dream & Vision
The mythical dimension is our definition of the realm of imagination (both personal and collective), in which various realities occur that do not meet the criteria of the familiar sensory reality. This is the dimension of the story, the dream, the vision and the hallucination, and it is all imprinted in the human consciousness (including the unconscious) and generated by it. These are actually realities that are experienced within the body without passing through the gates of its senses (sight without the use of eyes, hearing without the use of ears and so on).
In principle, there is really no uniform and clear boundary between the physical dimension of reality, and the mythical dimension of metaphor - both are functions of consciousness (since truth itself can never be fully grasped) and both interfere with each other and influence one another all the time. In our opinion, recognizing the differences between the two dimensions (let's refer to them as the organic sensual and non-organic-sensual realities), makes it easier to identify their effect on each other, and also to combine them more consciously, thus benefiting from the blurring of the boundaries between them.
Thus, for example, the dream is an experience associated with the Mythical Dimension, i.e. the non-organic-sensual reality. It is a sensory experience that does not pass through the Gates of Senses (eyes, nose, ears, etc.). The dreaming person may experience the event with all his senses, without these being stimulated by some external factor during the event itself. Nevertheless, at the same time, the dream is always an experience that relies on the organic-sensory experience, and on the chemical and physical substances that have previously penetrated the body through its openings. The dream is a meaningful event, if the person dreaming it is able to decipher the ideas and symbols inherent in it. As stated, these do not originate in any external body: they are subject to the dreamer's consciousness and physical and mental state - and so is the nature of their interpretation.
Theories about the origins of the unconscious dream are many, and the first in the West to adopt an analytical and scientific approach to deciphering the dream and its motives, was Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that the dream was the result of repressed content, most of which was related to sexuality and aggression. These are expressed through symbols and images, designed to hide and disguise them.
Carl Jung developed his own theory about the dream, which he interpreted as a symbolic expression of instincts and impulses that come from both the personal and collective unconscious, and are expressions of the archetypal elements that make up the psyche. In the Jungian approach, the dream expresses different aspects of the dreamer's personality, which constitute quasi-independent entities, inhabiting the unconscious. Often, from this perspective, each character in the dream will represent an archetypal element in the dreamer's psyche, while baring some meaningful message for the dreamer from his own unconscious.
In the lexicon of Heterosophy, a Vision, like a Dream, is also a sensory experience that does not pass through the Gates of Senses. The person experiencing a vision may feel the event with all his senses, without these being inhabited by some external factor during the event itself. At the same time, as in a dream, the vision is also an experience that relies on the sensory experience, and on the various substances that have previously penetrated the body through its openings.
In fact, the Vision is a kind of junction that brings together past experiences and knowledge that the person has accumulated, along with his/her physical and mental qualities, which are expressed in the given moment. The vision is a significant event because of its symbolic value and the potential it holds for revelation and insight. The vision may appear as a daydream or as a hallucination that occurs during an illness, a psychotic event, a ritual trance, or under the influence of narcotics. During vision, a person's consciousness is in a kind of intermediate zone between wakefulness and sleep and he may even feel completely awake during the process. Therefore, the vision will always be kept in the immediate memory of the person who had it, in contrast to ordinary dreams which may be forgotten or appear in memory long after they have been dreamed.
The Vision is often accompanied by a sense of revelation and an urge to decipher its messages in light of the other events experienced by the person at that time. The Vision will often be characterized by an insight or some political/public message, which also concerns others and not just the seer himself/herself.
The Institute of Heterosophy adopts various techniques used to accelerate the emergence of visions, and to perfect the decipherment of the messages embedded in them by the mind, body and experience of the practitioner.
In our view, the Vision does not constitute a message from any external dimension, and therefore deciphering the messages contained in it will ever be the result of the consciousness of the seer, and of the dialogue created between him/her and the one who assists them in the work of interpretation.
Many actions that are done during the day, are related to the Mythical Dimension and are influenced by it. Some are not in complete control, like dream and vision, and some are done as part of our conscious activity. For example, the use of metaphor, symbolism, religious or spiritual thinking, ceremony and ritual, all form a connection to the Mythical Dimension, a connection which affects reality itself.
Personification is the attribution of human qualities to objects, creatures, and beings that are not human. We Heterosophians, make use of the "symbolic personification" of essences or qualities that exist in the world, and represent them through objects in the ceremonial array. We believe that through use and belief, abstract concepts gain power and influence over the course of history. Thus, the personification of such forces and the recognition of their actual influence, for ceremonial purposes, has the potential to contribute to the identification of the rational pagan with the objects of his ritual practice. The practitioner of Heterosophy is aware that personification has only metaphorical value, and does not define the humanized entity as real in an objective and independent manner. Assuming that our lives are a story, we tend to make characters out of elements that we find as important and meaningful in our story.
Basically, personification is our rational version of Animism. Animism is the belief that various elements in nature and the environment have a spirit or a soul. Since we do not believe in the soul as a separate object from the consciousness embedded in the body, but do believe in the power of suggestion and the effect of stories and imagination over our own reality and consciousness, we believe that personification, as a working tool, has a significant role in the life and ritual practice of the ratio-pagan.
Responsibility is a very significant value in the heterosophical thought. Since we tend to see deities as metaphorical entities and psychic faculties, rather than actual beings, the responsibility for a person's experiences, actions and beliefs, rests with him/her, exclusively. It is not for anyone to blame, but for the person himself/herself. Even when a person lacks a complete grasp of his/her experiences and destiny, since these are influenced by innumerable factors and accidental conditions that are not under his/her control, he/she must take responsibility for the actions and reactions he/she carries out.
The Self is the way in which culture defines the individuality of the human being. Through language, we learn from a very early stage, to refer to ourselves as "I", which seems unified and monolithic. According to the heterosophical worldview, the identity of every human being is the result of its biological and cultural components, and although the establishment of a stable and permanent Self is essential, it is constantly changing. In fact, we adopt the psychoanalytic approach, originated in the works of thinkers such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, which holds that the Self is composed of a number of independent entities, each of which may have different qualities and characteristics. Sometimes these are in conflict with each other, and the person has the task of integrating and reconciling between them, if he desires a peaceful and fulfilling life.
The boundaries of the Self, then, are not really definable, since they are subject to constant blurring. At the same time, the existence of these boundaries is essential, and we certainly acknowledge the importance of maintaining them.
For us, one of the the characteristics of man that distinguish him from other animals, is the boundary he formulates between his mental Self and his physical one. Man's ability to see himself as a subject, to speak of himself as an "I" - is what apparently distinguishes him from other animals, and turns him into what we refer to as a hybrid between animal and god. We are half physical half metaphorical creatures.
The constant change of the Self, its deviations from its own boundaries, and the fact that its identity is "contaminated" at any given moment, are the main factors of human development, as well as human degeneration.
The Institute of Heterosophy is constantly working on the development of practical strategies for the maximum realization of human potential, and for the reduction of degeneration resulting from certain changes that the Self undergoes. As part of our ritual work, practical techniques are used to artificially violate the boundaries of the Self. These techniques have the potential for a great contribution to the development and evolution of the Self, while maintaining its constantly-threatened stability.
According to the heterosophical approach, gods and goddesses are symbolic expressions, personified metaphors, of archetypal patterns in the human psyche. Phenomena such as love, motherhood, fertility, wisdom, rage, war, etc. are factors of human experience, arising from mental faculties, which are shared to one degree or another by all human beings. So are key elements in nature - places, materials, beings and even meteorological events - all of which are also reflected in different forms as essential elements within the human consciousness (for example, the human concept of storm is a representation of how-the-storm-is-perceived-by-humans, rather than an objective reality).
Since humans have never had complete control over these functions, and they were never fully understood, they have found their way into great myths and religious beliefs, appearing to have anthropomorphic traits, as long with intentions and motives, desires and thoughts, anger and feelings of revenge, and so on. In this way, one can try to explain these phenomena, characterize their roles in human existence, and perhaps even gain some degree of control over them.
Great qualities common to all human beings, are often represented by different gods in various cultures. For example, in almost every polytheistic culture in the history of mankind, there have been goddesses responsible for fertility, male or female deities responsible for war, gods responsible for rain, gods or goddesses representing the sun, earth, and the like. These different versions, of deities representing major functions common to the whole of human experience, we refer to by the term "Theomasks". These are masks in the form of deities, which the archetypes wear in each culture according to its character and features.
Each mask, although largely similar to its corresponding masks from other parts of the world, carries its own nuances and personal characteristics, which stem from the local cultural implications projected onto the metaphor. The archetypes themselves, as well as the forces of nature, and other features represented by the metaphors of the Theomasks, are referred to by us as "Deitypes".
Heterosophy uses the term "Totem" in a way that is not exactly the same as the conventional concept. We call a Totem anything that a person significantly identifies with, and which for some reason (personality, intellectual, philosophical, etc.) is a significant symbol for him/her.
One's Totem can be anything in the world (object, plant, animal, person or metaphorical entity), with which he/she is identified with, and feels an immediate closeness to the concepts it represents. This, in addition and non-direct-connection, to the ritual symbols and representations described and detailed within the path of Heterosophy.
For the most part, the person might want to regularly walk around with some object that represents his/her Totem, and might even make ceremonial use of it in his/her ritual practices. It should be noted that no one who follows our advice has any obligation to own a Totem, or to use one for any ceremonial purposes.
The Totem does not have to be permanent and during one's life it may be replaced several times by other ones. A person might also have more than one Totem at the same time - It is all a matter of personal feeling and choice. There is a large number of animals which heterosophians attribute special symbolic and ritual qualities to, due to certain features that characterize them. These animals may be recommended by us, as "potential Totems", and we suggest choosing a Totem that suits one's personality, and somehow relates to his/her "Inner Beast".
We believe that one's perception of reality is always limited and dictated by his/her personal qualities and experience. We do not claim that absolute truth does not exist at all, but that it is unattainable and never fully understandable. Since its beginning, philosophy has been always dealing with the gap between perceived reality and reality itself. Since man's knowledge of the world is based on his particular sensory experience and personal consciousness (with all its components), the world is experienced by him more as a reflection, rather than as objective reality or knowledge.
According to this conception, there can never be certainty about anything, that will realize the full potential of the knowledge that lies within it - the reality reflected in the human mind, will always be deceptive, partial and limited, and therefore worthy of constant doubt.
According to the heterosophical perception, the more individuals who examine reality share similar features, the more their interpretation of it will be similar. Humans, for example, who share similar senses, similar perceptions of space and time, and similar mental abilities, may acknowledge and agree on certain features in reality. At the same time, each of them will receive a slightly different version of it. Each specific version will be influenced by the specific body, culture, language, education and history of the person who generates it.
Both science and technology are based on facts that man is able to identify and evaluate, even at the mathematical level, which is the closest to a perception of reality that is not at all subject to the limitations that come from the flesh. At the same time, the correlation between reality and the ways in which it is perceived, even when they are seemingly unbiased, will ever be partial and limited.
The perception described above, regarding the concepts of truth and falsehood, does not lead us to a complete abolition of the boundaries between them, but to an understanding that these boundaries are always blurred and diffuse. Since reality is perceived in a similar way by beings who share similar characteristics, then relativity is also perceived in a similar way, and the facts that can be agreed upon are a partial criterion for determining the boundary between truth and falsehood.
For example, a person who points to a square and claims it to be a triangular, is either wrong or lying, because the properties that define a certain shape as a square, are agreed upon by all human beings. At the same time, under a different perception of space, or by a different consciousness than that of a human being, the square may be perceived in a completely different way, or even not perceived at all.
The way in which human beings experience and agree about reality, is referred to by us as a "story." Our reality is made up of stories we tell ourselves and those around us, and it is constantly changing. The shared and communal stories are called Myths. A myth, in our eyes, is not a false story, but rather a story of non-factual truths, which are sometimes deeper and more complex than the factual ones.
Within the heterosophical ideas, one can find many arguments about the blurring of boundaries and the infiltration of different domains into each other. The "impurity" of things — the amalgamation of them with each other, and the act of transgression — constitute one of the fundamental foundations of the heterosophian theory, and it is presented as a source of inspiration for growth and creative development. At the same time, we are not trying to define the world-of-things as a unified world. Blurring the boundaries and breaking them, is in fact dependent on the existence of categories and differences.
Reality itself does not recognize the concepts of unity and multiplicity - these are categories of human thought, and the definition of the world as unity or as heterogeneity depends on the stories we choose to live by.
As an example, compare the monotheistic god to the many deities of the polytheistic religions. The monotheistic god is a representation of unity: it is a summary of all forces together, good and evil, masculinity and femininity, and the like. It can have no competitors and is a huge political force for those who cultivate its existence. The polytheistic faith, on the other hand, recognizes the heterogeneous existence of various forces, which often contradict each other. Such contradictions (like in the case of good and evil) have been preoccupying Christian and Jewish theologians for thousands of years, whereas in polytheism they are considered a natural part of the general divine system.
We recognize that the world is full of forces and faculties that are often in a state of contradiction and competition, and sometimes come together and "cooperate" with each other. A similar picture is obtained when examining the human psyche: the contradictions and conflicts that exist between the various "entities" that make it up, are both a source of suffering but also of creativity and passion. this is reality as we perceive it, and this heterogeneity is essential to its existence and to our own.
In the path we offer, the stories we, as human beings, tell ourselves, can vary according to different circumstances. In this specific context, unity and multiplicity can coexist, despite the apparent contradiction between them.
According to the ideas of Heterosophy, "Wallowing" is the presence of man in life itself, as an integral part of the Bubbling (Bubbling is our term for the chaotic nature of ongoing reality). The human is a living, pulsating and vibrating organism, made of the same chemical elements that make up everything around him/her. The "human" category, like other categories within reality, is a linguistic element: Nature does not recognize it and know nothing about it (and nature, of course, is not monolithic in that sense: man represents one thing for an insect, and another for a wolf, a tree, a rock, etc.). Man is immanent to the world, and "wallows" in his environment like an animal.
At the same time, by virtue of his complex and reflexive consciousness, his sense of self and awareness of boundaries and distinctions (leading to what we sometimes refer to as the "hybrid condition" between animal and god), the Wallowing is always lacking, and the gap between man and reality will always be somewhat unbridgeable.
Many practices that are offered to those who walk the path of Heterosophy, call for the maximum realization of the Wallowing, and offer methods for reducing the gaps between one and his/her environment, as possible. We cherish the Wallowing and see it as an everyday part of our ritual practice.
Witchcraft is an activity that is designed to affect reality through will and "supernatural" means, along with the use of various elements from nature (plants, animals and various chemical elements) that have an effect on both body and mind. The effectiveness of witchcraft has not yet been scientifically proven, and it presupposes the existence of transcendental forces that help the sorcerer carry out and realize his/her desires. Throughout human history, it has often happened that actions that were considered witchcraft at certain stages (e.g., the use of herbs, various psychological suggestions, etc.) turned out, at later stages, to be verifiable actual scientific discoveries.
Heterosophy, as a paradigm of immanence, casts great doubt on the actual existence of transcendental forces, and therefore does not tend to accept witchcraft in its traditional forms, as a means of practically influencing reality external to the practitioner himself/herself.
At the same time, it is clear to us that witchcraft has psychological and symbolic values that may be very significant for the practitioner, or for those who seek for his/her abilities. Thus, the practice of Heterosophy may use patterns inspired by various witchcraft tactics, in order to establish an effect on processes within the practitioner's consciousness. These tactics will always be used with the practitioner being aware of them and under his approval, for without him/her they have not the slightest value. In addition, for us, witchcraft may also include linguistic, psychological, and other science based tactics, which may have an actual effect on the object of the spell or deed. The use of techniques to raise the level of one's charisma, as well as methods of rhetoric and suggestion, have also found their way into our set of witchcraft methodologies.
It should be emphasized that in any witchcraft activity performed by those who walk the path of Heterosophy, the responsibility for the consequences of his/her acts rests with the practitioner himself/herself, and we call for avoiding any irresponsible act that could harm a person or any other living being.