Andrew Logan Montgomery’s
WALKING THE CROOKED PATH, some thoughts on Qutub.(2013)
Andrew D. Chumbley died suddenly, on his thirty-seventh birthday, of a severe asthma attack. There is a qabbalistic irony in that I think he might have appreciated. Thirty-seven is the number of the Perfected Man, the seven spheres of the tree of life below the abyss crowned by the divine triad above. It is Adam before the Fall. For a man who had so obviously mastered very deep arcana, departing the world after thirty-seven solar revolutions is an eerie coincidence. This doesn’t mitigate the tragedy of losing him at such a young age; it would have been extraordinary to see what he might have produced next.
I never knew the man, but I knew his work, and would comfortably place him alongside Austin Spare or Aleister Crowley in the list of the 20th century’s greatest occultists. This was not another self-help, mass market, Llewelyn New Ager. Chumbley had tapped into very deep magic, terrific and terrifying, awesome and awful. His Azoetia is probably the first genuine grimoire written in centuries, and his second work,Qutub, is a black jewel. Both are now nearly impossible to find, commanding prices of one to two thousand dollars when you do, despite being less than twenty-five years old. It’s hard to imagine any occultist in possession of them being willing to let go.
Qutub is, like the Emerald Tablet or Crowley's Liber AL vel Legis, a work of extreme brevity but tremendous depth. It’s seventy-two verses took a year to write and one could profitably spend ten times that puzzling them out. As Crowley said in his “Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic,” the world of magic is a mirror, and Qutub explores this riddle in slowly spiraling mysteries. Magic is both a mask and a mirror, a projection and reflection, a lie and the truth, and the point where these opposites merge into one. That place is Qutub, the Arabic word for “point." The verses of this meditation are designed to bring you there.
Qabbalistically speaking, "nothingness” or “zero” is a kind of code word for God (or “ultimate reality,” if you prefer). God contains all things, and thus nothing is all that can be said of it. It cannot be said to be “good” because that denies it “evil,” it cannot be said to be “male” because that denies it femininity, it cannot be said to be “light” because that denies it darkness. This is why the Buddha called it nirvana, and why the Hebrews didn’t give it a name. God must contain all opposites because it is the source of all opposites. Aleister Crowley nicely summed this up as n + -n = 0. If you take all opposites and add them together, they become nothingness, perfect, without definition or limits, eternal and unchanging. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing is perfect. From the Qabbalistic perspective, by stripping God of its “darker” attributes and assigning them to Satan, the Christians are committing a very serious kind of blasphemy. God must be the totality of being. They are cutting it in half. (I have always found useful here the notion of “nothing” as an empty sheet of paper…because it has nothing on it, it has the potential to become anything. Once you start to write or draw on it, you start limiting it, defining it, and stripping that unlimited potential away)
The Point then is that first breath God took before it said “let there be light." A point exists, but is without length or breadth; it is unity, but right on the very doorstep of being nothing itself. After that breath, the moment God says "let there be light” we now have “Two,” the duality of light and darkness. But that initial “One” is the very first stirring of creation before that happens.
Qutub then–which enumerates to 111, also the number of the Tarot Trump “The Fool,” symbolizing the beginning of the Journey–is the start and the finish, the initial step out the door and the moment of arrival, the alpha and the omega, if you will. It is where something comes from Nothing and returns to Nothing. This is the sense in which Chumbley uses it. It is a cosmological code word for the ultimate mystical experience, the dissolution of the ego and the sense of becoming “one” (or Nothing) with everything, as well as the act of creation.
This is all pretty standard mysticism. A Sufi, a Buddhist monk, a Hindu ascetic, and a devout Christian contemplative could all relate to it. But Chumbley takes us there along the “crooked path,” a phrase which at once reminds us of both the Qabbala’s “lightning strike” of creation and something more sinister. And by “sinister” I mean the Latin for “left-hand.”
The Left Hand Path (properlyvamamarga) is a Sanskrit concept that arises in some tantric practices. Without getting side-tracked, what it amounts to is a “short-cut” to enlightenment through antinomian practices. If the goal of the Right Hand Path is to overcome the Self through bhakti (love and faith) or karma(work and meditation), the Left Hand Path seeks to do the same through jnaya(knowledge and experience). Byintentionally breaking taboos, not out of animal weakness or by accident, the seeker breaks down all barriers between him and the Infinite. He overcomes the Self by dissolution. Thus in India the tantric would do things like eat meat, drink wine, or engage in ritualized sexual activity with “unclean” women. The point was not to party, but to unwind the Self and undo identity.
The term shows up in Western esotericism in a somewhat bastardized sense, but with some similar characteristics. Here it takes on more Jungian dimensions; the merging with the Shadow. It attempts to reach that essential state of Nothing by embracing the negative and darker characteristics of the personality as a lover; again, n + -n = 0. The Seeker makes a bride of those things in himself he has been taught to reject. This is in defiance of conventional religious law, which keeps the individual divided from himself, told to embrace only the “good” within him and reject the “bad." The Left Hand seeker embraces both in an attempt to know the totality of experience and being, and from this vantage point sees opposites reconciled.
Thus Qutub invokes some very dark characters in its verses. Chumbley himself says of it ”…this work treats the Arcanum of the Opposer, a magical formula of the Crooked Path concerning the Powers of Self-overcoming.“ That Opposer–again the Shadow–is encountered in the work at various turns as Lilith (the first wife of Adam from Jewish folklore who refused to obey and was replaced by Eve), Iblis (the Islamic satan), and Melek Taus (or Malik Tawas, the "Peacock Angel” of the Yezidi religion, believed to be a Lucifer that rebelled but was later forgiven and redeemed). But this is where we must remember magic is a mirror…if you look into the darkness and see only evil and sin, that is because your brought them there with you. As Chumbley says at the opening of the book, “he who is illuminated with the brightest light casts the darkest shadow." This is precisely why the Peacock Angel is the epitome of transformative redemption.
The whole of Qutub has a very intentional Arabic, "Sufi-esque” vibe. Indeed, one of the “non-dark” figures invoked by the poem is Khidir, a sort of Sufi “saint” or “boddhisatva” who appears in many guises to help people discover the Infinite. Qutub is a shadowy reflection of the poet Rumi, who wrote of God as the Lover and the Other. My old mentor, the Sufi and religious scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, often cited the Sufi teaching that there were many revelations and many paths, all leading to the same center. This imagery is referenced again and again by Chumbley as the poem unfolds, as are many other images drawn from Arabic and Persian mysticism. Looking for the center is like seeking an oasis in the desert.
And where does the poem lead? What is the destination? “The main purpose of magical practice,” Chumbley tells us in the poem’s commentary, “…is to refine, develop, and eventually to transmute the Entire Being of the Magician, this process being in accordance with his Will, Desire, and Belief. It is to recreate oneself in a form aligned unto one’s True Nature. …Although the (magickal) Current (which originates and flows from the center) affects all Nature, it has conscious direction through the Initiate, who, being possessed of the Gnosis, actively works to manifest this Current: to become Magick Incarnate. This is the subject of the poem Qutub." We seem to be seeing a variation here of Thelema and its doctrine of "True Will,” a concept far too large to properly enlarge here but which, in essence, states that all things in the universe have their own path or trajectory proper to them, determined by composition, position, and in the case of sentient beings, disposition. It is not fate or destiny becomes it does not claim to know the end, but merely the proper direction one should head in. For Thelema, the main thing is to discover your True Will and to do it, and thus you will have the “inertia of the universe behind you." Chumbley’s own Arte Magickal seems to embrace a similar line, with the magician discovering his True Nature and embracing it, taking his rightful place in existence. In doing so he becomes the current of magic flowing from the center of all things into the world, he becomes the very path he walks upon. Those familiar with the Tao Te Ching or certain schools of Buddhism will recognize the concept.
But the question we are left with, is “doesQutub deliver?” Can it actually help one discover himself and follow his path? This is a valid question for any esoteric document, and the answer is always the same; “yes…and no.” Chumbley is very up front with this in his commentary;
“…The mystical and symbolic language of the Poem is, in a literal sense, occult; it simultaneously conceals and reveals the sum of its meaning by way of cipher. The eternal nature of Symbols is revealed facet by facet, moment by moment. In being cast out before the Mind their timely significance is divined and, like a mirror, will reflect the Beholder. Do not blame the mirror for that which it reflects. Look Beyond–Look Within!”
In short, this is not one of those New Age works that crowd the shelves at Barnes & Noble. This is not force-fed consumer illumination. Qutub is challenging and will unlock only for the right people, something that can easily be said for theTao Te Ching, Liber AL vel Legis, or a thousand other esoteric works. But it is a genuine work of esotericism, and a very powerful instrument for self-realization, something few modern books on the “occult” can actually claim. For this reason I cannot but recommend it highly for the serious student. With time and contmeplation, Qutub not only unlocks its doors, but yours.
“A Kapala (Sanskrit for "skull”) or skullcap is a cup made from a human skull used as a ritual implement in both Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra. Especially in Tibet, they were often carved or elaborately mounted with precious metals and jewels.“ -Wikipedia
The third eye (also known as the inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.
In certain dharmic spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, the third eye refers to the ajna, or brow, chakra. In Theosophy it is related to the pineal gland. The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In New Age spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance.
The third eye is often associated with religious visions, clairvoyance, the ability to observe chakras and auras, precognition, and out-of-body experiences. People who are claimed to have the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.
Most of us know about how Funakoshi is the fatherof modern day Karate, and that he was responsible for sending Karate teachersto the west and other parts of the world to teach. But who did he learn from? And
in turn, who did they learn from? and so on. Well, I decided to do a little
backtracking on this, as far back as possible, hoping to find the Chinese
Now, we know that Bodhidharma, a Hindu monk,
is said to be the one who started passing around the art of self defense to
young, homeless children, during his travels through China, where he decided to
stay and open up a monastery for these
young kids, whom he called Shaolin, and many years later, monks from the
Shaolin, spread their art and knowledge on their travels. Some of these monks
went to the Ryukyu Islands, where they taught their art called Chuan Fa (Kenpo in Japanese).
This is where I want to try to backtrack to. There’s some info on each of the masters mentioned here, but I want
to encourage everyone to research each one, or those who interest you most, so
that you guys can learn more about who they were and what they did. For this reason, I’m not posting links either. Can’t make it too easy now. =]
Starting back from Gichin Funakoshi’s teachers: Anko
Itosu and Anko Azato.
Anko Azato (1827 – 1906) -
Not much is known about him. Whatever information can be found is based on
Funakoshi’s descriptions of him. Azato was described by Funakoshi as “One
of Okinawa’s greatest experts in the art of Karate”. According to
Funakoshi, Azato was also a skilled Archer and horse rider, an adept in the art
of Jigen Ryu Kendo, and was an exceptional scholar.
Anko Itosu (1831 – 1915) was small in stature, very shy and
introverted in his youth. As an adult, he was secretary to the last king of
Okinawa, before the Japanese abolished the Okinawan monarchy in 1879.
He began his study in the art of Tode (Karate today) under Nagahama
Chikudun Pechin (Okinawan term for the scholar-officials class of the former Ryukyu Kingdom (modern-day Okinawa), the
class equivalent of the Japanese Samurai.), but was later on taught, alongside Azato, by Sokon Matsumura.
Itosu helped introduce Karate into
Okinawa’s schools. In 1905, he was a teacher of Tode at the First Junior
Prefectural High School, where he developed the method of teaching techniques
that are still used to this day, by creating the five Pinan, or Heian, so that
the students could learn in an easier manner, as he felt that the old forms
were too difficult for children. He’s also credited with breaking down the
Naihanchi, or Tekki, into the three forms that we know today. In 1908, he wrote
the “Tode Jukun” (Ten Precepts of Karate) in a letter to the Ministry
of Education and the Ministry of War in Japan, in order to gain their
The letter with the precepts read as follows:
Karate did not
develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school
and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these
schools have strong points, which I will now mention before there are too many
1. Karate is not merely practiced for
your own benefit; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not
intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding
a fight should one be confronted by a villain or ruffian.
2. The purpose of karate is to make the
muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears.
children were to begin training in Tang Te (Chinese Hand) while in
elementary school, then they will be well suited for military service. Remember
the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon: “The
Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.”
3. Karate cannot be quickly learned.
Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand miles. If one trains
diligently every day, then in three or four years one will come to understand
karate. Those who train in this fashion will discover karate.
4. In karate, training of the hands and
feet are important, so one must be thoroughly trained on the makiwara. In
order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, take hold of your
strength, grip the floor with your feet, and sink your energy into your lower
abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day.
5. When one practices the stances of
Tang Te, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength
in your legs, stand firmly, and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.
6. Practice each of the techniques of
karate repeatedly, the use of which is passed by word of mouth. Learn the
explanations well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when
needed. Enter, counter, release is the rule of releasing hand (torite).
7. You must decide if karate is for your
health or to aid your duty.
8. When you train, do so as if on the
battlefield. Your eyes should glare, shoulders drop, and body harden. You
should always train with intensity and spirit, and in this way you will
naturally be ready.
9. One must not over-train; this will
cause you to lose the energy in your lower abdomen and will be harmful to your
body. Your face and eyes will turn red. Train wisely.
10. In the past, masters of karate have
enjoyed long lives. Karate aids in developing the bones and muscles. It helps
the digestion as well as the circulation.
If karate should be introduced
beginning in the elementary schools, then we will produce many men each capable
of defeating ten assailants.
I further believe this can be done by having all
students at the Okinawa Teachers’ College practice karate. In this way, after
graduation, they can teach at the elementary schools at which they have been
taught. I believe this will be a great benefit to our nation and our military.
It is my hope you will seriously consider my suggestion.
- Anko Itosu, October
This letter was
influential in the spread of karate.
Itosu’s style, Shorin Ryu, became
known as Itosu Ryu, in recognition of his skills, mastery, and role as teacher.
Sokon Matsumura (1797 - 1889) began his study of Tode under the guidance of Sakugawa Kanga. Matsumura
had reputation as an expert martial artist, even as a young man. He was
recruited into the service of the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1816. He
became the chief martial arts instructor and bodyguard for the Okinawan King,
and later served in the same role for the last two Okinawan kings. Matsumura
traveled to China. While he was in China, he studied Chuan Fa at the Shaolin
Monastery, and later brought what he learned, back to Okinawa, helped to further
develop karate, and was later known as the “Forefather of Shorin Ryu”,
as he went on to develop the Shuri-Te which later developed into Shorin Ryu Karate.
Side note: In 1818, Matsumura Married Yonamine Chiru, who was
also a martial arts expert, and it was said that she would lift up 130 pound
sacks of rice, to sweep the floor underneath. It was also said that she wouldn’t marry anyone who couldn’t defeat
her. Supposedly, time and again, men tried, but failed. She married Matsumura,
although it isn’t known if they ever did fight.
Sakugawa Kanga (also known as Tode Sakugawa) (1733 - 1815) was a
martial arts master, who played a major role in the development of Te, the
precursor to modern day Karate. Sakugawa trained under the monk, Peichin Takahara, beginning in 1750,
for six years, after which Takahara sent Sakugawa to train under Kusanku, a Chinese master in the art of
Chuan Fa, for six more years. It is said that he combined Chuan Fa with his first
master’s style, forming what became known as Okinawa-te. After his training
under Kusanku, he began teaching the art. He was so recognized as an expert
that he was given the name To-de Sakugawa (Sakugawa “Chinese Hand”)
by Takahara. He is considered to be the “Father of Okinawan Karate”,
and his Okinawa-te became the base for his most famous student’s (Matsumura) Shuri-Te.
Sakugawa passed down to his students the kata Kusanku, said to be one of
Okinawa’s oldest kata, and developed the Bo kata, Sakugawa no Kon.
Peichin Takahara (1683 - 1760) was a Buddhist monk, mapmaker and
astronomer, belonging to an upper class family from Shuri. The word Peichin
isn’t a name, but a title similar to that of “Knight” given to some
regents of the Court of Shuri. Takahara was known as a martial arts expert, he
was highly respected as a great warrior, and his teacher was Chatan Yara. Takahara regarded the
martial arts as a way of life, and is attributed to have been the first to
explain the principles of Do (Way):
1. Ijo - Compassion, Humility and Modesty.
2. Fo - Seriousness, Devotion and Dedication.
3. Katsu - Deep understanding of techniques and forms.
Kusanku (Kwang Shang Fu)(1670
- 1762) was a Chinese martial arts master, who learned the art of Chuan Fa in
China from a Shaolin Monk. He is credited as having an influence on practically
every martial arts derived from Karate. Around 1756, Kusanku was sent, as an
ambassador of the Qing Dynasty, to Okinawa, where he lived in Kanemura, near
the city of Naha. During his stay in Okinawa, he instructed Sakugawa Kanga from
1756 to 1762, the year he died. After his death, Sakugawa developed, and named,
the kata Kusanku, in honor of his
Chatan Yara (1668 - 1756) was known as being one of the first to
spread the art of Te throughout Okinawa. At the age of 12, Yara’s parent’s sent
him to China to study the Chinese language and martial arts. During his time in
China, he mastered the use of the Bo and Sai while studying under the guidance
of his teacher, Wong Chung-Yoh. In
1700, he returned to Shuri. Shortly after, he assisted a woman who was being
harassed by a Samurai. After avoiding the Samurai’s attack, Yara took an oar
from a nearby boat and used it as a weapon. He successfully disarmed and killed
the Samurai. Hearing of this daring rescue, local officials recruited Yara to
teach martial arts to the locals for the purpose of self defense.
Wong Chung-Yoh (1630 - ????) Very little is known about this man.
He was a teacher of a martial art style called Xing Yi Quan, also known as
Hsing. His school was located in Fuzhou, in the Fukien Province in China. His
most notable student, who produced the lineage for modern Karate, was Chatan
Up to here, Gichin Funakoshi’s direct lineage
is over, or seems to be, at least by what I’ve been able to trace back. But
remember, there were other masters that aren’t as notable as the ones mentioned
here, not to mention their students. So this is in no way saying that these are
the ones and only, but it is more than clear that all karate styles come from the same
root, the Chinese martial art, Chuan Fa.
Another master from Okinawa worth mentioning:
Higa Peichin (1640 - 1720)
was a legendary martial artist who influenced the development of Karate and
Kobudo, especially in the art of the Bo (staff). He was a student of the
Chinese emissary, Wanshu, who taught
him Chuan Fa. Legend states that Matsu Higa, with his Bo, stood up to the head-hunters of Formosa, and to
Japanese pirates from the north, and never lost a battle. His contributions live on in several weapons kata, especially
for Tonfa, Sai, and Bo: Matsu Higa no Tonfa, Matsu Higa no Sai and Matsu
Higa no Kon.
(Wang) (1621 - 1689) - Wang was the leader
of an ambassadorial mission from China,
sent by the Qing government in 1683 to
the village of Tomari. He was a diplomat, poet,
calligrapher, and a martial artist of Shaolin White Crane. He is credited with
having taught Chaun Fa to the gentry of Tomari. The kata Wanshu was either
created by Wang, or his students developed it in his honor. Whichever the case,
this kata is practiced to this day in many styles of karate under the name
Wanshu, Anshu, Unsu and Empi (Gichin Funakoshi renamed it Empi for use in his
school). The two main versions of this kata are Matsumura’s and Itosu’s versions.
This kata is also practiced in various Korean styles such as Tang Soo Do and Soo Bak Do. They also have veried names for this
kata: Wangshū, Wang Shu, or Yun Bi in Korean. This kata is often
reserved for advanced students, because of its difficulty.
So in the end, my friends, there’s no absolute Way. Remember that next time somebody tells you about how their styles are the only truth.
A sadhu (Sadhu) is a Hindu ascetic or a monk that follows the way of penance and austerity to attain enlightenment. It is the fourth phase of life in the Hindu religion, after studies, to be a father and a pilgrim. The sadhu tradition is to renounce all ties that unite with the earthly and material in the search for the true values of life. Generally a sahdu lives included in the society, but try to ignore human pleasures and pains.
Un sadhu (Sadhu) és un asceta hindú o un monjo que segueix el camí de la penitència i l'austeritat per obtenir la il · luminació. És la quarta fase de la vida a la religió hindú, després d'estudiar, de ser pare i de ser pelegrí. La tradició sadhu consisteix a renunciar a tots els vincles que els uneixen al terrenal o material en la recerca dels veritables valors de la vida. Per norma general, un sahdu viu inclòs en la societat, però intenta ignorar els plaers i dolors humans.
The following is an excerpt (pertaining to The Beatles, and George in particular) typed up from a digital copy of Lewis H. Lapham’s article - “There Once Was A Guru From Rishikesh” - published in two parts (4 May and 18 May 1968) in the Saturday Evening Post. This excerpt comes from the 18 May issue; as it’s a lengthy read, it’s under a “read more” cut.
“To the Beatles the Maharishi attributed the popular success of his spiritual-regeneration movement, and he doted on them with the proud fondness of a singing teacher or football coach. Often he referred to them as ‘the blessed leaders of the world’s youth,’ and in his happiest moments he described George Harrison as ‘a sublime soul for whom God and all the angels give thanks.’
lol, have you ever done Yoga before, have you ever seen people doing yoga, have you even seen what master Yogi’s look like? Yogis talk about peace, love, and chakras while testing every tendon, ligament, and muscle in the body to the painful limit. Despite the traditional narrative that it was created by Hindu and Buddhist monks, we all know that Yoga was really invented by Ancient Mauryan warriors as a means to torture their prisoners. The CIA probably uses it to torture terrorists. Championship UFC fighters and Jiu Jutsu blackbelts do Yoga to increase strength and flexibility for their grappling skills. If you are serious you are a moron.