software for wetware
by Philip H. Farber

The following is adapted from a handout developed for the
FUTURERITUAL workshop, which was presented in several locations
in 1990. FUTURERITUAL was the first public presentation of ritual
work designed for use with an electronic sound and light "brain
machine." The most widely publicized of these events was held in
Manhattan, in April of that year, in a loft off Canal Street.
That event was opened by author Robert Anton Wilson, who spoke
for about an hour on brain machines in general, their development
and use. Following that, brain machine developers Stephen Barry
and Nicholas Ross introduced the "Cosmic Octopus," the 30-person
sound and light device to be used in the workshop. Then writer
Philip H. Farber presented the ritual material, and led the group
through the ritual.

Rules for workshop participation: Within reasonable bounds, rules
are pretty flexible. The reasonable bounds are: 1) not
interfering with other's enjoyment, 2) Maintaining concentration
on intent of ritual. And the rules are really only general
guidelines -- there is great opportunity for individual choice.
Ask questions at any time.

Basic breathing exercises and self-hypnosis techniques are
introduced and discussed.

The handouts:

                               developed by
                             Philip H. Farber
                          for interaction with a
                        multiple-user brain machine
                            in a group setting

     Your intent determines what the content and direction of the
ritual for you will be. What is it that you would like to gain from
this work? The intent should be developed and written down (or
remembered) in a clear, concise way so that it can be used in the
ritual at the appropriate time. This intent can take the form of
traditional magick (i.e., to invoke an elemental force or a deity
such as Pan, Artemis, Hermes, etc.), or it may use a model of
therapeutic or generative change, such as those described by NLP or
similar systems. One possible question to ask is, "What is it that I
lack, that I should like to gain?" You may choose something which you
are currently working on in your life, or in whatever practice or
discipline you are working in.


     A traditional magical banishing performed by one person,
followed by a more personal banishing which might consist of pot-
banging, drum-thumping, yelling, etc., around the perimeter, outward.
Each yell or noise should be envisioned and/or felt as an enduring
presence which remains even without the magician's conscious
concentration. If you are a traditional magician, you can use the
sounds and energy to build up pentagrams at the cardinal points.
Others can let the guardians take shape, position or quality
intuitively, as may seem appropriate. The purpose of all this is to
make sure that everything within the place of working is subservient
to the single purpose of the ritual. The banishing prevents use of
the space for anything but the one purpose.

     Personal consecration: Silently aspiring as Hadit to Nuit, or to
H.G.A. Or, for the verbally oriented, a mantra of sorts may be
repeated, for instance, "I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses
of the stars rain hard upon thy body," or "God, I invite you to
indwell the pure temple which I have prepared for you." Or some
combination of all these techniques. As in all of this, the more
sensory modes that you use, the more effective it will be. When you
think that you have made some success with this, you can allow or
imagine your body and mind to be infused or vibrating with the energy
of the infinite. At least 5 minutes.
     Projection: Walk around in circle, using the sign of the enterer
to project the energy of the infinite through the circle. Again, that
energy may take any sensory form: sound, vision, feeling.

     Little circle: Mentally define a smaller circle around just you,
a personal circle which excludes all others. Start with sign of
silence, aura withdrawn, then, at whatever pace is comfortable,
expand your aura to fill the little circle. Then draw the aura in as
small as possible, to a single point if you can. Repeat this until
the aura is quite dense.

     We go around the circle and each stands and states his name, his
experience as a person, what he does in life, etc. Then make a
statement of your intent in doing this ritual. What is the single
purpose that you have chosen? If you so decide, you may do this
silently. Please sit when you are done.
     While you wait your turn and/or wait for the next phase, you can
practice the silent meditation or hypnosis technique of your choice.

     Relax for a bit, perhaps continuing your meditation, or simply
allowing yourself to become receptive to the frequency of the
machine. When you are ready, move on to the invocation.

     Use whatever technique you have chosen, or whatever technique
works, to invoke the quality of your intent. For instance, if you
have chosen aspiration to the highest, you may use the state induced
by the machine to "imagine" yourself doing a specific ritual that you
might know, a specific meditation method, etc.  If you have chosen
therapeutic or generative intent, then you can use an appropriate
hypnosis technique, or you can "imagine" yourself going through the
process of acquiring the desired quality, finally possessing that
quality and being in the future situation(s) where that quality will
be most useful. Whatever your choice, strive to incorporate as many
sensory modes as you comfortably can: visual, auditory, kinesthetic,
     Note: This may require some effort of will, or it can simply
happen with its own momentum. Be receptive to it, and flexible if it
is appropriate.
     Continue this until it reaches its logical conclusion, or until
you are exhausted, or until you feel the exaltation which you might
associate with successful invocation. There is no set time for this:
you decide when you are finished invoking.

     Spend some time allowing yourself to become completely receptive
to the energies which have developed within the ritual area. Let them
enter you from wherever they might, or from all points
simultaneously. Allow these energies to fill you. Relax and
experience whatever it is that you may experience at this point. Take
whatever time seems appropriate, or until the machine stops (you
should have plenty of time to enjoy this). 

     Remove your headgear, silently declare your operation completed
and the energy invoked to be an asset to you for as long as it is
appropriate. For instance, "My operation is complete, my circle
closed, and the forces invoked always available as a tool for my True

                          GLOSSARY AND TECHNIQUES

AURA: An energy field which theoretically surrounds the human body
(and other animate and/or inanimate objects). According to various
different expounders on the subject, this is electromagnetic in
nature, or purely spiritual, or based on perception (through
synesthesia) of subtle, non-verbal cues and patterns of
communication. (My own theory is that it may partake, in some
measure, of all of these.) Whether or not you actually believe in the
physical existence of something called an aura, it is a useful
concept within the context of ritual, meditation, and certain other
practices. If you do not believe in the existence of an aura, you can
simply imagine something with similar qualities surrounding your
body. This is usually quite adequate and effective.

BANISHING: A technique for, or an act of clearing a ritual setting of
all thoughts, ideas, elements, etc., which do not relate to the
purpose of the ceremony. A traditional one for Golden Dawn style
magicians is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

BRAIN MACHINE: Generally, an electronic device used to induce
specific brainwave frequencies. Some machines use an electromagnetic
field, others, such as the Cosmic Octopus used in the FUTURERITUAL
workshop, employ a combination of light and sound.

CONSECRATION: The active dedication of a space or object to the
single purpose of a ritual.

HYPNOSIS: In general, the use of language or sensory modes to achieve
a trance state in which the unconscious mind may have greater control
of behavior than in "normal" states. Where meditation ends and
hypnosis begins is difficult to say.
          Sample self-hypnosis: Sitting comfortably, with eyes open
or closed, list (to yourself) 3 things which you can see, then 3
things which you can hear, then 3 things which you can feel (for
example, "I see the color of the wall, I see the person opposite me,
I see the color of her hair, I hear the sounds outside the room, I
hear people moving about, I hear my own breathing, I feel the cushion
underneath me, I feel the air on my skin, I feel my hands on my
lap..."). Then narrow it down to a list of 2 things in each sensory
mode, then 1 thing in each mode. Then count breaths backwards from 1
to 10 and enjoy the trance that you are drifting into. This works
most powerfully when the verbal listing within your head is timed in
a rhythm with your breathing (see PACING).

MAGICK: "The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity
with Will," according to Aleister Crowley. Also, "The method of
science, the aim of religion." In the Golden Dawn tradition, the
ultimate goal of magick was the "Knowledge and Conversation of the
Holy Guardian Angel." In the language of psychology, this might be
defined as revelation from the unconscious or collective unconscious;
in the language of mysticism, it is union with god. According to one
definition, white magick is when the will and action are applied to
this union, black magick is anything else (for instance, placing
immediate comfort or greed in the place of the Holy Guardian Angel).
There are many shades of gray.

MEDITATION: In general, these are techniques to still the mind or,
with conscious intent, to narrow the focus of the mind to a single
thing. These techniques include:
          Mantra: repetition of a word, phrase or passage.
          Pranayama: attention to or control of the breath. This may
be as simple as counting breaths (for instance, counting on each
inbreathe, 1 to 10 and then down to 1 again). Or it may include yogic
breathing (filling all 3 zones of the lungs) timed with counting or
with a mantra (for instance, inhale for count of 5, hold breath for
count of 5, exhale for count of 5, hold out for count of 5, repeat
          Visualization (dharana): fixing the attention on a single
internal image (for instance, the elemental symbols of the Tatwas:
blue circle, symbolizing air; silver crescent, water; red triangle,
fire; yellow square, earth). For some people, however, other sensory
modes may be more useful and visualization may be replaced or
augmented by concentration on internal sound, feeling or smell.

NLP: Neuro-linguistic programming. A synthesis of disciplines
developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder which can provide a
language to describe aspects of consciousness, communication and

PACING (AND LEADING): Terms derived from the practice of hypnotherapy
which describe a theory of a "following response". By matching
aspects of a person's behavior, for instance: rate and depth of
breathing, tone of voice, sensory modes used, gestures and
mannerisms, etc., it can become possible to gain closer rapport and
eventually "lead" the person into new behavior. This theory may
account for the effectiveness of some brain machine programs which
may began with a "normal level" of brainwave frequency, pace that
frequency for a while, then lead into a different or "deeper" state.
RITUAL: The set of tools including banishing, consecration,
invocation, etc., which allow us to consciously apply our will to the
art of life. A general form might include the preparation of an area
in which all elements contribute to a single purpose, banishing of
all contradictory elements, and the invocation or development of a
single desired element or idea. These tools are common to all
religious ceremony, practically all scientific technique and many
actions in "everyday life."

SENSORY MODES: Also called "representational systems" or, simply,
"the senses". Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic (feeling),
Olfactory/Gustatory (smell and taste). These can be subdivided into
various catagories -- internal, external, recalled, created, loud,
soft, bright, dim, strong, weak, etc. All of our knowledge of the
world is gathered through impressions in these modes, and processed
with thoughts in these modes. Categorizing impressions in this manner
is often a useful way of understanding our perceptions and making use
of them. It is possible that, for some people, additional sensory
modes do exist, but the existence of synesthesias may make this
difficult to determine.

SIGNS: In the context of FUTURERITUAL, these are gestures and actions
which represent some archetype or archetypal process.
     Sign of the Enterer: (or Sign of Horus) Right foot steps
forward, both hands, placed palms together, are thrown forward. The
magician actively imagines an energy, quality or idea projected from
     Sign of Silence: (or Sign of Harpocrates) Both feet together,
left forefinger placed on the lips. The magician actively imagines
his aura to be withdrawn, as small as possible within the heart.
     There are many other signs and gestures which can be learned,
developed intuitively, and used for a variety of purposes.

SYNESTHESIA: Combinations and crossovers between sensory modes. For
instance, great music (auditory external) may produce strong
emotional feelings (kinesthetic internal). Experimenters with altered
states may sometimes experience unusual synesthesias, such as seeing
music, feeling colors, etc.