Reduce that One to Zero

The best way is the hardest; to forget all this and start from the beginning as if there had never been anything on the subject written before.

I must keep always in mind that you are assumed to know nothing whatever about Yoga and Magick, or anything else beyond what the average educated person may be assumed to have been taught.

What is the problem? There are two.

β: To train the mind to move with the maximum speed and energy, with the utmost possible accuracy in the chosen direction, and with the minimum of disturbance or friction. That is Magick.

α: To stop the mind altogether. That is Yoga.

The rules, strangely enough, are identical in both cases; at least, until your “Magick” is perfect; Yoga merely goes on a step further. In Beta you have reduced all movements from many to One; in Alpha you reduce that One to Zero.

Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears

Dream Destination: Varkala, India

Dream Destination
Varkala, India

If it’s a chilled hippy hideout with a spiritual air and myriad magical charms you’re looking for, then Varkala in the Kerela region of Southern India might just be your dream destination.

I returned to this lush subcontinental paradise in late March, just before the rainy season, when the weather is at it’s most sultry and the region’s vibrant religious festivals are at the peak of their cycle.

First I spent a week at the delightfully eccentric (and at the time rather haunted) guesthouse, Davina Lagoona, which specialised in ayurvedic meals and massages in an animal-themed boutique at the edge of the Kerelan backwaters. After five days of green tea, delicious vegan dishes and early morning yoga in the sweltering heat, my wintery pastiness had made way for a light, sub-tropical glow.

For my next stop it was a choice between heading for the hills to a full-time yoga retreat and monastic regime, presumably with the goal of some form of enlightenment and/or levitation, or pack up and go to the beach at Varkala. As you’ll see from the picture postcard shot taken from my favourite cliff-top cafe, Varkala won hands down.