Part one in a series outlining doctrine and practices of the Cloak of Nazili in modern times
The Cloak, at least in the most modern contemporary sense, is a voluntary group of students who are spiritually committed to a set of core principles and patterned actions derived from our most basic and empirical practices. These principles can be observed as fluid and changing, but most often in predictable and deliberate ways.
The core principle includes a triode of facets – a triangular gem composed of the appreciation, creation, and perpetuation of beauty. We believe that there are things humans are uniquely equipped to do among all of the other species, and these are at the core of it. Our senses allow us to perceive beauty on several fundamental levels which other species are not notably equipped for. Every other species and living entity in the world from bacterium to elephants, are all primarily equipped for mere survival and reproduction. While they are all living beings with varying measures of sentience, their existence is considered an aspect of the static field within which we exist. While they certainly are beautiful, they do not pause to appreciate a freshly bloomed violet, and they do not utilize creative energy to manifest objects of the will. Only mankind does this. So, let’s explore a bit about these three facets and how they each fit into the worldview of a member of the Cloak.
Appreciation is the conscious decision and practice of slowing down to “smell the roses” as they say. It is a pause felt in the heart and taken in the mind, a conscious decision to allow oneself to be swept away by a moment of awe and wonder. To momentarily marvel at the majestic complexity and clockwork synchronicity of the universe, to consider all of the millions of years of causality which ultimately coalesced into this very moment which you are experiencing. True appreciation is equal measures contemplation and detachment and is a skill which can be developed and practiced.
Creation occurs when we harness the universal forces of creation to bring something new into the world which did not exist in a tangible, observable form. Creation is one of the ways a human being can perform a holy act. Of the triode of facets presented here, this act of creation is perhaps the facet about which the most can be said. It is the most complex and nuanced and holy of the three, yet it is dependent upon the other two. Nazilic scholars have produced thousands of works and meditations on this, it is perhaps the most studied and documented of the three powers. We will speak much more about this later.
The perpetuation of beauty is the sharing of the experience of beauty with another, with the world, with the universe as a whole. Perpetuation is the simplest of the three to understand. One can imagine two people sitting on a hill at sunset, each facing different directions. It can be understood as one person turning to the other and calling their attention to the beauty – so that it can be appreciated on a shared, mutual level. In these moments of mutual experience, the universe is also a participant, as we act as the conduit through which the universe may momentarily experience itself.
There are many subtleties to each of these three attributes, which the Cloak is deeply invested in discovering and exploring as a form of spirituality, a way of living life. A clutch of members typically live and practice together in a sort of monastic setting, where their immediate biological needs are actively minimized in favor of spending the entirety of their lives pursuing and exploring moments of sublime awe and wonder. Many of their basic life needs are met through charitable donations as well as monetary support from the wider organization. They do not necessarily hold regular jobs (though some do, and we will get into this later), they eat communally and sustainably, and they enact many daily and weekly rituals to form and strengthen their bonds both to each other and to the Cloak as a greater entity.
While there is no truly typical day for a Nazilic monk, a day may begin with a communal chant and meditation, a light breakfast, a day spent “mining” for moments of awe or working at creating opportunities for other to experience this moment of awe, and finishing the day with reading, watching television or movies – just generally ingesting cultural artifacts at once contemporary and historic. When the Cloak consumes culture, it does so in specific and directed ways. While we experience the impact and influence of time in our lives as a linear or ultimately cyclical flow, the Cloak sees all the relics of cultural creation as existing in a kind of fixed field. The artifact does not exist in the same unfolding of time that we experience as mortal beings. An ancient stone tablet may contain the same moment of wonder that today’s hottest pop song does. There is no distinguishing one sense of wonder from another, there is only the loosening and accumulation of the energy created by mental friction with the object. To the Nazilic monk, the world and every object in it, especially those objects which came about by the manifest of will, exist in a kind of stasis which we have nicknamed “the mines.” So when we say we are “mining” it simply means we are seeking opportunities to experience awe and wonder; interacting with the field/fabric in such a way which allows us to free some of that energy which is latent in the object. It is to this energy that we as Nazilic monks dedicate ourselves to serving as vessels. Much in the way that a honeybee dances from flower to flower collecting pollen with which to eventually brew sweet golden honey, we mine the fixed field for this energy which we bring back to our symbolic “hives” and subsequently work at amplifying and creating a kind of honey all our own. Many members of the Cloak can be found to have tattoos of bees somewhere on their bodies, to pay homage to this very process of collection and transformation. This aspect of our psyche is represented in the archetype of The Vintner, which represents this cyclical process of sowing, ripening, collecting, filtering, brewing, distilling, and composting; whereby we eternally return to begin the entire process again.
To the Cloak, the act of creation or “manifestation by will” is the holiest of all acts and is the highest aspiration of any devotee. Because “the mines” are perceived as a fixed field, all that has ever been created or will ever be created in the future exist in an observable stasis. Adding an object to this is the result of the collection, fermentation, and amplification process – the culmination of mining the energy, purifying it within our vessel, amplifying it through various methods, and turning it back out into the fixed field again as a new form. A certain abstraction of basic Newtonian physics is visible here – that no new energy can be created, only re-used or transferred. In this context, all true creative manifestations of will are in essence a collage of pieces experienced by the vessel, distilled, and focused into new forms, and finally excreted into an assembled homunculus to exist eternally within the bounds of the very same static field from which it was initially mined.