I haven’t received any hate mail this week from the normal quarters of the internet, so I figured a commentary post on a commentary post on the State of the Union was probably in order. Frater Barrabbas has a post up on Wicca, and I think it hits the nail on the head.
Tradition is worthless except as history. The ceremonial magic guys had this idea that spirit names are only good for about 100 years. I think it’s less about the names being good and more about the tradition has to change to stay relevant to the times. I don’t, for instance, need a spirit which helps me hoards of buried treasure because our society doesn’t operate on the gold standard. While I could use the spirit and possibly find something like historical artifacts, in America, the finder is required to surrender them. However getting the spirit called up and interrogating it for a new seal and name freshens the pot, so to speak, so that I might find investment strategies and money savings I would have normally overlooked. Years ago before giving up fluffy magic I strongly considered sticking a corporate logo into the triangle to attempt to influence the company. The fundamental flaw here is that people make decisions under the banner of the company and in the age of 401k and technical contract job hopping, people act in their own best interests rather than some notional idea of being a company yes-man. On the other hand, if I stick the turbotax logo in the triangle and attempt to govern how the software interacts with me, this is a much better solution. Would the classical magicians have even considered such a thing?The answer is “Who cares?” Classical magicians provide an excellent framework to work in, but it’s just that. History is dead, and when your history is either willfully ignorant or misleading, it’s time to toss it out. Ceremonial magic knows this nowadays, no-one seriously thinks the Lesser Key of Solomon was written by King Solomon. No-one thinks Liber Loagaeth was written by Adam (or Enoch). No-one thinks The Necronomicon was written by The Mad Arab (Al Azif) who knew the Pharaoh. Because we know that these are received works, we can then take them and work with them and make something new. The Big Lie is historical authenticity. How did Gardner know about High Magic for his first book he wrote with his magical name if he only was initiated into a witch coven? Why does Al Azif use english loanwords in an “ancient tome”? Why is Liber Loagaeth written with English letters when it would have been in Chaldean or Sumarian? Why does the Lesser Key call Asmodeus when Agrippa knew the name as “Sh’ mi Ad, Ad sh’ m” (“ad-sho-may”)?
There is no authority but your own. I am God. You are God. We are each God, experiencing itself subjectively. I write this knowing that it is the truth, but I think people get weirdly tangled up on the “return to God” or some such idea. Because God wants to know itself, it wants us to live out our lives fully. Rather than go on some mountain top and sit as a yogi or something, we need to live our lives but keep our eyes on what is God-like. By the same token, it’s important not to violate another’s will. They’re trying to be God too, and them-as-God is trying to experience life also. Go out there, have weird sex or whatever, and so long as it’s within the realm of consent, go nuts. Then understand how it changes you inside, and how you affected the world around you. Hopefully, Starbucks will forgive you for whatever you’ve done in their broom closet. But there’s a larger issue here. If we derive our authority from tradition and not from our divine natures, then there’s a huge rabbit hole of “how was this God worshipped?” It gets even weirder when the debates come up about Herms to Aphrodite where Aphrodite was a male God. Such is the Greek word for HermAphrodite. Does this express the supreme union and the Godhead? Yes, but let me get back to it. In the meantime, getting spiritual authority from a person, or group, or book – not going to happen. Spiritual authority is something we either have by acknowledging our divine natures and looking to work with things literally more than the sum of ourselves – paradoxically destroying and embracing our ego – or it’s moot. If the coven or queen witch or other such nonsense decides that another coven is illegitimate, does it deprive the other coven of spiritual authority? No it does not. More importantly the leader of the coven may or may not misappropriate the energy raised by the coven. We can all raise energy, but by placing the authority of our spiritual energy into the hands of the queen/king/leader, we cheat ourselves. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Golden Dawn (and Gardner, and Crowley) figured this out which was the dramatic shift from grimoire magic to group ritual later in these groups.
Dress in womens clothes Practice theurgy. The God and Goddess (Adam and Eve, Frigg and Odin, Sophia and Jesus, Lord and Lady) are nice as a nebulous concepts but it sort of misses the point. Yes they’re joined together in sexual union, and rain is squirting from God, but they’re joined together in spiritual union as the One Thing. They’re not just knocking boots. The Greeks knew this and this is the whole Hermes-Aphrodite thing. The supreme union was the HermAphrodite. If we don’t carry things to their logical conclusion, we cannot realize the ultimate union with the Godhead. We cannot, though our own knowledge, experience union with Sophia. We need to move past this idea of dual nature and move into an idea of one thing. If it’s not happening, or a particular group doesn’t subscribe to the One Thing idea, then there’s stuff seriously missing from the group. For groups which invoke the God and Goddess as separate (and arguably anonymous) things still constrained by sexual natures, then the ultimate goal of the magic is sex magic. How can there be any other union without the union? But if the individual practitioner can get beyond the notional idea of gender (as we should – because how else do we fairly treat gay and “both” and “neither” sorts of people?) and instead realize that sex is merely an expression of Gods love of itself and therefor us, then we have real, actual, spiritual authority. Who else then could come between us and the Godhead if we actually desire reunion with ourselves (and the Godhead) in our hearts?
So what’s the grand secret of the universe? Reading Agrippa, and then carrying this to the natural end, the universal stuff which is all around us wants to unite together with selfsame stuff. Like attracts like, or as mom used to say, do unto others what you want done unto you. Thankfully most people declined that in context except for the guy in the free candy van. Nice dude. But, from the gluon, meson, quark and on up, the universe wants to attract other things. When things repel, or don’t fit together, it’s merely an expression of not being accepting of that yet until they change subtly. As an engineer, the idea of magnets floats my boat. Unless otherwise constrained, magnets will flip around so they’re hooked together. The default thing is to come together, and the differences (the positive and negative polarities) are opposite, but they ultimately end up united. Similarly the lesson of the ages is that even though things might be opposite, they ultimately want to unite and become one thing. Back on the topic of commentary, I don’t particularly think that physical (sexual) union with a partner is the be all and end all of magic. Is it powerful? Sure. But is it really the goal here? Not particularly. In fact, I strongly suspect that like a magnetic field, the union between two souls produces a spiritual being of both genders, and thus would exclude the Godhead. There is a Mystery here though, and the philosophical underpinnings are the idea we can create little pet universes for ourselves… Lets work this the other way. People are mostly flesh with a bit of soul. The default, the place we settle, is in the flesh. When we’re not being mindful of spiritual things, we typically settle down into eat, sleep, play with ourselves, watch TV… The appetite (per Plato) soul.
The trick is to understand this lower self and realize it’s the foot of the soul. We don’t spend much time thinking about our feet, but they provide us with the connection and mobility to get around the physical world. Similarly, our appetite-soul gives us the spiritual connection to our bodies, but really it’s only a foot. It lets us prop our spiritual selves up, but its really down in the mud and the muck of the spiritual world. It’s not to say this is a bad thing – but I strongly suspect sex magic is really just entertaining our appetite-soul and replacing the God of this particular universe with our own universe. Which is OK, but if we think this is bad…
Alright, maybe too long winded a post. I’ve lost my train of thought for tonight.