The conversations with C from Ghana have largely wrapped up, he seems happy. I personally found it a really interesting learning experience. In each of our own respective countries, and in each of our own respective towns and neighborhoods, I think people tend to exist in small bubbles. This isn’t intentional, but more an effect of living in cultural comfort zones. For myself, I try to read as much as I can about other religions, and how they were incorporated into people’s practice. Crowley, for instance, unabashedly stole everything, and I think he did pretty well. Sure, his Hebrew sucks, but he spoke way more Hebrew than me. I can appreciate that. Similarly C got out of his cultural comfort zone in a lot of ways and I think it generally was an enriching experience for both of us. His English was actually pretty good, which is excellent for someone who lives in a country where the government still sponsors tribal languages.
In a lot of ways, we’re all human. We all have the same needs and wants. I covered the whole thing about love – the main thrust of his investigation – in a previous post. What also was interesting was that in Ghana, wizard work and witchcraft are still frowned upon. Christianity accounts for most of Ghana, with Islam bringing up a distant second, but around 10% of the population still practices “other”. If I lived in a space where 1 in 10 people still used tribal ways, it’s very likely I would know at least one person. Being a ceremonial magician is largely lonely work. Any magicians map of the world is startlingly individual, but that’s the point. Perceive the world, as only you can. That being said, I got the impression there’s two distinct stances – religions hostile to magic, and religions which embrace magic in Ghana. For the discussion, it’s best to lump magic in with their “traditional” faiths. After some missteps and working out the English, I figured out that he was treating me as a “traditional” practitioner, and I was treating him as someone who was on board with that.
Turns out that was the wrong assumption to make. The traditional religious view is something more nuanced than anything on Llewellyn’s and the Western Mystery Tradition could bolt up to it in some interesting gnostic marriage. There might even be remnants from the actual Book of Enoch there. Nyame (sounds like YAH-WEH) is the creator of the material, and his wife is Asase Ya (sounds like Assiah). My particular brand wasn’t foreign to him conceptually, but we have different meanings for words. With the creep of Christianity, Saints suddenly owned rocks and trees and the whole thing is very Gospel of Thomas. I would love to say we discussed this at length, but I only caught hints of it. He was more of a Pentecostal Christian, who didn’t want to practice magic. But he did want a tarot and rune reading, so I gave him such and he was very much interested in the hows and whys as much as the future itself. This is a good thing, I very much enjoy teaching people as much as I enjoy comparing notes.
He did offer me money and a place to stay, which was quite kind of him although I have no business in Ghana. I would love to go on safari in Africa some day but that’s for much later when the kids are grown. A bigger consideration though is that he is economically underprivileged. Hospitality is free, and appreciated, and a universal currency. Offering me money is kind, but I strongly object to Money for Magic. For one, his local bills are hardly worth three to mine, and for two he only makes $600 USD a month if he’s lucky and that’s just average. I don’t particularly want his money, nor do I think it’s wise to charge money for magic. There’s truly destitute people out there within our own economies, let alone the world economy, and charging money for magic is the victory of the elements over spirit. I would much rather he think about the providence of God than worry about making rent. “Don’t haggle over the price of an egg” and such, God does not depend on the motion of Mammon.
In the end, he asked for things we all ask for. He has questions about love, and he has questions about God. The love was covered previously, but in his world, he took his view of God very seriously. He asked me how I called on God and I tried to explain that in Magic we call on God by the name of his Manifestation because God is the great unknowable thing. I tried to explain that God is beyond his manifestation and that God is present in everything, and all things are within God, and he took a shine to that. He begged me “in the name of Jehovah” to help him, and I did, and I hope that if he was honest about his station in life and the factors influencing his life, he will focus on the Higher Self if his way becomes easier. This is always a little bit tough, people have enough problems thinking about themselves let alone describing themselves and their influences to other people, but I also think reaching out is the right thing to do. Crowley talks a bit about this in Magic Without Tears (Chapter 19). He gives instructions for cultivating purpose free from the lust of result to an individual working on themselves, but the same thing applies here. I have no dog in the game. I can do a working for him, and after all is done, I can do nothing but be confident in my success. Magic will happen, I just hope what he identified as problems in his life are actually what will solve the problems in his life.