This is a forum to submit and share your conceptsand thoughts on how you really see
Spirituality, The Craft or Raligion.
This area will hopefully provoke others into askingthem selves what do I really believe in?
It is not meant as a bash page so any essays thatflame any other religion or path will be denied.
MAGIC AND/OR RELIGION ?
In many circles, I'm infamous for holding obtuseand contrary opinions that differ from those of my companions. In the followingessay, I present just such a pebble for my friends' shoes. Be awarethat what follows is totally a personal opinion, however deeply researchedor confirmed by experiment it may be, for it is built upon a cosmologicalviewpoint which is neither Gnostic nor neo-pagan nor Thelemite nor anyother than traditional, "orthodox" Christianity.
Is Theurgic Magic basically just prayer? Areprayers a form of spell work? No; though prayers directed to theDeity to provide the Divine powers an opening to transform the world andthe experience of the devotee can be quite magical.
In prayer, one requests another being to accomplishsome task or grant some favor. The being so requested has the rightto respond according to their agenda and to their vision of the situation. Thus, "No!" is an answer allowed under such circumstances, which are whollyand actively dependent upon the will of the other.
One can, and probably should, include prayer inone's magical working; but the essence of magic requires a vastly moreactive and dominant role on the part of the mage as compared to the roleof the devotee. Moreover, much magic, like any other act, can bedone without consciously invoking Deity nor deliberately subordinatingthe work to the Godly Will. Even in theurgic magic, the mageis like a
Pentecostal preacher "standing on the promises"and assumes the posture of authority and of responsibility for the shapeof the spell and its outcome.
Magic involves many things, but for the purposesof this discussion, certain key features dominate. First of all magicdepends upon the will and the character of the mage as much as it doesupon the nature of any tutelary being. Indeed, it can be accomplished withoutthe active participation of such beings.
Magic acts on the subtle planes to bring about eventsthere and also within the material realm according to the will and imaginationof the mage. The mage achieves this by creating a pattern and linkingit to the patterns of energies and the desires of entities already activein the universe. Then this pattern is empowered both by the powerconcentrated from the cosmos by the magic and by the power generated bythe soma of the mage itself.
Thus atheistic magic can be remarkably effective. Just as we walk, read, talk, eat, and sleep whether or not we directlyand actively invoke the Creator; so also, we imagine, create, and generateour own energies quite "naturally." Everything that exists thus possessesinnate magical powers and affinities.
In this context, the viewpoint of my personal beliefpatterns can be illuminating. It is this capacity to imagine and to choosethat distinguishes us as individuals from each other. Further, Ipersonally believe that this capacity demonstrates that our choices andactions are not God's actions. The presence of free will means thatthe possibility of things which are not "of God" must exist.
On the other hand, existence itself depends uponthe Primary Source (a fancy philosophical name for Deity). However,it seems that a passive permissiveness within this existence is part ofthe design. Charles Darwin himself noted that the great pattern seemsageless and impermeable, but the details
seem to be left to chance. I would say thatthe preeminent reason why chance must be important is that without chance,there is no choice either.
In my belief, God wished to share love. Loverequires another. Love, by definition, also requires a free choice.Love, also by definition, allows each soul to walk into its own heavenor hell – while doing what it can to help each walk happily.
Thus I strongly feel we are not God. Thatwe are not emanations of the Divine, but that we are a separate realitycreated from nothing and sustained in existence by the ultimate theogenyof magic. Nor does our dependence upon the imagination, will, daring,and occlusion of God mean that we are mere figments of Her imagination. The Cosmos is real, the mage is real, and the magic which the mage createsto raise bridges or to heal injuries is real. Even before the pictureleaves the vision of the artist into manifestation upon the canvass, itpossess a reality.
In this context, as fire is fire so also magic ismagic. With fire we can burn each other or save each other from the cold. Our choices and creations mimic the actions and abilities of the Deity. The power to do is already spun for any to help weave the cosmic fabricor to unravel it.
Of course, not everything that exists is nice, norwill it necessarily like the mage. Whether a predator motivatedby simple hungers or a malicious being, filled with malign intent and rabidjealousies. There are things out there which can (and will,if they get the chance) hurt us.
The magic raised from different spiritual sourcescan seem similar in both power and responsiveness. It is then thatthe devotions and spiritual direction become important; for it is throughthat devotion and orientation that the underlying patterns and energiesevoked by a mage take their own character.
Consider the person who is always dour, selfish,or cruel. Their energy pattern, whether evoked from sympathetic beingsor projected from their own agony, will become filled with such forces. Ultimately, the destructive influence of such psychic clangor will erodethe strongest will or the most disciplined mind into frenzy and folly. From the coercion of others to their selfish will, they all to readilydecay
into compulsive and erratic surrender to theirown obsessions.
On the other hand, a person who is committed toseeking that nebulous happiness which is popularly linked to fair play,gregarious and unselfish attitudes, and true care for the dreams of othercreatures will likewise fill their aura with such influences. Thecumulative effect of truly supporting such a psyche seems to be betterhealth, more cheer, and also more voluntary participation by other beingsin the
dreams of the mage.
Now, obviously, such situations are extremes. There are universes of subtle shades which lie in between. As Yeatspointed out, life as humans know it cannot exist at the extreme points. Within a mage's own aura flicker both the harmonies of their happy dreamsand the cacophony of their traumas and nightmares.
Into this clamor come the devotions and aspirationsof the mage. These devotions and aspirations attune the mage to thoseparticular resonances and beings which are aligned with them and impedeor dampen the effect of those which are disruptive to them. Thus, even when said in anger, a prayer directed to a Being of healingand love will have some healing and cherishing manifest within its effect.
Within this dynamic, the devout mage will discoverstill another wonderful tool. By focusing rather upon the healingand upon the cherishing side of their Tutelary than upon the person orelements which disturb them, they will find many of their traumas becometransformed. Similarly, fixating upon the anger or pain willimpede healing. This, besides their desire to alleviate our suffering,is why modern
doctors prescribe pain killers.
Therefore, whatever a mage's view of the Deity maybe, I always recommend that they follow the sermon of the old song: "Accentuatethe positive. Eliminate the Negative. Don't mess around with Mr.In-Between!"
In one's devotions, then, the mage fashions theshape and content of one's magic. Whether or not one invokes a Tutelarywhile putting together a simple charm or brewing an herbal infusion orcasting commands for the kitten to leave the road or for the rain to abatewhile one dashes from one door to another ... the magic thus created willbe imbued with the archetypes to which one's cult aspires.
18 November 2001
IN HOC MODO MILLIS FRANGITVR .