Kenaz made an interesting post here. My interpretation of his post is basically that he is arguing that Americans so worship the idea of personal freedom that we bristle at the suggestion that we are under the control of deities, object to the idea of magick influencing others or that we are under the influence of any other being at all. He is, of course, right.
The question isn't that we object to being under the will of another. The question is are we aware of the extent of that influence?
Some time ago, RO was quite proud that when pagan students of his course used his magickal phrase, "Jesus is Lord" to various spirits and they replied in the affirmative. In my neck of the woods, I see his magick confirmed on bumper sticker after bumper sticker, obnoxious sign after sign all screaming Jesus is Lord. Chances are many of his students stopped right there. They've been programmed to assume an extension of that sentence that is never uttered. If any one of them said, "OK but lord of what?" I'd be impressed. For there, my friends, speaks a magician unwilling to be subconsciously cowed and overtly programmed into assuming meaning not directly stated. Such skills are essential when dealing with spirits.
It is indisputable that Jesus is by far the lord of popularized commercially viable Christianity. Part of the deity Jesus leads the evangelical right, part of him leads the Catholics, part of him leads the Baptists, part of him leads the contemplative mystics. The name Jesus is religion in the popular culture. Those same spirits would have answered affirmatively if the statement was made, Obama is President.
Jesus could also be lord of the Aeon in the same context as Crowley meant with his deities. Jesus could also be what his followers claim, the only gateway to the divine.
So what is my point? If the Palin inspired gang of thugs combine with the already rabid right and gain the power they seek, I will be under the influence of the deity known as Jesus. They will work to ban blogs like mine, the books I read etc. Deities are powerful things. I can not avoid them especially when their rabid followers are in mundane power -- which is a reflection of their spiritual power in the moment. However, I can refuse to worship any of Jesus' forms. Their response to that may be to crush me like a bug under Palin's foot. My life could end under the influence of the Prince of Peace.
The point is a magician has the Will to let that happen or not.
As far as being influenced by others, of course we are. We are influenced by our friends and associates, tv commercials, stories we listen to, etc. We are also influenced by magicians and spirits we know nothing of. I don't particularly like it when a magician does that but I'd be a fool to deny that it has happened to me. I've on rare occasion used direct magickal influence on others.
There is a deeper influence at the magician's disposal.
Lon's presence can make one smile. My mentor's can make one feel comforted. They can do this just because that is what the Are in this incarnation. People react to those things radiating from them without the need to influence anyone in particular. When you become who you Are, the universe will respond in kind. You will be influenced by the sphere of a good magician. It is impossible not to be. You will also be influenced by the sphere of an 'evil' magician and I know one or two of those. So, don't tell me they don't exist.
The larger point to this opinion piece can be summed up with a friend's line. If I had kids, I'd hire him to say it. He says that young women like dangerous boys and even other boys like to hang around the 'bad' kid. Yet, when the shit starts to fly, the people around the 'bad' seed get covered in it. His advice? Know who you are hanging out with.
As a magician, you have to know what you're feeding your head with. You have to know the qualities of the people you spend time with. You have to know the attributes of the spirits you are dealing with. For we can choose whom we are influenced by and that is a much better stance than rebelling at the very idea of outside influence.
Note to Simon: click on the email link or send me your email address in comments. If you do the latter, I won't publish it. I'd like to correspond with you.