Over the years, I have heard a consistent complaint about qabalistic magick, theurgy and Golden Dawn in particular. The refrain goes something like, "That is just psychology." I have disagreed but never have I done so with the precision necessary to make my point.
In investigating Transpersonal Psychology, I almost immediately came across the idea that the discipline in question seeks to unify the personality with the spirit and does so by honoring altered states of awareness, peak experiences and the like. This is what theurgic magick does. At times, you have to reject parts of the personality that do not fit into the whole. At others, you have to fully integrate things that you may have wanted to reject. This is done in accordance with spirit and allows spirit to come through.
Sometimes, Spirit has to do its part to fight through too. For years, I would spontaneously exclaim, "I love [the girl that did the very bad thing]." Frankly, I didn't love her in the least. Why then did I utter such words? Because my Soul pretty much loves everyone. Love of all is now being generated by my smaller personality regarding complete strangers, friends and enemies. In order for that to happen, my Highest Soul had to push through and show me love for people that have (and maybe still would) choose to do me harm.
This is completely different from what I was taught in my previous tradition, "Love or fear no one [in that tradition] for that is how they get you." This is the path to unholy separation Spirit always unifies. The moment you see "us and them" offered as a way of life, be it tribalism or anything else, the deepest levels of spirit have not yet arrived.
Theurgy isn't just psychological magick, it is personal unification of mind, body and soul. It just appears to by psychology because that is what the observer has the most experience with.
I have three main complaints about Golden Dawn and theurgic magick: lack of earthiness, failure to teach relationship magick and lack of attention to the body.
Theurgists have their head deeply stuck up their view of the sky. There is a lot of magick that occurs just above or just below the earth plane that is ignored. This is folly with a captial F.O.L.L.Y. The speed and immediacy of earth magick is a requirement for fully walking within one's ability as a mage. These are practices I am working on. It should be noted that one can have a huge impact on the earthly realm doing earth magick practices. The timing is just more dicey and one misses entire realms of reality.
The first entry in Robert's Rules of Magick is that all magick is relational. In GD training, you are exposed to so many things that you really do not have time to form a relationship with any of them. As I now have a more natural magick altar in my home, I can easily see how daily focus on building a relationship with the spirits one wants to partner with is necessary for meaningful success. If I missed this, someone should have shook me by the collar until I got it. If it wasn't meant to be taught, it is a serious failing of the system.
The final problem is the lack of attention to the body. OTO has yoga exercises and the like. GD has none of that. Exercise and fitness are not even mentioned. This too is a crime for what I hope are obvious reasons.
My training tradition offers a great value. I am not disparaging it. I simply feel it is remiss in some areas.