Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thaumaturgy

For most of my magickal career, I have railed against thaumaturgy.

I had my reasons. The first was out of a sense of responsibility. Once you've done a few acts of magick, you realize how quickly and deeply other people are affected when one pulls upon the strings of the universal web. Great intellectual capacity is not necessary to conclude that magick done to get one a job that was otherwise unobtainable must cost someone else the same opportunity. My belief was that I should compete for such things on an even level.

Bullshit.

Some people are smarter than others. Some people had parents that made going to college easy. Other people had parents that made it hard or impossible. Some people are really good looking and therefore have an advantage only because they happen to be a genetic lottery winner. If my advantage is that I worked my ass off to learn magick, then there is no reason that I should not put those skills to use in my favor. Though, it does seem logical that if that counts as a 'skill' in getting a job, I'd have to use that skill in doing the job. I am still working that part out.

My second reason was one of respect. Given that most people have no conscious protection against magick, influencing someone to do something they would otherwise not have done seems less than ethical. For instance, let’s say a magician/witch wants to get to know a girl, but knows that someone she likes will be at the same party. Is there any difference between magickally influencing him not to be there and going to his house and letting all the air out of his tires? If the latter is a violation of his personal property the former is certainly a violation of his personal sovereignty.

My Gal gave a talk on Crowley recently and she pointed out what he said about taking away the rights of others. Doing so, he said, is magickally declaring that those rights do not exist. Therefore, they no longer exist for the magician in question. So, if I take away his 'right' to attend the party, what does that cost me as far as my personal sovereignty? I have no idea, probably nothing. However, those little things we do that go against our conscience add up and sooner or later detract from our self-image and our general enjoyment of our own company.

While I have rejected my first reason, the second still holds water for me as an ethical violation. I don't want anyone letting the air out of my tires. Therefore, I will not let the air out of yours.

I bring this up now because I watched demons dance last night. After I posted, another song came on that I liked and I saw the second of my boys dancing with Bune. The fellow is not much of a dancer but when joined by Bune they became Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

After watching them, I understood a little about how demons work their mojo but that will be a topic of another post.

The bad thing was that I was fascinated by the dance. I was focused but not quite at the level of giving up my mind and zoning out. As arrogant as this might sound, a lesser mind or a lesser trained magician could have. Is that dangerous when dealing with spirits of the book known as the Lesser Key? I am not sure but I think so. There was a definite call to 'play' with the 'earth' to immerse myself in the powers I now possess ─ tempting but no.

While I am a firm believer that a good magician has his head in heaven and his feet in hell, I am not going to stoop down into the that darkly splendid world wherein continually lieth a faithless depth and Hades wrapped in gloom, delighting in unintelligible images, precipitious winding, a black ever-rolling Abyss, ever espousing a body unluminous, formless and void.1

So, my test may be applying my new conclusion that I have a right to work magick in the real world while avoiding becoming a void.

2 comments:

Rufus Opus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ananael Qaa said...

Great article.

If my advantage is that I worked my ass off to learn magick, then there is no reason that I should not put those skills to use in my favor. Though, it does seem logical that if that counts as a 'skill' in getting a job, I'd have to use that skill in doing the job. I am still working that part out.

If you can use magick to create circumstances favorable to your getting a job, you can also use magick help you resolve any work-related problems quickly and easily. In my experience skilled magical practitioners are more effective workers, even when they don't work as objectively "hard" as their co-workers. Things just seem to work out for them.

As an experienced thaumaturgist myself I agree with you that the ethical issues you raise are important, but that's true of any sort of technology, spiritual or otherwise. I can use a computer to violate peoples' rights too, I just choose not to because it's the right thing to do. And as it turns out, in thaumaturgy the ethical way is also usually the most effective way to work toward specific results.

When a spell violates another person's will its effectiveness is diminished, just like electricity running through a bad conductor. If you want maximal thaumaturgic results you should set up your intent so that the influence on other wills is diminished. For example, it's much easier to make "bring me a romantic partner whose will is in harmony with mine" work than "make person x fall in love with me."