Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Power We Seek

It is in vogue nowadays to simply admit that occultists are after power. Many claim they are only after lofty spiritual goals. Well yeah, what is the difference?

I know a woman that is a hoodoo practitioner. She'll curse you into next week if she wants. She'll bless you too. She makes no apologies. I like her. She is upfront and honest about what she does. Generally speaking, she is a nice person with a good heart. Though, I would suggest you don't mess with her. She is controlling her mundane world. Is this the application of power or a band-aid over her fears?

There are monks that sit on sharp pointy rocks in some cave or monastery and contemplate Jesus, Buddha, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They control their mundane world by shutting it out. Is this fear or a higher purpose? What do you think they'd call it? I call it both.

I practice theurgy. I want to be as good a human being as I can possibly be. This is a noble goal. Bullshit. It is fear like anything else. Noble or not, what am I afraid of?

When people do magick, even with the highest of goals, divine union or whatever it is we tell ourselves, it is best to ask a question. What fear is this act soothing? Afraid to ask that question? Then you are so fearful that you are afraid of your own answer. How much more afraid are you of the reality behind that answer? The oracle at Delphi said Know Thyself. That statement has endured for one reason. It is necessary. Utterly. Completely. Necessary.

There are smaller magicks. Magicks that are cast because we are defensive, pissed off, feeling small or out of control. When people do these magicks, they aren't asking the question, what do I fear? They are telling themselves that they are justified. They aren't putting band-aids on their fears. They are masking pains they cannot face. This is a work of the smallest thing on this earth, their monstrously huge egos. These people don't have the courage to ask what they are afraid of but the rest of us know. We know.

I know what I am afraid of. Do you know your fear?

10 comments:

nutty professor said...

The post assumes that magicks are cast because of a perception of something lacking. That one practices theurgy because of a lack of love perhaps? But I thought that the idea of lack or need of any kind is a fundamental error, an illusion. So what if one engages in magick not out of fear, but out of a need, a want, a seeking after Love - is that desire itself based upon a kind of Fear?

Some damn profound thoughts today.

Robert said...

Magicks can be done from love and should be. However, we can talk ourselves into a lot. The check question mentioned in the post seems appropriate. If the answer is none, than you're a lucky wo/man. Either that or you're lying to yourself. We've all done that.

Perhaps, in the example you've given, the fear is the lack of those things, or unworthiness or something else. Still not a bad reason to do magick. Assuming that you can recognize the fear and/or illusion.

Know Thyself is not a suggestion but a command.

HilbertAstronaut said...

It's a kind of scrupolosity to worry to excess about one's motives. Not saying you are, of course ;-)

Robert said...

@hilbert, I'd say I have a touch of that but it isn't pathological. GRIN. That said, a magician ought to have a clue about his motivations. Running blind can run a person into trouble.

HilbertAstronaut said...

Somehow this reminded me a bit of when I was trying to explain the dilemma of mysticism to someone: asceticism ("sitting on pointy rocks") only serves up to a certain point, because of pride ("They control their mundane world..."). People who go beyond seem to be led there outside their conscious will -- instead of going to the pointy rocks, the "pointy rocks come to them." (John of the Cross is the example that comes to mind: his lack of political savvy got himself in trouble, but he turned his imprisonment into sublime poetry.)

Ananael Qaa said...

The check question mentioned in the post seems appropriate. If the answer is none, than you're a lucky wo/man.

This sounds like you believe it's a rare person who doesn't work magick out of fear. And I have to say, I disagree with that assertion. Don't get me wrong, I do agree that making every effort to understand your motivations for working magick is worthwhile and appropriate. However, I think it's a lot more common for magicians to simply be motivated by a desire to improve their lives. After all, that's probably the most common motivation out there in just about every field of human endeavor. Why should motivations for doing magick be any different?

From a theurgic perspective we work to improve ourselves and from a magical perspective we work to improve our life circumstances. I certainly don't see either of these as pathological or fear-based, though. In fact, I think a strong argument could be made that it's more fear-based to do nothing towards improving your life because you're scared to rock the boat, and would rather just accept your lot in life than take a risk.

Robert said...

Ananael Qaa, I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

>This sounds like you believe it's a rare person who doesn't work magick out of fear.

I believe that fear is a huge motivator in the actions of human beings. We confuse all sorts of silly things with life and death situations within our nephesch. No, we don't literally think we will die.


However, I think it's a lot more common for magicians to simply be motivated by a desire to improve their lives.

I think this can often be the case but at the same time, 'improving their lives' can be a fear of not having whatever they think of as an improvement, or how they will be perceived or a thousand other things.


>>Why should motivations for doing magick be any different?

I don't think the motivations are any different. I think most people don't realize how afraid they are. How many people enter a field of work out of fear of displeasing Daddy?

I am not fully arguing against your perspective but I think if most people dig deep, they would find fear a much larger motivator than they think.

Ananael Qaa said...

I think this can often be the case but at the same time, 'improving their lives' can be a fear of not having whatever they think of as an improvement, or how they will be perceived or a thousand other things.

I'm not completely disagreeing with you here either. The above statement is certainly true. One would like to think that students work out the majority of their reactive conditioning early in their practices, but that's a hard thing to do and I know that many don't succeed at it.

As far as "digging deep" goes I'm skeptical and here's why. Neuroscience is very close to disproving the entire "unconscious mind" hypothesis and from my review of the current research I think they're on the right track. That means there's no explainable reason at all for reactive conditioning aside from its reinforcement in the past. It's not driven by fear or love or anything. It's like a machine, and it follows the basic rules of behaviorism. Conscious thinking happens in a totally different part of the brain, and in terms of knowing yourself there's a real danger in overrationalizing.

The thinking part of the brain likes nothing better than to come up with "reasons" that "explain" problematic behaviors, but even though I considered myself a Jungian long ago I've become more and more convinced over the years that most of these "reasons" are illusionary. Psychoanalysis is a huge offender along those lines - you're never going to think your way out of a conditioning loop, you just have to recondition it. Which is in my opinion why cognitive-behavioral therapy is the only form of psychotherapy that can beat a placebo in controlled trials.

By all means, I'm in complete agreement with you that all of us should work toward understanding our motivations as well as we possibly can. But I think we also have to make sure we aren't manufacturing explanations that we don't need.

Robert said...

I see your point. I had a psych professor tell me that about 25 years ago. he said when his wife asks him, "Why did you do [insert bonehead action here]?" he had no choice but to lie because he 'knows' there is no reason we do anything.

That said, even if conditioning is totally true, knowing where it came from has value. If nothing else, realizing that insecurity x came from Aunt Sally and Aunt Sally was a nut from an adult perspective, it gives us permission to recondition it.

For instance, I figured out what my malfunction was that created unpleasant outbursts. They have been non-existent of late. it isn't that I didn't work to recondition them in the past but that clue sure did help. We will see if it holds.

Risuna said...

I'm not too sure I agree with this - I agree that fear can be overlooked or mistaken as something else but the reason I do magick is because I believe in it - it isn't to runaway from anything I'm afraid of or because I'm lacking something or to use as an escape, magick is simply a part of me

I wouldn't apply this concept of fear to everyone

maybe some monks meditate to reach their god because they fear being in this world for whatever reason - I don't really know - point is, this idea doesn't apply to everyone