Monday, June 13, 2011


I don't read as many blogs as I used to. Today, I was trying to find some information and came across RO's latest post Working on Prime MateriaIn that post, he makes this statement.

Too much occult discussion is wasted on introspective application of magical rites. I don't talk a lot about addressing your issues using magic because I know for a fact that if you start doing practical magic, you will have to face those issues anyway. Any magical act that puts you in contact with a higher power is going to stir up shit that needs to be burned away.

Here we have a fundamental disagreement. If the magick you do is going to stir up your shit no matter what you are doing, then I posit that point of the magick you are doing is to stir up your shit. If that is the point, why not just start there? Why delay the process by sending the energy off to manifest one's selfish desires first?

For many, the reason they do practical magick first is that they really want power over someone or something. Okay. They will learn that lesson. The reason for others, though they would never admit it because they don't know this what they are doing, is that they are avoiding their shit. I offer two examples from the blogs.

Once upon a time, I pissed off WitchDoctorJoe. I didn't learn the lesson, so I pissed off RO. I bet twenty people saw that coming. I was avoiding dealing with my shit or at least that portion of it.

Once upon a time RO became way to involved in a goetic spirit. Many of us saw tragedy coming and tried to warn him. None of us could pinpoint how it would manifest. We saw this because the magick he was doing was not solving a fundamental problem. It was a band-aid. He was avoiding whatever his problem was, consciously or not, just like I did.

Had someone gotten through to either one of us and reminded of us what the Great Work is about the pain would have be avoided for more than just one person.

This is why it is important for teachers, writers and those touched by the calling, to emphasize the personal nature of this work. If you don't emphasize the personal alchemy, people forget. Why? Because they want to forget! This stuff is difficult and painful.

Those that forget externalize their issues and lash out. There is always someone to blame or someone else to look down upon. There is always some cause external to themselves or some accident of birth. They congratulate themselves in seeing the fault in others. In short, they think their stirred shit is a tasty stew. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has to deal with the resulting dysentery. 

Practical magick is often the spiritual Pepto Bismol that allows us to avoid the karmic result of previous actions or current soul/personality space. Yeah, it will work but the lesson will repeat UNLESS YOU CHANGE. So, why not do magick directly to cause that change? Oh, yeah, we want to avoid consequences. We want to hang on to material things etc. That is just another ingredient in the stew. Here, have some Pepto.

If you forget about the personal alchemy of the Great Work, Hermetic magick will throw those same issues at you again and again in different forms. Since we are not monks, those issues play out through our friends and acquaintances. Yeah that new car you got with magick to replace the one you totaled while drunk is nice but you didn't solve the problem. You will get drunk again and your friends will have to take care of you. Seems to me the better thing to do is stop the drinking. Otherwise you have to ask the question, why are you feeding your friends shit stew while telling them that you love them?

Oddly, there is very little nutritional value in shit stew. If you don't understand what you are eating, you spirituality starve to death. Hence, repeated reminders of this aspect of the work are necessary. 

This in no way should be taken as a failure to value the rest of the work, magick, practical magick, blogs or authors that do not emphasize these things.

Here is another perspective on why we avoid dealing with our shit. I have no idea who this woman is, her background or what she teaches. However, she does make a point about a problem we all have to various degrees. Thanks to George for his comment pointing to this person.

Speaking of Personal Alchemy

I had a success of sorts yesterday. If you read yesterday's post, you read of my uncles diatribe during my dad's memorial service. In times past, I'd have taken the microphone and said something like, "I had thought this day was about my father. Thank you for reminding me there are other points of view." I didn't do that. He has a blog. I almost commented on his blog about his inappropriate behavior. I didn't do that. My dad's wife had arranged lunch on Sunday and invited me along. He would be there. I texted declining the invitation. Instead of telling her why, I complimented her on the beautiful service she created. 

Instead of causing more pointless anger that wouldn't have changed a thing, I simply shut up. Every once in a while, I get it right. 

This isn't a full success. My reaction was the same. I simply stopped behaving in the same way. Full success means the same situation appears again and my reaction doesn't include the things I kept myself from doing.


Marylin welcome to the blogs. I see I was your first Follow. Thank you and enjoy.


Ananael Qaa said...

Why delay the process by sending the energy off to manifest one's selfish desires first?

Let me ask you this: why is it that you think this is what happens when you combine practical and mystical work?

As a counterexample, in Tibetan Buddhism there are various forms of deity practice that one can undertake. The explanation as to why someone would, for example, choose to meditate on the Medicine Buddha is taught as follows: when you spend time meditating on on anything you will eventually become enlightened. But if the object of your meditation is the Medicine Buddha you will also gain good health and freedom from illness for yourself.

One could argue that Vajrayana practice along those lines somehow "divides the energy" between producing physical health and producing enlightenment, but within Buddhism Vayrayana is in fact considered a faster path to enlightenment. So according to one of the oldest unbroken spiritual traditions in the world whatever "division" is going on is beneficial rather than detrimental to realization. Personally I think that magick as a spiritual path behaves similarly.

As you note there are many potential pitfalls along the way in magical practice. This is recognized in Vajrayana as well, in that its adherents consider it the most dangerous of the Buddhist paths in addition to the quickest. But in my experience the benefits far outweigh the dangers.

Robert said...

I make my judgments based on observation. It has been my observation that those more interested in creating physical effects are less likely to absorb the alchemical lessons.

I while you make a good point on the energy split. I have posted before about attitude being so important to the work. That attitude colors what we learn.

Perhaps your Buddhist example proves that point. For there is an attitude reflected that is conducive to such things.

Thank you for your comments. They are always appreciated.

Robert said...

BTW, that is personal observations of people I know locally. It is a very narrow window.

Though, I think the attitude thing is a good general rule.

Anonymous said...

From my completely personal and subjective experience I've concluded that although practical magic may stir some issues that need addressing on a "higher" manner, it is not always the case (you don't have issues everywhere on your life, or if you do, you have a different and more serious problem :) )

Sometimes you need to do practical magic, you do it and just reap the results and everything's swell. Most of the times it's not the case.

I've also come to the conclusion that you need to do practical magic as a 'gauge' in some sense. Doing theurgy all the time and trying to 'fix' personal concerns gets you fairly quickly out of tune with the world, lost in your own personal abstractions and "problems", not too mention, your magic starts to smell like self-help psychological watered down/feel good visualizations.

Point is, you need to also become experienced in handling close to the earth/etheric/"low" astral forces as well as subtler "higher" ones.

And as far as reaching perfection, Advaita (the woman on the video I believe is from this school of thought) invites you to simply stop everything, right now. Everything you're looking for in the hopes of finding it (because you are carrying it right now,your pure conscious and naked awareness).

This is undoubtedly a horror for a hermetic magician ;-) but one should take hold of different views to the "goal".


Ananael Qaa said...

I don't disagree with you at all that attitude is important. It's crucial to keeping a balanced perspective on the work.

That's really the point as I see it - balance. If you become obsessive about practical magick to the exclusion of everything else that's unbalanced and should be avoided. But I often see people making the opposite mistake as well, becoming obsessed with mystical and introspective work to the point where they never do anything about their external circumstances. The "wise elder" who can't hold a job or pay rent is a classic example of this, as is the stereotypical "armchair magician."

My take on this is that there are two aspects to the prima materia - consciousness and circumstance. Both must be transformed in the course of accomplishing the Great Work, and adopting a balanced approach that incorporates both practical magick and mysticism is the best way to do that. So you work at transforming how you see the world while at the same time you work at transforming the world to fit your vision. And it all meets in the middle.

Robert said...

I don't particularly disagree with either of you. I think we are close enough to the same page on this one.