I have a nemesis. Maybe that's stretching it a bit, but there's this guy on a couple of message boards that I belong to, and we tend to disagree. He's an Aries, I'm a Taurus, and we fight. Many of the readers here who also read through the Yahoo occult groups will be familiar with this guy. His name is Logan.
Anyone who has endured the misfortune of witnessing a "debate" between myself and Logan on any of the message boards we share deserves an apology. We can get boring, sarcastic, and we tend to use each other to demonstrate what we consider our own wit and brilliance. It usually lasts about as long as it takes for me to get disgusted and start calling him foul names. Every few months or so, I'll forget why I can't stand him, and enter into a conversation that rapidly becomes a debate, and then turns into a name-calling match. I've been better lately, but he still gets on my nerves.
What bothers me most is that the smug self-righteous British bastard has helped me out a lot in my pursuit of the Grail, the Great Work. He helped me appreciate Plato, and destroyed my confidence in the GD Tree of Life by demonstrating its shaky foundations. This lead me to fully embrace the Neo-Platonic realm of Agrippa, and to understand something Patrick Dunn is always going on about regarding the arbitrariness of semiotic webs.
So anyway, Logan told me months ago that I needed to read Eliphas Levi. He had quoted something about how Levi said "Magick is not a vocation" in response to my selling Conversation with the HGA through the conjuration of the Genius (See the Products and Services link at www.rufusopus.com). I have never read Levi, and with Logan as his sponsor in my current magical environment, I was set against it. Until earlier today.
First off, Levi may have said Magick is not a vocation, but if he did (I haven't gotten that far yet), he said it after saying the Magician is a Priest and King. Both Priests and Kings collect Tithes and Taxes, so the whole argument against taking money for magickal services is undermined right there, wha-bam!
Ok, that said, Levi is really good reading. The guy presents magick with no holds barred. He tells it like it is, presents the Great Work more impressively than anything I've seen in a long time (outside my own writing, of course). It's WORK. It's hard. It's even "dangerous" in that if you give up after starting, you'll be worse off than if you'd never started at all. Not that you can quit once you've begun anyway, but at least he tells you you'll end up a Monarch or a Madman at the start. Good stuff.
What inspired this particular blog post though was the following:
"there is no point in infinite extension which may not be regarded as the centre of a circle having an expanding circumference receding indefinitely into space"
(Page 6 at http://www.hermetic.com/browe-archive/pdf/DogmaEtRituel%20Part%201.pdf)
Think about that for a moment. We are such points, beginning in our Work at the center of a circle with a somewhat fixed circumference. As we progress, we expand the circumference, becoming aware of all the things within the circumference of that circle, learning to integrate the "energies" of the things we find into our own spheres as the limits of our spheres expand. The limits of the spheres expand as the Light from the center of the sphere increases its radiation, exposing more of what can be found within the darkness at the edges of our sphere of awareness.
In Crowley's popular magickal system, we find the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) in Tiphareth, the Sephira that corresponds to the Sphere of the Sun. When the magician establishes Knowledge and Conversation with their HGA, they undergo a Solar Initiation. The hidden corners of their personal sphere are exposed to the light, and the magician is forced to confront and deal with those parts of themselves they hide in the darkness. Each character flaw, each untamed passion, every sin or self-destructive tendency comes to the fore and must be corrected, tamed, repented from, or channeled into proactive directions with the help of your HGA. The Point gets enflamed with the Light of the Sun, and as the Sun reveals more, the boundaries of the sphere of the magician are expanded.
Boundaries... yes, the realm of Saturn, the furthest planet observable by the naked eye. The first sphere of Form in the Kircher Tree of Life (Binah). The layer of emanation where ideas take form, where the limits are set, where the Lord tells the Sea, you may come this far and no further. These are the properties of Saturn.
Knowing this, you can see that the act of spiritual advancement is the interplay of the Sun and Saturn. As the Light of the Sun increases, the limits set by Saturn are made mutable, and they move further out. As we explore our new boundaries, integrating the things that were hidden in shadow before, learning to function within the newly expanded sphere, we grow, gain insights, authority, and responsibility. With each new attribute of ourselves that we integrate, the understanding of the things we learned in our previous stages of advancement are enhanced. The responsibilities we had earlier change form, and we end up traveling back towards the Sun at the center of our sphere to reintegrate all the things we knew with the things we've learned. When we return to the sun at the center of our microcosm, we hit the next level, and the Light increases, and our boundaries expand, and we begin to explore the furthest reaches of the Light yet again.
From the Sun to Saturn and Back again. The path of the Labyrinth. (Which is not to be confused with a maze; a Labyrinth has one entrance and one exit side by side, travels only to the center and back to the beginning. A Magician travels to the center and returns to the beginning, carrying with him the treasure held within and sharing that with the realm outside.)
All this theory and stuff is great and fun and all, but I'm still a Taurus. It's meaningless without application, in my humble opinion.
Where are you at? Have you plateaued in your Work? Are you stuck at a level of attainment, and you need to expand your boundaries? The answer is Working the Sun and Saturn. Conjure up the Archangels Tzaphqiel and Michael. Are you feeling like you're stumbling around in the dark? Work with Michael of the Sun to bring the hidden things to light. Have you worked through everything you can think of, and still feel stuck in a rut? Conjure Tzaphqiel and Work with him to move the boundaries of your sphere. Head between the Sun and Saturn, make that your path, and you won't get stuck.
Sorrow turns to Joy in the light of the Sun, and unfocused rays become lasers when their boundaries are properly aligned.
Grace and Peace!