Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Great Work in Theory and Practice

Well, today the Great Work died.

Not the real Great Work, I'm talking about the Yahoo group. It's been on its death bed for a while, but it was fun, nevertheless, to visit. Sometimes it would sit up in its hospice bed and talk about magic, or the "good old days," or have pieces of wisdom to pass on.

Today I woke up and went over recent messages from the group, and as usual there was little to do with the Great Work. There was an interesting thread on politics though. Obama and McCain. Both of the Moderators are Obama supporters, but one of them, "ILV" is a little more ... bombastic and caustic in his support of Obama.

Someone stated her reasons for supporting McCain after ILV asked, and like a rabid dog, ILV attacked her mercilessly, claiming she had no ethics, was racist, and so forth and so on. The last thing he had to say about the subject was an insult to her, saying he should know better than to engage in a battle of wits with the unarmed. That kind of arrogance was completely uncalled for and way over the top.

I know the woman he attacked. Not personally or anything, but from other groups. She's not as eloquent and trained in classical rhetoric as ILV is, but she's a damned fine magician whose wit is proved in her Work, not her Words. Her ethnic heritage is racially diverse, to say the least. She's had a shitty life. She's had a run of really bad luck. Yet she still takes care of the oppressed. She's a New Age spiritual healer and teacher, and she travels around the world performing exorcisms for people. She doesn't get paid much for her services, and she's downright poor. She really does it to help people. I don't think she's got everything 100% correct in her spiritual cosmology, but I know I don't know everything either. It's her heart for people that I admire. That's the fruit of the seeds of the Great Work in action. You can visit her web site at www.astralhealer.com.

She's not a Christian, as far as I know. This isn't solidarity with Christians or anything like that. And it's not worldly politics either. I don't like what McCain has become this year. It's like he gave up the straight talk and hard-line moderate-centrist stance he had in 2000 just so he can win. ILV pointed that out, and he's right about that. If I bother to vote (I agree with the global view that the puppet on the left and the puppet on the right are on different hands of the same puppeteer), then it will be for McCain in hopes that after he gets in office, he'll go back to being the maverick he was before. But that's if I bother, and that's not likely. If I really cared about politics, I'd go to the spirits that run the world, like John Dee did.

I left the group today because its leadership, the co-moderator ILV, acted like an asshole. I've talked with him off-list, and he's a good person at heart. He's a trained magician, and has a great deal of information to provide. He's really smart too. But in his interactions yesterday with list members, he demonstrated a lack of objectivity, tolerance, and respect that is required to be a leader of diverse people.

Obama spent twenty years in a church that taught hatred. He voted with his presence and his finances in support of that church, and as a Senator, he sanctioned the teachings of his preacher by belonging to the church. He should have, as a responsible leader, recognized that the hatred being taught was unacceptable from any race. The fact that he didn't until it threatened his ambitions is sufficient for me to realize his "hope" and "change" rhetoric is only skin deep, but his ambition goes all the way to the bone.

Me, I don't sanction the leadership of the "Great Work" group anymore. Scarlet, the list owner, is too busy to monitor it herself. She's not to blame here, except in her support of ILV as a co-moderator. I left another group she started and co-mods with ILV as well, Spirit_Summoning. Mostly for dramatic effect, as he didn't have much to say there, but also for the principle. She killed the thread and the topic as soon as she became aware of it. She's a good moderator, and this isn't about her at all, beyond the fact that she kept ILV as co-moderator.

Part of it is for the current drama, to have a chance to make a stand that is somewhat meaningful. Part of it is old-fashioned revenge. I was co-moderator of the Great Work list for a while, but then I went off on a caustic and vitriolic attack on ILV when he started acting like the veteran of Golden Dawn egroups that he is. I got reprimanded, demoted, and put on probation. I deserved it. I wasn't living up to the responsibilities of being a moderator for a diverse group of people. I didn't behave the way a moderator ought to. Now ILV has fallen into the same trap I did, and I get to raise a stink over it. Yay for me!

The truth though, if I'm being really honest, is that I've lost interest in the droning of magicians who treat magic like a religion, with doctrines and dogma, but don't use it in their lives. The Great Work list was intended to be a place where pursuants of the Work could discuss the Work. It's become a place where believers in magic talk about stuff. That's fine if that's what you want, but it used to be the place I learned some very basic key concepts about the Great Work that lead me to where I'm at today. That group died to me today. ("You're dead to me! Dead!")

I'm considering starting a list for people to talk about doing magic(k). Something interesting to me, something that can challenge me to do more and be more. Something like Agrippa's Magic in a Modern Age, or Traditional Techniques for Modern Magicians. Somewhere to talk about how we apply the teachings from the old grimoires in a modern context, without worrying so much about trying to pretend like we live in the 15th century. If I do, I'll announce it here.

Oh, and tomorrow, look for the "how to get rich using magic" post. Or Thursday, if I don't finish writing it today.

Hope all my American readers had a great Labor Day yesterday. Mine rocked.


  1. if you build it, they will come

    let me know if you are thinking of starting a group...I'd be interested and I'd like to discuss application and practice

  2. Hey Josh, it would be awesome to see you get a group going. Magistrae Templi are supposed to cultivate a garden of students, right? I'm sure you would have a lot to offer with a group of your own. Just watch your temper ;)

    Its been exciting watching all of us grow up and spread our wings. I know how you feel about outgrowing the old groups and isms and people fighting like that. Been there, done that - several times :-P But the neat thing about it is the people you get to interact with on this level of things. It gets more and more informal and less organized, but I love the quality of the work and the research and the friendships that go on between journeymen magicians.

    I agree with you about McCain having changed a lot since the 2000 election, but I think he's gotten to the point where he's downright dangerous. He's smarter than Bush (not that that requires much), but he seems to me to be just as impulsive and hot-headed in many respects.

    Although Obama's preacher got really livid, he had good reason to. The injustice that's gone on for so long enrages me sometimes too, and in my darker moments I have felt hatred for America for all the bad its done. But I do love my country, as pissed off as I get at it, and I know its done a lot of good things too. I think both Obama and his preacher and church are the same way. I don't think they hate white people or the country - they've just put up with so much shit for so long that its hard not to feel that way sometimes.

    Anyway, I know my posts may sometimes make you pissy before you've had your coffee or if you're up too late, but I want you to know that I really respect and admire you, and that you've been a great inspiration and help to me with my own pursuit of the Great Work in theory and practice :)

    Love, David - "Emet` Eli"


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.