Friday, March 27, 2009

The Reincarnation of Gods

At the Doing Magic blog by Fr. POS, I was recently exhorted to comment on a comment to his blog. So there will be something magical posted here today before I go to sleep.

I'm snipping the interesting background of Anonymous, mainly because I'm not a Pagan. I have no insight into the approach or the specifics she mentioned.

I can, however, comment on the following question she posted:
"Does magick allow for continual reincarnation for the sake of change in time, culture and social context?"
First, there is no good reason for putting a "k" in magic. I do it, on occasion, and when I do it's because I usually read the word in Agrippa, and he spells it with a "k." I think. Or it could be that I've been indoctrinated by all the Ckrowley I read in my youth and sometimes I slip.

Second, I totally agree with the Frater's essential message of his post: I unequivocally believe that yes, Magic allows for continual reincarnation for the sake of change in time, culture and social context. To me, Magic is based on understanding how God (the Monad, First Father, the Good) manifests through the different Heavens, the Spirits he emanates to represent aspects of himself, and most importantly, the REVELATION of himself provided by each Spirit you Work with as a magician.

I would rephrase "reincarnation" with "revelation." Magic not only allows for the continual revelation of God, but is the interaction of Man with these continually revealed aspects of himself.

I would quibble with certain parts of Frater BH's post, but I really liked 99% of what he said and how he said it. Terming the communications of the spirits (or gods) as "impulses" that we then interpret is excellent. It encapsulates the basics of how I have experienced communications with the spirits. People ask me if I hear voices, or see visions, or if the spirits appear physically before me all the time. I receive "pulses" of communication from them that may unfold to me as a vision, or as a voice, or something else, like a tactile sensation, or a smell. I have a deep love of words, so I often get words in my communications. Artists like Sucae would likely hear more music or see more visuals.

I do strongly disagree with the idea that one should write off symbolism that doesn't align with the spirits' standard symbolism. A friend conjured Raphael, and ended up with a being that was carrying a sheaf of wheat. He performed the LVX signs, and the spirit wavered and disappeared, and Raphael came forward in a more appropriate form. Fr. POS is more restrained than lots of folks that dabble in magic though, so I think his response to a spirit appearing with whacked out symbolism would be that of an experienced magician: note the differences, challenge the spirit with something like the vibration of the appropriate name of God, or asking it to perform some act (symbolically) to prove it is whom it claims to be representing.

But at the same time, I agree with what he was saying about being open to a spirit presenting symbolism that is within the spirit's purview, even if it doesn't match what you think you know about the spirit. They know more than we do. He's just experienced enough to understand what to do if a spirit looks off somehow. Maybe I'm used to dealing with newer magicians than he is, I dunno.

But getting back to the point, I work in a lot of traditional ways, but the spirits I conjure are not stuck in the 15th century. They are alive and well in the 21st century, and they are not ignorant of the changes that have occurred in the last 600 years. I draw from the older traditions because they aren't as muddied as the post-1899 occult sources are. They don't include a bunch of "scientific" theories that have been discredited, rephrased, and discredited again in their language the way Bardon and Chaos Magic do. They don't try to appeal to modern institutions for validity the way so many modern texts do. It's true that they appeal to the institutions of their time, including Catholicism or Protestantism, depending on which religion was being implemented by the State where they were written, but I can identify with that, and it resonates well with my own beliefs and experiences. We're so far removed from when these institutions had to be appealed to in secular America that the texts can be weighed and evaluated on the success or failure of their rites alone.

It's vitally important that we remember that the word "Kabbalah" in Hebrew means "revelation" though. It's not a static thing. Emanationist theories from Persia and Greece that form the foundation of my Work and beliefs more than the Kabbalah were also considered to be constantly revealed. The words we use for spirits, be it angels, daimons, or malakim originally meant "messengers," and let's remember that's what they still are: bearers of messages, revealers and representatives of specific aspects of God.

So if you use gods of the Pagan myths to interact with the Monad in his various incarnations, don't expect them to be stuck in the forms and thoughts of their myths from 2500 years back. They will reveal what they represent, and we will interpret their pulses of communication as best as we are able to. In 2000 years, it will be different, and yet the same.