Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bummers, Baby Bits, and Bigger Hammers

Well, Sunday's post turned out to be rather disappointing. I thought I'd seen through the illusion, and it turned out I had just gotten off on a tangent. While getting ready for church, that is, getting ready to wash my hair as I'd woken up too late for a full shower, I got the song Volare stuck in my head (doesn't everyone in that situation?), and in High School Latin, I always sang the "Do" conjugations to that tune. In a loud lounge singer voice.

I'd been thinking about becoming a Power, and the Powers of the Sphinx popped into my mind. In a flash of BRILLIANCE, I figured out that the Latin word "Do," root of such English words as "donate" might have been the same root for the Dare part in the French manuscript written by Eliphas Levi. Before I could forget, I ran to the computer and posted my insight about giving up being the "secret" meaning behind the Dare, and how it combined with the Silent thing, because like Jason said, it's part of the transition from the 8th to the 9th spheres, one of the final steps before becoming a Power.

See, in each of the Seven planetary spheres, you have something to leave behind in order to be purified in that sphere's powers. They're listed in the Divine Pymander:

25. And thus it is that man doth speed his way thereafter upwards through the Harmony.
To the first zone he gives the Energy of Growth and Waning; unto the second [zone], Device of Evils [now] de-energized; unto the third, the Guile of the Desires de-energized; unto the fourth, his Domineering Arrogance, [also] de-energized; unto the fifth, unholy Daring and the Rashness of Audacity, de-energized; unto the sixth, Striving for Wealth by evil means, deprived of its aggrandizement; and to the seventh zone, Ensnaring Falsehood, de-energized.
If the Four Powers of the Sphinx were talking about the way to attain the goals of the Emerald Tablet and the Divine Pymander and the Discourse on the 8th and 9th, why, I'd finally be able to put the writings of Eliphas Levi (that esoteric bridge between the Renaissance magicians and the Industrial Age Golden Dawn factory-line initiate system) into context and have one contiguous, if still not continuous means of interpreting the various historic, modern, and post-modern Hermetic traditions. I would finally be able to let go of my disdain for the GD and its spawn and start finding things of personal use in that system. I'd be able to TALK to Ceremonialists within those systems without pissing them off! How cool is that?

So imagine my disappointment when I found out that the French word wasn't related to the Latin "do." It kind of took the whole foundation of my new and true interpretation all the way away.

In a lot of ways, I'm tempted to return to my loathing of  Levi. I mean, 19th century esotericist, willy-nilly Tarot attributions, and the audacity to say that "Magic is not a vocation." What the fuck could he possibly know?

But that's just pride. Fuck pride. Or to put in less Marcellus Wallace terms, "Domineering Arrogance can burn in the magnified rays of the Sun."

So, filtering out the baby bits from the bath water, I'm going to shelve the "Powers of the Sphinx" yet again. I enjoyed Jason's exposition of the Inner, Outer, and Secret interpretations of the Powers. I agree with what he said about jumping to assumptions being a trap. Until I can wrap my brain around it in a better way, I'm not going to try to force anything into the system that's evolving in my Work.

At least until I can find a bigger hammer.*

In the mean time, I'm going to return my focus to the Rainbow Body reference, the PGM, and looking deeper into some of the mysteries that I've been able to wrap my brain around so far.

*Note: this link is for the dude's signature line. Perhaps the finest wisdom I've seen, in an Inner, Outer, and Secret kind of way.


  1. Hang on. Am I reading this right? You're giving trying to find a continuous line of interpretation of hermetic text from the beginning to the end because of *one* root word? If the problem is a lingual link, why not try to find a social link? Different words and groupings can be used for the same thing.

    Movies are often redone with a modern interpretation. The same thing applies to hermetic studies. We haven't staid with all the theories of the old ways of doing things, but much of the general idea underlying the whole area of thought remains.

    Another idea is that maybe you just haven't looked back far enough. Older versions of languages will often have an increased number of meanings because of less precision in the language itself. Where did French come from? And where did *that* origin come from?

  2. No, Gordon, you're not reading it right. I'm shelving the Four Powers of the Sphinx. I'm saying this "Illumination" wasn't the one to do that. I can make up whatever theory I want to put things into a perspective that sort of works, but that's not what I want.

  3. Brother I am all for the bigger hammer theory. Though I am all about the itsy bitsy hammer theory too. Sometimes you need both. It took a jackhammer to get the old tile out and 2 days of me crawling around with a dremel tool for me to be happy with the end results. Honestly I prefer the bigger hammer :)

  4. I'm glad. For a bit, I thought you were possesed by the spirit of noobery.


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