Jow's comment on yesterday's post got me thinking about the difference between a magician and a magician-to-be. There is no doubt that we go through a transition between being a socially awkward misfit who doesn't understand the point of "society" (or maybe understands it too well) to a grimoire-following, spirit conjuring participant in the manifestation of reality.
Then again, as we learn the language and symbols of magic, we gain a context that explains many of our experiences in our youth. One of the first things the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) does is take you on a review of your life, demonstrating its influence at every twist and turn, showing you all the times it protected and empowered you, leading you to the point where you established communion with him (or her, but not "it"). The magician truly is born as such into the world, as the Arbatel teaches.
But there's a transition between ignorant participant and mostly aware magician. Looking at my own experience and that which my friends have shared, I think we tend to go through a period of gaining knowledge, gaining expeience, and gaining training to understand the revelation that comes when we experience something like Knowledge and Conversation with the HGA (KCHGA). We're drawn into the occult by a fascination, an irresistible calling in our youth. We spend a lot of time reading, pursuing, testing, and moving on through different occult systems of varying popularity. As we do, astrological forces and initiatory ordeals manifest in our lives, preparing us, guiding us towards a vision of transcendence, a moment where the universe is stripped away and we can see all the pieces and parts of Truth scattered and hidden throughout the systems we've studied snap together to give us a glimpse of how everything works.
I've tried to shorten this period, because it seems like what a lot of us are doing is reverse engineering the basic underlying neo-platonic cosmology. We start with GD interpretations, and work our way back through the source materials until we're immersed in the third century AD, and there discover the foundational bedrock of the Hermetic system. I wrote the Neo-Platonics Basics series as a shortcut to the truth, as I understood it. At the same time, to facilitate the applied heat that transmutes the knowledge into wisdom, I had people start Working with their HGA, Genius, or Solar Intelligence.
I don't think I have succeeded. I think, ultimately, no one can hasten the intiation of another. The best we can hope for is that the pieces of truth we present have missing pieces that will contribute to their revelation of their place in the universal hierarchy, when the time comes. Still, I hope to provide as much philosophical gold as I can. I should probably adjust the signal to noise ratio of my blog.
I've argued before that the Spirit Model is the One True Model(TM), and put together that post that details my current understanding of what that means. I have tried GD-style magic, Crowleyan stuff, Chaos Magic, and a whole slew of Eastern and Near-Eastern practices I picked up on from my dad's career as a Reflexologist. I've done chakra meditations and activations, I've used "psychic warfare" techniques to build shields and make daggers out of mental "energy." I've done Celtic, Druidic, and American-Neo-Pagan too. I fully embraced Chaos Magick, with a "k" and everything for a couple of years.
I got better.
But everything I did in my life leading up to my conversion experience and subsequent KCHGA is completely annihilated by the simple power, or force I see manifesting things in my life. No other approach even begins to touch the raw power I find in the Intelligences and Spirits of the Planets and their terrestrial counterparts. They're immense! They're powerful. They're pleased to work with mankind.
The transition to becoming a magician is definitely there, and I don't think we qualify as full-on Heroes as magicians until we've at least hit that moment of transcendental understanding of the Mechanics of the Universe. I always hated that description, it makes it sound like an engine or motor. It's mechanical, yeah, but in the same way a symphony is. The beings that are the "Mechanics" are more like musicians and master instrument crafsmen.
When you reach that point, you get a glimpse of your own relatonship to the whole. You see your divine nature, you understand that you are literally a "Child of God," that Christ (LOGOS) is your Brother, and that your extended family includes every Name of God he's ever used to get a point across to his kids. When you see that you are of the divine race, you see the source of your power as a magician. You understand it. Then you begin learning how to do Magic, and you learn the value of what you do. You see the results of your Work in the universe from an eternal perspective, and you know the impact you have on other people, and the world around you.
At that point, when you've reclaimed your divine race and reached an understanding of the value you add to the world by being what you are, you begin the Great Work. Everything else is just preparation for the Work. When you hit this point, you finally begin achieving your potential, by taking your wisdom, experience, and knowledge and creating the universe according to the principles you've discovered.