"When you die he will embalm your body as befits a god, and taking up your spirit will carry it into the air with himself. For an aerial spirit [such as you have become] having been united with a powerful assistant will not go into Hades." (Papyri graecae magicae I.54)I've mentioned before that I think the Supernatural Assistant described in the Greek Magical Papyri is the same entity as the HGA. I asked my HGA while reading the description if he could do all the things described, and he confirmed it.*
I just realized I haven't written up (or at least I can't find) my dissertation on the Emerald Tablet here. It explains a lot of basic concepts about the Great Work that I wanted to link to so I didn't have to repeat it yet again, but apparently I haven't written it. I did talk about it. I remember writing it though. Shit; shit shit shit.
Ok, well anyway. The goal of the magician is to ascend to the heavens and return in power to create the universe, according to the Emerald Tablet as I see it. That's a quick summary. We're images of God, God created by emmanating, and that's what we should be doing to, and we do it by going up through the Seven Heavens, getting purified, getting more Power, and returning to the earth. That's the "while we're in the flesh" part.
But in the Corpus Hermeticum, it talks about how we're supposed to also be leaving behind at each sphere some negative aspect of ourselves. I'll get to that expanded post eventually, but I touched on it here. When we have accomplished this, we become a Power.
Now, "Powers" in the time of the writing of the Corpus Hermeticum were sometimes Arial Spirits. In the Corpus, it's pretty clear that they're talking about becoming an Angel like the Angels that help you become an Angel. Of course, you don't become literally an Angel, you become a manifestation of God with more supernatual Powers that you can use to help other people.
Note: Powers, Angels, Spiritual Guides, HGAs, Geniuses, Gods, etc. all have one thing in common: No Body. No flesh suit to flap around in on the earth. So I think it's safe to say we can't become a Power the way the Corpus suggests while we're still flapping meat to wheeze sounds at each other. Most folks** don't get out alive, so there's a death of sorts involved.
The Emerald Tablet covers what to do while you're in the Flesh. It also covers how to get to a point where you're ready to get out of the Flesh and become a Power. It's a roadmap, sort of. It doesn't tell you how to get out of the Flesh and become a Power, but performing the activities described in the Tablet will result in you getting ready for the Eighth and Ninth Spheres where this can occur.
Enter into the picture the Rainbow Body. Jason mentioned it to me in passing, and I totally got sucked into it. We were talking about the East vs. the West in the big miscommunication, and I was trying to get in touch with all the power of my past lives or something. He mentioned the Hermetic work "The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth," which has been extremely interesting and has lead me to Working Iophiel from Agrippa's Scale of the Number Ten. I'm trying to learn the Hymns of Silence now, and they are truly beautiful.
But the Rainbow Body of Dzogchen and becoming a Power in Hermetic practice are similar enough that I think they're different manifestations of the same spiritual "impulse" that Fr. BH calls spirit communications, only received differently in different cultures. I've been working out how to accomplish this Rainbow Body thing at my death. I even told my spouse about it in case I die and all that's left is some hair and fingernails. I wouldn't want her to freak out.
So last night I was going over the Greek Magical Papyri again, and lo and behold, there it was, buried in PGM I.54. This spiritual assistant, this angel in the rite that you get that has all the same characteristics as the "Supernatural Assistant" and the "HGA" is also able to "embalm your body as befits a god." Embalming was the process of preserving the body, but the gods don't. have. bodies. So I'm thinking there's a transformation of the body going on here that is illuminated by the other references we have in the Western mystery traditions in the Corpus Hermeticum. These things were all coming out of the same part of the world at around the same period of time. Lots of overlap.
My understanding of the Rainbow Body is that when you die, your Ruach gets a new body and can basically do all the things that a "Power" as described in the Corpus can do. I believe the Neschemah-eternal part of the soul goes on to reincarnate, but I'm still in the tentative-formation phase of the theory, so that might change, I dunno. Rather than sitting in the Akashic record gathering dust while you wait for the Immortal spark of yourself to finish reincarnating, you get to continue to "live" and "breathe" and "have your being" in a Body of Light. Pretty cool shit, actually. Those Tibetans have stories of people that were reborn as demi-gods and stuff, and we have our Saints in Christianity. Except our Popes and Pastors don't tell us not to propitiate Saints because they cause trouble. Unless they're Protestants and call it idolatry.
So, in conclusion, I think (the spirt that we modern magicians call) the HGA might be able to either physically transform you into the Rainbow Body, or at the very least provide the instruction, initiations, and empowerments required to be able to transform into the Rainbow Body at the time of death. Like Yoda and Ben Kenobi did in the Star Wars trilogy. And you know you want that.
*For those who prefer to make their own inferences from more scholarly than the Voices in my head, compare the description of the HGA rites in Mathers' introduction to The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the descriptions of the Genius in Agrippa's Book 3 of Occult Philosophy (chapters 21, 22, 26, and 27), and the description of the good and evil daimons in the Divine Pymander (verses 22 and 23). Check out the rest of the Greek Magical Papyri over on Al Billing's site, and read the essays there on the spirits. The history of the HGA can be readily traced through these sources.
**Enoch; Elijah. Exceptions. If your name doesn't start with an "E," you're fuct, apparently. Don't tell me Jesus doesn't start with an E, he totally died. And even if you buy that stupid "swoon theory," his name was also Emmanuel, so fuck you, I'm totally right, and you're a lu-hooser. I mean, scholarship demonstrates the lack of foundation to your arguments.