Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Armchair Initiates

The oft-maligned armchair magician, our Sunday-Morning quarterbacks who read the grimoires, or at least the For Dummies versions of whatever system they're trying to be Subject Matter Experts in at the moment, or even those who spend twenty or thirty years reading about magic without ever stepping into the Ring are the subject of today's thoughts.

I've bashed these losers in passing for years, in part because I was one for many years, and in part because they seem on the surface to know what they're talking about, and I ended up wasting a lot of time arguing with them about details they didn't really have a framework to comprehend. I loathed them for many years.

But recent events have caused me to reconsider my stance. You know how to conjure the Ruach of a dead magician to teach you the finer points of something they've written? It's fairly simple, really. You simply take their written materials and use that as a talisman, and you call on them in the names of the Intelligences of the Moon. You go on an astral journey to a meeting ground in the lower heavens, a sitting room beneath your astral temple, or a preserve in an astral national park.

They teach you in dreams, or in inspirations or conclusions reached while reading their books. They help you understand the meaning they were pointing to while writing.

You know how when you as much as look at a seal of a spirit with intent, it starts seeing you back? I've noticed it while practicing sketching seals of demons and angels. They're closely tied to the patterns of squares, lines, circles, crosses, triangles, and all the other geometric shapes that make up their images. You can't really read about a spirit in detail without it noticing a flicker of a disturbance in the force.

Now think about these armchair magicians... not the really annoying egotistical asshats that only read magic books to be able to proof text their way into looking smart by tearing apart others. Their surface knowledge of a system leaves them woefully inept at attacking people with experience. Ignore these knuckle dragging dweebs.

But the serious student of occult knowledge who reads and studies and discusses the principles of magic, have you ever thought about what's going on inside their spheres over the years? The Great Work is the art of amassing the ore that contains the Stone, and then treating it through pressure, heat, time, and various chemical purification processes until it is refined and rarified. These armchair magicians are absorbing tons of occult material that sits percolating in their spheres, being affected by the stresses and pressures of life. It makes an egg, and it incubates, waiting the signs and signals that it is time to be hatched and revealed.

A friend of mine thinks he's not much of a magician because he's studied more than he's practiced. Yet his insight and understanding exceed my own in many ways. Practical work is necessary to attain initiations into the spheres, you've got to conjure the spirits to Work with them consciously and attain the full benefit of their influence, but there is still Work being done in the spheres of the Armchair Initiates that is valuable and worthwhile in ways they won't appreciate until later.

The animosity towards armchair initiates in general leaves them feeling embarrassed, ashamed, I think, and less confident in their results than they should be. I think it's about time for scholars of the occult to be given a little slack, and a lot more encouragement than they've gotten in the past.