Monday, October 11, 2010

TANSTAAFL

So this guy is complaining that Moloch's list isn't fair because Moloch doesn't discuss ATRs there, even though it's technically "evocational magic." Moloch spent years developing his list, it's got 444 members, and he runs it with an iron fist. He talks about the kind of conjure magic he likes, and he always has. He doesn't discuss ATRs on the list because he knows they require specific expensive initiations to work right, he knows his average subscriber can't afford those initiations, and he knows that anyone who knows enough about the ATRs to be able to discuss useful conjuration methodologies would be forbidden to do so by their oaths. So basically, any public list that talks about ATRs is going to be spreading misinformation at best, dangerous information at worst. So he doesn't allow ATR discussion on the list.

Instead he talks about the kinds of conjure magic you can do without paying exorbitant fees for initiation. Stuff from traditional grimoires that works really well. His list is a treasure trove of useful information on different ways to conjure spirits. He's cool like that.

The guy that's complaining about the list being "discriminatory" because Moloch won't allow discussion of ATRs there is exhibiting symptoms of a spiritual malaise that I feel should be addressed. It's a sense of entitlement that we have to shed when we get serious about magic, because it ruins all our Work.

People seem to think that just because something exists, they have a right to use it however they want. Whether it's someone else's discussion group, someone's written books, or an entire tradition with built-in safeguards that exist for a reason, people think they can just take whatever's around and use it in whatever manner "feels right" to them without consequence.

I'm guilty of that too, by the way. I'm no saint. My approach to the Lemegeton's Goetia is a perfect example of someone who didn't want to follow the rules because I thought I knew better than the grimoire authors about the class of spirits I was dealing with. Arrogance. I also felt that because I had been initiated to a certain degree, I was entitled to rewrite the grimoires the way I thought they should work. It worked with the Modern Angelic Grimoire, after all.* Why not with the demons too?

I've mentioned it before, but my house burned down because I cut corners and thought I was ahead of the game. I stopped treating my spirit familiar like the demon he was, and started treating him like an old friend with characteristics and traits he didn't have. My bad. My sense of entitlement screwed the pooch. You don't get to do whatever you want with whatever you find and have it work perfectly.

But the main problem with a sense of entitlement goes a lot deeper than the fact that it's physically, spiritually, and emotionally dangerous in the occult to just take things that aren't yours and pretend you can do whatever because you have a different belief system and therefore get to make your own rules. The main problem is a spiritual disease that will do far worse than hurt you, or even kill you.

If you think you know everything, you're going to end up prolonging the Work until you can get over it. I tend to forget sometimes, but I'm here for a reason. I study Magic on purpose. My goals transcend this lifetime, and go a hell of a lot deeper than anything I happen to be doing in the moment. See, I do magic to accomplish the Great Work. Whenever I start thinking I know more than the spirits, the grimoires, or the master magicians and adepts I'm honored to be friends with, I stop progressing in the Work. I stagnate, and get stuck at whatever level of attainment I happen to be at when my pride sneaks in, and I start feeling like the world is my toy to play with as I see fit. I stop going Up to the Source to return to Earth in Power and wisdom to use the power effectively, I just sit in my pool of power I've got so far and shoot it out at random targets. I cut myself off from the true potentials.

What I'm trying to say is that a full cup cannot be filled. If you already have "all the power of the universe," you're stuck wherever you're at. I know for a fact you're not where you want to be already, I know there are things that you want to improve in your life. I know this is true because it is true of everyone on the planet. The planet itself, existence, seems to be fundamentally engineered to provide less than we want. Either that, or we're fundamentally designed to always want more, different, better. I think we miss our Source, and we try to fill that ache with stuff, or other forms of improvement, but even then, I still always want more, a closer relationship with God, a better understanding of what I'm supposed to do in the situation I'm in, and how it all fits together in the overall plan.

No matter what you think you know, or have seen, or experienced, there's always more to come. If you cut yourself off from the "more to come" because you think you've already got it, you can't get it. That's why when it comes to traditions of initiation that are shrouded in secrecy and oaths need to be worked with from within. You go through the progressive stages of initiation, and you play the hand you're dealt according to the rules of the game. If you don't, you're not playing the game at all.

Now, this doesn't mean you become a grimoire-thumping true believer who only follows the rules, and turns off their brain. Some of the grimoires were bullshit, others were simply imaginative flights of fancy, and all of them were designed to be used by people who understood some basic things, either because it was culturally general knowledge, or because they had received special instruction and empowerment in a Mystery or seven. You've got to question, challenge, and test the things you're working on. You innovate and incorporate, you syncretize with insight and wisdom.

But you can't do it with a sense of childish entitlement. You've got to do it with an open mind that keeps sight of the long term goals. You take your knowledge up through the spheres with you, and get input from each Intelligence on the way, and then you talk to the Source of the knowledge itself. You keep doing that, keep your eye on the Work, and you won't get caught up in stupidity.

*Note: It worked with the Modern Angelic Grimoire because I didn't change anything in the technique at all, I just rewrote it in modern English, and kept the traditional requirements intact.