Monday, April 11, 2011

Surrender the Booty!!!

Arrrr! There do be something akin between ye pirates and ye magicians. I've been trying to put it together, and all I've come up with so far is this:

Pirates are looking for a way to tap into the wealth and prosperity of global commerce despite a lack of social standing or the specialized skill sets required to participate within the constraints of legal authority. They don't stay in their assigned social class. They are outlaws, and they put their lives on the line to accomplish their goals. Their motto can be summed up in the phrase "Surrender the Booty!" Surrender because they are taking it whether you want them to or not, demanding that you give it up or perish.

They also drink a lot, and have sex with anyone they can.

Magicians are looking for a way to tap directly into the engines of manifestation and the hierarchies of ascension in order to accomplish their spiritual and physical goals.  Magicians don't stay within the social constraints to get their desires. If we're working on Theurgy, we don't stay within the lay community of whatever religion dominates the land. We look for the hidden, occult means to accomplish our aims. We look to ascend on our own, without any intermediary telling us what God said, and what he really meant. We go outside the social norms to get what we want on our own. If we're working on getting ahead financially, we don't rely only on our training, education, and experience. We take a shortcut. We're after the booty. +

And we share the penchant for mind altering chemicals and sex.

The similarities are fairly apparent. Outlaws seeking the treasure in spite of our social standing. The Lemegeton's Goetia, if you look closely at it, provides an interesting social commentary. The main things the spirits provide are the education you'd receive in a Liberal Arts school in the Renaissance. The term "Liberal" in liberal arts refers to the fact that it was an education reserved for the free citizens, not to be had by the slaves or the serfs or the non-noble classes. Only nobility and clergy received a formal education in theology, the maths and sciences, and the emerging middle class had no recourse to the training. They couldn't be officers, couldn't command troops. So they went to the spirits to learn the nature of things, to get aid in commerce, to have access to troops for defending their cities.

The occult methods provided a means to overcome the liabilities of our birth, and the whims of our fate. Like pirates, we go outside the prescribed constraints of our birth or training to reach heights that are denied us by our culture, our tribal custom.

Arr! We do be pirates, of a sort!

And yet there are differences too. Pirates accepted the risks they faced. Magicians tend to want the booty without risking their lives. We may joke about risking our sanity, but we usually think those who find madness in their occult pursuits brought it with them into the cave in the first place. Pirates will work their tails off to get their treasure. Pirate life is hard frickin' work. They earn their treasure by the sweat of their brow, the strength of their backs. Magicians can be a little less willing to do the mundane work that makes a way for the occult powers to manifest their desires in their lives.

We also approach the obtainment of our goals and desires with a bit less gusto. We can't very well conjure up the Intelligence of the Sun and demand it Surrender the Booty or Else! At best we'd be ignored, at worst fried in a solar flare. Pirates had swords and cannon, and their targets were vulnerable to swords. Our target is the Universe, and it's bigger and stronger than us. No amount of threats will work in most magical practice, and the few techniques that involve threatening our co-workers usually tender results that leave something to be desired.

Nevertheless, there's a passion in the demand of the Pirate that I think we need to incorporate into our Work. Will you accept less than the complete fulfillment of your ambition!? Will you take no for an answer? There are times when the answer from the spirits is "no," but we don't have to stop there. When we get a "No," press harder, ask like a child, "Why not!?" Maybe there's something we have to change about ourselves to accomplish our goal. Maybe there's something we have to learn that makes the thing we want moot. Maybe we already have it. But taking the "No" at face value is weak. What are we leaving on the table if we leave too soon?

I demand change, I demand the prize. Surrender the Booty, universe! Move, or move me! If I can't have what I want, then change me, teach me, school me so I know why I don't need it, or why I can't have it. Show me the way to what I want if I can't have it the way things are right now.

Or kill me dead, because if you won't give me what I want, or raise me to the level where I can see that I don't REALLY want it, then this is no world I want to live in.


  1. 1. You rock.

    2. I am a huge fan of the Booty.

  2. Cool post.

    It did get me thinking about the differences between magicians and pirates but then I realized that I was stretching the metaphor too far.

    However, the one thing that I did want to point out is that in the golden age of piracy, I doubt there many arm-chair pirates :-)


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