Friday, September 02, 2011

I'm right, and you're wrong. And hammers.

The HGA conversation is making me think about ideas and interpretations of occult truth in general.

I'm a neoplatonist. I know that the things we experience are material reflections of the Idea. I know we are never going to experience every way the Idea can manifest in reality.

Hammers, for instance. The idea embodied by a physical hammer is not limited in manifestation to the things that I, or any person might happen to experience. A carpenter may never experience a claw hammer as a magical tool of banishing, or a magical tool used to shape a talisman the way I do, and I may never use a hammer to hang cabinets.*

I hope that's a clear analogy. I mean, I'll experience the hammer in every way that is appropriate to my context, to the situations I find myself in, and still not ever use it in every way it manifests for everyone else.

But that doesn't mean my interpretation of the manifestation of hammers is wrong. Different, not wrong. There's enough room in the universe for all the ways hammers will manifest to people in whatever situations they find themselves in. One person may never experience a hammer in exactly the same way as anyone else, not entirely. There are some hammers that I hold that make me feel like my dad. You know?

Subjective interpretations and personal experiences define the things we experience in unique ways.

But of course, all hammers are still hammers. There's an objective truth that is a hammer regardless of how it manifests in people individual lives. Hammers aren't scalpels, and brain surgery with one doesn't result in the same experience as brain surgery with the other. Even if it does get rid of the cancer either way.

When it comes to things like the HGA, or where our power as magicians come from, or how many heavens there "are," or how many teeth line the maw of Cthulhu, or how many Assistants any magician really needs, we can all be "right" in our context, in our experiences without it making anyone else "wrong" in theirs. Ultimately, we can only speak for ourselves, and even then the words barely suffice.

*If Jesus really loves me.


  1. I'm not sure why, but this reminds me of a recent experience. I'm working my way through the Olympick spirits, seeking their personal names for me, and I did Bethor the other day. He gave me a name, and in my journal I wrote "I'm not sure if these names are coming from outside or if I'm imposing them on the spirit." Then, almost out of the blue, the thought came to me: "you're the son of Adam. It's your right to name creation." Of course, I'm as pagan as they come. So that's not exactly the metaphor I'd pick. But it seems relevant: name the HGA as one or many, as somethingiel or somethingyah, or decide there are three, or decide the paredos is different -- ultimately, it comes down to we are the sons and daughters of Adam. It's our right to name.

  2. Although the language got muddled at times, the message was clear. Then again, language is a very imperfect tool.

  3. People will experience spirits even more so than hammers in different ways because there are so many means of communication and different people will have vastly different skills and proficiencies. Some people are clairaudient and can hear them, some are clairvisual and can see them, some are empathetic and can sense them, and on and on.....

  4. Dude, you are practically turning into a Chaos Magician here!

  5. Don't spirits also tend to communicate using the preexisting vocabulary and imagery that the human being brings with them to the conversation? Leitch discusses this in Chapter Eight of "Secrets...", in the passage on "reality filters." Might this phenomenon be a factor in this confusion, too?


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.