Friday, October 14, 2011

Greed, Attachment, and Service

Herr Von Faustus wrote a neat post about Cynicism the other day, and it really got me thinking. I had thought for some reason the Cynics were a second century doomsday cult. I can't seem to find the source that made me think that,* but his post and the wikipedia explanation make it sound right up my alley lately.

Since I started doing the Gates Rites regularly, I've been harmonizing within and without, and it's changed the way I see things. If you read the introductory material of the Rites, it's apparent that they are aspiring towards something much more than wealth and prosperity. It's not about becoming King and being a tyrant, jockin' the bitches and slappin' the hos.

It's about taking responsibility for your life. It's about taking ownership of your existence and your experience. That takes courage, power, authority, and compassion. You become the patriarch or matriarch of everything and everyone in your world when you harmonize your consciousness with Destiny. You see how they all work together to create the one thing that is your life, and you see weaknesses and strengths, potentials to shape, projects to accomplish. You get inspired, and your life becomes your Art as you express yourself through yourself, becoming the fulcrum between the Seen and the Unseen realms.

It's a process of decompartmentalization of your life, in many ways. You see that they all feed on one another, your happiness, success, family, work, society at large, global population, the environment, space, time, and all the illusions of differentiation. It's all a bunch of arbitrary lines marking off similar subjects, but it leads to the illusion of separation. It's all attached, it's all one big shiny thing, your life, and it's fucking brilliant.

The reason the Gates Rites take you down through all the spheres along the chain of manifestation is to build up a resonance in your sphere of manifestation. In other words, it makes you powerful in all the different ways things manifest. Hermetics supplies a map of the forces, organized by qualities and similarities, but it's all one big process, and we use the phase gates of the process to work with it. At a high level. More granularly speaking, there's a lot of conjuration of helpful entities that goes on in practice.

We're in that current of manifestation all the time, but we're not of it. I'm fond of the Crowned Creation interpretation of where our ability to do magic comes from. I believe we're made in God's image, and we're loved by everything because of that, and that's why spirits work with us and we get to do magic. I think "made in God's image" is code for Thou art God, but I've always put St. Heinlein a few notches above St. Paul when it comes to scripture.

Jake Stratton-Kent believes you get your magic powers from the pacts made with the spirits, specifically the parchment or Liber Spiritum which contains the covenant between the Spirits and the Magician. The agreed exchange is the magical effects for the offerings of fire and smoke, and other things we do with the spirits. You don't pay the spirits, you don't get the magic, like in any business venture.

Functionally, we both end up with a Liber Spiritus, and we both burn candles and incense, so what difference does it make? I think it's one of those areas of doctrine where there's enough room in the universe for multiple interpretations with explanatory force. However you interpret it, you end up with the power to create your personal world.

You're not like other people when you do that shit.

Ok, so to recap:

  • Man's the fulcrum between the Unseen and the Seen worlds
  • And it's one big current manifesting above and below simultaneously
  • And regardless of where the power to do magic comes from, the reclamation of your race and value, or the pact between you and the spirits, magicians have special authority over their lives
  • This authority is how the Universe is made
  • You're special; you create your world

For most people, the world is their whole world. For us, it's our playground, our laboratory. It's where we practice being gods. Practical magic. Practice. See that? Isn't that neat?** So when it comes to society and worldly things, we're in the world but not of it. We have a perspective on the forces that are manifesting as the Occupation, the Arab Spring, the Tea Party, the entire global recession in general that most people don't have.

Manifestation is hierarchical. Hierarchies of spirits are maps and tribes, it's true, but they are also a lesson in relationship. "Man" is a spiritual class of entities with a role to play in manifestation, the role of god of their world. The secret Joseph Smith missed was that you don't have to wait to die to get your own planet, it's already yours. It doesn't feel like it because there are forces out there you can't control, market forces, economic fluctuations, natural disasters, but that's just because you're looking at it as if they were separate things. They really are part of that one big current of manifestation.

And you're part of it too, but separate. Detached a bit because you're special. You can do magic. You can create your world. You work with what you've got. The world is your laboratory, the stuff that happens is your materia, and your magic is your equipment.

You work with what's really going on in the world. You become aware of the force and how one facet of it is manifesting in your world, and you have established a relationship to it. You're in a relative position to everything that's happening. If you've recently lost your fortune to the economic downturn, you're position relative to the big dick of economic hardship is bent over. Positional relationships.

You learn to read the current as a magician. You learn to adapt to it, as well as adapting it to you. You harmonize it with your desires. You harmonize with it too.

Dropping it down a level, less abstract, say you're working on getting money, and there's an Occupation of Wall Street going on, it's a good time to start selling T-Shirts with slogans on them. Or if you've got political aspirations, and there's a protest going on, you join in and see how many people you can convince to support your platform. If you're a day trader and the economy's taking a nose dive, you focus on strategies for making a profit in down markets.

Magicians, that's us, only not so specialized. We're doing that all the time with everything that's going on at once, on some level. Strategizing. working with what we've got. Using everything to our advantage. Bullshit makes the flowers grow, and that's beautiful. War, peace, they're both good for business.

And I'm using money metaphors here because it's a language I understand, because I've focused on it a lot. But don't think that just because I talk a lot about money, that's all I care about. I talk a lot about it because it matters a lot, and also, to a much much lesser degree, because I used to be really greedy. Wealth was goign to answer everything, wealth and prosperity were the ticket to everything I wanted.

And I still see money as a means to an end, but my desire has shifted from the means to the end. As a result, the focus of my magic has changed, and things have gotten a lot better in my world. And money is the easiest thing to make in the world, as a magician. Money, once you see how easy it is to make, loses value. Rob it of its mystique, and it has no power over you.

Greed is not an issue when you're being a good King. Philosopher Kings know the truth and harmonize with it. The cynics taught to give up everything and live in harmony with nature. I agree completely, Hermetically speaking. Give up attachment to all the compartmentalized pieces of the current, and live in harmony with it instead, harmonizing it with you, harmonizing you with it, playing, creating, in tune with everything else, using what you have to work with and crafting your world.

Do that right, and the money just flows in. Like a flood. Whenever you need it, address the means and the end, and do the magic to harmonize it to your desired outcome, be willing to adapt as necessary, and you'll find it just moves right where it needs to go. And the money was never the point, the resolution or acquired result was the goal, and that's where your intent and attention was focused. That's the trick of all this. Awareness of your relationship to everything else, and creation of your world.

Money serves you. Jason teaches that fundamental concept in his financial sorcery classes. Make money serve you, or else you're serving money. Someone's got to be the bitch in the relationship.

But that lesson applies to everything, and there's more to it. You're either serving your job or its serving you. Your family, your spouse, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your pets. Are they serving a purpose in your life? You've got them in your life for a reason, what is it? Are the situations serving you by providing you with the rewards you should be getting?

I like being a dad. It's cool. I like having kids. They're awesome. I love the parenting process, shaping little minds and hearts and aiming them at the future, having progeny, knowing my genes have been passed on. It's awesome. It's like emanation in the flesh. Little pieces of myself that will go on after I'm gone, bringing me wisdom, love, and happiness as a father. Fatherhood serves a purpose, it makes me happy.

But for it to make me happy, I have to do it right. There's nothing wrong with being a hedonist if you accept the responsibility that comes with getting the pleasure you seek. I have to be a GOOD dad to have good kids who do good things that make me happy. If I fuck them up, my life will be hell. I won't get any pleasure out of being a father if I screw up. So I have to do it right.

Which means I end up in service to them.

Service, it turns out, is part of rulership, intrinsically linked, aspects of the same principle. You aren't a good king if you're not ruling in compassion, serving your kingdom by creating it beautifully. Everyone else in the world, no matter what they look like, or what they believe, or how they vote, they're all in our world. They're our brothers and sisters, as well as being part of our Kingdoms, part of the manifestation of that One Thing. To be happy Kings, we have to serve even them.

* Try googling that and see where it gets you. Teh Intertubes are clogged with bullshit and I can never find what I need anymore! Fucking 2012 has ruined any kind of decent results you can get on ancient eschatologies. And Camping hasn't helped at all.

** You've got to listen to this story about Lonnie Sue Johnson, it's kind of a downer until you get to about 7:28 or so, and then some of the most profound wisdom comes out, pointing to the Mystery of the interconnectedness of the One Thing in relation to the role of Man in creation.