I don't want to talk about guns or mental illness or problems in the world. I want to go back to funny pictures from I Fucking Love Science, or Intelligent, classy, well-educated women who say F*ck a lot. I want to argue about the nature of enlightened attainment, and the pros and cons of Charismatic Hermetics and the Ecstatic path.
I don't want to think about problems that simply cannot be solved with magic, therapy, words, reason, rationality, or heartfelt appeals to an allegedly better nature. I don't want to think about how sometimes you can't make things better, and that there are just some things that suck no matter how you look at them.
You Don't Always Get What you WantBut this shit's real. People hurt. The mind shattered by trauma doesn't heal, doesn't ever go back to not being broken and wounded, it just learns to function in spite of being broken. Like a vet with a missing leg, a prosthetic can help him function, or a wheelchair can get him around...
But "functional" is not the same as "healed."
There is no cure for most "mental illness." There is only treatment. Treatments include medication, which works a shockingly small amount of the time, or therapy. Successful therapy isn't about getting rid of the blackness of the episodes, it's about learning to get through the blackness to the light on the other side. It's about getting to a point of being functional. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
A lot of my ecstatic posts lately focus on the joy of living. Joie de Vivre for the motherfucking win! Because I like being happy, and I like having fun. It's exciting. And I found out some really cool ways to be happy and have fun this year that I want to write about and talk about and share, because being happy rocks, and I want you to be happy too! Because I've been around you when you're miserable, and that sucks! Fuck that! Get happy, FFS!
But my focus on this stuff shouldn't be taken as the entirety of the Hermetic path. Doing this stuff that I do does not guarantee all joie all the time. It doesn't make all the bad shit go away. You still have to face it, and deal with it.
That is, in many ways, the actual point of Hermetics, and the best thing we can get out of this path: the tools to deal with things that suck, and the wisdom to use them effectively.
No one is going to buy anything I write, put the rites into practice, and never suffer any sadness, pain, fear, or trauma ever again as long as they live. But if I can pass on the skills and knowledge I've picked up that get me through the blackness, that mitigate the worst of the suck-ness, then I'll consider it a win.
Bad shit happens, we feel terrible, and then we deal with it. We cope. We get through the blackness, and when it has gone past us, we turn and see its path, just like in the litany. We study it, observe it, and learn what triggered it, and we go after that with our magical rites, shoring up defenses, attacking the source, banishing people, or just finding ways to avoid the shit that sucks.
Avoiding Shit that SucksHm. Quick tangent, but this is important:
Remember this: there is no problem in life that is too big to run from. At least, temporarily. You can leave the bad situation and get your head on straight. You can divorce the idiot. You can quit the job. You can live in a shelter. You can wash up on a foreign shore, and start a new life from scratch. You can go completely off-grid and live in the shadow culture that's just around the corner of Everystreet, Everywhere, Planet Earth. It's not going to be easy, but it might just be better.
You can always quit. And sometimes, that is the solution that works. We are told, "Never quit!" We are told not to give up, to keep trying to reach our dreams and goals, to never accept failure, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! We have Edison's failed light bulbs shoved in our faces. We are encouraged to be eternal optimists.
And I'm guilty of doing that, too.
But sometimes the only solution is to quit and go do something else. Something more fun. Maybe you'll learn something that lets you finish this project later, or maybe this project just isn't supposed to happen. Whatever. You're free to go, you don't have to stay. If dealing with that shit is something you're supposed to do in this lifetime, it will no doubt wash back into your life sooner or later, right? So fuck it. Walk away for now, and when you feel better, think about it and how you'd use your magic to deal with it. And THEN deal with it.
I don't think that should be your first option every time, but don't toss it out of the toolbox arbitrarily. Just remember it's an option you have available.
Most of the time though, quitting is way too extreme of an option. Sucky shit just crops up out of nowhere, and needs to be addressed. Most of the time, the best way to deal with shit that sucks is the tried and true magical approach.
Practical Hermetic Process of Dealing with Transient Evil (a.k.a. Shit that Sucks)Evil needs darkness to survive, so you shine light into the situation: that's the Sun. Solar rites scatter the darkness and reveal the things hiding in the shadows. It brings the evil to the surface where it can be seen and dealt with. The light of the Sun is enough to make most evil things wither and die immediately, or run to the hills where there is shadow. It gets rid of most shit right away.
But not always. Some shit, when revealed in the light, gets really mean and ugly, and goes on the attack.
Cut that shit with iron. This is the Martial rite. You get some help from the forces of Mars to defeat that evil shit like a boss. Legions of Martial Angels will fuck some pasty pale shadow-creeping crapulentities right the fuck up. And then they will form a hedge of protection around your sphere, all bristling with pointy swords and spears and missiles and rockets and cannon and guns that hurl pieces of the next sphere you go to when getting rid of evil...
Saturn, the sphere of DEATH. Mr. Grimm. This is the Greater Malefic, and there is no better place to go to learn the nature of an evil thing. Here you see how this evil was able to be born into your life, and the things that must occur for that evil to die in your life. All things have their beginnings and their endings defined in the sphere of Saturn.
Also, Saturn is your border, your defense, your wall of protection. Here you can make it much more difficult for the evil to assail you.
Note that the Saturn rites are focused on gaining wisdom, insight, understanding, and defense. Note there's nothing said about sending out evil to get rid of evil. Note that well. There's a reason.
The Sun, Mars, and Saturn. It's a progressive approach that lets you triage the situation immediately, root out the evil, and then keep it out. At that point you go into healing and rebuilding rites of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus, reshaping things in your world through the Moon.
Practical Hermetic Process of Dealing with the Other EvilSome shit isn't going to go away, no matter how hard you try. There are some things you just can't get rid of. Chronic, recurring shit that sucks. Other shit that just descends on you out of nowhere that leaves you devastated and wondering what ... the ... fuck ...
The only effective way I've found to prepare myself to deal with the Big Bads in life is through the actual practice of the Great Work. It's like training your body to be able to react well in an emergency rather than training for a specific event. You go through all the spheres regularly, you pursue god, you reclaim yourself, your race, your value, you take back your divine heritage so that when the evil comes, you are able to pull yourself together, put out the secondary and tertiary manifestations of the evil, and deal more constructively with the forces of things that you don't want in your life that you can't keep out.
As you do more and go higher, you're able to integrate the forces that would otherwise bring you pain, and work around them, minimizing their negative impacts, transmuting some aspects of it, and finding ways to make it positive even though it fundamentally sucks at the core.
Passionate ecstatic pursuit of God conditions your spiritual muscles, and trains you to interact with things in ways that are beneficial. It teaches you to look for good things in bad situations, to see the world as your oyster, to be able to pick up on the potential opportunities that are lying behind the scenes in every situation. It raises your vibration and builds up the skills and tools to find your way through the bad and into the good. It gives you the power to create something better to take the place of the bad, to put it into perspective, to rob it of its power over you, if you can't get rid of it entirely.
But that's not easy, and it's not all fun, and it's not entirely safe.
But it is entirely awesome.
Regardless...Shit things that suck are going to come into your life, and you're going to have to deal with it, forever until you die. You have the power to do that, to deal with it. You have a framework of symbols and tools that let you channel the powers of the forces of creation. You have the phone numbers of the most amazing experts on the powers of creation ever.
You can't make all the evil go away all the time. But you can always deal with it until it's over.
And remember, sooner or later, everything ends.