Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Supremacy and Completeness of Systems

Jason and I were talking this weekend about some stuff. Basically, someone said the West has nothing on the Eastern systems when it comes to certain things. I objected because there's nothing that I could desire that I haven't seen something for in the Western systems of ceremonial magic. So Jason gave me some examples, and mentioned the differentiators between what he's seen in the West, and what he's seen in the East.

After talking to him, I was bummed. He's witnessed stuff that I haven't done. Not only that, he pointed out that in the East, the person does the magic, s/he doesn't call on a spirit. The effects they manifest in the eastern traditions come from physical, mental, and spiritual exercises that result in the ability to pool and direct the basic fundamental "energy" (specifically the stuff referred to as "Tao" in the Tao Te Ching, or as dang, rolpa, and tsal in Dzogchen, per Wikipedia) of existence into specific manifestations.

I started analyzing what they do and seeing if there were comparative things in the western grimoires. I was hasty, I admit it. I didn't take the time to look up what they were really doing, I just jumped into the grims with my half-assed understanding of some of the things Jason had mentioned, and I found some things similar to what I was looking for.

I've done a little more research into what the Taoist magicians and the Dzogchen acolytes are doing. It's all online stuff I've found, and mostly from Wikipedia, so I know it's not like I have a complete knowledge or anything. However, please understand that in my youth I spent a long time studying and absorbing Taoism, and not just the stuff of the Tao te Ching, either. That's social commentary on the side effects of the Tao, mostly. I'm not coming from a place of complete ignorance of the teachings of the Eastern mystics when I formulate my opinions and plans.

In the East, they have a series of practices and teachings that are performed and meditated upon for literally years. In the West, we have spirits that we call on to accomplish certain things. Most Westerners don't know diddly crap about the framework of the Western Mystery Traditions that form the Grimoires. Most of us have a concept of Kabbalah. A few of us know about emanation.Acouple of us (relatively) perform evocation. Of those that practice actual conjuration of the spirits of the grimoires, hardly anyone has a clue of what role the spirits are supposed to play in the Great Work, the morphing of the human from ignorant man to Hero, from mundane to a Power of the 8th and 9th Spheres.

I've talked a little about how when you conjure a spirit, it makes adjustments to your personal sphere. Being in the presence of the Archangel Haniel, for example, will create a resonance between your sphere and his (some see him as a her; doesn't matter, it's got no genitals). You'll feel more romantic love, more connection to growing things, and you'll have a greater generative capacity than you had before. Things you touch will blossom, and you'll initiate things in the world more easily.

The thing is, you likely won't even notice.

I've done a lot of Work with Bune to get rich. It's been moderately successful. I didn't spend wisely, so I don't have a lot to show for it, but each month I'm bringing in over $10K before taxes. I have a Spirit Pot in my office. We sit relatively close to one another.

Over the years we've worked together, he's changed me. I've attained some of his abilities. I now have the ability to bring riches to people in the same way he brought riches to me. I inspire people to see opportunities for wealth in regular conversation. In the last couple of weeks, one of my co-workers got a promotion and determined what she wants to do to make a killing in this economy, and has started already; several others I interact with have received bonuses, promotions, and windfalls. The thing they have all had in common was meeting me and interacting with me. That "vibe" I picked up from Bune rubs off on other people.

Now, what I'm thinking is "missing" from the Western tradition is the basic understanding that the grimoires are starting points for developing spiritual attainment. They teach us how, in the West, to receive the empowerment, training, and information that the people of the East receive via various forms of transmission. They have unbroken lineages extending back through history to the early centuries BC, lineages handed down by people, information developed and refined in temples and retreats and in writings and oral traditions that we don't have. They have mantras and yogas, yantras and whole vocabularies for spiritual experiences within their systems that we simply do not have.

But we have the spirits, a legacy of initiation extending back to the beginning of time itself. We have the spirits of the Goetia, allegedly limited to teaching things of the material realm (I haven't seen any proof that would indicate they have more versatility than that yet, but I haven't really tried very hard either). We have the "Angelic" class of spirits, who dwell within the unmanifest Spheres of the Seven Classical Planets, themselves simply emanation points, reference points that we can use to identify specific manifestations of what we call God. We have the Spirits of the Pleroma, the entities of the 8th Sphere who sing hymns in silence and point the way to the 9th. We have God himself and the Logos, actively seeking interaction with all of their emanated beings of Spirit, Mind, and Body.

I've experienced "supernatural" transformation of my self by working with the spirits. I know that the things we can do with the spirits are on par with what the denizens of the East are capable of manifesting using their systems. What we lack is a group of people that have done it and taught it to others. What we lack is understanding of our own cultural esoteric traditions. What we lack is devotion to Magic the way the practitioners of the East devote lifetimes to mastering one aspect of transforming the "Energy" of the universe into a manifestation of their "Will."

And every time someone from the West goes into the East, they are taking with them a cultural resonance that will have to be overcome to get the most out of the Eastern traditions. People like Jason can manage it to some degree, but even he returns to the traditions of the West. I propose that the systems of magic of the West are superior to the systems of the East for Western Magicians. We are extensions of the philosophies of our culture, and they are less alien to us, I think, than the Eastern concepts. I aim to prove it.

I need some more people to Work with on this though. And I need time to develop some materials, some written lineage, and I need to get some more empowerment myself from the spirits. I should probably just work on myself to prove that it can be done, but I know I'm not perfect and will make mistakes that other occult researchers might not make. The more people working on discovering the power of the Western systems, the more people working on turning it into a living, breathing system of magic, the faster we'll get anywhere.

So if you're already doing stuff with the Western System, blog about it. Post your results. Educate people. If you're not working the Grimoires or traditional astrology, if you're not reading through the Corpus Hermeticum and Agrippa, then start. If you need help applying the lessons, I've got a few tricks I'll gladly pass on. Most are in the archives of my blog, but it's easier sometimes to just shoot me an email. Post comments below, and I'll get back to you. Get into the R&D of your system, base it on the stuff that resonates with your upbringing, and develop something cool already.


  1. >>What we lack is a group of people that have done it and taught it to others.

    This might be more of a more visible grouping. Both have groups that will explain things, but those of the WMT are just harder to find. But, both can be hard to get into and stay in.

    >>What we lack is understanding of our own cultural esoteric traditions.

    I've noticed a greater cultural diversity amongst the 'West' end of things than the 'East' and subvarients, too. If the East ones are more diverse, it doesn't seem as public.

    >>What we lack is devotion to Magic the way the practitioners of the East devote lifetimes to mastering one aspect of transforming the "Energy" of the universe into a manifestation of their "Will."

    From what I've seen, devotees of the East number in about the same range as those in the West with those that do it on a regular basis, are regularly successful and are sufficiently advance to be decent enough to have a good handle on how things work.

    Besides, even if there are some things that seem to be missing from the WMT that are in the East stuff, look to roman catholicism. They have a spirit for everything you could think of, including selling homes. It just might not be as widely known.

  2. >>What we lack is devotion to Magic the way the practitioners of the East devote lifetimes to mastering one aspect of transforming the "Energy" of the universe into a manifestation of their "Will."

    You know, even if we assume the Eastern way is easier, I'd say it is far more isolated and limits experience. The East way lacks the social aspect of what more knowledgable and experienced beings can teach. You can learn a lot about a spirit by just playing cards or checkers with them and chatting. It's kinda like not letting yourself go experience a place firsthand and prefer to know of it via a travel guide. You can't know the feel, smell and taste of the area.

  3. I may blog about my experiences relating to this, because while I've read Agrippa, The Emerald Tablet, The Corpus Hermeticum, various Grimoirs, and so many other texts, I don't work with spirits, per say. I've worked with the Archangels; Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael. I've also worked heavily with animal spirits, or totems... guides if you will... in the tradition of shamanism. But I have never worked with the Goetia, or with the Enochian systems.

    Having said that, I've manifested everything I've Willed only working with my Guide (or HGA if you prefer) and animal spirits, via dreams, visions, and magic performed, designed to work with said Will. As I've mentioned within a few of my blogs, the manner in which my Will manifests may not be exactly as I may prefer, but the end result is exactly what I intend... without the standard Western Esoteric methods of Goetia or Enochian Spirit work.

    I can't tell you what this means, exactly; I can only tell you that my methods work for me. They always have.

  4. I disagree that western systems are better for westerners. Magic works, no matter what your cultural background is. If an eastern system works for easterners, then it works for westerners. (And vice versa.)

    Of course, sometimes cultural misunderstandings crop up. But that's another matter.

    It's not true that eastern systems don't call up spirits. They do. And if you read Master Chuang by Saso, you would see Daoist ritual evocations following amazingly similar formats as Grimoiric rituals.

    The problem is that magic, like piano, tailoring, woodworking, and other pre-modern arts, is best taught by a teacher. In fact, it's far harder to learn magic by yourself than it is to learn woodworking by yourself. Having a master who knows what he is doing will save you lots of time. (Why invent the wheel?)

    There are aspects of eastern magical systems which are not available in the West, e.g. Daoist inner alchemy. But given the brevity of life, a human only has to concentrate on one aspect of magic and master it. He is not compelled to learn everything about magic.

  5. Astero,

    I knew the Eastern systems conjured spirits, but I didn't know the details. I thought they manifested them using something like the tulpa method, and that it was across the board. My ignorance on the matter far outweighs my experience and knowledge.

    My thing about Western magic for Westerners is that the misunderstandings would in theory be less because of our cultural programming, the cultrual resonance. We already have an "in" with the egregores of the Western systems. But at the same time, I've completely misunderstood things from my own culture, like the HGA's role in spiritual transformation, so it's not like there are any guarantees even by sticking to your own culture.

  6. We have in the west lots of legendary examples of folks who did "Yogic Miracles" for lack of a better term. Joseph of Cupertino could fly. The Apostles could heal the sick, raise the dead and slay with a word. Elijah, Moses, and a myriad mystic, Rabbi, Dervish, et al. Going even deeper into history the priestesses of Ishtar were said to cure blindness, sickness, fever, and all manner of ills just with their spit or their touch.

    They just didn't write down how to DO it.. or if they did we don't have much access to those records. In general it seems that the hermetic and neoplatonist thinkers of the west (whatever outward religion they followed) were some of the only ones to treat mysticism and magic as a science, and as an outgrowth of human nature.

    Also, the practice of the occult by whoever was practicing wasnt stamped down as a rule in the east till reletively recently.

    The east vs. west debate is fascinating, but I think once practitioners find a common ground to communicate on, a magical metric system so to speak, we can do a lot more translation of pure technique. Because we are, after all, looking at the same Reality, just from differing vantages.

    The west has a lot to offer, especially for westerners who are already soaked to the marrow with it's ideas and currents. Sadly most of us are self taught, and lacking in a clear curriculum of basic magical skills, and we aquire those skills in a very round about way. We have almost no choice in the matter because of the huge gaps in our magical heritage. We are forced over and over to reinvent, if not the wheel, then the bycicle, and then the car..

    On the subject of initiation and transmission: A lot of Lineage Founders in east and west were either litterally born awesome, or recieved their "charter" from a spirit of some kind. Melkizadek intiated Abraham, the Angel of the LORD initiated Jacob, Jesus gave marching orders to St. Francis, Al Kidir pops up from time to time to give a dervish a wink and a nod in the right direction. In the east Tilopa recieved transmission and instruction directly from Vajrahara, and Matsendranatha eavesdropped on Shiva and Parvati's Lovemaking and learned the secrets of yoga. And from those humans who were tapped the human lineage begins. IMO Spirit transmission, totally valid, just hard to verify.

  7. Gonna make a post or two to answer this, but did want to point out that for Magick you are looking in the wrong place. Dzogchen is the ultimate pinnacle of Tibetan Meditative practice, but you will find more of the occult stuff in Tantra, including the use of spirits.

    Indeed I can say that the Tibetan cosmology of spirits makes Khabbalah look like simple. Check out Oracles and Demons of Tibet for a look.

    Also Taoism has one of the most intense spirit-possession practices on the planet.


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.