Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's All One Thing that Functions as if It were Lots of Things

Today's post is inspired by the discussions on whether or not "it" is "all in your head" and stuff. Fr. SEA, Jason Miller, Patrick Dunn, and Eion Keith Boyle have weighed in, making various points from various perspectives. My name came up in Fr. SEA's comments, so I feel obliged to throw in my two cents' worth. The title sums up my position, everything below is just commentary on it.

The way I see it, it's all One big Thing, this existence we experience, and it all comes from One Source, and it's all still connected, and it can only be truly appreciated when you look at it as a whole.

But it all manifests as if it were independent. I am of God, but not God, even though I'm an extension of God. I experience my world as if I were separate from it, an object within a field of objects that all interact and are interdependent, but still with definable borders between "me" and "not me."

The various spiritual experiences and the meanings we discern from these experiences fall somewhere on the spectrum between "It's all One Thing" and "It's all separate things." Both ends of the spectrum are true and useful for various contexts, and where you're at consciously on that spectrum depends a lot on what you're dealing with.

If I'm focusing on Ascension and Theurgy, I tend to get more solipsistic. If I'm focusing on changing my world, I tend to focus more on the individuation of the All Thing. Most of the time, I'm practical about my life, and regardless of whether it's all in some big Universal Mind or not, I have to deal with the expressions of that Mind as if they weren't all the same thing.

But when I don't have to focus on the individuations of the All Thing, I can focus on how it's just a big beautiful process, that just goes on and on in awesomeness.

Spirits are as separate from me as I am from you. They are also as connected. Compassion, my least favorite of spiritual lessons, has taught me that what I do to and for myself impacts others, and that matters in the grand scheme of things. Wisdom has taught me that at the same time, I'm not personally responsible for your decisions or circumstances. I'm obligated to help where I can, and I'm obligated to not help where I cannot.

It's a balance. You move your awareness along the spectrum to deal with the context you're addressing. I don't expect to ever be "at one with the All Thing" any more (or less) than I am now. If that were the point, I wouldn't have ever manifested separately in the first place. As far as I can tell, I get to be separate for as long as separation exists, and no one's shared the scheduled date for the return to Cosmic Singularity with me.

Most of the time, it hasn't mattered much that it's all One Thing. That "truth" just helps me keep some things in perspective, some of the time. Other times, it just gets on my nerves.


  1. Now that you're starting to get into Neoplatonic Philosophy, you should give Pseudo-Dionysis a look. I think you'll like it, especially the book entitled "The Mystical Theology". I recommend this translation:


  2. @Scott, Heh, NP Philosophy has been the key to my understanding of Hermetics and grimoires and Agrippa for a while. One of the first things I wrote was the Neoplatonic Basics series of posts back in the day to try to explain how it all fits together for folks who didn't know about it.

  3. Absolutely.
    Every single independent spirit belongs and is part of the Soul of the World. Just like every independent soul including the Soul of the World herself are ideas expressed in the great divine mind or Nous. Its a top-down system.

    So the individual souls of the Soul of the World do not exist within each other. There is no oak tree in my soul, just as their is no human soul in an oak tree. Thus the spirits of the grimoires are not parts of our a magician's psyche, but external and independent from it.

    And who doesn't love Pseudo-Dionysius?

  4. @Scott: He! Pseudo-Dionysius is Christian Neoplatonism at its best!

    @RO: Great Post! What you wrote in so few words took me years to comprehend and I still find it intriguing sometimes. Love yer blog!

  5. I see The One Thing or God or The Great Mystery as a limitless bonfire which throws off sparks. Each spark is separate and distinct, but of one substance with the One, and the spark does its own thing briefly, goes its own direction, then is gone. But the One Bonfire goes on throwing out the sparks. Maybe we rejoin the One, maybe we don't and just blip out.

  6. I agree mostly with what you've said. Unfortunately what I had to say morphed into something else entirely and I really didn't want to venture off topic.

    The fact is, man, the magick of personal development and advancement very definitely functions in the way I described. Sure, Lon had this and that to say about it, but I expounded on the topic with my own experience and insight into the topic.

    I'm not chiming his views because I don't agree with them 100%--Spirits, and their relative objectivity/subjectivity being an instance wherein I tend to disagree to a certain extent. I'm neither purely of the psychological or purely the traditional persuasion, I think that it (and everything) is all One, as you said, and intimately connected.

    But RO -- when you started teaching me Hermetic magick, the first thing you and I both understood was that I needed change, transformation, growth, development, etc... The understanding I always had was that magick a bit closer to thaumaturgy would be something I enjoyed a little later, after some swift kicks in the nuts by the Powers-that-Be. (and oh, boy, let me tell you...)

    And that's exactly what happened. I had to become the kind of person who could be granted these blessings -- I had to have the appropriate initiations into the spheres and exhibit that I could actually handle and manage what was given to me.

    So in this sense, I changed, and the chain of manifestation in my own little Universe (of which I am the receptacle, center, and fulcrum) responded to those changes. The thing that changed in this situation was me. The rest is history.

    But you may debate and contest this view and that is fine. I just want it to be clear that my point has nothing to do with where the spirits come into play. I believe they're as real as you or I, as experience has confirmed for me. And yes, I believe that there is a part built into us that fits only them and answers only to them, so in that sense, the forces they direct and embody are, IMO, built into us -- they're a part of our essential circuitry and software.

    But I digress. I just didn't want my writing to continue to get tossed around and used an example of something I was never trying to say.

  7. No, I don't think we ever blip out, or that our essential individually ends because that would imply an end to the soul's evolution through the planes. I think that evolution continues with ever greater Self-realization of the Self as God indivisible but the process itself is infinite and unending as the One is infinite and unending.


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.