Sunday, November 18, 2012

Everything I've Ever Done*

On the post about how you really are Moses when you say the magic words, The Unlikely Mage asks:
"So then is sin, for a magician, to ignore or repress that yearning to express their will?"
It's a good question. So it gets a full post essay on the Sins of a Magician.

Crowley said the "word of sin is restriction" in the Book of the Law. That one gets quoted a lot, even though it's talking about fucking, really, and fucking a lot the way you want to, in context, because fucking is cool.**

Sin is a useful concept within religious thought. In my Chrsitian (Protestant, Calvinist, Puritanical) system, "Sin" is any act that keeps you away from God. Applying that to Hermetics,  yeah, ignoring and repressing the yearning to express your will is sinful. Not expressing your Will obviously keeps you away from God, right? It's not doing it right, it's doing it wrong, it's bad. It's evil. It's sinful.

Sin implies a punishment, because it's been used as a means to control people instead of as a means to bring them spiritual enlightenment. Folks who did this had less interest in having an enlightened populace than a terrified one. Whatever, the use of the concept of "sin" to control instead of inspire has rendered it pretty useless. 

People don't understand that "sin keeps you away from god" is the total punishment itself. Being away from God sucks. You can only know that if you've been around him though, and it doesn't make as much sense to folks who haven't felt the presence of god personally loving them up as it tumbles around you, in you, through you to bounce laughing out your vocal chords.

And really, think about it. Can magicians sin? I've explained that we're beyond good and evil, right? I meant it. I'm serious when I say that shit. I can give you several applicable soteriologies from my Hermetic belief, if you want to know why sin doesn't exist for us. 

The folks who did the Seven Spheres in Seven days with us got a taste of exactly what I'm talking about, though. That was pretty awesome. They tasted the powers of the planetary spheres, the forces of creation. They experienced these powers. They felt them flow. They got a hint that they are all gods put here on earth to manifest their reality. They remembered collectively that they are visiting gods from other worlds here on individually missions of extremely sensitive personal import.

There's no sin, magicians. There's just what you do. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. That's it, that's the Law. There's just what you Do, what you Will. There ain't no middle ground. Those things are one thing, Do/Will. What you DO... that is what you fucking WILL. 

So what kind of god are you? A shitty mean small minded ignorant one? A benevolent force of joy and wealth? A frenzy of illuminating madness spreading amongst all who touch the hem of your garment?
You are expressing your will all the time, in everything you've ever done, in everything you ever do, everywhere you've ever been, everywhere you're going to. ***
Magic teaches us to do it better. We learn who we are by observing what we do. We do things to get what we want. Sometimes the stuff we do works, sometimes it's broken. We learn to fix the things we do that don't get us what we want, we change our approach using the wisdom, techniques and powers of the forces of manifestation. We learn to be ourselves better, more intentionally by becoming aware of what we're doing.

* If you don't recognize the title reference, click the link, you poor unfabulous person.

** Just wanted to point that out to the Crowley haters... You hate a guy who wrote a holy book about how cool it is to fuck. Seriously. Think about that some time.

*** Awww yeeeeeahhhhh!


  1. I think of Crowley the way Ollivander thought of Voldemort: "He did great things. Terrible things, yes; But great things nontheless."

    Possibly, with a quote like that, I ought to hand in my Magus Card, but with that I can honestly say that I respect his work while thinking that I wouldn't trust the man with the teaspoons.

  2. In the design thinking manifesto I'm designing for the school, I always put some version of this, "Failure occurs in the middle, not at the end." Or I'll write, "fail early to get to success earlier." Or "Do and Make often, fail often, stand up and do again. Fail fast to get to success."

    And people keep telling me to take it out. I do, but reluctantly. And then, in the next revision, I put it in until one of my editors notices it and tells me to take it out again.

    Jimmy the Greek, that prophet of statistics and poker, said, "I love it when there's a lot of money on the table and I win. But I only become a better player when there's a lot of money on the table and I lose."

    the Greek word for "sin" is actually something like hamartia — the arrow failing to hit its target perfectly. In that sense, it's a task done unskillfully, and the Magician is all about learning to do something more skillfully than it's currently done.

    But try getting that across to someone still in the throes of mundanity, of muggledom, of the life lived in a more ordinary way. Failure isn't a bad thing — it's the fuel for greater success and the triumph of the higher self. It's only by shooting at the target and missing that we achieve the skillset needed to shoot at the target and hit — again and again and again.

    Nunquam aliud Natura, aliud Sapientia dicit. and all that jazz.

  3. I think that's the true concept of Hell -- being apart from God. Not some "place" you go for being sinful, but a condition of living apart from God, in the flesh, here on earth.

    I was raised Catholic... wanna talk about sin? YIKES!!! I have to admit, seeing Jesus nailed, hanging, all bloodied, has kind of put me off on him. A shame.

  4. You raise some very interesting points here, Rufus and I think this could be greatly expanded upon. In particular reference to the verse from Liber AL vel Legis I:41. In his commentary (The Law is For All) Crowley expands upon the concept saying: "[This] is a general statement or definition of Sin or Error. Anything soever that binds the will, hinders it, or diverts it, is Sin,”

    Considering that from a Thelemic context (and arguably a general gnostic perspective) any form of morality that functions in terms of absolutes tends to detract from one's co-participation in Godhood as an active force - to futher your thesis with the identification from the Stele of Jeu:

    " I am He, the Truth! I am He, who hate that evil should be wrought in the world."

    Sin, etymologically considered, is any form of transgression - in here moral and ethical transgression against the self to put it into context. Sin isn't punishment, though - a subtle nuance I would like to emphasize. Although 'Every man and every woman is a star' (AL 1:3) sometimes we 'fall short' in our practice of divinity through error or ignorance - even gods fall - in particular when we fail to exercise our active duty to 'DO' or make manifest our Will in all we do. Evil, in this case, is the active imbalance of natural forces as Crowley makes clear in Liber Aleph:

    "For every Individual in the State must be perfect in his own Function, with Contentment, respecting his own Task as necessary and holy, not envious of another’s. For so only mayst thou build up a free state, whose directing Will shall be singly directed to the Welfare of all”

    From Logocentric perspective, we also have this particular meditation:

    "His disciples questioned him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? And how shall we pray? Shall we give alms? And what kind of diet shall we follow?" Jesus said, "Do not lie, and do not do what you hate. For all things are disclosed before heaven. For there is nothing obscure that will not be shown forth, and there is nothing covered that will remain without being disclosed." (Logion 6, Gospel of Thomas)

    Again, we find that a golden mean is imperative - do not do that which you hate - again let's call to mind the Bornless ritual - it's also equally possible to overexert our influences in manifestation which is a form of ignorance in action whereby we become our own demiurgoi in the negative sense by failing to interact as wandering stars (αστήρ πλανήτης) with other star systems.

  5. I still believe in some sin raping a child for example for the fun of it or murdering an innocent

  6. I absolutely believe in sin... I just happen to think that sin is personal. So my sins are hubris, fear, limitation. When I avoid those errors, I move closer to my Divine destination and when I commit them, I most farther away.

    But those are MY sins, based on my path and my relationship with the Divine. Yours may be different. I have friends for whom dishonesty and infidelity are sins. Others must avoid the grievous errors of conformity and consumerism. Someone close to me fights against the lure of anger and despair -- mortal sins for that individual. For some excess of empathy is a terrible transgression, for others it's a lack that leads them astray.

    I think it's wrong to say that we are above sin. We are simply wise enough to move beyond the absolutist and simplistic definitions of sin that organized religion suggests apply to all equally.

  7. Hi RO,

    Been trying to write a response to this but it keeps getting huge. I'll make a post on it at my blog soon when I get a chance to breathe. Thanks for the response!


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