Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spiritual Realization and Magickal Power

An issue that I meant to cover in my post about lines of transmission came up again today in Frater BH's post, and in a reply by Scott Stenwick. The issue is the relationship between efficacy of practical magick and spiritual realization.

Frater BH seems to treat practical magick as a sort of distraction from realization, which we have dealt with in my last post.

Scott however sees the two as interlocked. In his reply to that post he wrote:

“it is a mistake to pursue either at the expense of the other”

and later wrote:

“objective magical results are definitive signs of spiritual progress beyond the psychological realm.

While I obviously do not see the two as mutually exclusive, this blog is called Strategic Sorcery after all; I also disagree with Scotts view. In fact I disagree with it a good deal more. I do not see spiritual realization and practical magick as necessarily intertwined.

Dealing with the last quote first, I have met many people that possess what I would call a high degree of spiritual wisdom, gnosis, or illumination. Only a few of them have any interest in practical magick. In fact, most do not. Now that I think about it most of the writers and teachers throughout history that I hold the most dear as Spiritual authorities had absolutely no interest in practical magick whatsoever.

On the other side of the coin, I have met many sorcerers, witches, and psychics who have no interest in “realization” or mysticism, but totally kick ass at practical magick. They may be members of a religion, and they may even have a bit of faith, but that is not the same as spiritual attainment.  

Therefore I do not see success at sorcery as evidence of spiritual realization. This is VERY important to realize. You may, in the course of walking your path meet many powerful men who can do amazing things. That does not make them wise! As one friend of mine told me in Nepal about a certain Lama: “He is an extremely powerful Tantrika. If you need a mo or a puja done, you should go to him. Just watch your wallet and your girlfriend because he will try to take them both…”

Now, as to the first quote, I think that practical magick only calls to a small amount of people. In fact, I wish that a lot less people who have no real calling for it, and no real talent for it would just drop it. Your posing and psychological reductions are harming the art.

Spiritual realization on the other hand is something that I think everyone needs. It is only by a great inner revolution that we can ever hope for the mind and spirit of humanity to catch up with its technological progress.

While I do think that spiritual realization should be a concern of practical magicians, I do not see it as essential for the performance of practical magick. 

I certainly do not at ALL see practical magick as necessary for spiritual realization. 


Lavanah said...

While I do not see spiritual realization and practical magick as intertwined, neither do I see one as an impediment to the other. The capability for one (not the inclination) may mean capability for the other, though. And, unless one decides to live upon a pillar in the desert, ala Simon Stylites or request to be walled up within a monastary, certain practicalities need to be addressed. If you do not come from a background or tradition that values martyrdom, then denying god given talents (if you choose to phrase it that way) could be seen as denying that godhead from whence they originated.

Jow said...

Wisdom and Compassion tend to be linked in my view, but wisdom and power.. less so. It's like being a talented scientist, composer, whatever and being spiriually developed, just because you have a skill set doesnt make you wise, or kind, or even a good person.

There are pleanty of magical systems that have absolutely zero to do officially with personal development. Omnimancy for one. There are techniques to sort your self out and do inner work, but there is no goal or example to shoot for; that is left to the mage to decide.

Like any other bit of your life, practical magical work can be used to advance spiritually, or help pay the rent while you do so, but like any other part of your life it can just be what it is.

yuzuru said...

I also agree that both topics are neither intertwined nor impediments to the other. But I have some problems with the concept of "spiritual realization".

What is spiritual realization in this days of globalization, MTV and global warming ? Help feed your local homeless ? Sit down in home and pray for illumination while watching a reality show ? Recycle ? Being kind to kids, elderly and animals ?

Fr BH once was afraid that his newfound illumination was only pride in disguise. I have often found this to be true, the people who are most found of illuminating themselves and others are basketcases and nutjobs.

From tarot workers to healers, you see that, in private as well as public life, they are petty, egocentric, as the next Joe. In general worse even, because they think they have been chosen. People in traditional religions sets have exactly the same problem. They found Jesus, but apparently Jesus didn´t teach them pacience, empathy, etc.

Besides that, the number of people I knew that were looking for illumination, and a few years later got a screw loose in the head is a litte freaking.

Nowadays I think that one of the signs of "spiritual realization" is when people don´t talk about this at all, and neither search it or worry about it, only have a general sense of ethics, duty and search of fulfilment.

Rufus Opus said...

Well said, yuzuru. Jason too.

Jason, can you tie this into that post on how I think you need a spiritual baptism to empower your practical magic though? I'd like to see your thoughts onthat, or if you could point me to where you already covered that I'd appreciate it.

I know for myself that my efforts at practical magic as a chaos magician were effective, but after going through a divine rebirth as a Christian, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and attaining Knowledge and Conversation with my HGA, the effectiveness of my practical magic now (using renaissance grimoires) has completely blown away my chaos daze.

Also, as I work with each of the angels of the planetary spheres, I find the effectiveness of my Work with spirits related is increased. The Angels of the spheres do something, I consider it an initiation, to the magician, and that does something to the effectiveness of their magic.

Another related point: when you work with a spirit of the Goetia, for example, for one of its aspects, you get opportunities to use its other aspects. Focalor is great for overturning ships, but also kills a man in three days, I think. Memory's a bit sketchy and I have no notes here. But if you use him for overturning a ship, chances are pretty good you'll find yourself in a position where you'll have an opportunity to kill a man in three days.

For me, it was Bune. I wanted money, and wit, and I ended up having opportunities to exorcise spirits and speak with the dead. Tezcatlipoca too had other impacts on my sphere. I wanted the aspects of the God of Sorcerors, but I also got the bloodthirsty sun god who wanted human hearts.

So Working the spirits changes the magican, and the life of the magician. I interpret that as a link between a spiritual transformation, an initiation, and the abilitiy to perform certain aspects of practical magic. It's not necessarily about widsdom, but it is about transformation.

Ananael Qaa said...

Jason, I actually agree with you that there are plenty of people who have spiritual realization without doing the kinds of things we think of as "practical magick" - that is, casting formal spells for specific results. I don't believe that such work is a requirement for spiritual realization, but re-reading yesterday's comments I can see where they could read that way.

Like you, I also have known a number of people who were very wise and spiritual without doing any sort of practical sorcery. However, such people do tend to experience some practical results of the work. Usually this manifests as a sense of calmness or presence around them, and and also a tendancy for events to sort of effortlessly go their way. I think that this sort of thing can be as much a sign of progress as being able to cast a spell to make some particular outcome happen.

Similarly, as you mention magical talent is an individual variable. As a result you can't compare person A and person B and conclude that because B gets better spell results than A it must follow that B is more spiritually advanced or wise. The way in which practical results correllate with spiritual realization is not between individuals, but with yourself at different points in time because only that sort of comparison controls for the talent variable.

So I believe that within the context of your own practice your practical results will improve as you achieve greater spiritual realization, and that those practical results may not necessarily be the result of formal spellwork. That's what I mean by the two being interlinked. Maybe we still disagree on that point, but I have yet to run across any magician who didn't find it to be true in their experience.