Where to start with this…
Recently I met up with another Magician, a Magician who I know shares many common interests; Sigil work, Lovecraft Mythos, Crowley, the Enochian work of Dr. Dee, Kenneth Grant, chaos Magic(k)…on and on.
I won’t go over what we discussed, because its not the content that’s important but instead what it seemed to trip within me.
A Magician holds onto two worlds; One is the world of reality – the social constructs that modern man has decided are the normal existing limitations of flesh, bone, and mind. I’m not at all concerned with labeling such a construct as “Reality” or as “Perception” or “Awareness” – all three being buzzwords in the magic(k)al world that really mean nothing to the un-initiated. I’m not one to think that these realities are spiritually maintained or created by any act of subtle intelligence, in other words I do not use the word “Perception” to mean anything other than the most mundane of definitions. We have all chosen to participate in cultural and social norms, and because of our participation and our socialization reality continues and seems concrete/permanent. And that’s all there is to it.
The second world a Magician holds onto is the one in which he is empowered to make decisions that effect his world in marked and profound ways. This world is one that is only understood by the Magician, its not part of the larger social pattern. For a short while the Magician sequesters him or herself into a world of her creation. Of course there are maps available to her that will help, such as Mythology or the writings of other Magicians, even fiction. These tools are meant to suspend the “us” that has been tormented by the rational and scientific modern age, to re-manifest and reconstitute the part of ourselves that was enchanted with the world before science taught us equations meant to explain every miracle.
So, discussing magic(k) and mystery is probably one of my favorite things to do. But I’m a rational Magician, I don’t get caught up in fantastical imaginings of spirit manifestations and similar stories. I consider magic(k)al practice a mental workout, its effects mainly for personal betterment, a way to transform the self through ritual. In fact I separate my religious practice from my Magic(k)al one…Religious practice verifies and confirms my world whereas Magic(k)al practice reminds me that sometimes we need to step out of one world into another, not literally, but mentally.
My equilibrium was challenged during my recent magic(k) meeting. I was asked, very innocently, about the possibility of bridging the gap between the Magicians world that usually stays calmly and safely within my ritual room behind its closed door, and the world full of constructed and agreed upon norms.
In that instant I couldn’t even verbalize to my ‘colleague in chaos’ how he had shaken me. On his couch I sat going through the Rolodex of possibilities in my mind, each mental note-card containing tidbits of lore from my twenty years of being involved in magic(k), trying to find a solution to the query he had posed. I was stunned, and I understood the role of the Magician as no other time in my life. Like the Tarot card Magician, one hand up with wand pointed skyward, the other pointed down, I felt trapped in the middle between two opposing currents. The One that says look to the solidity of the ground beneath you for the stable and the assured, the Second which is ethereal and enchanting and found with forethought and difficulty.
The mystery of that moment on the couch is that for once I had nothing to say. I was the Magician caught in the middle of the two worlds that, like the card image, will probably, one day, be forced to reconcile.
I realized then that I was two people living in two very different worlds. I am a rational person, choosing to involve myself in irrationality. The Fool is card 0, the Magician card 1. Is it because the Fool has no realization of the worlds he inhabits, and the first step, the step of knowledge begins with the effort to understand that the self is the nexus of the stable and the ethereal(?) and the one who defines how they unite and what he will do with that knowledge along the way.
Just something on my mind lately…