Monday, December 1, 2014
Addressing the Failure Rate
As I understand it most of the ''101'' literature on magic is about getting oneself from the Earthly plane to the Lunar plane.
What is the Lunar Plane? - This is where the astral world opens up, one can access directly the bloodstream of the universe, its ''dream-stream'' and encounter the various beings that lurk there - it is the beginning of Yetzirah. At first one's ability to percieve the Lunar plane is hazy or shadowy but as one continues to practise astral projection and develop the astral body one's sight grows clearer and one's ''muscles'' grow stronger. One's ability to grow and utilise the opportunities afforded by astral projection can only happen when the other planetary spheres (of Yetzirah) are developed as well. Systematic approaches to this work best. In the WMT this is typically associated with ''Yesod'', the ninth Sefira which is often linked to the Moon.
For example - works like Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah or Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick (which I consider fairly solid 101 texts if ultimately misguided by the Kircher Tree like most texts in the WMT) spend most of the time teaching the students very basic Earthly plane work and end with Lunar plane style ''pathwalking'' teachings - which they see as guided meditation or visualization.
Other 101 works are completely limited to Earthly plane work setting up ''strange attractors'' through spells, altars, talismans, sigils, bound spirits, etc to manifest that which they are designed to attract and fail to even comment on the Lunar Plane and how their strange attractors interact with it.
At any given phase of the development of the new initiate (be it Earthly, Lunar, Solar, etc) into the Western Mysteries there is a huge failure rate. I have met many people in the course of my life and work that have shelves *filled* with 101 ''introduction to magic''/''magic made easy'' style texts and have still failed to develop an astral body or complete the most basic memorization required by the Western Mysteries. These failures are often some form of flake or spiritual tourist that often move on to another tradition although some of them stay and clog the stream (although they provide good fodder for the 101 magickal author).
Of the few that succeed they must now complete further trials and tribulations to access the Mercurial Plane which requires a completely different set of skills and a great proportion fail here. People attaining to an understanding of the Mercurial plane and the subsequent further development of their astral body therefore make up a small percentage of our initial pool. Precious few achieve *genuine* ''adepthood''*.
If you are writing for personal financial profit there is absolutely no material incentive to develop texts for what I will refer to as the ''Mercurial market'' - the only thing that can motivate you is love of the tradition and the knowledge that it contains - maximum Mercurial market potential is very limited in relation to the ''terrestrial'' market and they are hardly all reachable.**
There are very few texts aimed at this market - texts that ''dumb down'' Mercurial work under the auspices of making it ''accessible'' do no-one any favours because they simply reduce the need to develop the cross-disciplinary critical thinking skills which are absolutely essential in completing ''Mercurial'' work and developing one's inner Mercury.
In order to address the failure rate and allow more people to escape the 101 loop it is absolutely essential that we create effective *peer* support. There is way too much teacher-student, cult leader-follower mentality and therefore way too much incentive to continue to milk the cattle. The old orders also reinforce this mentality with their hierarchical thinking. The ''Master-disciple'' structure is imbedded in the DNA of the WMT but it needs challenging.
I have been fortunate enough in the past to benefit from a *student-led* study group. The students in that group gained far more ground in less time with core texts and a coherent study structure than they would have working with a teacher - I guarantee that. The confident learner, sharing their insights in a supportive circle of like minded individuals, can make more difference than a small publication of 101 books to a larger group most of whom will *fail*.
When one has learned about and experienced their astral body and gained some access to their ''magickal memory'' then one is ready for the Mercurial work. This typically involves immersing oneself in the grimoires themselves - whether they be angelological, kabbalistic or alchemical (for the WMT). Most Mercurial work is undertaken with parallel studies in the mundane world - architecture, psychology, genetics, quantum physics to name the more popular disciplines. The Mercurial work also works alongside the further exploration of the Astral.
The failure rate guarantees the eventual death of our tradition. The higher-ups need to consolidate the learning of the intermediate practitioner rather than caring about the masses.
Let me finish this post with some questions:
- Do you consider yourself to be (at least) Mercurial? Does the material you post on your blog contribute to a Mercurial dialogue amongst your peers?
- Do you have an astral body? What is it like? How much time do you spend in it? What are your capabilities? Do you post your experiences of the astral on your blog? If not - why not? Are you contributing to a dialogue about what the Astral is, and the nature of those experiences? Should you be spending more time in the Astral and less on ''chat''?
- Are most of your posts terrestrial in nature? Why do you post only Earthly material? Is this important for grounding students? How does your posting of Earthly material contribute to addressing the failure rate? Are your blog readers discussing magick - or are they actually discussing identity politics, conspiracy theory, your 101 book, etc?
*I appreciate there are many more with the title, but that's about all they have.
**We often hear authors bemoaning on their blogs about how you can't make any money out of writing books about magick. If this is the case I have to ask why bother? Why not just contribute freely to the dialogue? And, as has come out recently, if you're a magickal author, but, unlike Jason Miller unable to support yourself through your authorship, have to support yourself with an unbecoming dayjob (unbecoming to your ''magickal glory'' I mean), why not quit writing about magick and re-train for a different job in your free time, giving you a better lifestyle and allowing you to contribute freely?