Saturday, February 23, 2013

On Being Clergy and an Esotericist

I was asked how I balance being a clergyperson and an esotericist. Do I see them as part of a greater continuum, or keep them separate.

I definitely see them as a continuum. I think the clergy person is an esotericist, even he or she does no magic or joins no orders. The clergy, after all, read obscure books and have obscure knowledge, which can only be described as 'esoteric'. Some of it is overtly so, parables and numerology and mysticism, and some of it is not.

In any case, the goal of the clergy and the practicing esotericist should be the same: The salvation of as many as possible. The clergy person does it directly, through pastoral efforts and education of the populace. Sometimes, the efforts of clergy are misguided, but I do genuinely think that most are trying to provide for the lost in their own context. That context may not be appropriate, and there are bad examples.

The esotericist is looking for the salvation of many via the learning of, wrestling with, and propagation of obscure but vital knowledge and energies. The step from just reading to practicing and lecturing is a big one, but it's important, and most esotericists know it. They work with unseen forces and subtle energies for the same purposes as the clergy person does, and I think with subtler results. Their quiet example often has as great an impact as the more vibrant example of the cleric.

Not all esotericists will put themselves out there like the clergy do. The esotericist may or may not wear a uniform that allows you to identify them. They may or may not have a blog. You may never know that the nurse, the office worker, or the coffee salesperson you encounter every day has copies of Iamblicus and the Picatrix on their bookshelf at home. And yet, these people too are working with the same forces and toward the same goal as the clergy, just with a different method and different display.

As for my balance, it should be easy to tell that, for me, one informs the other. I couldn't help anyone with out the knowledge and research I've done, and that knowledge and research would do me no good without the vocation I've undertaken to service.  So, the two are not all that distinct for me, but rather intertwined in my life.



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