Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sorcery vs. Fate

I usually like to be sparked by someone or something else in order to write. I'm kind of reactive that way, and it's a failing I'm trying to get over by requiring a post every day during Lent (and I'm down one).  Today, my interest was sparked by The Unlikely Mage and his ongoing series of Money Magic postings regarding trying to improve his situation.

It's been fun to read, as I'm currently reading other stuff that basically ignores the magic and the intersection between the magician and his material wealth. Magical Knowledge I definitely reacts poorly to the idea of using magic to improve your material lot, seeing the exercise of magical power as a spiritual endeavor. "The Secret Practices of the Sufis" obliquely addresses the Islamic concept of Maktub, or fate (It is written). So, it's nice to see someone working their will in opposition to the stars and currents around them.

I heard an anecdote about one magician who swore he was star-crossed. So he did a very long working, where he negated his birth chart, and chose another one. I think it took three years. After that working, however, he was a different person. The changing of his stars had a marked effect on his personality and his outward opportunities.

Personally, I'm more drawn to the romantic hero, who tries in spite of the fact that he'll probably fail. So, in my magical studies, I tend to side more with the Rufus Opuses, the Jason Millers, and the Unlikely Mages rather than more fatalistic magicians. I think we should struggle against fate, even if we're doomed. Dylan Thomas, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Zack de la Rocha are the poets of people who do not accept reality as they find it, but rather try to change it for the better, even if only in their area, even if only for a while.

As a gnostic, I truly align myself against the fates, for in my cosmology, the fates conspire to keep me from God. They force choices between meditation and driving to work, between study and meetings, between all that God would like for us, and the best the world can provide. And, in the end, the fates, the 7 archons and 12 watchers above, who set the stage and the daily ticks of the clock, are the ones who send the divine spark back into the murk that is the world.

And that injustice can not stand. So I applaud those mages who struggle against their fate. If you know of others, please mention them in the comments. I'm sure there are numerous ones out there.


michaelseblux said...

I first enountered the word, "maktub" in my reading of Paulo Coehlo's "The Alchemist" of all places, ever since it really struck a cord with me and my subsequent conversations with Muslim clergy. In "The Alchemist, it's explained in the following way"

"Maktub," the merchant said, finally.
"What does that mean?"
"You would have to have been born an Arab to understand," he answered. "But in your
language it would be something like 'It is written.' "

Maktub isn't unalterable fate - dar Islam does not believe in any such concept - but rather it's a set of guidelines, like the lines of illustrations in a coloring book that we can choose to stay in or go out of and all the consequences that come with it. It's really a beautiful concept.

In a like manner, I think of the stars and their influences on us at birth as sort of a temporary mold given us that we can alter and futher develop in the same way that a sculpter is never quite sure of all the fissures in a block of marble that could either break or add character to the finished product.

As for the roles of the archons and the celestial agencies surrounding the circumstances of our existence, I postulate - possibly controversially - that even the archons are not unredeemable and that, by being born incarnate for all its crap, we are in a somewhat beneficial state to educate our wardens and bring them the light of the gnosis before we squeeze past them to this end, I think it's important to engage the archons and 'the powers and principalities' through our work and remind them that they too are temporal.

Jeffrey S. Kupperman said...

Michael, back when I was in full-swing development of an initiatory order, I had designed the 1st degree ritual to include encounters with the planetary archons and their subsequent redemption, via angelic powers, in order for the candidate to move forward in the ritual. So, this seems entirely normal to me, and is described by some Neoplatonists in regards to certain kinds of daimons that due to their activities in matter take on hulic accretions, which, like as with the human soul, interfere with their participating the good, turning them . . . er, not good until purified.