Don’t worry, I’m not going to give every post two titles from now on, but I just thought this one was kinda funny. It’s okay if you don’t get it…
Anyway, it seems to be my cross to fire out ideas in such half assed fashion that people easily misunderstand what I’m trying to say. Sometimes they get it fine, but superficially, sometimes they seem not to get it at all. Which perhaps only shows a disparity in underlying epistemic and ontological assumptions.
Now, by the nature of AB I talk about magick a lot, and also by the nature of AB I tend to talk about extremely unconventional forms of magick, if there can be said to be such a thing, and further still I talk about them in large part to people with little or no background in magickal or traditional spiritual practice. So that creates three possible sources of confusion: first I’m talking about magick and people don’t know what I mean when I use terms they also use. Second I talk about forms of magick that have no relation to what other people do or practice in the field of magick, which tends to lead them to thinking what I’m talking about is impossible. And lastly, I run up against assumptions about the world and the things and people in it that preclude the holders of those assumptions from entertaining something contradictory to those concepts, or at least outside the safely defined boundaries of those concepts.
Let’s take my last post for instance: Some people accepted it because it confirmed their worst fears about occultists, others rejected it because it contradicted their understanding of occult practice, and others still failed to see how I was talking about magick at all, as it seemed to be nothing beyond what we normally might think of as the working of the ‘national security state’. What this tells me for starters is that I need to make a better distinction between kinds of occultists, because just calling them good or bad or black or white is not only trite but misleading. So just as I made what seemed to me a useful distinction between Lucifer and Ahriman ( which seems to at last be gaining some traction), I want to make another set of distinctions in the group of occult practicioners.
Keeping in mind that these are fuzzy and overlap to some extent, let’s proceed: The first set I will call the Visionaries. These are the ones who receive the initial paradigm shift, divine revelation, angelic contact, gnosis, or alien abduction. Regardless of how it happens these are the creative geniuses and prophets who supply the impetus for everything that follows. These are the people who usually end up the legendary founder of a religion or tradition. People who try to hew as closely as possible to the spirit or inspiration of the tradition will also be in this model under the category of ‘visionary’. The important thing to remember is the focus is first and foremost on transcendent revelatory experience. Examples would include Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, the Buddha, Hermes Trismegistus, and inspired followers in their footsteps who have the creativity to discriminate while preserving the essential spirit. Relatively recent visionaries would be William Blake, Aliester Crowley, Terrence McKenna, and Phillip K Dick. Those who rest firmly within an established visionary tradition would be the Dalai Lama, Ramana Maharshi, or Mother Teresa. You could think of someone like Marshall McLuhan or Alan Turing as a kind of visionary in the worldly sense as well.
The second category would be the Magi or Technicians. These folks are the ones who do the grunt work of taking the initial impetus of the founder or teacher and unfolding that into a skill set, and using that skill set to achieve results in this world. It’s important to remember that while some ecstatic shaman had a vision of the spirit world, it was the technical innovators who took that visionary knowledge which would in that era have been magick, and invented cave painting, or tool creation, or language, or chemistry, metalworking, divination, healing or whathaveyou. They could well be the same person initially, but chances are they weren’t, and in any event long after the founder is dead the technicians are still tinkering with new magickal applications. Pretty much everyone who thinks of themself as practicing ‘magick’ these days is a technician, with the odd exception looking past the skill set to further visionary experience. Crowley is a good example of a gifted technician who struggled to be a visionary without a lot of success, at least in his life. Peter Carroll and William Burroughs would probably be the last two biggest magickal innovators of the 20th century, laying the groundwork for much of what passes as magick today. Things like NLP and media theory as practiced by Douglas Rushkoff would be excellent examples of technical innovations that occupy that twilight border of the magickal as they still have not been broken down and codified sufficiently to kill the relatively fresh creative spirit.
Our final category, and the ones who tend to cause most of the problems for us today, is the Priesthood. Once the visionary spirit has begun to falter, once technical innovations are sufficiently codified and creativity has migrated elsewhere, the would-be priesthood moves to consolidate control and monopolize knowledge, power, and influence. The name of the game for the priesthood is obfuscation. The reason is, once things have gotten to the level where anyone can use the skills or quote the book, you need to make sure that only the appropriate people can actually learn the skills, or read the book. The interesting thing is, the systems of doing this, what we might call ‘priestcraft’ represent a skill set in and of themselves, subject to technical innovation, even the odd visionary revelation I’m sure. As long as there has been knowledge and resources to monopolize there have been priests refining the means to do so, and cultivating a social structure to educate and indoctrinate the priests.
So when I was talking about how ‘black magicians’ are shepherding the public mind, these are not spiritual visionaries I’m talking about or technical magickal innovators, but the same secretive clique of priests, gatekeepers and obfuscators that have always told people what to think. Their practices are not the practices of the visionary although they may borrow the lingo, their practices are not those of the technician, although they may hire a few, and use the tools they create, and the systems they develop. Their magickal practices are codified languages, obscure rituals, deception, social influence, outright lies and their most powerful magick: the ability to determine the boundaries of acceptable discourse. They have and have always had the power to decide what is speakable truth, and what is taboo, within their sphere.
So when we talk about the black magicians who seem to be running the show, or perhaps calling them archons, or counter initiates, what we’re talking about is a very old and very real branch of the occult, which has been around at least since Sumeria and probably before that. And as usual there will be the denials: that’s not magick, that’s just the powerful keeping people down like they always have… Yeah okay. But how did they do that in the first place, do you think?
Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s ALL magick. It always has been.