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Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Polarity

Lethe

Lethe (Photo credit: Sasha Chaitow)

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” — The Kybalion.

This is by far one of my favourite principles, because of its simplicity and complexity of duality, polarity and living your life through paradoxical means. This principle does not embody the idea of opposing factors that aren’t fully connected, but rather that these opposites need each other to function. They balance one another out, so in a way they are identical in nature, as mentioned above.

Exempli gratia, black and white. For the magician, black and white have highly significant connotations to ritual or qabalah. They are never seen as separate poles, as each physical pillar holds complex symbols that cannot be charged without the other. You can’t work one kind of magick, without being taught how to work another kind, you need both. The same goes for understanding both light and dark energies, as they are both needed to be understood in order to fully work one or the other. It’s lovely spending your whole life wanting nothing but the light, but you have had to experience the dark at some point in order to fully experience the light, or vice versa.

Think of polarity as a paradox: how can you truly indicate where happiness stops and anger begins? You can argue that in order to feel a shift from one emotion to the other, there is a halfway point, but there isn’t a true indicator of how and when you physically change. You merely stop yourself laughing, and then head down the other end of the pole, to anger, and vice versa. You are still on the metaphorical pole.

The principle itself presents the idea that instead of separating one thing from the other, you must realise and accept that they are in fact made of the same stuff, and they live coherently with one another. This is the beauty of old ideals, before the rise of modern religions separated good and evil. The night is always darkest before the dawn is one quotation I’ve grown up remembering. Wherever one element is, its polar (pole) opposite isn’t far away.

One way to put this into a magickal context, at least for my own study over the last decade comes from the idea of discipline. I have dedicated my life to living, and in order to do so I’ve had to make a lot of choices I wouldn’t normally like to think about doing. When I first started practicing I was doing the odd spell here and there, without really committing myself to a regular regime, and nor did I fully understand the implications of what I was doing. I was 11/12 years old after all. It took me another year, when I was 13 to stop practising spells and spend the year studying and writing. After that, I made it a personal mission to spend at least 50% of my time studying witchcraft, and 50% practising it. The benefits were amazing, and it was all down to be able to understand the physical nature of spiritual truth, and experiencing spiritual connectedness by understanding magick. I’ve stuck to that plan my whole magickal life, so you can imagine my shock when I came across the Kybalion and read this principle.

I guess all I can say about this axiom is, don’t spend your time trying to separate or runaway from something that seems wrong, especially as a lot of pagans are quick to judge those who follow “apparently” darker paths. You may need to experience the dark side once in a while in order to reap the benefits of the light. At the same time, practice and study, even when you don’t want to. If you put in the effort during those hard times, it will save you having to catch up later on, and you will be more blessed. Its polarity + common sense + discipline = ultimate flexibility.

In LVX and NOX, 93s

Past posts in the series:

I had a huge break as so much was going on at the time, and then I lost the rest of the  posts I was hoping to edit and publish. All will open in new windows.

Hermeticism and Me | The Hermetic Principles – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Mentalism – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Correspondence – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Vibration – September 2012


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18 Months a Thelemite | Petty Stuff

“18 months? Really? Is that all?” – that’s what one friend wrote in a catch up email (plus I also find I prefer catch-ups, so I can get used to normal interaction). The fact that it’s only been 18 months makes me giddy with delight. It’s been tough, easy, tiresome and weary, but I am one happy young woman for it. A lot of folks who are new to Thelema like myself, follow my stuff in order to see one perspective. I also follow podcasts, blogs and learn from friends about their own perspectives on Thelema. All in the goodness of progress, and to gain further knowledge.

I have been using specific jargon, trying to teach myself gematria (considering I grew up part Jewish, it’s still not bloody easy…) and using Thelemic greetings on a daily basis. I did notice a few folks writing to me about certain small areas they were stuck on, so here are a few tiny bits I’ve learnt in order to feel and be a new Thelemite.

First and foremost, try not to be afraid. If you are curious about something, I am pretty sure someone has written something about it, so read it and see. Understand that you are in total control, so if you allow your fears and worries to stop you from progressing, be aware of that and note it down. Remember, it’s all progress and you have an awful lot of time to realise the person you are and the Will you must acknowledge. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, especially emotionally and physically that I didn’t pay much attention to, either because I didn’t know how or I lived in fear. I’m all better now that in working through those issues.

I was told, by many and via Crowley’s words that all you need to do is accept Liber AL vel Legis, and understand it by exercising your Will through Magickal practice and cleansing. It is also super helpful to read and study what you can, and note every tiny detail in a journal. One of my shortest pieces followed through as such:

“22/12/2012 23:42
Force read chapter 8 of ‘The Middle Pillar’ twice. Just to understand… I’m tired and the syntax is making me even more tired. Did LBRP earlier and feel fine… Still think something is present in this room. 93”

Looking back I can gladly state I felt the negative energies being “boxed up” as it were, since the more I practiced the LBRP the more acute my awareness became. Another petty point is the number 93. A lot of new folks use it without knowing what it means, and I’m speaking from experience. 93 is commonly used as a greeting between Thelemites to signify love and will, here’s how:
Θ = 9
ε = 5
λ = 30
η = 8
μ = 40
α = 1

Add all the numbers and it equals: 93!
Θελημα is Thelema written in Greek; it means Will.

Α = 1
γ = 3
α = 1
π = 80
η = 8

Add all the numbers and it equals: 93!
Αγαπη is Agape written in Greek; it means Love.

Two phrases are apparent, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” (AL 1:40) and “Love is the law, love under will” (AL 1:57), with a deep understand around the words “love” and “will”. The first verse has emphasis on the will of a person, and the second verse follows through with giving love and inspiring will. So when Thelemites greet one another they usually say “93!”, or “93s!” to encapsulate this. In letters/emails/texts, whether formal or not, it is known to write 93 at the beginning and the end. For me, I like the formal and informal way of writing:

Formal:
93,

Body of message.

93, 93/93

Informal:
93, (or to close friends who are in in the joke, 93 Peaches),

Body of message.

93s!

93 is also a visual reminder or symbol to the Thelemite to stay true to his path and be free within discipline; at least that is how I see it.

As mentioned before, I like to follow various authors and speakers on the matter of life as a Thelemite. One such person is located on the blog roll over there ↗️ Or ➡️… IAO131 (just google that). He has been someone who has not only inspired the way I allow myself to be more open minded, but he was recommended to me by Mr Vamp, and thus I have recommended his website and books to other people. Speech in the Silence and ThelemaNOW! are also great sources for the modern green bean, such as myself. So set out into the world and breathe deep; you are the centre if your universe.

Another useful tip when living life as a Thelemite which I found most useful, flash cards. Bloody write stuff on them and train your mind! They are heaven sent! Whoever invented them needs sainthood. I mean it! In the last 18 months, I would write stuff all over my journals, and it never occurred to me to use damn flash cards until a friend mentioned them. You learn something new everyday!

That’s all I can think of as super, super duper basics for now. I’ll think of other stuff in future.

93s folks!


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Mourning My Pagan Past is Making Me Angry

This will be a super weird post, as it’s something I haven’t thought about too thoroughly. However, it does revolve around my personal education as a magician and Thelemite. More than ever, it’s a lifelong lesson I know I must endure, and it’s a very personal one at that. These last few posts have seen me looking at my past as I’m currently analysing what has happened. I guess I’m preparing myself for an in depth chapter of my life, which I feel will be part of the making of my character.

Most people come to a point in life when they’ve made a positive, and drastic change to their lifestyle and their beliefs especially. I am no exception to that prevailing device. When I made the decision to stop being Christian and Jewish I was young and didn’t mind. The transition was fairly easy, looking back. I was a preteen with a big ambition, a big heart and a love for something more than what I was brought up to believe. I knew something bigger was out there, I just didn’t know what. It was around that tender age that my God complex and base philosophical ideals started to show signs of development. G-d was something more.

When. I found witchcraft everything seemed fine. Sure, I had to keep my books and tools a total secret but that’s all part of the journey. Later came Wicca, and I made a nice comfy seat inside the broom closet. I learnt a lot about the general basics of witchcraft, and learnt the observances and religious ideals from Wicca. Again, my deep roots within philosophy and questioning were quite apparent, and soon I found the roadblocks and hypocrisy within a free religion that revealed no freedom, and it didn’t teach me about ascension – don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely path, but I hated staying in one place and blaming myself for it.

The denial and the pressure to conform to an ideal that wasn’t actually ideal made life difficult. I wanted to be part of something true, as I made a ton of friends, but for me it wasn’t something that sat well within my heart. I put all my intentions into the universe and it replied by sending me down other paths whilst continuing to carry the Wiccan flag. This continued until the occult made herself known, and especially until I found Thelema.

The transition I’ve gone through in the last year has meant I have seen and experienced things I had never thought truly possible. The philosophy of Thelema, Hermeticism and such alike have really shaken my foundation. It’s good to have the odd shake once in a while – it really forces you to stop and just smell the coffee. I found I would ask myself each week what I believed and why. Some of my occult ad pagan buddies found my new found home quite intriguing, and thus I felt I could open up. Some have actually requested titles I have enjoyed, and I have been generous in recommending all kinds of material around Thelema and the occult. A few friends have actually turned to Thelema as it serves as a foolproof philosophy that instills freedom, rigidity and a truly personal connection to the universe. There is a goal to not only achieve, but it also shows a lot of people the truth about who they are. Maybe I’m wrong, but without Thelema I wouldn’t have reached the plateau I have.

I’m unable to fully accept the amount of anger that grew once I began studying harder. The unfulfilled and empty wishes. In fact, I stopped performing spells years back, and stuck with ritualised formulas instead. I’ll probably make space to perform small spells in the future… Maybe not. My transition was mostly positive, but boy I felt like I screwed myself terribly during my “denial days”. To this day I’m still weary of practices from my past, especially as such practices are on the rise. My toughest life lesson is following Liber LXXVII so wholeheartedly. At first glance it looks so easy, and once explained makes a whole lot of sense, but the more I look at it the more my past rears it’s ugly head.

Is that normal? To feel disdain toward the unfulfilling elements of my past? I’m shocked by how angry I am toward it all. I assume it’s some kind of purge? I have this annoying trait which means I want to help everyone – I know I can’t. But the idea of just letting someone fall without even attempting to help them bothers me. I’m a big softie! People are free to do as they please, especially if they are happy as they are. I have no right to show them any other way. It’s how their life is supposed to run. Sometimes that’s a great reminder to just stay out, but sometimes it’s a painful thing to watch.

It’s a lifelong lesson all right. I guess what I’m trying to point out also, is the fact that you must stay rigid even when you feel utterly sour and useless. Sometimes you have to “lay back and just let people walk all over you as it’s their Will,” as one friend wrote me recently (thank you). When do you stand up for yourself, without shoving your beliefs down their neck? It’s all rather complex and simple all at the same time.

That’s all I can think if right now, but I am thinking about how to approach the very sensitive issue of Wicca from a Thelemic point of view without offending all Wiccans’ or pagans. Maybe that’s another ponder post for the future.

I haven’t been making a great deal of sense with my musings or theories. I just hope I figure it all out soon!