Saturday, January 14, 2012

When to toss traditional lore out

This Viper needs to be taken to the curb.
Something that every working magician will eventually have to wrestle with is the question: When do you toss a piece of lore out of one's system?

(By "working magician," I mean those people who get up off the sofa and spend time actually casting spells and performing magic, rather than just reading about it.)

Now in the traditional hierarchies, the answer is: When your superiors tell you to. Therefore, First Order is ordered by Second Order when to abandon lore and procedures; and in return, Second Order is guided by the Third Order (Secret Chiefs). This answer is all and fine, provided that you are actually in a Strict Obedience/Observance Order, and are willing to take orders.

But most working magicians, or at least the ones that I have dealt with, tend to be lousy at taking orders. And most Strict Observance Orders will rapidly kick out or lose their working magicians. The reason for this is that experience quite often conflicts with "authorized lore" and most Strict Observance are knee-deep in the idea that "authorized lore" is the best, and sometimes only, way to accomplish magical goals.

A few years ago, I was present when a new Strict Observence Order was being started. One day, the subject of Atlantis came up. I stated my opinion that Atlantis was one of those pieces of lore that needed to be kicked to the curb. The leader of the group flatly told me that I was wrong because the GH Frater S used Atlantis in his lessons, therefore it was tradition and had to be included in the system. At this point, I started to look for the escape pod.

(No, I did not leave just over the fact that Atlantis was being included in the system; there was also plenty of administration issues that made me want to bail out of the system.)

Now, in my case, I had good reasons to bolt over the issue of Atlantis. In an earlier group, I had seen the concept of Atlantis being used, and watched the group jump off the rails. Fortunately, there was a working magician at the helm, who rapidly pulled the plug before the group became an outright doomsday cult. Nevertheless, it permanently associated Atlantis with the rancid smell of some lesser evil in my mind.

And unlike the leader, who insisted that I was wrong, I actually had spent some time researching the importance that was attached to Atlantis down though the years. Atlantis was a footnote in Greek mythology and philosophy, something ignored by the esoteric tradition for over two thousand years. It wasn't until the question of why there was similar animals in the New World, as well as human beings and those pesky pyramids arose that Atlantis was dug out of the rubbish bin.

(We all know that human beings have to be told about the concept of stacking rocks on top of one another---it is not like the idea naturally occurs to us when we have plenty of rocks and spare labor at hand.)

Today, we do not need Atlantis to explain the fact that there was plants and animals common to both the Old World and the New World. But there are people who insist that Atlantis cannot be taken out to the rubbish bin...because it is now a part of the official authorized esoteric lore.

(Here is a mystery for you---given the fact that Atlantis was so advanced [the last time I checked they supposely had atomic bombs and lasers, and next year they will be credited with time machines, stargates and warp drives], why haven't we found any plastic from their civilization?)

The bugbear of official authorized lore drives working magicians up the wall. Start talking to people about how to accomplish a magical task, and one finds themselves judged by what the authorized lore says. It does not matter whether or not your method actually works; what matters is whether some old grimoire or famous occult writer agrees with you and your method.

(By the way, working magicians presume if you cite authorized lore as your twenty-four inch rule and do not ask the "special" question that you are not a working magician. And all working magicians know what the special question is.)

There are a whole bunch of occult writers who have been enshrined---some of them are still alive (I hope that they are horrified that they have been enshrined because if they are not horrified, then they are not actually working magicians). A few years ago, I remember a great fuss was being made over this one book (it does not matter which one). At the time, I had no opinion of the book; it wasn't one that I ever worked with. Later on, I did work with the book---if the material was copied, it worked just fine---if it was unique, well, it sucked rocks on toast. The book was enshrined as the only way to accomplish certain things; and quite honestly based on my own results, I doubt that anyone who was busy talking about how great the book was, actually used any of the unique material in the book. In the end, I used other methods to accomplish the same goals.

And yes, I know, I know---just because the material did not work for me does not mean that it was not the proper way to do things. After all, we all know that I am complete and utter plotz without no respect for traditional and properly authorized esoteric lore. But I am a working magician, and the method I use to determine if some lore or magical prodecure remains in my tool box is RESULTS. If it does not work for me, I take it out to the curb and leave it by the rubbish bin. Of course, that habit makes me very unwelcome in the Strict Observance to the Shrine of Official Authorized Occult Lore circles. But that is ok, I prefer to do my drinking in the company of working magicians.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

On an offhand note, according to the Time Traders by Andre Norton, if an ancient civilization did exist with lots of plastics for construction materials then they would have been ground up and lost in the glaciers of the ice age. Does the "official lore" say that Atlantis was that long ago? Also Plato used Atlantis as a created myth, most people think of it as the utopia, but in Plato he uses them (and he invented them so this is as correct as you can get) as the bad guys who were terrorizing the world until the utopian (read the republic to understand his idea of a utopia) Athenians of nine thousand years ago (which didn't exist) defeated them and then Atlantis was destroyed by an earthquake. It wasn't until a right fool in the 1800s, who thought that Plato as the world's greatest philosopher would never tell a lie got a hold of the idea and ran with it that it became popular. And it didn't become mainstream until the founder of the Theosophical society heard about it.