Peregrin Wildoak, our own Internet police officer, today took his higher moral ground yet again and from his ivory tower communicated a telegram criticizing the emphasis on advanced practices, a message which was written as a general survey but actually is targeted at the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega®, using his usual “holier than thou” attitude. What betrays him is the following line:
Magic – even the most intense and ‘powerful’ advanced, secret-third-order-sex-magic – is not enough.
…morality, compassion, altruism, …and community service...
Contrary to him, I damn well know that you cannot judge a character from his writings, especially not on the Internet. Commonly, people writing acid on the Internet are the direct opposite in their everyday interaction with their neighbour. It seems that Internet has a tendency to bring out the worst of us all, even in Peregrin Wildoak that Great Compassionate One, which is quite obvious, especially when reading his often sarcastic and ironic comments on other peoples blogs. So he has the benefit of the doubt on this one; I will bite my tongue and take this line of though no further.
But one thing is for sure: He has developed something like an allergy against anything penned by a member of the Alpha Omega®. Now he tries his very best to undermine the value of the fact that the Alpha Omega® in fact has something very solid to present for its Adepts, especially the senior ones, such as a fully working initiatory system and curriculum for all the Grades of our Second and Third Orders. So to legitimise his own reconstructed franchise, he has to assassinate our and other traditionalist fraternities who make it their task to actually present something solid and traditional.
The latest thing is that the lack of the right attitude – which of course has been defined by Mr. Wildoak himself – nullifies any advanced practices. Let me tell you what the greatest error is in his reasoning: As any reconstructionist, he doesn’t belive that magical and alchemical practices has any tangible (as in physical) effects but only affects us mentally and “spiritually”; the belief that spiritual developement is a mental thing and primarily show its signs in “right” thinking and behaviour. Magic is reduced to a species of occult psychology. So, with this line of reasoning, it must be the right or wrong mental attitude which decides a certain outcome of the technique, not the techique itself. That is, any mental attitude as defined by Mr. Wildoak and his spiritual idols.
Well, I might surprise some of you with what I am about to say, but pardon me if I feel the urge to simplify matters somewhat just to create a balance in the discussion. Though things that I will bring up here might apparently go contrary and seem contradictory to what I have said regarding attitude and magic before on this blog, this is actually not the case if you care to look closer and read beyond sheer semantics and refrain from splitting hairs; although I today believe that magic and alchemy is more closely linked as well in nature, i.e. together constitute objective sciences. Thus, any practice will be effective regardless of your attitude. The only qualities that actually are required, besides the knowledge of the formula itself, is determination, discipline, concentration, courage and will, and last and not least silence. Tranquillity and equilibrium of mind and emotion is of course good to gain success. But ethical and moral qualities are not required to gain success in magic and alchemy, especially not in alchemy.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that ethics and a morality aren’t important in occultism. It is of course important as this constitutes a signpost of spiritual unfoldment. What I am saying is that you don’t have to be moral or ethical prior to experiencing effects from spiritual exercises. That was also my punch line in my previous essay on this matter, that attitude must be allowed to developed over time and with our own internal understanding or gnosis of the technique we are performing, not from any external sources.
Much of what we consider to be ethical or moral behaviour or attitude is not the same thing as true ethics or true morals. Almost all of our opinions regarding this subject matter have been ingrained into our minds, and especially onto the subconscious levels of the mind, since even before we could crawl. Our superego has been developed out of fear of reprisals and social excommunication. But “fear is failure” to use the words of the Hiereus. True ethics and true morals cannot be based on fear of experiencing shame. Morality must come from within, regardless of any expected external responses good or bad; true morals and ethics often goes against the common opinions of what constitutes moral and ethical behaviour.
To use the psychology of Sigmund Freud, the superego – which hosts our morality and code of ethics and conduct – is actually built up from the energies belonging to the death drive. That’s why the superego tries its very best to suppress or repress our personality. The superego is the despotic tyrant which has usurped the throne of our True and Higher Self; it cloaks our vision of the Self beyond the Abyss. In the worst case scenario a person might take his own life when the power and pressure of the superego becomes to heavy a burden to carry; the usual cause of suicide is motivated by the urges of the superego. That ultimate act of desperation of course goes contrary to anything originating in the True Self.
Compassion is paramount as a sign of spiritual unfoldment. But it cannot be based upon fear – such as having a pharisaical Mr. Wildoak pointing his finger at me and saying what a naughty boy I am, writing this – to be properly defined as a true compassion or a real sign of spiritual development. It has to come from within, from that source of power many of us call “God”. Or as Socrates, according to Plato, would have put it: “What is dear to the gods is pious” – not what is dear to men. Plato further believed that the knowledge of moral truths springs from intelligence, and by “intelligence” Plato wasn’t referring to the ordinary rational faculties of mortal men but the eternal intellect of God. It is with this intelligence, Platon informs us, that we may perceive the ideal forms. These ideal forms also entails morals and ethics.
So compassion, or any morality, cannot be based upon conditioning, submission or adaptation to the requirements of any contemporary society’s paradigm. I doubt that any person who hasn’t experienced the divine presence of compassion, which traditionally is attributed to Chesed and the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus, is able to comprehend and even less express true Compassion. It must come from an experience from within or be born out of an internal understanding. Compassion in reality has its origin in the experience (not some lofty philosophical concept) that we all are part of the All; that we all are as One.
The difference lies between extreme morality and radical morality, two contrary concepts. The former is that kind which has been ingrained into us through society’s program of conditioning, that kind which comes from the outside of the individual and represses him; the latter is that morality which comes from within or from the divine source – a gnosis which liberates. “Extreme” means “outermost” and has its etymological origin in the Latin word exter (“external”); exoteric. “Radical” means “coming from the source” and has its etymological origin in the Latin radix (“root”); esoteric. (I am indebted to the Swedish sufi Mohamed Omar for this etymological significance and interpretation.)
This is why the esoterical path, at least of the kind which is the most radical, often is regarded to be antinomian in nature, as we as students of the Hermetic path must shed the coatings that has been pasted onto us through the process of upbringing and fostering – the family is the primary institution of society’s mental conditoning. How many true esotericists hasn’t been stoned, burned or crucified to death because of their radical and antinomian behaviour and message? Martyrdom goes hand in hand with being a radical esotericist. To really transcend the Abyss into the realm of the Supernals you have to make sacrifies of all of your pet opinions and the very paradigm in which you are living; you have to kill your darlings so to speak, even (and especially) the most precious ones.
That is why I find Mr. Wildoak’s proposition, that we should make community service for our initiates mandatory, to be ridiculous and based on a fallacy. Why should his students be forced to do that? Because he tells them to? Is that a good way to gauge a moral behaviour, to force someone to behave in a certain ethically accepted way out of fear of reprisals (i.e. being barred from advancement in Grade)? Is that to develop morality and ethics? I would rather say that it is unethical to require any such behaviour from your students based upon contemporary attitudes on morality and ethics. Perhaps Mr. Wildoak want to train a flock of meek sheep; I personally want to train future shepherds. I want my students to be radical in the truest sense of the word.
But let us not digress to far, as this short piece actually wasn’t intended to address morality per se but magical practice and to answer if morality is a prerequisite for its performance; this little digression just came to me as a true inspiration while writing. So, is a moral attitude and conduct a prerequisite for a successful practice? No, it’s the other way around actually. Moral attitude and conduct (which often goes contrary to what we expect to be moral in our contemporary society mind you!) is the outcome of proper practice; one of the major signposts that you are doing it right.
Magic and alchemy isn’t primary a mental thing, i.e. a mental manipulation of your thought patters or a reprogramming of a sorts – NLP and all that behaviouristic crap based upon manipulation techniques and chock doctrines. There is some of that as part of occult study; there is a certain orthodoxy and dogma also in occultism that has to be digested and integrated. But it has nothing to do with practice, although theory is a good start in understanding what you are doing practically. But it is not essential for any successful outcome; and understanding will develop over time anyway.
What is the purpose of magic and alchemy then? To transform your vehicle, that is your body (physical, energetic and astral) into a pure cup or calice so that it at length might receive that Solar spirit and illuminate your soul. How is this vehicle transformed? Through energetic manipulation. A magical exercise must have a direct energetic effect on your vehicle to have any value in the work. This also involves meditation, as that attracts energies as well and creates direct bodily changes. Only thus may we become aware of the true morals and ethics which comes from within, and develop a true moral and ethical orthopraxy.
So how are we then to address the compelling metaphor used by Mr. Wildoak:
Though a robe be washed a thousand times, how can it be clean if it is washed in dirty water?
But if we by “robe” mean “morality” (or rather that vehicle which holds it) and by “water” refer to “context”, I would say that “dirty water” is the equivalent of conditioned social expectation and superficial knowledge while “clean water” is a reference to gnosis coming from the spring of God. So what we have to do as serious students of the occult arts and sciences, is to throw out that dirty water from our basin (the vehicle) and make us receptive for the pure and fresh water of life to be poured into it. This may be the esoteric or radical significande of the symbology which is expressed by the baptism of the Christian and Gnostic sacrament, and the purification by water and consecration by fire in the Golden Dawn. According to the gospels the baptism by John marked the descent of the Holy Ghost upon Jesus of Nazareth, which the Gnostics declared was his awakening unto the Christ force. For me, the “Christ force” is a Christian interpretation of what occidental alchemists refer to as Solar consciousness. And with that level of spiritual unfoldment comes naturally a true Compassion carried with the rays of the Sun.
Since writing this blog yours truly is no longer affiliated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega® (H.O.G.D./A+O®). However, my general view on this subject stays firmly unchanged, as expressed in the above written text, and what I have authored previously on the Gyllene Gryningen blog still represents my overall opinion.