I want to pick up where I left off, with the Necronomicon as a literary figuration of a sort of destiny. However, I don’t think that the notebook post on destiny is quite robust enough to develop that. So, I’m going to take a post to develop more clearly my thoughts on destiny and fate. After this post, I should be ready to return to the discussion of the Necronomicon proper and describe how it, as a literary object can acquire occult significance and serves as an attractor for the development of occult ideas.
Destiny is a rich term for me; it has multiple overlapping meanings (i.e., it is a ‘polysemic’ term for me). Here I want to focus on two related meanings:
- Destiny as that which joins beings in a spiritual constellation
- Destiny as the property in those beings that allow them to enter into spiritual constellation
‘Constellation’ is a deliberately vague term but is intended to capture that difficult to pin down set of affinities that fuel our own spiritual development. The presence of certain planets in the sky, plants in our cup, thoughts in our mind, prayers surrounding us, that come together to intensify our spiritual work.
In spiritual work, it is very difficult to establish any priority between those two definitions. Destiny is something that is both outside and inside us. This isn’t too strange an idea when you think of it and holds for a lot of relationships in creation. The world is both inside and outside of us in pretty much every domain we can imagine. For example, our thoughts occur inside of our private awareness but aren’t intelligible without reference to things like the situation that motivates them and the language at our disposal to formulate them.
Destiny operates by sympathy and resonance. Sympathy is the passive or latent capacity to enter into a destined relationship with another being. Resonance is the active moment of being in constellation with another being. Spiritual work, in turn, can be divided according to which aspect of the relationship it focuses upon. Spiritual work can be a matter of clarification in which we develop our sympathies in order to be more or less able to enter into a relationship with certain beings. It can also be a matter of intensification in which we make ourselves resonate and so become an active part of destiny’s operation.
This process allows us to develop indirect but potent relationships with other aspects of creation. We become receptive to and able to activate other beings. This activity depends upon the world in which we find ourselves, with the contingent beings amidst which our being finds itself. These beings, in their independence from us, can and do inflict themselves upon us. They exert a force that determines and limits us, that sentences us to a fate. Sometimes, these other beings are quite clearly our fellow creatures, but just as often they are the sum total of their actions that arises before us as an event to which we adjust ourselves. These events are a mixture and our capacity to achieve some degree of spiritual development depends on our ability to make compromises with this sentencing fate (insert your favorite existentialism here ;-).
We have to accommodate ourselves to our fate in order to more deeply access our destiny. The manner and shape of those accommodations have profound implications for that experience and define the work of a lifetime. This is the hard part of spiritual work. We can’t enter into resonance with a generality, only with specific beings. The process of clarification and intensification depend upon what we have available to us in our concrete lives. Fate is the matter with which we must work in order to achieve an understanding of our destiny. Sometimes fate is yielding and pliable, but othertimes it is not and poses real limits to our capacity to achieve a living relationship to a destiny.
To achieve a sense of destiny through planet, plant, prayer, and thought, we need the fate that makes those possible. Now, here is the real kicker, though. The destiny is a sense of affinity, of constellation, and that affinity may be realized through different means. What one person achieves through plant and prayer, another might achieve by meditation and chant. What matters is whether the materials of fate (plant, prayer, chant, meditation) provide the individual with the means to purify and intensify themselves in a manner that makes the connection to destiny possible.
Destiny depends upon fate but is not identical with it. The mystery of that connection forms one of the mysteries of spiritual life.
Now back to the Necronomicon.