The Wizard Questions

I know, quelle surprise. After talking about the witch conceptual field, it makes sense to ask after the wizardly conceptual field. The two intersect with each other dynamically after all.

The wizard puts themselves before their spiritual experience and asks how to order it. How do I establish between the disparate elements of my experience a pattern that allows me to recall it and direct it?

It is here that command is important for the wizard. The pattern the wizard seeks to impose is that of a discipline, one through which they are able to reproduce the clarity of their concepts in the substance of their experience.

Looking back to the previous post, we can examine the two cases mentioned there from the wizard side. What W. B. Yeats does in producing A Vision is establish an order that he can then apply to himself, to others, and to the world itself. Examining this more closely, we can see more clearly the shift from the witchly to the wizardly conceptual field.

The identification of potencies and their interaction is an entirely witchly endeavor. However, in A Vision those potencies form the basis of a closed field. The 28 mansions of the moon become a rubric into which all souls can be categorized, distributed, and ordered. A Vision is interesting in part because the ordering is only partially successful and a witchly disorder can still be seen tugging at the seams; the march seems always on the verge of dissolving into revelry. But, then, William is a poet first.

There is something similar going on in Jung’s analytic psychology. While it begins with the rowdy spiritual encounters of The Red Book, it concludes in the neat discipline of self-integration, with each spirit subsumed to a category (anima, animus, senex, shadow, Self) to which specific psychological operations ought to be applied. Unlike Yeats’s work, Jung’s work tends toward a cold abstraction (though reports of his practice suggest something much livelier—again the dynamic interplay of the two fields).

Because it is systematic, the wizardly order can be reproduced through subjecting students to a course of study. Such a course propagates the ordering process. If it is carried out far enough, the wizard reshapes their environs in the image of the their order. This is the point at which the active discipline can be mistaken for a ‘natural order’ of some sort or another.

With the wizardly, it makes more sense to talk of schools and kingdoms, teachers and kings, than of fellow-travelers. Do they support my authority? Do they counter it? Are they rivals to it? The question of order brings with it the trappings of allegiance and diplomacy.

The wizardly is first and foremost a question of order and discipline enters as a means to an end. Discipline and order (like need and want) occupy overlapping semantic terrain and can be confused with each other. the confusion of discipline and order often form the basis for wizardly excess and a danger of tyranny and indifference accompanies the wizardly.

That danger is often best neutralized by a kind of vigorous and beneficent elitism. Acknowledging the peculiarity of the wizardly discipline under the aspect of elitism at least preserves its unnatural character and the fostering of superior beneficence minimizes the degree to which the discipline is applied.

In the tension between life and word, the wizard favors the word and attempts to put life in order according to their understanding of the grammar of the word.

4 thoughts on “The Wizard Questions

  1. Pingback: Discipline in the Face of Emergency | Disrupt & Repair

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