I have been away for the last week and have come back a little under the weather. There is one thing that I have had bouncing around in the back of my head that I want to clear out and that is the value of correspondences in magical and mystical work. Without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, this is one place that I think folks tend to get carried away on. They are absolutely essential, no doubt, because it is only through concrete and specific objects and concepts that we are able to generate an instance of the divine intelligence, but it is the relationship itself trumps all, trumps even and especially our ideas about that relationship.
There are a set of spirits that I work with which have undergone a number of distinct transformations over the course of my work with them. My identification of them as belonging together owes a great deal to this, to them having been caught up in the same series of transformation. While they did not always undergo them at the same time, the transformations rippled between them and me. Between them and me…that is the other thing that is important. These spirits have been intimately bound up with my own spiritual development.
[Decommissioning another page and rolling it into a post.]
“And God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast [Qur’an 33:4],
but He has assigned to each heart two faces, because He has created of everything two, a couple [11:40].
Hence He built bringing together on the even,
for His oddness is none save the oddness of the many.”
—Ibn al-‘Arabi, translated and quoted in The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn Al-‘Arabi’s Cosmology by William Chittick (175)
Geomantic work is freighted with significance for me—practically, as a form of divination; spiritually, as a means of communicating with subtle presences; and mystically, as a means of aligning myself with the holy and the sacred. I regularly make use of several forms of geomancy and there are many, many more forms that out there. Where to start then?
I mentioned in my last post that I am thinking about starting up a private and presumably even lower profile blog. I feel like I am ready to talk a little more about the details of my practice and that feels like it needs just a little more privacy and intimacy. A little while back Cole mentioned he appreciated seeing the materiality of the practice, presumably because so much of what I talk about here seems a little (or a lot) immaterial. In more ways than one, the blog is the countermovement to the materiality in my practice.
I’ve been on a cosmological kick while diving a little more deeply into the Gnostic material. As I read through the divergent perspectives on salvation and the best means of attaining it (which is what the cosmologies are for, after all), I am articulating it with my own magical work. There are some potential pitfalls in this sort of work and as I navigate them I’m reminded of the old saw about the map not being the territory, except that there really isn’t a map or territory in these cosmologies.
Once a month, for the last three months, my Saturdays have looked much like this:
The Book of Revelation and Sefer Yetzirah have been intertwined for me such that at this point I tend to think of them as two elements in the life work, two blocks of the same becoming, two books in the hands of twin angels. The last three months or so I have been working through a conversation between myself and spirit about the elemental lines and as that drew to a close, I finally sat down and found my way through Book of Revelation from start to finish.
I continue to find the most compelling element to be the trajectory from the seven churches to the New Jerusalem in which twelve gates open onto a (starship) city shared in common by the redeemed. Whereas as the seven churches are separated by space and self-enclosed, the New Jerusalem gathers together the many in a single place.
The movement from the doubles to the elementals has mirrored that movement, led me back out into this place where I am feeling keenly the contingency of the boundaries that we draw in the magical community, boundaries rooted in history and reinforced by black iron prison of empire. It’s hard not to see some neo-traditionalism as a form of death wish, a love for the emperor’s boot heel. We have to begin where we are, but that toward which we reach ought to gather us together.
That seems like what the movement from the planets to the heavens is about, after all, the movement that animates the promises of Mithraic liberation, too. That there is a road beyond the boundaries of the day into a higher union with each other and the world, one organized by a recognition of our singularity and our community. I don’t know if I have a good way to talk about all this properly.
Cling to reasonableness and friendliness without compromising either, seems like a start.