So, after the talking around potential connections between the doubles and the face, I sat down and started to work through them to feel out the letters. I went straight to the letters, bypassing the planetary correspondences for now (three witnesses, separately He created them).
When I talk about getting to know a spirit, I am usually talking about a lengthy ritual process through which the spirit becomes manifest, divination performed upon it, and a personal connection established. The personal connection part of the process is absolutely essential but difficult to describe. Even after a lengthy ritual manifestation and divination, the nature of the spirit is often opaque. It is only after weeks and months of living with it that the spirit’s place in my broader spiritual court becomes manifest.
Categories are dangerous things. The separation of one kind of thing from another at the conceptual level leads us toward deeper knowledge and deeper ignorance simultaneously. Once we separate one kind from another at the level of concept, we prepare the way for forms of action that treat them as separate in actuality.
Mercury’s patronage of doctors…may seem a little odd, but until recently most medicine consisted almost entirely of charlatanism, quackery, placebos, convoluted explanations and excuses, huge bills and rapid exits. A fair bit of it stil does, both in its conventional and alternative modes.
The connections between Mercury and opportunism of all sorts is real enough, but this way of connecting them to medicine over-emphasizes them. There is a lot more than opportunism and trickery to Mercury. Digging into the quote just a little, there are two points I want to address: one is a matter of tone, the other of substance.
The little bit I did about geomancy and spiritualism puts me in mind of an issue that is mighty important for a working spiritualist/magician/shaman/etc. There are many spiritual worlds and while many of them abut and overlap our own world, they are not precisely identical with it or each other. Yet, because there does seem to be some basic cosmic entanglement through their unity in God, there are many parallel patterns. That makes it easy for us to confuse one world with another, one spirit with another. We can hear them described and position them within the spiritual world or worlds with which we are familiar without actually knowing whether they belong there or belong to a world parallel to it.
Please indulge me as I wax philosophical. If we define religious experience as experience of the spiritual plane, then it makes sense to explore it on its own terms. While our attitudes, expectations, and behaviors shape how we approach it, there is something distinctive to it that resists our expectations. That resistance demands some sort of response such that the understanding we develop about the spiritual world and how we behave toward it tell us something both about ourselves (individually and socially) and the spiritual world. Because the spiritual world isn’t just any way we want, but has its own substance, we can discern its reality ‘beneath’ the descriptions and rites. This makes it both possible and reasonable to compare one form of religious expression with another. The way in which we make that comparison, though, needs to keep those variables in mind and try to make sense of the different forms of religious expression ecologically rather than getting carried away with superficial similarities.
[For those who are fans of technical philosophical vocabulary, we might call this strategy critical, phenomenological, and pragmatic. If you don’t care about those terms, don’t worry. You don’t have to be connosieur to enjoy the wine.]