This is more of an ETA than a post, brief and a little prospective. I realize that I have been using ceremonial and spiritualist a little fast and loose and will likely keep doing so. It’s convenient, cuts along some important joints, and gets at some confusions that I think hinder discussions around ‘magical’ and ‘occult’ work. That said, these are broad cuts and they aren’t the only cuts that can be made. They are exemplary only. I hope to talk about some other circuits, too, as well as here and there touching on the complexity that each circuit can manifest (part of that fractal thing again–complexity within complexity). I do think that a little history will be in order, if for no other reason than to establish the framework that I bring to the distinction.
I talked a little about the ceremonial-hermetic and spiritist circuits in the last post, but made an obvious ommission, the gnostic circuit. This circuit cuts straight through the heart of the coil and provides the backbone for pretty much all initiatory practices. Folks familiar with the Kabbalah will recognize this as the middle pillar, the straight road that joins Keter, Daath, Tifaret, Yesod, and Malkuth. No matter the initiatory circuits favored, the gnostic one will necessarily come into play. Activated, it will activate the entire coil in sympathy. This sympathetic activation is part of what leads to the confusion of circuits. A spiritualist who work activates Hod will have magician-like experiences but without having the tools to manipulate them properly, and vice versa.