I have been thinking about C. G. Jung’s typological work again, in part because I have been thinking about the opening of a personal magical practice, about what constitutes the healthy openign for a person. Reflection on such beginnings provide insight into the present situation they made possible, and they also provide possible insight for those who are at the beginning, so it seems like good blogging material.
For the brief life of this blog, I have rigorously managed my drafts folder. I kept one post full of post fuel and a few posts in process. If a post was in process for more than a few days, I trashed it. Maybe I bounced some part of it back into post fuel, maybe I didn’t.
My partner has had a copy of Alison Butler’s Victorian Occultism and the Making of Modern Magic: Invoking Tradition lying about the place for a few weeks. I’ve cracked it open and start reading at random; so far, it has always been interesting. Besides thinking that the book would have sounded sexier had the title and subtitle been transposed, it is pretty much all I could ask for from a scholarly book on the matter. It embeds the Golden Dawn in a broader historical horizon and it does so with frequent appeal to biographical detail.
Back in my first year or so of graduate school, I attended a lecture on the importance of writing in mysticism. I wish I could remember the name of the woman, but it escapes me. I carried a copy of it around with me through a few moves, but there have been just one or two many sharp turns in my life since then; it fell off the proverbial truck.
It was the late 1990s and she had come of age reading Derrida and De Man, but beneath the veneer of deconstruction there was an astounding core: for a group convinced of the ineffability and transcendence of the divine, mystics were obsessed with writing about it. It’s almost compulsive. Rather than a via negativa that opens to a pleroma, what if it only ever opens to a threatening negativa, which it is the work of writing to obscure?
I want to keep talking about my spiritual practice in this post. The last post focused on the practice itself, but now I want to focus on the individual undertaking the practice. From this perspective, the emphasis shifts toward an appreciation of spiritual disposition. The practices described in the previous post really only become fully intelligible when you realize that they are directed at realizing a kernel of possibilities contained within the singular individual, in this case me. These possibilities are specific to me and my life and so the more clearly I identify them, the better I am able to activate them.