On the demons (or teachers?) within us

A few weeks back we had a pretty intense three day session of Gestalt-Therapy training.

During one of the training sessions I realized some interesting parallels between the emotional state one of the group members was going through and the way the qliphothic forces of Tiphareth work,Tagimron.

What happened to him was - in a nutshell - that he struggled to accept beauty in the simple and straight forward way it presented itself to him. He was in love with a woman he recently got to know and showed all the obvious signs of being in love... Yet, when left to reflect on this experience he started to question his feelings and became entangled in an inner dispute on whether to accept his love as real or not. The translation of the QliphothTagimron is 'The Disputers' and their nature is to inhibit or destroy the experience of beauty, as in a state of inner union with ones feelings. As I mentioned in the article On The Nature of the Qliphoth they can take shape in any force that creates confusion rather than fusion of heart and mind" - and this is exactly what happened to the member of the group.

Or was it? While reflecting on it later that evening I realized the same symptoms could have been evoked by a blocked heart chakra, or his astrological Sun and Venus being overshadowed by Saturn or Pluto, or by a lack of Prithivi (earth) tattwa energy that failed to ground his mind in his body...

Finally I realized that the cupboard of magickal spirit models has so many drawers it seems easy to get lost in it? Does a blocked access to my own emotions stems from a lack of water energies in my body, does it represent a negative influence of Venus or maybe a state of over-charging Saturn influences? Is it due to a decane rulership that is currently activated in my horoscope or is it truly the influence of a Qliphoth such as Golohab? To be honest, I felt a little over-equipped with magickal spirit tools and needed to take a different approach.

I found it by taking a little philosophical detour... Plotin, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, the compilers of the Picatrix and many other sources explain that the influence of spirits on creation is organized in so called 'chains' (seirai in Greek). Theodor Hopfner in his wonderful introduction to the 1933 German edition of the Picatrix provides an elaborate and very insightful summary of this idea - which is likely to suffer from my English translation, but anyway here it is:

The characteristic of this form of Neoplatonism is that the emanations of the upper world are connected to the ones of the lower world by intermediate beings; the higher the gradation of these beings the more they resemble the character of demons and gods; yet the more they unite with physical matter the more they appear as spiritual forces asleep in all animals, plants, stones and all other creatures of nature. (...) We clearly see from the (teachings of the) Lauteren Brüder that the forces of the universal soul are changing their faces and that they can be perceived as forces, or angels of God, or spirits, or even Pneumata (depending on the level of emanation they are encountered at). (Theodor Hopfner (ed.), Picatrix - Das Ziel der Weisen, 1933 p.xxvii)

Thus the Gods are the first emanation of the Universal Soul, each creating a sympathetic chain of their particular nature and influence reaching downwards into the lower spheres of creation. Ultimately each divine chain anchors in the four elements and thus becomes efficacious in all things created from these. 

If we follow this philosophy of nature than finding the right spirit to deal with a particular problem isn't a matter of an individual name or class. Instead it becomes a matter of identifying the right 'sympathetic chain' which is related to the forces in question. Once the chain is identified it is on us to chose on which level - or chain link - we decide to work. 

So a problem that was generally identified to be related to an over-charging of fire, could be addressed on any link of the sympathetic chain related to the theme of fire. This approach opens a wide array of equally opportune possibilities to work with the matter at hands. Rather than finding the 'right or wrong remedy' it now is a question of which level or link of the chain is most accessible and easiest to work with for me... 

Obviously the higher we climb in the chain the more powerful and far-reaching the forces we work with become. A tattwa journey to meet the elementary ruler of fire is a very different approach than a ritual for Mars or a demonic evocation of the Golohab. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages which need to be examined in light of two main criteria: the nature and dimension of the problem at hands as well as the skills and expertise of the magician affected.

So rather than identifying the 'one and only' solution to the problem at hand - let's look for the teacher who can help us identifying the smallest possible improvement, the most simple next step we can take right now. Here are some choices: 

  • Your week is busy and you need to travel, so a Tattwa journey might be a great start as tattwa cards easily travel with you
  • Or maybe you have a vacation coming up and really want to dig into it - so a planetary rite or an evocation of the Qliphoth could be re-balancing act you need
  • Or maybe you feel exhausted and strained by the problem already, you didn't take action early on - then a refreshing bath and a night of rest and sleep in your temple under the incense clouds of herbs related to the problem might be a good choice
  • Or maybe you are just starting your magickal journey and these things sound tempting but out of reach for now - well, find a therapist or astrological consultant and start by opening up to someone competent you really trust

I guess what I am learning is... When working with our inner demons we rarely have a single partner to work with. But we are surrounded by sympathetic chains of spirit forces - familiar and unfamiliar, accessible and inaccessible, sympathetic and not so sympathetic ones. Yet, each of them has advise for us, none of them being right or wrong - but all of them being true and authentic in their own way. 

They all present an open hand - some smooth and some rough - for us to overcome the limitations we are facing... -- It is us who chose the teacher within us.