What a start to the year! The stock market has already killed all of its 2015 gains in less than 10 days while David Bowie rang the occult death-bell for one last time. The former left most people scared about how deeply intertwined our global economies have become and how little safety local communities are granted these days from events that happen on the other side of the earth. The latter left many magiancs scared about who will now be the occult-artist torchbearer - and sing about alien Gnosticism and superhuman-astronauts in the future?
Whenever we lose guidance, the freedom we are granted can be as much of a chance as it can be a shock. 2016 will be a year power-charged with moments of old guidance breaking away, and new one only slowly emerging, individually gauged and tested.
From November 2015 to September 2016 Saturn and Neptun are forming a square, challenging each others forces. Like a rock tumbler creates a lot of friction, breaking off and collision only to allow the stones to emerge shiny and polished from it - that is how Saturn and Neptun are cleansing each others energies in the current and coming months: Saturn forces us to contract and concentrate on clear structures; Neptun pushes us to expand and abandon old borders and boundaries. Confusion, insecurity and the breaking away of assumed securities - so many experiences we will be forced to encounter in 2016 are essential to the foundations of the magical path.
Bowie in his final and deeply occult video Blackstar references the first degree (Apprentice) ritual of the Ancient & Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim. The candidate is blindfolded and led into a ritual chamber of reflection. Here he is sat in clouds of myrrh at a table adorned with a human skull and lid by a wax-candle. In front of him are sheets of white paper, a pen and ink. Then, confronted with this image of the end of physical life he is asked to write his philosophical testament.
I couldn’t think of a better image to illustrate a Saturn-Neptun square? Asked to provide the essence of one’s life in a few words, the legacy one aspires to leave behind in writing black on white - only to realise when led away from the table and when the candle is blown out that all of it is vain. Structure and the destruction, guidance and the loss of it. What a beautiful state it is when the layers of encrusted security are broken through to find what has been sleeping underneath. What a dangerous state is, if the candidate hasn’t learned to life with their fears like brothers and sisters...
All the news reports we read these days - about the Chinese economy, its potential to shake the globe, about terrorist attacks in Europe and Africa, about the largest migration of refugees since the Second World War. Think of the globe as a single person - and wonder what is happening to its mind and character these days? These are truly magical times. Where an old self is shed and the potential for a new emerges - but isn’t just visible yet. It is these states in-between, in leaving the known behind and not having found the new just yet, that proof to be the most powerful moments of spiritual growth. The moment when we do not know how to answer the question of who we are or what we attempt? The moment, when the candidate raises from the table of skull and candle and leaves their old skin behind - in just a few pages of philosophical writings, that soon will be burnt and forgotten.
2016 is a year that invites us to look for our inner Samson and Delilah - and then to kill both of them. The established sources of our power and weakness both have to go, in order to free us from old barriers and dualities. If we cannot take the risk to stand naked, both strong and deeply vulnerable at the same time, we will never pass through the final gates of initiation. 2016 is an invitation to do exactly that: to find the courage to give up who we thought we were, to stand in-between Saturn and Neptun and not to identify with either of them.
Luckily we aren’t alone on this journey. Bowie might have rung the occult death-bell with his final album. Yet, his words and images are equally a reminder of the ultimate vanity as well as the strength of life. While old structures collide on all levels - spiritual, personal, financial, governmental, geo-political - we are invited to draw on the resources that allow us to replenish in any given moment and to connect with the powers of a tradition that is built on the ideal of standing naked in front of yourself and the world:
QUAREIA - Josephine has just completed the 7th Initiate module of her epic (free!) curriculum in practical visionary magic. Over the last two years a whole world-wide community of practitioners has emerged and began walking the spiritual path of a more independent and balanced way of exploring the spiritual realms of demons and angels, of ancient structures and inner contacts.
INOMINANDUM - for practitioners who prefer their training slightly more traditional and condensed into a shorter timeframe, Jason’s one-year long Strategic Sorcery Course continues to offer amazing guidance and experience. His and Josephine’s approaches to turning yourself into an adept absolutely aren’t mutually exclusive. We all need to start our journeys at the point that is closest to home and the beauty (as well as often the disaster) of the 21st century is that we have choice.
IMBOLC - since almost twenty years IMBOLC offers the most thorough practical and theoretical education in classical magic to all German speaking students. The quality, depth and coherence Agrippa has managed to achieve in his epic self-study course to my knowledge remains completely unmatched. What limits one’s ascent on the ladder of knowledge and wisdom this man has mapped by no means is it’s height, but one’s ability to focus and concentrate on one step at a time over many years.
MARE MAIA - despite the path one chooses to follow, we are living in a time where sustainable natural healing has become accessible to all. Paul and Marissa’s spagyric tinctures are a wonderful example of this. Genuine, honest alchemical craft turned into powerful medicine and agents of healing. During times we are asked to walk naked for long stretches at a time, it is a real comfort knowing where to find nourishment for one’s body and soul.
Neither in moments of loss or gain are we on our own. Instead we are invited to take from friends freely in the former and to give freely in the latter. May this rock tumbler polish our selves, so we can shine when we stand in darkness.