These days I am still learning a lot of lessons on the nature of Tiphareth and the Olympic Spirit of Och (Sun). After conducting the Arbatel Ritual for Och in July I shared some thoughts on the direct aftermaths in a post back in August. Overall it has been three months now during which I have been working through the impact of that single rite - emotionally, mentally and on the material realm.
As I am getting closer to integrating the forces of Tiphareth into my daily life and setting out to prepare for the next Arbatel Ritual I want to share something that turned out to be a major learning while going through this experience.
It's an insight into how the spirits or planetary forces I engage with teach me about their actual nature and mode of action. Maybe this is just the way it works for me or maybe it is something that turns out to be helpful in your own practice? Either way, the question is: If we look at live outside of our temples what is nature's way to integrate new spiritual forces into our life and consciousness?
Here are the two cents experience taught me: a new and yet unconscious force is best taught through experiencing its opposite. That means the modus operandi of any force we haven't come to consciously recognize yet is best taught by its complete absence.
Only when we are hungry do we understand the essential nature of food. And once we are lonely and isolated, we immediately understand the nature of companionship and partnership. Many of us only when they are at war do understand the value of peace. And only once our spouse has left us for good do we recognize the true value and beauty of the relationship we have lost...
The same principle applies in magic: if we ask to be taught a certain force or create relationship with a spirit being our journey might kick off at the exact opposite end. This opposing experience creates a void of the force we aimed to relate to - and it is this void that is realized by our conscious. It is the void that teaches us about the space and function this force normally holds in our lives. By taking away what we take for granted we dissolve the blind spot and gain consciousness.
Here is the thing: grey isn't a good teacher to understand the dynamics of light. We need a high contrast of dark against light to truly understand the dimension and dynamics of these polar forces.
It was in this way that I got to learn about the forces of Hagith (Venus): I was taught the value of life by the experience of illness. The ability to share love as long as we are sustained by the spring of our physical health was taught to me by drying up this well and showing me how fickle the fundament of my love had been built...
The same principle applied over recent months during my OCH experience: Once you take away any direction or goals in your life all rush and urge to control subsides. What emerged initially was a deeply felt fear of being lost and at the end of my magical tether (i.e. the opposite experience of what people would call Sun-related forces).
Once I had given this force room for contact and experience, however, what followed was hubris. From one end of the dimension I was lured to the other: moments of grandiosity. Thoughts that once the winds returned I could set my sails completely anew and travel anywhere I wanted, set and achieve any goals I chose freely... (i.e. experience of the force what people would call Sun-related forces, yet still imbalanced or distorted by my Ego).
It took me a couple of weeks to allow these thoughts to pass through me. I needed to accept them, yet not to identify with them. The only way to do this was not trying to control them, but to welcome them like passing boats on a river, like birds visiting a dovecote or foreign animals passing through the forest of my mind... Non-idenfitifcation.
After a while a third stage followed. This was when I understood that it is not me at all who sets any goals - neither in life nor in magic. That on entering the Sun, on stepping into the burning fire of continuously new born life I had turned myself into a mean through which forces higher than myself could work. That entering the centre of life hadn't come with more or a new direction of power, but with a request to me for complete service.
So here I am - deeply humbled by the experience and still stupid but a bit smarter than before. I now know that unfamiliar forces are taught to us by use of their opposites. And I know how much time, patience and openness it takes to move from initial contact to full integration. It's the journey of a lifetime.
On a final note, I found that my old passion for syncretism was rewarded once again. By not caring about how useful resources had come to me - through friends, books, Gestalt, magic, work or any other open source - I had found a wonderful crutch to support my little brain in understanding what was actually going on with me...
Take a look at the picture below and take a moment to follow the sequence of steps. What you see is a slightly amended form of Zinker's Contact Cycle. It shows a wonderful model to help us understand how we move from initial sensation to contact and finally integration. While this model had been developed as part of Gestalt Therapy it completely reflects the experience we go through when engaging with and getting to know new spiritual entities.
Life simply doesn't care wether we go through an encounter with our neighbor next door, with an ancestor from a previous life or with an entitiy high up or low the eternal chain beings. Every encounter is an invitation to adventure.