It’s been about twenty months since my last rite in the Arbatel cycle. Back then I walked on from the realm of OCH into the realm of PHALEG. It was in December 2011 when I expected some major changes as a result of this rite; unsurprisingly that is exactly what happened...
I had shared before that for some reasons the nature of each Olympic spirit was taught to me by experiencing it’s inverted or opposite impact. According to such an approach Light would be best understood by being exposed to Darkness, the value of nutrition through an phase of starving or the nature of relationships through absence of contact to other beings. Personally I have come to call this pattern of teaching the ‘Rule of Inversion’.
Following this pattern the twenty months following the rite of Phaleg - remember, Mars? - taught me one thing above all and that is to let go. They taught me to be less controlling and directing both with myself as well as the beings and dynamics around me. Finally they helped me understand this: Unless we stop holding the reins of our own lives too tight we will never be involved in any work that is bigger than ourselves. If you want to be the boss, it's quite natural you'll never partake in magic that extends beyond your own realm.
Phaleg is the Olympic spirit of the planet Mars and not to be mistaken with the deity known as Mars. Furthermore the planet Mars often is associated with the Sephira of Geburah (strength / severity). Now, there is some debate about this association in magical groups. Some perceive the mapping of planets onto the grid of the Tree of Life as nothing but a new-age approach without deeper significance on a spiritual level. I don’t think I hold any authority or even enough experience to comment on it from my own viewpoint. All I know is that the last twenty months taught me a lot about how to meander with intent between the following guideposts....
Phaleg itself had described its nature as ‘the force that breaks open, the one that needs to flow’. Looking back I can see the marks this force has left quite clearly. There are marks on me as a person and marks on the world I live in. There are also many written marks I can trace in my magical diary and many marks I see in the blog posts I shared over the last year and a half.
“I create new boundaries, I open up, I seal, I change and shift rooms and spaces and shapes. All with the goal to create balance of pressure and tension - so all things can always remain in flux. (...) Burn yourself out, cleanse yourself. The Ego is my enemy, do not abuse my forces through the filter of the Ego. Grant me freedom and I will be potent. Become the medium not the message of my power.” (Phaleg)
The most important mark Phaleg left on me might be that because of this encounter my approach to magic has significantly shifted from a ritual setting to a shamanic one. Most of my magical works since this rite have happened in vision - even though many of these visionary works are still performed in a physical temple. Others, however, happened while traveling, on planes, at churches - as much at sacred places as at incredibly mundane. With regards to the latter, I remember a land being talking to me just recently while being in one of the most private places of all, the toilette. It looked at me and said: ‘Why are you such a sorrow-bearer?‘ I looked back and asked: ‘Well, what are you then?‘ ‘I am a land-bearer‘ it replied...
Learning to engage in such non-formal spirit contact took me a very long time. All of the previous five Arbatel rites were significant steps on this path. As was a four-week long Saturn ordeal I went through back in 2009 - blowing out a lot of rigid physical and mental filters I had built up that prevented me from making full spirit contact. Yet, only since I engaged with Phaleg back in December 2011 did I find the courage to truly let go and to step outside of the magical circle - only to find myself surrounded by a maybe even more magical world.
The other mark the rite of Phaleg has left is that my practical work has become increasingly private. Looking back at the last 20 months most of my blogposts are about things I learned, understood, discovered or failed on because of my practice. Almost none of them are about the specific magical workings that triggered these changes. In hindsight I realize this period has probably been the most active magical phase I have been through since my early twenties - when I still had a lot more free time on my hands! Not only have I moved homes and built a new temple - both physically and on the inner realms. I have also been taught how to use the Tarot magically (thank you, Josephine!). I had the privilege to learn from Emil Stejnar and Walter Ogris about the craft of making truly living talismans. And I had the pleasure of encountering dozens of spirits I didn’t even know existed. The pleasure to interact with them, to serve them and to pass on their energies into objects and places, some hidden, some obvious as needed. I have also blown myself up a couple of times and took significant and unintended risks. Luckily I was never on my own to deal with the consequences - but been given great advise, support and help both from very experienced magicians as well as from wonderful inner contacts.
Earlier this year then I crossed over the Abyss the first time. Josephine had helped me understand how many misconceptions exist out there about the nature of this divine threshold as well as the related human experience in crossing it. Of course you could argue it was quite a stupid decision to cross the Abyss before I had performed the next Arbatel rite of BETHOR, the Olympic spirit associated with the planet of Jupiter. A traditional mage certainly would have stayed firmly on the path - walking on from Geburah to Chesed first - and then preparing to cross the Abyss. I am not arguing against that at all. Quite the opposite - given I almost committed magical suicide during the weeks that followed this event, I do agree that it would have been much smart to wait a little longer. Maybe until I had done the BETHOR rite first; maybe in general just another 20 years to grind down a little more naivety and blindness... Either way, I am still around. Bound to different oaths now, yet content with the fate I chose and walking onwards on the very same path. Maybe the only difference is I can see it a little clearer now - ask a few better questions now?
Why am I sharing all of this? For sure it’s not end of December yet, not yet time to draw a line and take stock of the experiences of the last 12 or so months. Well, earlier this morning I was told it’s time to move on in the Arbatel Experience for me. It is time to prepare for the rite of BETHOR after all.