Working in Service (Part 1) - An Unexpected Journey
Since a few moths I am working on a series of rituals related to the land I cannot share much about. As we all know - starting from young love all the way to establishing new magical contact - some things only grow in silence. Wherever we put our attention, energy follows. And the energy of every conscious carries a specific pattern that is passed on to everything it grasps. So if all of your work aims to establish a specific new pattern, to lay a seed in a virgin ground, untouched by other influences, you got to keep all attention away from it as good as you can.
Even though it feels I have just begun this work it is already deeply affecting and challenging my basic approach to magic. Therefore let me share a few of the echoes or marks this work is beginning to leave on me. Not because the marks life leaves on me are in any way more important than the ones left on all of us. But because I am simply so surprised by much of what is unfolding since I began this work...
For now the most startling effect is equally simple and hard to describe. It's the insight that at a certain level of magic the difference between Inside and Outside fades away. At a certain level of magic the barrier between life inside and outside of the temple is transcended. Not so much by ourselves as active, conscious magicians, but much more by the beings we work with. I think I mentioned this perplexing effect in an earlier post related to ritual trance. Yet, much to my surprise I am now experiencing it just as much when in vision, ritual - or simply when engaged in my daily life.
For such a long time the essential goal of my magical path was to tear down the divide between my life inside and outside of the temple. Let me explain what I mean by this: It is to be a magician when standing in the middle of the magical circle. But how do you expand this circle to embrace your entire life? How do you include your life as a professional, as a lover, as a spouse, etc? Or was the answer to be found outside of the circle? Do you simply break through it and walk straight out of it, leave all the ceremony and ritual behind? For a very long time I felt there was a conscious decision to be made. A decision which path to follow, where to stand firmly on the ground with both feet - either inside or outside of the circle. Maybe this was an effect of me growing up surrounded by people and magicians that thought along the same lines as David Beth’s outlines in his writings on the merciless path?
“David Beth speaks of the Merciless Path which (...) calls for a focus and dedication which should be observed by anyone with a sincere intent to study (...) any occult system; a dedication of their whole being to their spiritual and occult calling: this is a vocation. Occultism has become part of pop culture, a thing done in our spare time. A vocation calls for everything else to be submitted to the path, a kind of sadhu of Western Esotericism who sacrifices everything to focus on their spiritual development through occultism.” (source)
This concept felt so very familiar, so deeply engrained in my values that it was hard to see an alternative. To be fair, Germans like myself have been caught in this type of thinking for centuries. We even have a term for it, which is called ‘Nibelungentreue’:
“The faithfulness among the Burgundian king and his vassals, ranked higher than family bonds or life, is called Nibelungentreue. This expression was used in Germany, prior to World War I to describe the alliance between the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, as well as trying to inspire the army when referring to the Battle of Stalingrad.” (Wikipedia)
It simply always seemed to be either or, inside or outside, fully in or fully out. Until very recently. I guess until I started to embark on a series of magical experiences that challenged my whole concept of magic. More than that, they challenged most boundaries I had always taken for granted, the boundaries of my body, of my mind and of the entire small world around me. These experiences put such bold question marks into my way, that rather than constantly trying to redefine concepts and ideas, I simply gave up on them entirely. And decided to continue my magical journey without any frameworks or premises as much as I can. What really counts, I started to realize, is the work I do. Not how my limited mind is can or cannot make sense of it.
Here is a practical example: When I work in the Inner Library magical spirits use my body as a vehicle, as a container of sorts, to cross over thresholds that only human beings can step over. Powders are put under my tongue, my body is covered in liquids, ashes are blown into my face, smoke is filling my lungs. Yet, I simply walk the path that I am shown, picking things up from places I never knew existed and carrying them through space and time into even more remote places I had no idea I or anyone else would ever access. Then I release the powers and beings that traveled within me. I pass them on to whoever was in need of them. And finally I return all the way I had come, back through the Void and into my physical body. Of course these experiences leave me blind to what just happened or what the actual purpose of my actions had been. I simply do my part of the work.
It was in the moments when I 'returned' that I first realized the divide between Inside and Outside had gone. The differentiation simply didn't make sense anymore: the beings I had connected with were still present within as well as around me. I could evoke them back to life by activating the place on my body they had touched. Or I could simply call out to them and they would appear. I guess my point is: once you yourself turn into a threshold the concepts of inside or outside fall away. There is only passing, flowing, touching, breathing in, touching, breathing out.
Gustav Meyrink once wrote the following or words to that effect: 'All we are as humans is a dovecot. Pigeons are flying in and out of us. Some come to rest, some travel on quickly. All we can do as human beings is to hope that there are more white than black doves coming to visit on any day.'
Well, I guess there actually are some things we can do to kick out birds that annoy us or to call in the ones we long to have around. Yet, the essence of the quote to me is something else: once you have chosen the place to stand on, once you have put a stake into the ground, everything else comes by itself. All it needs is firm intent and calling. Sometimes even less; in these cases all it needs is presence. What else is a dovecot doing - but being present, open into all four quarters, welcoming the winds and the rain and the weather, the birds and the bees and all land beings that come to touch and smell and taste it...
Once we have made a decision to work in service, to become part of something much larger than we are, there is very little we own to decide from that point onwards. We turn ourselves into a container, a vessel, that is filled and passed on and being drunken and being refilled. It is not for us to chose wether the liquid shall be bitter or sweet or wether the being drinking from us shall be tall or tiny, powerful or fragile, beautiful or scary. We simply hold whatever is given to us. We hold it within our presence. We hold it within the frail boundaries of our being, our focussed consciousness.
I guess right now this is all I am being taught: not to chose, not to select, not to protect... Light shining through a window becomes brighter the clearer the glass. Wine carried in a vessel becomes finer the less taste added by the vessel. Sound traveling through a wire remains clearer the less noise added by the wire. Magic worked through humans travels safer the less added by the worker.
Safe travels to all of you out there.
: : continue reading Part 2 : :