Much of what needs to said here has been shared in the Introduction already: What many of us lack today in Ritual Magic are not the practical details of ritual performance. What had been locked up for millennia is now openly available. Yet what had been the starting point of any true magical education for millennia is now almost lost completely: The ability to make sense of one’s personal experience in light of a larger myth, the ability to integrate personal into collective experience and the magical skill to create a living and breathing bond between what happened in the magical past and what happens right now.
This loss can easily be the beginning of the decay of our magical tradition. Every myth, every spirit relationship needs to be revived and not reissued in order to find its way into the present and maintain relevance. The difference between reviving and reissuing though is made by every one of us: It is made by our ability to stay true to the original form, yet open and present and willing to change in light of ones direct authentic experience.
Every encounter is an invitation to adventure. Every encounter is also erotic - as it should involve all our senses and fill them with experience. And just like in a relationship once encounters become habits and repetition all erotic fades. Things turn numb, curiosity is lost, playfulness subsides and the scent of the first nights evaporates. Lives inside and outside the temple are very much alike. In both worlds every encounter is a reason to change.
Where the model of the Contact Cycle might be able to help us is to ask ourselves the right questions. The right questions as we prepare for a new spirit contact, while we engage with it and once we let go and integrate what we have found.
- What has inspired me to reach out for this contact?
- Which sensual experience marked the beginning of this relationship?
- Which symbols, stories and myths am I relating to?
- What creates the bond between this myth and my present situation?
- At what point in this process did I feel most energized?
- How did I find the first step, the first action to create this relationship?
- When I engaged in contact with this spirit for the first time, how did it feel?
- Which surprises and frustrations did the contact bring with it?
- How has my contact with this spirit changed since then?
- Is my desire for contact satisfied already or is the contact still erotic?
- What have I learned from the contact and how has my life changed because of it?
- Looking back at the myth and symbols I worked with - have they been confirmed, altered or enriched by my personal experience?
- Am I ready to let go and withdraw?
- Is there nothing left to reflect upon, say or write for now?
What a wonderful state this is we come to at the end of a contact? Contempt and enriched by the experience, free and present and playful like a child again.
It is the moment when we have left the restaurant and the taste of good food has become a new memory. It is the moment when the energy of the meal is still feeding our body but we are neither too full nor hungry yet again. It is the moment when we walk out on the street, have parted from our friends and look for our car on the car park. It is the moment that we don’t realize. But when we are most open to inspiration...
It is the moment when we leave the temple and the contact with the spirit has become a new memory. It is the moment when the energy of the encounter is still feeding our subconscious mind - but we are neither absorbed by it nor desiring to repeat it right now. It is the moment when we walk back to our home, have parted from the spirit, left the circle and brew a fresh cup of coffee for ourselves. It is the moment when we are both absent and present. When we are in the magical space in-between.
I hope this is the one thing this model can do for us as practicing magicians: show us the space in-between and allow us to enjoy it. So that we can move out of it and into new spaces of encounter and experience with full force - and appetite.
May the serpent bite its tail.