Monday, August 4, 2014

So you want to be a real magician?






Initiation into Hermetics: A Course of Instruction on Magic Theory & Practice – Franz Bardon (1956)


            For most of the last 2,000 years, (essentially the era when Christianity ruled all, and killed those who felt otherwise) the lore and wisdom of magic was only to be found by those who delved into ancient writings or found a wise, discreet instructor.  Anything not of the church was automatically evil and to be purged.  Looking into magic and Hermeticism, the school of magical thought associated with Hermes Trismegistus, was a death sentence.
            This book seeks to explain the wisdom and knowledge granted by magical thought in a plain-spoken manner, without allegories or carefully hidden symbolism.  It is very interesting to read and to see what the goals and dreams of mystics can lead to.
            It really is what it claims to be, a manual for the initiation into Hermetic knowledge.  All the basic elements are discussed and the connections made clear.  Alan Moore, comic book writer extraordinaire, has said that his own mysticism came after years of strident atheism, when he embarked on a hermetic regimen of thought, study, and reflection, and achieved results that he could not explain away.  His belief is that the human consciousness can create its own gods, or at least imbue some sort of essence into existence by willpower alone.  Simply believing it is enough.  All experiences of the divine are valid, and all are colored by one’s own experience.  A devout Christian will see Jesus.  A magical mystic may see an elemental.  Mr. Moore specifically chose an old, nearly forgotten deity to focus on and he claims that he distinctly experienced a communion of sorts with it.

If you want, you can commune with LSD Kermit.

            The will is power.  Mystics use the will to explore the metaphysical.  Alisteir Crowley wrote, “Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”  This quote is used by those who wish to misrepresent Crowley and magicians in general as meaning that Crowley was like Anais Nin, someone for whom the ends justified any means.  This is a simplistic and pointless slander.  What it really means is that we all, you and I, create our own reality based upon what we will to be included in our reality.
            The world of a secluded monk aims his will at prayer, devotion, asceticism, self-deprivation and the glory of his god.  Because of this, he lives in a world that does not include video games, greed, romantic love, the joy of excess, etc.  Someone whose will is solely focused on material achievement will live in a world that revolves around power, money, success, growth, competition, and all the good and bad that come from such things.  His world will not include altruism, feelings of equality, free time, or learning for its own sake.
We create the “Law” by which our life is live.  That seems to be the true meaning of Crowley’s words.  Everything can be put to “good” or to “bad” ends.  Good and Bad are human-created value judgments with no actual reality.  A mystic seeks to know Truth, Wisdom, etc., as opposed to what is “good” and what is “evil.”
Good and Evil are the purview of religions, which do not seek to illuminate the believers as much as control their lives and force them down one correct path, regardless of the infinite differences between individuals.  While I find the contents of this book very interesting, I do not think that magical exploration is for me.
(This book is available in .pdf format here:  http://tikaboo.com/library/Initiation%20Into%20Hermetic.pdf  )

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