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Church of Christian Sorcery

To: (Lainie Petersen)
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: Church of Christian Sorcery (was Xtian Magick Church Elist)
Date: Sun, 12 May 1996 09:29:48 -0700 (PDT)

49960512 mother's day -- the day of honoring our source

Hey, you *did* have her address!  ;>  Glad you sent this.  
Sorry I didn't see it first.  To it, then.

|>I would prefer the 'prime basis' be the discussion and imagination of
|>the intersection and coincidence of Christianity and magick (by any
|>explanable definition).  However, I *do* like your suggestion for the
|>basis of moderation, and agree strongly with your suggestions below.

Lainie Petersen :
|I think that the list should be a discussion of Christian Magick, without
|demanding that the participants be Christians.  I think that intelligent
|critiques of Christian dogma as it intersects with magick is a good thing,
|so long as it does not turn into a therapy group for disgruntled ex-xians.

Ready for this?  Let me suggest something as an alternative I've been thinkin
about for a day or two:

	Elist name: Church of Christian Sorcery (CCS)
	Purpose: Discussion of sorcery (magic(k), divination, spells, 
	         charms) it as relates to Christianity
	# moderators: 1 or 3 initial (I don't much care who as long as 
				      we like them and I would be happy 
				      to lend a hand, though I gather 
				      that I may have a (deserved) repu-
				      tation for Satanism)
	Requirements: Respectful treatment of list participants, 15-500 lines,
		      topic should in some way relate to Christian Sorcery and 
		      engage other participants in discussion

I think that if we can somehow make a 'church' out of this elist then it'll 
inspire a more cohesive and respectful atmosphere, maybe even influencing
those who come to us to be more respectful generally of those who involve
ourselves in occult pursuits.

I notice that in various translations of _The Bible_ when magic(k) or 
anything like it is discussed it is not called this but 'sorcery' (at times 
'witch(craft)').  Unless either of you has some information leading to a 
concise definition of 'sorcery' such that it would not work, I'd like to 
point this elist in a direction which is obviously represents a contradiction 
to the biblical usage of this term.  Let me show you more of what I mean....

My Bible (Am Her Dic(tionary)) reads:

# magic ... the art which purports to control or predict natural events,
#  effects, or forces, by invoking the supernatural.  2a The practice of
#  using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural
#  effects or to control events in nature.  b The charms, spells, and
#  rituals so used.  3 The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for
#  entertainment.  4 A mysterious quality of enchantment.  [ME 'magik' <
#  OFr 'magique' < LLat 'magice' < Gk 'magike' < 'magos', magician; see 
#  Synonyms: magic, black magic, sorcery, voodoo, witchcraft, necromancy,
#  alchemy.  'Magic' is the most inclusive of these related nouns; it 
#  pertains to all supposedly supernatural powers that affect natural
#  events, but is often used broadly in the sense of that which seems to
#  defy rational explanation.  'Black magic', which is often practiced
#  with intent to do harm, is the approximate equivalent of 'sorcery':
#  these specifically involve the use of charms and spells....

# magus ... pl. magi... 1 A member of the Zoroastrian priestly caste of
#  of the Medes and Persians.  2. Magus  One of three wise men from the
#  East who travelled to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus.
#  3. A sorcerer; magician.  [ME < Lat 'magus', sorceror < Gk 'magos' <
#  Persian 'magus'] -- magian

And from my new favorite Satanic Bible (_Dictionary of Satanism_):

# MAGIC  In ancient pagan religions, magic practices played an important
#  role.  They were associated with mystery rituals in Rome, Egypt, and
#  in the religions of the Near East.  The techniques involved in magic 
#  included sympathetic magic, the use of amulets and charms, invocations
#  to the infernal deities, necromancy, [and] divination.  Magic is 
#  popularly classed as white, red and black.  White magic is used for
#  good ends; red magic is diabolical (since dark red was characteristic
#  of the Devil during the Middle Ages) and applies also to the use of
#  blood in rites and operations (Macumba, Voodoo); black magic applies
#  to all diabolical operations.

My difficulties with these (and an explanation for why I don't like the
term 'magic' or 'magick' in relation to Christianity and this elist) are 

	* 'magic' implies parlor tricks and 'magick' implies Thelema,
	   (popularly); i.e. there is a great degree of confusion about 
	   this term, such that people sometimes presume they know what
	   we are speaking about when in fact they do not.  This typically
	   leads to a kind of 'Tower of Babel' effect, all of us using
	   terms according to our own understanding (naturally) but basing

	   it upon various popular significances.

	* 'magic' is too often related to Near Eastern religious
	  practices and mystery plays (deservedly) for my taste.  I'd
	  rather the focus be on theory and practice of *Christian*
	  magic, which implies a contradiction that may be why the 
	  Church tends not to critize 'magic' per se, but instead
	  focusses on 'witchcraft' (it has not meant neopaganism) and 
	  'sorcery' (an intentional Church synonym with 'bad magic').

	* the associations with the term 'magic' (white, black, etc.)
	  tend to perpetuate the notion that it is some neutral opera-
	  tion which may be 'evaluated' as to its morality.  I'd like
	  to firmly oppose this distinction and categorical division,
	  challenging directly the traditional Christian association of
	  occult things that unless somehow utilized by a 'magus' it has
	  to do with evil or malevolence.

	* I notice that there is a popular gender-association between 
	  'mage' (men) and 'witch' (often women), thematically.   There
	  is no feminine form of the term and 'magi' is popularly
	  associated by Christians with 'the Three Wise Men'.  I'd
	  like to get away from this gender-division and historic
	  association in the naming of the elist, as it is confusing
	  and misleading as regards our content (which could include
	  it but need not be focussed upon it).

	* There is an historic association of *class* to magic(k) as
	  compared to the lower-class 'divination' or 'spells' of
	  the sorceror/witch.  'Magick' is the technique of the 
	  Literati and esotericist, and I'd prefer that we point 
	  toward the more humble (lower) of these in a manner 
	  suitably Christian.

Now allow me to make a positive case for 'sorcery'.  My Bible tells me 

# sorcerer... A person who practices sorcery; wizard.  [ME 'sorser' >
#  OFr 'sorcier' < VLat 'sortiarius' < Lat 'sors', lot or chance]
# sorceress...  A woman who practices sorcery.

# sorcery...  The use of supernatural power over others through the
#  assistance of evil spirits; witchcraft. ...

My secondary Bible (Webster's New Universal Unabridged) indicates that 
the relationship to lots was due to the original usage of the term, 
which had to do with casting lots in divination (the connection between
games and divination is age-old, and this is one of the controversies 
within Christian esotericism pointed out by Violet Firth, whose magical 
name was in its entirely an expression of this: Dionne est Fortuna 
(something like it).  It means, as I understand it, 'God is Chance' 
(something which perhaps even Einstein would have opposed!: 'God does 
not play dice!').

The connection to lots and divination also represents a shift from the
high-brow intellectualism of Hermetics to a more practical focus, on
charms and spells, on divination, on the things which practicing (as
compared to academic) occultists tend to do.  Things related to
sorcery range from manipulative magic to wizardry (a popularly positive 

My Satanic Bible has (to translate to a Christian rather than a Satanic
usage, try substituting 'God' for 'Satan' here :>):

# SORCEROR  An adept in the occult, bound to Satan in return for knowledge
#  and skill in magic.  Traditionally, he is represented as having a fixed
#  stare.  He keeps his occult power only so long as his feet touch the
#  the ground.  In 1591  J. G. Godelman defined sorcerors as those who by
#  evil spells, dire curses, etc. harm and destroy the lives and health of
#  men and beasts.  See 'DE MAGIS'.

# DE MAGIS  An occult treatise (1591) in which Johann Georg Godelman
#  sorcerors as those who by evil spells, dire curses, and the sending
#  of foul spirits, by potion prepared by the Devil or through illicit
#  arts from corpses and hanged men, harm and destroy the health and
#  lives of men and beasts.

# SORCERY  The use of power gained through control of supernatural forces.
#  In a strict sense, sorcery is universal and timeless, whereas witchcraft
#  is limited for the most part to the period between 1450 and 1750 and to
#  the Christian nations.

While this Bible is slanted toward Satanism (and so in a measure opposes
at least some forms of Christian tradition), I think these are popular
understandings within the esoteric Christian field, and I'd like to see
them challenged and discussed.  It is too easy to launch into an evalu-
ation of Levi and Waite and maybe Crowley (all of whom were distinctly
members of the Literati associated with 'esoteric' Christianity) as part 
of the 'mystery schools', leaving off the nitty gritty of occult practice, 
which I'd prefer we place centrally.

The term 'magic(k)' has been accepted by many Christian occultists as
acceptable to their path and having quite specific *religious* meanings
that will make the discussion more complex and tedious.

Whereas 'sorcery' is popularly associated with 'black magic' by Christian
society and has few who support its usage.  In this sense, since we
intend to represent a positive alternative, the term 'sorcery' is the
most NEUTRAL of the terms I've outlined above except to conservatives.
It takes the focus off high-brow esotericism and places it squarely upon
what I have noticed is historically associated with 'magic(k)' and yet
which is almost ALWAYS missing from 'Christian esoteric' forums: the
consort with spirits, divination, charms and spells.

'Sorcery' also allow us greater range to *imagine new meanings* in a
comparison of historical and preferential significances (since we shall
not be accepting the 'sorcery = black magic' equation).
Nuf sed.  If you hate the idea then I'll drop it now (but will
eventually take it up elsewhere, perhaps altering my vocabulary
within the elist itself to reflect what I am trying to say here).

|Lainie is interested in the intersection of Christianity and Thelema, but
|feels that this can be done on the new list, should we decide to do it.

I suspect you will not like my focus on sorcery for this reason, though I
don't know why we can't within the elist desc say 'anything associated with 
sorcery, magic, divination, etc.' and have this include things regarding
'Thelema' (what I'd like to avoid is mystical and theological and ethical
wrangling and 'sorcery' seems to place more emphasis on PRACTICE, where
'magic' could include all manner of cosmologic endeavor).

|>starting VERY slowly, gradually building up a batch of regulars and
|>then beginning more extensive advertizing of our existence.  Too many
|>times elists begin with a horde of newbies and I've got some good
|>contacts in the intermediate fields between conventional Christianity
|>and the occult.

|This is an excellent proposal.

I propose further that this elist first include the three of us, that we
begin it here and now (in 'group reply' exchange), adding people to the
group and getting their input as we deem fitting (starting privately), 
and that we eventually set a date whereby admin issues are removed for
a stern focus upon agreed topics as listed above and elsewhere.

That is why I quote extensively here.  This is the historic life cycle
of elists which is currently bypassed as a means of getting lots of
people in on the discussion.  I.e. I think that in the past people began
email discussions and did group sendings and then some techie came up
with the idea for 'email list' which bypasses the potential problems
(now no longer?) of cc'ing.  We can limit the amnt of initial partici-
pants and create a private admin elist right away if we like, or do
what we did in Divination Web, where we start with a 'prototype' in
which we discuss amongst ourselves both elist substance and admin and
then shift at an agreed time to an admin/list division.

[material about my Eternal Enemy omitted as irrelevant to this elist,
 though I do agree with what Lainie said about exposing any sort of
 evils which he is perpetuating.]

ps, consider my postings here and forward to you surrounding this elist
to be public conversation and suitable for appropriate citation at any
future time and to anyone you deem interested.  thanks.

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