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Theurgy and Magical Results

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.orisha,alt.magick,alt.magick.folk,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: (nagasiva yronwode)
Subject: Theurgy and Magical Results (was New Crown ...)
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 18:07:10 GMT

50000419 IVom

Christopher Warnock :
>Well, well, well.  I guess I should have known that mentioning God would
>cause such a flurry.  

the ambiguity of the mention is typically disrespectful in its presumption
that the 'God' in question is Christian and many who are inhabitants of
technophilic societies are over-used to this kind of psychic assault, thus
they may over-react. I hope you can understand.

>It is interesting that we moderns seem to believe that
>Christianity is entirely incompatible with magic.  

the term 'magic' is typically castigated and feared in Christian society
outside a certain subculture of Hermetics who wish to portray their acts
and beliefs as orthodox and a subculture of practicing Christian folk
magicians who tend to conceal their activities from their churchmates. 
most Christians do not believe that magic has any part of their religion, 
considering it the 'work of the Devil' (which I believe it is, but the 
Devil isn't what Christians tend to paint Hir). sometimes the Christian
will justify their own folk magic as 'the work of the Lord' or use some
other euphemism to rationalize their use of magic as within the rules
(when typically they will overtly agree with churchmates that it is not).

modern belief of NON-Christians tends to be in reaction to this obvious
and fairly consistent bias on the part of the Christian religious,
whether Catholic or Protestant.

>Certainly there was
>antipathy to magic from elements of the pre-Reformation Church, but because
>they saw it as demonic, not because they didn't think that it worked.  

of course, since spirits and gods other than Jehovah+ are characterized
by Christians as demons and devils, effectively marginalizing and 
oppressing the religions and magics of others. this is the reason that
some have taken to overlaying Christian identifiers upon their gods or
spirits or however they see and characterize them (e.g. orishas, loas)
so as to escape condemnation and persecution for 'worshipping wrongly'.

>The great mages of the Renaissance, John Dee, Marsilio Ficino, Robert 
>Fludd, were Christians.  Not narrow minded fundamentalists, but magi, 
>wise men who understood that there is an esoteric and magical side to 
>Christianity, as there is in all religions.

what kind of magic did these Christians do? John Dee apparently worked
out a system whereby he was communicating with spirits. he (or others
after him) identified this as 'Enochian'. whether or not it was
described as such it gives the impression of a consortment with Fallen
Angels (as from The Book of Enoch) and therefore can appear to be anti-
Christian. Ficino and Fludd I know less about, but at least Ficino 
appears to have wanted to capture and hijack Jewish mysticism (why?),
recharacterizing it as a Christian enterprise. his approach to magic 
was mystical, as have been most Hermetic magicians that I can tell 
(inclusive of the edge-riding bad-boys like Aleister Crowley).

while there may be "an esoteric and magical side" to many religions,
not all of them have an ANTI-ESOTERIC/ANTI-MAGICAL SIDE. this seems
to be the issue, since at least Christianity and Islam include strong
antagonism to these types of activities, so described.

>If God wills a cop out?  Yes, I suppose it is, when looked at from the
>perspective of a magician/magical practitioner for whom personal will is all
>important. Without confidence in one's ability and power how can they be

what is the difference between personal and non-personal will? where is
the dividing line? where does your God stop and your person begin? is
there any area of overlap? these questions have occupied Hermetics for
decades if not centuries. logic typically fails, using stereotypical
assumptions about the divine.

>Still my experience and the guidance of my teachers indicates to
>me that there is a higher power than my own ego and personal will 

all but those who will find some identity between themselves and the
cosmos will probably agree here.

>and that
>higher power is unitary in its essence even though it manifests in an
>infinite number of ways, call them elements, loas, orishas, saints, powers,
>principalities, demons, angels, gods, whatever. 

here is where you begin to see some differentiation amongst religious
and magicians. are these divinities "merely manifestations" of a single,
overarching entity ('God', 'Goddess', whatever)? or is this a means of
co-opting a variety of cultural elements into a system whereby they may
be described as subject to the will of one's preferred divinity? actions
we may describe as having been taken by these divinities are at times
easily identifiable as contrary to one another. will it be logical to
then say 'the ways of  are mysterious and difficult to understand'? or are these
contradictions, like the blatant contradictions to be found in the
supposedly "infallible, self-validating Bible", indicators that the
entire paradigm is FALSE?

>This is how personal magic is compatible with the existence of one 
>unified higher power.   

why aren't spells meant to achieve that which is not authorized by
the Cosmic Monarch *religious sins*? what prevents the magician from
ascertaining what is and what is not DESIRED on the part of their
God/dess previous to potentially working against Hir? I don't
understand why 'my spell didn't work because my God didn't want
it to' should not equate to 'I sinned by trespassing the will of
my God'.

>My preference is to be an instrument of divine, rather than 
>personal will and divine rather than personal magic, 

'instrument of the divine' implies that we take actions directly
in RESPONSE to our God/dess. contrasting this with personal will
indicates that there is some part of us which is at odds with
this chosen divinity. as an instrument, why would we ever wish
to do something that the Cosmic Manipulating Monarch didn't want?

what is 'divine magic'? I have learned to call the manifestation
of the Cosmic Monarch 'theurgy', wonder-working, as has been
described in scriptures about prophets and saints doing fabulous
(apparently today nonreplicable) things because the Monarch
allowed them to bend or manipulate what today we call 'the Laws
of Nature'. you know, like parting the Red Sea (Moses), or
turning water to wine (Jesus), or raising (from) the dead (Jesus,
among a number of supposed Hermetic magi). 

magic, as I understand it, is ALWAYS personal magic as you have
contrasted it here, despite the tendency of theurges to divide
it up so that there can be a separation between the divine and
the human. either you are a thaumaturge doing magic or you are
a mystic channelling the power of your Cosmic Monarch (theurge)
and not truly responsible for what you do.

and this is perhaps about what Dread_Not was complaining: the
theurge is never responsible for the results of hir actions,
since either the Cosmic Monarch allowed (and is therefore
responsible for) or did not allow (and therefore prevented) 
the intended result. the theurge is never considered to have
been culpable, acting against the divinity, or generally to
to be 'wrong' within the theurge's (typically) moralistic system.

it is TOO convenient, morally and scientifically. this type of
"magic" (theurgy) is not really magic at all, but miracle-
facilitation (when successful) and blatant charlatanry (when
unsuccessful). we should consider the FAILED RESULTS of all such 
acts to be indications of deceit and fradulence regardless of
whether there is some Cosmic Monarch described as the Fall Guy.

>though I don't doubt the efficacy of personal magic and
>even practice it.

I think that it should be doubted. take a lesson from Tom Shuler.

>I'd like to meet those magicians whose magic always works the 
>way they wanted it to.   

how often do they cast spells? is it possible that success
rate is due in part to infrequency of spell-casting (i.e. that
to try too many things results in failure)?

>Basically, there are two explanations for failure:  (1) I screwed
>up; (2) A more powerful force interfered....  

this is an EXTREMELY INSIGHTFUL analysis on your part. I agree
quite strongly, and would encourage you to enlarge on your
category number 1 ("I screwed up"). for example, the magician
may simply not have done "enough", or have done it at the wrong
time, or did some part of the spell wrongly, etc., some of
which you also mentioned.

>I am just this week getting something better which is a new private practice,
>so I don't have to have a boss, or have to go to the office everyday or work
>fulltime.  Is it possible that I got what I was destined for and what I was
>destined for was better for me than what my egoic desires wanted?  

"what I was destined for" precludes the effectiveness of magic. you could
have not done the spell and "destiny" would still take place. this destiny
(predestination; a facet of Determinism which includes a number of
premises which appear impossible to substantiate) occurs whether or not
you attempted to have the OPPOSITE effect to its content. predestination
is *antagonistic* to magic, not a confirmation of magical prowess.

>Is it also possible that if I hadn't done the Crown of Success spell 
>that I wouldn't get my new work?

possible, not partaking of the destiny-model, yet this kind of
'evidence' is not convincing without a thorough analysis of
repeated magical trial and error. such a study might not even
be helpful if there is a general low threshhold on the will
necessary to have consistent success (because repeated and
contemporary attempts at success would deplete the will that
may be necessary for consistent success).
>This is more of an astrologer's perspective than a magician's view.  The
>astrologer sits back and watches the unfolding of Fate and its interaction
>with Free Will.  

divination. Fate and Free Will are often incompatible ideas.

>The magician must, however, will and act.

false. the magician can also relax, reflect, receive information,
and prepare for later action.

blessed beast!
-- ; ; 
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