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Exo/Esoteric Paths, Purification, Sufi Magick

To: (Christian Magick Elist)
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Exo/Esoteric Paths, Purification, Sufi Magick (Was Re: How Do...?)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 05:38:08 -0800 (PST)

49951222 ["lovely to see you again my friend" -- Moody Blues]

|From: "Hannah M.G. Shapero" 
|Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 01:29:14 -0500 (EST)

[re: criteria for a Will united to God's Will]

|...if the Wills are united, the best criterion is the level of ethical 
|and moral life that results. 

I agree completely, and often reflections from family and spiritual
advisors (priests, ministers, etc.) can be very helpful in ascertaining
our level of morality.  This is a very important part of ordinary
Christian instruction.

However, that said, I've always wondered why the Will of the God of the 
Old Testament might not include some objectionable things, since He does 
some very harsh stuff within that book (killing lots of people who oppose
Him, being jealous about other gods, things like that).  There are many
religious whose deities share the entire range of human emotions.  Why
wouldn't the Christian incorporate all of these, rather than just the
ones which are taught are most virtuous (even in moderation or within
controlled circumstances)?  Are there different standards ascribed to
different manners of people?

I'm thinking now of Padmasambhava of the Indians (Tibetan Buddhists), 
who exemplifies something within religion which I find fascinating, 
though I'm unsure if it exists within Christianity or its associates:
the Amorality of God.  Perhaps y'all can assist me in understanding
whether it is contained within traditional Christianity.  I gather
that this one explanation for the irritability and bluster of Yahweh:
God is beyond the categories of human morality.  So I wonder why His
Will might not incorporate this same amorality.

The idea is that while we, as sheep, are given a path of repentance
and meek worship as a general guide for the virtuous life, there are
some, perhaps mages, perhaps prophets, maybe both, who manifest the
Will of the Divine directly within the world through His Grace and
perhaps in reward for self-purification.  Channeling this Will of 
God may well include engaging behaviors and events that extend 
beyond the strictures of conventional morality.  

Padmasambhava is depicted by an Evans-Wentz translation (within the
book _The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation_) as surpassing ordinary
standards of behavior and even trespassing taboo and what would likely 
within Christian and Buddhist teachings alike characterized as 'evil'.

He takes up residence within a graveyard, lives on the flesh of
corpses, uses the skins for clothing and the bones for furniture,
and occasionally kills people who visit there (this is explained at
some points as the working of karma through the exalted frame of the
saint and condoned as unusually acceptable by religious authorities,
even while the Tibetans banish him from their society in response!
-- perhaps in part to protect themselves).

My objective isn't to point out the value of these behaviors but only
to note that in many cultures the activities of the gods and saints 
are sometimes *way* beyond what is prescribed by these gods/saints as
'virtuous behavior', and if this is the case, is the mysterious 'Will'
of such an enigmatic deity always going to include the 'nice things'?

Jesus' path certainly didn't (His story of martyrdom is said by some 
to be the Rosetta Stone of spiritual development, allowing us to 
translate the bare fabric of our lives into the raiment of God through 
the application of the principles and instruction His life made 
available to His Church).

My little reading in the magic of Muslims (and minimum discussion among
some sufis) indicates that the mages of that tradition are said to be 
graced with special power, sometimes the charge of magical beings called 
'djinn' (plural; the singular (djinni) was translated to English as 
'genie' of dreaming fame, and this may have very important connections 
to the 'Holy Guardian Angel' or Genius of Hermetic teachings).  These 
are in some measure outside the bounds of normal moral codes.

You see, I wonder if the measure of saints and mages may be along 
different standards, and if, while you are certainly correct in regards
the ordinary and recommended Christian path of virtue, there may not be
a fork in the road when a Christian decides to take up the practice of
magick.  Christ is said to have been a mage.  He is not portrayed as
meekly accepting all the religious strictures of his times (depending
on what one presumes these to be -- of the Essenes, for example), but
establishing a new covenant through His Act of Martyrdom.  His choice
is said by some to have been the Sword or the Cross (cf. 'The Last
Temptation of Christ'), and the Sword is taken by some mages as the
pre-eminent magical weapon.

This may move us some distance from the traditional teachings that Jesus 
was a special individual (the only Child of the Divine, one aspect of the
Trinity) rather than an exemplar and Magus as portrayed by Crowley and 
others).  Consider the possibility that Jesus was the Head of a Magical 
Order, and that each of the disciples depicted within the Gospels was an 
Initiate of this Order (some say of Melchizedek, some say of the Essenes 
or an offshoot, and there are more weird variations).

Sufi mages undertake severe precautions to preserve the sanctity of their
magical acts, prayer being a very important part of the preparation for
workings (at least according to Idries Shah, and he is somewhat contro-
versial), and the study under a Sheikh (spiritual advisor/guide) is 
strongly recommended if not absolutely required within sufi orders.
However, there *are* stories of lone sufis whose works remain unscrutible 
and at times seem horrific to the casual observer.  Nasrud'din and Khezr 
(the Green Man -- a divine madman and Sheikh) are at times depicted as 
doing apparently immoral things with justification by the Will and 
Knowledge benefacted by a connection with the Divine, even going so far 
as to instruct such mages as Mosheh (Moses) in the Way of Divine Power. 

In relation to this, it is said by some that while Christ's instruction
with regard to acquiescence to the Will of God led to his exaltation,
some view the paths set into relief as equally important of study.

Specifically, the paths of his disciples are sometimes taken as very
important instructions on their own, and some perhaps more dangerous
speculation exists that the next most difficult after the path of Jesus
was that of Judas, his Betrayer, since his was not only also contributing
to the Great Plan and Payment, but also included actions which are,
within most cultures, considered heinous or worthy of retribution (the
deliverance of the divine personage to the mechanism of persecution).

|Can magick be done in a spirit of love, empathy, kindness, and peace?
|I would certainly hope so.

I would too, and yet I wonder what sort of precautions are necessary for
the theurge, as compared to the thaumaturge.  That is, while we may well
find ways to incorporate these foci in our practice, I'm unsure this will
matter unless we have properly prepared ourselves through the various
mechanisms of purification suggested to priests and prophets for centuries.

Shah provides a breakdown of the stages of sufism, in which the practice
of magick is incorporated.  I append this as a seed for discussion and
further conjecture regarding the necessary and prescribed context within
which magick may be fruitfully studied by those devoted whole-heartedly
to God and Christ.

	  === discussion ends, appendation by Shah begins ===

"Diagrammatic Representation of The Sufi Path (Tariqa-sufiyya)

Stage O: Salik (Seeker).  Generic name for Sufi in the Sufi Path.

Stage 1: Muridi (Discipleship).  Accepted by master as suitable candidate
 for the Sufi Path.

Stage 2: Tariqat (Potentiality).  The first real stage of Sufism.  Dedicated
 to one-ness with the spriit of the Sheikh or Murshid (spiritual leader).
 During this period the Seeker follows his Sheikh in all things, blindly
 adopting certain recitations and spiritual exercises.  Period of rededication
 to the theme of 'Be *in* the world, but not *of* the world'.

  Occult phenomena associated with this degree:
   Sihr (Lawful or 'white' magic; performed by permission of the Sheikh).

Stage 3: Arif (Knowledge).  Attainment of spiritual and occult powers.
 Seeker achieving unity with the spirit of Pir (founder of the Order).
 Spiritual power projected into Seeker's mind by his Sheikh (leader).
 Stage of Safarullah: the Journey to knowledge.

  Occult phenomena associated with this degree:
   Mu'awanat (Supernatural Thaumaturgy).  E.g.: flying, annhilation of

Stage 4: Fana.  Annihilation.  The Summit.  Truth is reached and Fana
 achieved in strict solitude and concentrated meditation.  Seeker
 achieving spiritual one-ness with the Spirit of the Prophet.  Known
 as the Safarli-Allah: the travel away from neglectfulness.

  Occult phenomena associated with this degree:
   Karamat (Wonders).  E.g.: walking on water, prediction of the future.

Stage 5: Baqa.  Degree of Wali (Saintship).  State of Masaviut-Tarafain,
 or 'Equiposed between the Two Forces'.  Known as the Safar - Billah:
 Sufi returns to the ways of man to guide them.

  Occult phenomena associated with this degree:
   Mujiza (Miracles).  Performed only by prophets.

_Oriental Magic_, Idries Shah, p. 72.

Thank you for your time.

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