Sunday, July 5, 2009

Interval - Theatre of Magick 9

Interval
I have attempted to divide this book into two distinct halves, the first pragmatic and denying argument - the second concerned with beliefs which I and the reader may find convenient at particular times but which do not necessarily rely on truth or research in the orthodox sense.
Of course this was an impossible task. There are many points in the first half of the book, treating as it does of the delicate subject of initiation with which the reader will disagree either in whole or in part. I have merely set down what I believe to be a scientific approach to initiation which I hope will, in some way, meet the ideas of other magicians.
There have been attempts during the present century to present magick as a wholly scientific pursuit. However laudable the intention, which came as a reaction to the previous millennia of ad hoc, unmethodical working, it represented no more than a direct swing from one limited approach to another limited approach except where it took into account that emotion can be used scientifically.
There is a well known maxim which states that magick is a subtle synthesis of the human qualities will, intellect and emotion. There is another, ‘solve et coagula’ which means that these qualities should be analysed in their separateness and then fused together.
Belief is an emotional not an intellectual quality. In the process of initiation per se there is not place for it except inasmuch as its being the reason for the candidates desire to be initiated. Only emotion itself is analysed, but subsequent to initiation that quality must necessarily be aroused in order to generate the power required to violate probability. After the rigours of initiation it is difficult to find any notion concerning which disbelief can be suspended. Any belief construct which the magician is to use as a magical vehicle must therefore be either appealing to his intellect or patently absurd, the latter category denying the conscious functions need to rationalize. For t his reason absurdities are more readily amenable and useful and they allow or expedite entry into a games condition of a peculiar theatrical nature. When the game condition has been entered the belief can be taken as a script or a storyboard and brought to reality, that is total mental involvement, through good direction, casting and, above all, props. This was the basis of the mystery religious of the past - the rites of Eleusis, Dionysus and Mithras. The difference between the mystery religion of old and twentieth century magick is that we are in a position to be heretic in the true sense - we have a choice. The worshipper of Priapus was that and nothing more. The modern magician may change his set, his props and his identity as he finds necessary.
The following essays were written with different belief constructs in mind. They represent figments of the authors and other peoples imaginations and in only the most tenuous of ways do they reflect truth, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but they have been found useful in a multi-dimensional, multi-modular, non-exclusive approach to the techniques of personal and group magick.
Banishing
To expect a person to derive benefit from a written ritual of someone else’s devising would be bizarre and arrogant. No two magicians, not even members of the same order, could be expected to react in the same way to an arrangement of actions and words. Declarations of intention must of course be agreed upon but there absolute agreement must end.
This is one reason why magicians tend to find group work tedious - their point of view can never be perfectly expressed in such an environment. But in group working the individuals ability to summon up energy increases exponentially according to the number in the group so, clearly, the chief adept of the group treads a fil rouge between disheartening his members and achieving dynamic results.
In some cases this difficulty can be circumvented by avoiding the use of set invokations and set ritual altogether. Group sigilisation, for instance, once the sigil has been designed to the satisfaction of all concerned, might make use of the gnoses of laughter, overbreathing, mantra, sex and so on, instead of formalised ritual, in order to focus the group will on the image and to lose it in the group subconscious.
Before beginning to work with belief constructs though, the individual or group must take steps to ensure that belief is not suspended permanently. This is al ways done with some kind of banishing ritual without which no magician can work successfully. Its functions are fivefold.
a) At the beginning of a working it serves to change his mode from the pragmatic to
the receptive. b) It clears his mind of all activity not connected with the working. c) It clears an area in space/time in which he can safely display his vulnerability,
that is, allow his personality-defense system to drop. d) It prepares him for a possible suspension of disbelief. e) It acts as a demarcation between the plastic astral nature of the universe~ to
which he will return to continue his daily affairs. That is, it prevents obsession.
Clearly, if a ritual is to fulfill all these functions it must have been per- formed habitually, daily over an extended period of time. On each occasion, even when only ‘practicing’, it must be followed by some kind of working, even if that be only meditation, and it must be performed again afterwards. Only in this way can the magician make an automatic connection between the ritual and its purposes. When the magician considers that connection between the ritual and he can safely progress onto workings of greater importance to him.
A banishing ritual is symbolic, that is to say it relies upon deep-seated elements from the magicians imagination and subconscious in order to achieve its effect. It is impossible merely to think oneself into the right state of mind - devices of some nature are unavoidable.
A list of such devices would be infinite. There are some, however, which appear to have had an almost archetypal attraction in the past and these serve here as examples.
1) The circle. Infinite and impregnable, an expression of the early gods, the circle can be cast with the magician egocentrically at its centre. A symbol of It is impossible to reproduce a scientific experiment. In the same way it is impossible to recreate a ritual of any sort time and again and expect to achieve similitude of reaction either in solo workings or in group workings. Different stimuli before workings and the expectations of varied workings demand that the banishings serve to operate within the prevailing mind-conditions and environment and this precludes the use of rigid pre-set forms. In any case, the mindless repetition of actions and words serves only dogma - the letter and not the spirit.

timelessness, and therefore outside of time, it can also be considered as the
point where a protective sphere in which the magician stands intersects the
ground. It is a womb in which ideas ferment and mature.
2) The Elements. The number four was traditionally understood to be repre­
sentative of stability and equilibrium. Also of rational change. The thinkers of
classical times classified all things real or imaginary, concrete or abstract,
under the auspices of the four elements.
3) The Pentagram. As a symbol the five-pointed star is usually explained as
representing the dominion of the spirit of man over the base elements. Of
course this is very effective in a banishing ritual but other significances of the
pentagram should not be overlooked.
4) God-forms or Guardian-forms of one sort or another have invariably been
used. Forms appropriate to the disposition of the magician should be chosen
or created prudently. Sexual images, being perhaps the easiest to visualize,
can be used with effect.
5) There is no reason why the English language should not be used. Its potency
in magick is unequalled.

The magician or chief adept must have the ability to approach each operation with pristine freshness and to a certain extent his intention should be expressed directly from the seat of non-duality, that is, autoschediastically. If this were not so the function of the banishing described at b), above, could be served only by extremely complex devices and, in concentrating on these, the magician would lose sight of his intention.
In this case, why should it be necessary to plan the basic form and content of the rite at all? Firstly, there are few people who are capable of improvising a rite with specific intentions. Second, and more important, in group workings the chief adept caters for the group mind, using consensus elements as the bare bones on which to build a rite which, in effect, none of the celebrants has heard before and yet which satisfies the intellect and the instinct of each individual.
Examples of banishing rituals will be found in most source books on magick. Of these the most commonly given is the masonic and pseudo-qabalistic Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Whilst this is of some interest its greatest value is as a model as is also the case with the following examples.
EX. I. A circle of appropriate size is cast using ashes, chalk, rope or some other readily available substance. It is sanctified by the powers of the elements. A pentagram is drawn on a large scale in the air at the four quarters using an appropriate weapon. The name of the element opposite to each quarter is vibrated as the pentagram is visualized as blazing in a colour, suitable to the element. The quarter of the East is dealt with first and the magician returns to face that direction on completing this task.
Standing with his arms crossed over his chest the magician visualizes, a) a naked goddess with blue wings before him. b) a naked goddess with silver wings behind him. c) a naked goddess with red wings to his right. d) a naked goddess with yellow wings to his left.
Each of these he refers to as the goddess of the element to which he has ascribed her. The tips of their outstretched wings touch to form a square which tangents the circle at the points of meeting.
Maintaining this visualisation and holding the dagger above his head he declares “Above me the Blazing Star. Around me the elements of power Beneath me the circle of stability.”
He pauses to reinforce these notions and then passes on to the openings or closings.
EX. II. The magician visualizes himself as standing on a platform which bisects a perspex sphere motionless in the darkness of space. Electronically he inscribes the sigils of the cardinal points and the Zenith onto the perspex in appropriate electric colours. His invokations summon five spacecraft which approach their own sigils and remain on guard until licensed to depart.
It was observed above that a banishing ritual relies upon deep-seated elements from the magicians subconscious in order to achieve its effect. To use someone else’s elements for any ritual is rather like wearing another persons’ shoes. Uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. But often it is difficult for the intellect to recognize those symbols and archetypes which have a direct and powerful influence on his whole being. For this reason it may be useful to use the Liminal Gnosis to explore the subconscious function for associated imagery and using sign or symbol of banishing as an entry point. The received images being totally personal, and for that reason powerful, may then be incorporated into a rite far greater than

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