Sunday, July 5, 2009

Theatre of Magick

The Theatre of Magick (Part 3)
Magick is not a religion in the way that most people understand that word. Religion, as it is commonly understood is the moral enemy of magick.’. The one restricts, the other liberates. The one requires that the intellect be twisted to accommodate ludicrous belief systems - the other adopts ludicrous belief systems willingly and for its own purposes. Then it destroys them. Religion requires a single life style for all people, at all time, in all places. Magick demands personalized, flexible tenets of behaviour and belief.
The magician takes himself out of the ‘real’ world into previously prescribed bizarre situations. For him this is one theatre of operations, its effect being to hone his perceptions both of the real world and of his own different functions within it.
Religion requires pristine thoughts and actions it believes to be evil. Magick embraces and attempts to understand all aspects of life and thought requiring, in order to do this, anything different, hot or cold, but not lukewarm.
The magician believes nothing in the sense of having faith, The experiments practically to ascertain if there is any truth or value in the postulates he has made himself or which he has borrowed from elsewhere. It is true that he holds certain organic beliefs for the sake of convenience. For example, he believes that the chair in which he is sitting or in which he is about to sit in is real - most of the time. This however is not a mental process but an instinctive or organic one without which life would be impossible.
Intellectually there are many concepts which he uses in which he does not believe except within carefully chosen parameters. Angels and devils, for instance, as archetypes of knowledge, energy or personal power are useful vehicles by the invokation of which the magician can examine facets of himself which are not easily accessible. In order to make full use of this and similar devices he must be able to suspend his disbelief, and this he does in the Theatre of Magick.
Theatre is the most appropriate term here because the magician is stepping outside what he normally considers to be reality and creating a malleable universe of his own through his will, his intellect and his imagination. The more bizarre his Theatre the less likely he is to confuse his activities on this level with the more mundane aspects of his life.
The traditional Theatre of the magician is as good a starting model as any. It is unlikely, absurd, and perfectly equipped. The magician has a special room with particular decor and stylized instruments. In the non-magician this room inspires fear, awe or hilarity. In the magician it inspires a mood and it inspires change.
The would-be-magician with no ideas of his own may borrow from children’s stories or from grand texts on magick until he has discovered which mood is most suitable for him. Thereafter he begins to develop in his own way, acting, to continue the thespian analogy, as producer, director, set-designer, script-writer, star and audience. The more unusual the script and setting the greater the overall effect on him. Nor need he restrict himself to his ‘temple’. These ‘dramas’ can be acted out in the real world with slight modifications in belief.
Example: the magician presumes himself to be the only real person in the world, all others being android ‘extras’ brought in especially for his benefit to any situation in which he finds himself. This practice should be continued until new interpretations cease to occur to him. Diametrically opposed to this is the presumption that everyone in the world is an adept except him and that the world is waiting for him in order to take the next step in its evolution. This practice should also be continued until new interpretations cannot be found. During these processes he may also choose to put himself into impossible situations from which he finds it difficult to extricate himself.2 These activities, carefully, performed, confer a new way of thinking, a new perspective from which it is easier to see things as they are and this the magician must be able to do before planning a long term course of action. But he must beware. If he is not careful here insanity will be his only result.
Working with a group of like minded colleagues increases the availability of ideas and activities and interplay of different personalities is of great value. Care should be taken in the selection of such people as to their compatibility and trustworthiness. Despite outward appearances this is not a game of the ordinary kind. Each member of a magical group is not only responsible for himself. He is responsible for everyone else too. Few people are capable of this kind of responsibility.
The techniques outlined in this book are cores, the bases of more elaborate exercises which can be performed by individuals Or by groups. On the whole these techniques are pragmatic, but occasionally rather more fanciful. It is up to the magician to understand their purpose and to remodel them according to his own tastes and requirements.

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