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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in esoteric

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Esoteric Secrets of Fantasy Books

Kat and I are reading Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling right now. It's a classic Fantasy story, but what I find interesting is that in the first chapter, if you know what to look for, you discover a lot of esoteric and occult practices shared with the protagonists of the story, and this sharing continues throughout the rest of the book. It's a subtle way to teach magic to readers. Given when the book was written, the author needed to be subtle about it, but what fascinates me is that even to this day you can still find a number of fantasy writings where esoteric ideas and secrets are shared if you know what to look for. And if you don't know what to look for, well guess what? You're being given an education in magic and how it works so that if you get to that point where you actually start practicing you've already got some idea of how magic seems to work.

Kat and I like to discuss the books we are reading together, so we got into a long and fascinating conversation about not only Rudyard Kipling, but some of those writers who've written esoteric secrets into their fantasy. For example, if you've read any of Michael Moorcock's writings you'll find quite a lot of esoteric secrets shared. In Elric of Melnibone, he practically spells how to evoke an entity in several different instances where the character needs supernatural aide. In the Corum series, he focuses in on the magical aspects of gift giving and the connections gods have to people and vice versa. And there's a number of other series he writes in where he shares esoteric ideas and concepts, which I recognize many years later as playing a foundational role in my understanding of magic. As a young, impressionable reader the stories I read fascinated me because of the adventure, but as a magician I can see how my evocation practice has been shaped by what Moorcock wrote, as well as some of other esoteric beliefs and practices.

Raymond Feist is another author who mixes in esoteric ideas and practices in his books. For the most part his ideas are more metaphysically oriented, but there a few magical ideas I've gotten from reading his works, especially as it relates to energy work and the nature of reality and other planes of existence. Then there's the Deathgate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, where they share some useful ideas about working with probabilities via sigils and sound magic. Admittedly those aren't standard esoteric secrets, but you can get a lot from the ideas and turn them into workable magical practices if you're willing to engage the material with an eye toward applying it to magical work. William S. Burroughs also integrates magical techniques into his writing. In fact, all of his writing is essentially a magical technique in and of itself. 

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Cultivating Relationships with your Spiritual Entities

When you've practiced magic long enough, you inevitably start to form relationships with spiritual entities, and much like relationships you have with people, its takes some work on your part (and their part) to create a healthy and sustainable relationship. There's also the question of how you form the relationship initially. There are some approaches to forming a relationship with a spiritual entity that I would find quite rude (these approaches involve commanding an entity to appear and do what you tell it to do), and other approaches I wouldn't do because I'd be concerned about how much power I was giving to the entity.

Personally I prefer a middle approach. I'm not going to worship a spiritual entity or deity and do what it says. If I wanted to do that I'd have stayed with the religion of my family. But neither do I believe in doing the medieval approach to evocation which involves summoning the entity and threatening it with other entities in order to coerce it into doing something. I figure why not just ask nicely and on top of that create a good relationship? I know, I know, some of you will say, "That sounds rather fluffy and ill-advised." But seriously why not simply dispense with all the theatrics and try and make nice? It's always worked for me and I've gotten the results I've wanted while also creating a solid relationship with the entity I've worked with.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Magickal Religion

In my first post in this blog, I shared my working definition for the term path. In brief, a person’s path is the synthesis and the summation of their spiritual, religious, and magickal undertakings. If you have not read the first blog, I hope that you take time to read it.

 

I’d like to say a few things about magickal religions and what the adjective “magickal” means in this context. All religions have an exoteric and an esoteric component though they vary in the proportions of each and how they are expressed.  One of the simplest examples of this is the idea that sacred teachings can be taken to have a literal exoteric meaning and also a hidden teaching that is only found through an esoteric understanding of the same words. The exoteric portion of religion tends to be normative (about how we should live) while the esoteric portion of a religion tends to be transformative. Magickal religions have a larger proportion of the esoteric than the exoteric. Magickal religions tend to have fewer restrictions on gaining access to esoteric teachings or experiences than mainstream/non-magickal religions. Another important distinction about the nature of magickal religions is that their members are more likely to be practitioners of some esoteric art or science. Although on the surface it may appear that prayer, faith healing, and similar practices are comparable to ritual or operative magick there are substantial differences. Magickal practitioners have a more active engagement and understanding of the process that they use to access the powers and forces that they are a part of their religion.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

a1sx2_Original1_ThreePathIvo.jpgThis is my first post in this blog and it is actually the first time I am blogging. Although I am generally an early adopter of many technologies and cultural trends, I do resist certain things. As an example, I did not have a cell phone until 3 years ago though I have had email since 1979. Part of my resistance to blogging was that I needed to choose a focus for the blog because I am blessed with so many interests. I am passionate about the growth and development of the various intertwining streams of inspiration that form the pagan community. I also feel a great sense of duty to this community, this marvel of diversity that so often overflows its banks and cuts new stream beds. The name of my blog is "Skryclad" a play on skry and skyclad as I intend to offer my bare personal truths clothed in my visions, dreams, and observations. It is my intention for passion and duty to equally inform my work on this blog.

To get things rolling, I'll be doing a three blog arc on the use of terms to describe personal and collective identity in my community, which may also be your community as well. Names, labels and categories have power and power can be used for good or ill. It may be that you wish to reframe the existing schemes of description or that you just wish to replace a few key words. It may be your choice to reject all notation and that the tradeoffs are equitable from your vantage point. It is my premise that the outright rejection of these containers is also a loss of their powers. I am sharing my work in progress on these matters with the hope that it will enliven your process. Here are a few observations to get us started.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • craig.setti@gmail.com
    craig.setti@gmail.com says #
    Excellent first post. Quality blogs are rare, so I am looking forward to learning from and following yours for a long time. Thank
  • Ealasaid
    Ealasaid says #
    Huzzah! So excited to see where you go with your upcoming posts. Loved this one, too - the word nerd in me is always excited when
  • Leanne Pemburn
    Leanne Pemburn says #
    So glad you made this leap. Having these bite-size concepts will be extremely useful. Thank you!

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