Reply to Zen Werewolf’s “deconstructing magickal paradigms”

[Tried to post this as a comment over at Mutato Nomine but couldn’t, so I’m posting it publicly here instead]

To reply but briefly – I was very skeptical, even embarrassed at the religious content of ceremonial magick starting out… but hey, it works. Michael and others have speculated part its power comes from using such heavily charged symbolism.

Also, I’m weary about throwing the baby out with the bathwater… for my part, the concern over religious content is dogma, and thankfully most occult programs either dispense with it or leave you free to create your own. In the case of Christianity, the symbolism was there before the religion.

And at least in hermetic kabbalah, at least as far as I’ve explored it, JHVH and Kether are not the cruel invisible monster of most of Judaeo-Christianity, but closer the Hindu concept of “aum.”

I do see the religious context as a stumbling block for a lot of people – either they are scared off from willed brain change and designer realities by the religious content, or they become so fixated with the symbolism that they forget what they’re doing in the first place. I’ll have to look up those Altar Consciousness articles, I sort of forgot about them before getting a chance to read them… I’ve had an idea for “agnostic magic” for a bit now.


  1. “they become so fixated with the symbolism that they forget what they?re doing in the first place”

    Indeed… this is a classic and common trap of all symbol-working, not just the religious-flavored ones. Map & territory are easily confused.

    Personally, I dislike religiously-oriented symbology in this context, but primarily for aesthetic reasons. Any symbology that you resonate with can be effective, though, religious or not. Heck, you can even use modern pop-culture symbolism incorporating the symbols of television, movies, and rock music. In fact, I’d bet that for a subbstantial percentage of people, this would be an extremely effective strategy.

  2. According to Dr Joseph C. Lisiewski, in his Ceremonial Magic & the Power of Evocation, the rituals involved aren’t just of human intent/origin. There are more forces at work in ceremonial magic than just the user, thus there must be an architecture utilized that spans more than one dimension of perception. These systems of symbolism are just that.

    I remember when I get into it all, too, and my thoughts were essentially: wtf. But over time, and studying myth and symbolism and et cetera, I found that this can be a language used to transcend borders. This is my guess as to how much of the ceremonial magic that we use nowadays came about.

  3. I don’t think what I’m trying to say is that its a stumbling block, but that I’m trying to approach this from an entirely different paradigm

    I promise I’ll elucidate my (practically applied) theories soon

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