The Alchemy of Magick
ONA (From Hostia I, 1991eh)
Magick is not an object for academic study – it is essentially practical. It also requires self-discipline and training – the acquisition of skills.
No books or teacher can teach magick it can only be learnt by practice, by the trials and errors of experience. All books and teachers can do, at best, is guide: toward and into the relevant experiences and offer some explanations for cause, effect and what is beyond the causal.
Similarly, willful self-expression will be mostly counter-productive. What is required of the novice and Initiate is self-discipline and that insight which arises from achievement and adversity. Modern life, however, has made these things difficult it is easy to be self-opinionated, to accept the comforts of modern living and the lack of self-discipline, just as modern “methods” and “ideas” about “magick” make it seem that understanding of and achievement in magick is easy: all that is needed are the relevant books/ grade manuals/ information and a chaotic mind/attitude/approach.
There is not and never has been any substitute for self-learning from experience. The real learning of magick occurs by the individual novice, alone: group work and group experience merely confirm that learning and extend the techniques, the forms that are used. This is so because real magick is internal – an alchemy of psychic change. It is the techniques which are external. For instance, sexual magick is a technique of magick – it is not magick or ‘magickal’ in itself – just as ceremonial ritual is a technique. All techniques are forms which are dormant – they need vivifying, bringing to life: they need to be infused with the ‘breath of life’. This vivification is magick, and its achievement is individual, that is, it does not rely on the form – on minute details of performance or technique. Sometimes, this vivification is shared – e.g. between two individuals undertaking a sexual rite or a group gathering for a ceremony.
For too long the techniques have been regarded as magickal in themselves, leading to a complete misunderstanding of magick – as, for example, by Crowley and his followers and by adherents of latter-day “chaos” techniques. Magick is beyond technique – techniques and forms merely presence the magick in the causal, and to access the magickal energies skill is required. Sometimes, this skill is intuitive – an inborn gift – but most often it has to be cultivated, learnt, acquired. The skill is an internal one, and may be likened to an attitude of mind. It is a “moving with” magickal energies as those energies are, in themselves – it is not a loose, undirected approach, a chaotic acceptance, but a finely balanced direction; not a loss of conscious awareness/ understanding, but a new type of awareness. It is like running long distances: innate ability may help, but training is required, an awareness of limitations born from past experience, a self-discipline to achieve the distance in the time set – and then the running, which when successful is a ‘flowing with’ the body and mind…
In magick, desire makes the energy – once accessed via the individual – presence in the form/technique chosen. This desire is usually aimed – that is, it has a causal goal (as for example in external magick). The form or technique chosen may stimulate to some extent the production of magickal energies – but it is the individual who must push open the gate (or nexion) and direct the energies that lie beyond it. What the forms and techniques most often do is make the nexion seem real and accessable – often ‘provoking’ within the individual the consciousness required to push open the nexion and presence the energies.
Because of this, ceremonial rituals (or any ritual where more than two are present and involved) require direction or control – of the images/forms/patterns invoked and the presencing of such in the causal. This direction is always toward the causal (that is, toward a specific aim or into the psyche of an individual or individuals) because of the nature of the energies – there is always ‘flow’. If no control is undertaken (or the direction is confused because more than one attempts to control the flow – perhaps unconsciously) then causal change will still occur (and must occur) although in ways probably unforseen by those involved – this is what usually happens when some individuals gather and attempt an act of magick – and often results in psychic disruption of one or more of those individuals.
The alchemy of magick is in learning this control in being able to access the energies, and being able to produce changes via the presencing of what is accessed: internally (within one’s own psyche), externally (in others and the things of the everyday) and aeonically (within and beyond the confines of aeonics). There is thus a learning about the various types of magickal energies (which may be said to be differentiated by how they presence in the causal) – and their uses. In short, the acquisition of individual skill and understanding. To achieve this, there are certain ways – certain guides which may be followed. This is a serious commitment – not a hobby, not a gathering of some like-minded people as and when for an enjoyable and ego-gratifying delving into ‘the Occult’, and certainly not ‘for laughs’ or to entertain. There is an intensity, a self-discipline, even sometimes a hardness – and those pleasures which are beyond mere mortals. In brief, new ways of living.
For while the alchemy of magick is now accessable to everyone (due to works such as “Naos”) it is unlikely many will foreswear their current and easy ways of living for the challenge.
– Order of Nine Angles –