Why do I do Magick? I’m serious, I’ve put a lot of effort into this hobby of mine and I think the question’s worth asking. Is it simply that I desire more power and toys? Frankly no. As a Chaos magician, though I might be keen to stress the practical “results magick” focus of the tradition, this in itself is not enough. For this to be sustainable there has to be something more.
One of the big questions for me as a magician has been concerning this whole issue of teleos or end game. When arguably “nothing is true” can those of us caught-up in the swirling vortex of Postmodern culture speak meaningfully of Meaning? As time goes on I find myself thinking less about the magick that I do and more about the magician that I’m seeking to become. That’s not to say that I want to become a mystic who only wants union with Kia/God/the Void-I’m still interested in the terrain of the journey and the techniques of exploration. But Magick without a goal like awakening seems little more than an exotic form of acquisition.
What I’m beginning to suspect is that the transformations that I often strive for in my circumstances, are primarily alchemical changes in myself. The more magick that I do, the more sacrifice that it seems to demand of me and the more my character becomes the locus of change. So I’m sensing one of those strange loops or circularities – I’m a magician who realises that the more I do magic, the more it’s going to cost me. In order to avoid such a price, bizarrely I seem to be acting more skilfully and it’s as though the magick has already been done! Now this is weird – is the magician at risk of becoming the magick? What’s the relationship between my day-to-day self and the aspirant in the robe?
In Liber Kaos, Pete Carroll (peace be upon him) talks about this realm of Magick as being the Octarine or “the eighth power of the self”:
“the growth of the octarine, or eighth power of the self, and the discovery of the type of magician one wants to be, and the identification or synthesis of a god-form to represent it, tend to create something of a mutant being, who has advanced into a paradigm that few others are aware of.” (pg. 113)
My Magick is causing me to mutate – self-inflicted memetic infection if you will.
This seems to be where sorcery gives way to deeper initiatory work- the tantric goal of not eliminating desire, rather using it as a means of transformation and on-going self-refinement.
As a big fan of both Vampires and Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu mythology I like the idea of mutating. We are becoming something more, something else; not in some steel willed ubermensch stylee, but a humans dancing with our potential. We are seeking that state where art meets science-that optimal state of Flow. As magicians we seek to dance with the relativity of time-dreaming of how we might be and invoking our future Selves so that they might whisper in our ears.
For me then, the focus of my current work is less about fixating about who this future self might be; rather I seek to use my spiritual practice to cultivate the type of attentiveness that will help me remain open to the possibilities. Let’s keep dancing!
For me it’s Transhumanism as The Great Work, which is not only about science and technology but is also IMHO the greatest manifestation of an ancient spiritual force we have seen in millennia. Magick is making it happen, and shaping the direction.
I think you’re right-that the impulse to know and to become more than what we currently is what inspires all human endeavour- science,art, magic-the whole shebang! The Temple of Set have articulated this well through the aeonic word “Xeper” or “become”.
“what we are currently..”